#oneaday Day 955: Ten Signs You’ve Been Working From Home for Too Long

I’ve been working from home ever since I decided that teaching was Not The Career For Me, and I like it a lot. I never really enjoyed the office environment of “traditional” jobs, and in the time-sensitive environment of a school you never have a moment to sit back and relax or, as is more commonly needed, sit with your head in your hands crying profusely. Freelancing affords one the luxury of flexibility at the expense of security, though I’ve been pretty lucky in my last couple of gigs to find myself with stable, predictable income each month. Okay, I had almost a year where I was pulling in a couple of hundred dollars a month and sometimes nothing at all. But things are, touch wood, now Going Well.

Working from home comes with its own pitfalls, however. Naturally, I haven’t fallen prey to any of what I am about to describe; this post simply serves as a warning to those of you made of less stern stuff than I am.

Without further messing around, then, let’s jump right into ten things that might make you feel like getting a “real” job might not be such a terrible idea after all.

You stop dressing for success. Or indeed at all.

If you can work in your pants, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to get dressed in order to do your work, right? Well, no, unless you’re participating in some sort of webcam conference, and even then you only really need to be “all business” up top.

Still, specifically getting dressed — even if it’s only throwing on a stinky t-shirt — helps get you in the mindset that Now Is Work Time. You can always take your trousers off again later.

Having a poo with the door open becomes default behaviour.

You might think that settling down for a long dump while leaving the door open so you can still hear your music/see the TV is a great idea if there’s no-one in the house. And indeed it is one of life’s great pleasures to do so.

But when this becomes default behaviour — when you start leaving the door open even for music you don’t really like or for, say X-Factor on TV, then you may have a problem.

To rid yourself of this issue, reach an agreement with your partner/housemate/parents (delete as applicable) that at least once per week, they will come home at an unexpected time. You’ll soon learn to be ashamed of your body and the things it does again.

Every time you see the postman, he apologises for waking you.

Related to the first point above, if you answer the door to the postman in a dressing gown, he will probably assume he has woken you, even if it’s lunchtime. Avoid this misunderstanding by putting some clothes on before answering the door.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to dress yourself before he puts one of those “sorry we missed you” cards through the door, keep a cache of “emergency clothes” handy near the door that are easy to put on — tracksuit bottoms and some sort of zip-up jacket or shirt are a good idea. They don’t have to match.

Your masturbation-to-work ratio gets rather lop-sided.

If you’re spending more time wanking than doing something useful, you aren’t working hard enough. Very simple.

Coffee consumption goes through the roof.

If you’re getting through a packet/tin/jar of coffee in less than a week, you’re probably drinking too much. I know you need to stay on top of your game and churn out those 15,000 words you promised by yesterday, but man, seriously. Imbibing so much caffeine that you can feel your heart going “OH MY GOD STOP STOP NOW” is not the way forward.

You start exhibiting behaviours typically reserved for the clinically insane.

Are you walking around your house mumbling obscenities over and over again because they “sound funny”? Are you dancing naked to the theme tune of your favourite TV show? Do you spend hours staring at a wall in the hope it will do something interesting? You need to get a proper job before the wall does start doing something interesting and you start having conversations with yourself.

You start experimenting with cheese on toast.

Cheese on toast is a simple and effective meal. The moment you start fucking around with it, though, you’re on a downward spiral. As soon as you start carefully layering various luncheon meats beneath the cheese, then seasoning with cajun spice mix and drawing aesthetically-pleasing patterns in tomato ketchup on top, it’s time to go and work somewhere with a proper canteen.

Actually, scratch that one. Deluxe cheese on toast is awesome.

You get really good at Countdown.

If you have reached a stage where you’re really good at both the letters and the numbers rounds of Countdown, you really need to get out and get a job. Possibly in Accounts. Or the Conundrum Department.

Your attention span diminishes.

You start some sort of creative project such as a list of ten signs you’ve been working from home for too long and then lo

Published by

Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

4 thoughts on “#oneaday Day 955: Ten Signs You’ve Been Working From Home for Too Long”

  1. Ohhh, the postman one. That never happens to me ever. Ever. Honest.

    The worst part is when you start wanting to explain to the postman that you aren’t just a waster. Honest. There shouldn’t be any need but you still feel silently judged the third time in a week it happens😦

    This of course stops the descent into madness, and when friends/family start looking for a Doctor to ‘commit’ you, you then have a tangible piece of evidence that you were NOT actually talking to your self or the TV or the wall, but to your furry/feathery best pal and ally!
    Unfortunately for me, it has just been discovered that my lovely big fat old moggy is stone deaf! But I guess I can say that I keep forgetting that and talk to him out of habit. Can’t I ??? :-\

    1. I love this… I’ve tried to work from home for a while. Although I’ve got an outside-world part time job now, my base is still my own home and my car, I manage my own time, and the admin is done in my home office. My husband works from home too (when he doesn’t travel). Your points seem very familiar although

      Naturally, I haven’t fallen prey to

      any of them… (fingers crossed;-)

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