I work from home, neener neener

That’s something I never say, but since I do work at home, I encounter a lot of jealousy from folks who don’t.

Now, I think I work hard. I only have to look at the amount I write to see how productive I am, but people aren’t with me day in and day out. They can’t see how much I do. And even if they do, all they hear sometimes is “work at home,” which makes them project onto me what they’d be doing if they were at home all day.

Mostly, this seems to be watching television and jerking off. I can’t speak about spending day after day jerking off, but I did take a month off from doing anything right after I graduated college, and t.v. watching got really old, really quickly. I credit that month with the discovery that I could be a full time writer if I had the luxury to do so. I have quite a lot of self-discipline.

Do any of the rest of you that work from home have to deal with jealousy? Do you ever feel the need to justify your life like I do sometimes? Like if you aren’t earning a wage, you aren’t earning your oxygen? Wait, are any of you working from home AND not earning a wage, or is that just me? (I get occasionally freelance writing jobs, but nothing steady.)

If you work from home and get paid regularly, do you still have to deal with “work from home” jealousy? Is it less if you also have children?

To clarify, I do get people asking me what I DO all day since I’m not working out of the home, and they are asking from a curious place. Sometimes, I get angry questions like, “And what would YOU know about hard work? You stay home all day!” I used to sink into depression because I equated how much I earned with how much I was worth, like as a person. It took a lot of growing up to move past that.

Even now, I’m just to the angry, “I’ll TELL you how hard I work” stage. Soon, though, I hope to move into the stage where I don’t care what the angry people think of me and have the courage to say, “Think of your favorite thing, that you never get to do because you work out of the house. I do that. All. Day. Long.” Hmm, the non-caring stage is right next door to the sarcastic, antagonistic stage…. I think I’ll like it here.

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15 thoughts on “I work from home, neener neener

  1. OK, this is probably more than you want to know, ๐Ÿ™‚ but here goes….

    I used to get this a lot from non-IT people. (IT people like working from home and, in the USA and Europe, it’s a given. Oft times I’d be in a conference and hear a child playing or a dog barking in the background. Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the work being done and we’d often break the monotony of the meeting by asking about the child/dog/weather. It made for very pleasant meetings and I miss them.)

    To non-IT people, I just grin and say, “At least I’m smart enough to arrange working from home. What about you?” (Did I tell you I’m basically obnoxious?) When they come back with some heated reply about how they HAVE to be at work, I look at them with pity and say, “Whatever.”

    Also, friends have commented how strange it is that I haven’t been punched in the face up till now but I’m not sure if the two are related.

    Telling people like this how much work you do at home just reduces you to their level and sounds too defensive. Embrace that inner sloth, I say, even if you’re lying!

    My darling hubby, J, reminds me that in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries, there was a method of work where a merchant would visit workers’ houses and drop off whatever needed to be worked on. Then, a designated time later, he’d come and pick up the finished wares, pay the workers and be on his way. So the idea of working from home is actually older than the idea of working at a particular workplace.

    None of this works in south-east Asia, where the managers are such power-hungry control freaks that anybody not at work is deemed to be off gambling at the races or indulging in other nefarious doings. (Basically, what they’d like to do themselves!) Remarks can get quite pointed. As long as such managers were not in my direct line of reporting, I just ignored them.

  2. My husband and I both work from home, so we tend to get the envious stares from people. Sorry, folks. Just the way it is. It’s not like we haven’t work hard to get to this point. With that said, if I used more of my time to write, I’d have my book done by now. Eh . . . at least I can still get nothing done while wearing my pajamas and relaxing on my couch with a cup of coffee.

  3. I’m a home mommy, primarily, writer on the side ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure which gets the least respect.

    I am very jealous of your productivity, I know I don’t have it. Easily distracted. Often sick. And I have recognized problems in my writing so I’ve almost entirely stopped making measurable progress so I can read and try to think my way around it.

    All of which makes me more jealous of your progress.

    But I usually just tell people I’m a home mommy. It’s easier and something people recognize, so you might have fun for a short time imagining the looks I get from the occasional career woman who thinks I’m holding back the feminist movement all on my own. (Or the looks my programming friend up north gets from her daughter’s classmate’s moms for ‘abandoning her daughter to daycare’)

    I know it’s not exactly what you were asking, but I’m heading for a ‘the grass is always greener’ analogy with terms I can better work with. (I do also miss some of the socialization, discussions with adults…)

    • Thanks, Marilou. Making progress is good, but sometimes it means I just cry a lot more because I have more work that no one will buy. As for having kids, I’m going to take your word for it forever. I am NOT cut out to be a parent.

  4. The first person who tells me I don’t work hard at home is getting a punch in the nose. LOL!

    I am nearly crippled from all ‘non-work’ I’m doing. I just ignore people who question my productivity. They couldn’t keep up with me if they tried. It takes a great deal of focus and energy to work from home–and get things done.

    Ignore them.

    Ref: Kaz
    I wouldn’t punch you. You’re likely to hit back. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You should punch those people hard, Maria. I read about everything you do and am constantly in awe of you. You take chickens and then know how to get more chickens from them. Like, optimal amounts of chickens. I think that’s probably a miracle.

  5. > I am nearly crippled from all โ€˜non-workโ€™ Iโ€™m doing.

    Oh yeah, M, ain’t that the truth! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sometimes though, like Clothdragon, I tell people I’m “just a housewife”. I mean, it’s not like you want to talk to EVERYONE you meet, right?

  6. Years ago I ran a dog show business from my home office. Weeks of work preparing for each event culminated in a three- or four-day weekend working ‘on site’. Only those who knew what the work entailed really thought my ‘working at home’ days were real work. Now that I’m writing, I think it’s equally true that only other writers understand what it means to be working at home. What we do looks like daydreaming and doodling to many others.

  7. I’ve worked from home as the owner and manager of a small trucking business for 26 years, but when people ask what I do I usually just say I’m a “stay-at-home” mom. That generally leads the conversation away from work as people tend to ask how old my kids are, or how many I have, and we seldom get back to the job issue.

    I don’t think anyone is jealous of me. Anyway, it isn’t important to me what people think about how I spend my time or how much money I earn–or if I earn any money at all. It’s the opinion of the people I love that matters to me, and they’re always supportive of whatever I do.

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