By: Sylvie Fortin
So, you want to work at home, do you? You think it's going to mean less hours, more time with your family, and big income, right? To best answer this question, let's get real about this whole “working from home” thing. Let's take a look at the Facts versus the Myths of telecommuting:
Myth 1: I will be able to spend more time with my family
Yes, you'll be home more, but you will spend every spare moment working. Your family will be eating the dinner that you cooked, but you will be in your office, working, hoping they leave you some crumbs that you can eat cold at your desk. You will become that odd person that sits at the desk in the corner that your family waves at while they go on with their lives.
Myth 2: I'll work while the baby is sleeping.
Everyone else's baby sleeps — yours won't.
Myth 3: I won't have to spend money on childcare.
Spend a day working with your toddler in your office, then decide whether you need childcare or not. After a day of “work for 5 minutes, take the stapler away; work for 5 minutes, remove pen from child's nose; work for 5 minutes, then spend 2 hrs cleaning up,” you'll not only want childcare, you'll need it!
Myth 4: I will be able to run all my errands and do all my housework…and still handle all my work.
The laundry will become mini-mountains in front of the washing machine. The dishes will pile up until you need to use the cat bowl for your breakfast cereal. The banking will get done once a month. Your grocery shopping will become a mad dash as you grab random items off the shelves. All of this will be because your client calls you up on Friday night on his way to the cottage, and he needs to have a week's worth of work done “over the weekend.”
Myth 5: I'll be my own boss, and work when I want to, and take time off whenever I want to.
Actually, this is true. Being your own boss means you can choose your own hours! Yep! You get to choose which 20 hours out of every day that you want to work, and which 4 hours of every day that you can have all to yourself. You will be a slave to your contracts — you will work nights, weekends, and holidays — anything to meet your deadlines.
Myth 6: People won't take advantage of the fact that I am home. They will respect my designated work hours.
Working from home is an excuse for everybody and anybody to procrastinate from their own lives; to bring the kids by, to have a cup of coffee, to stop by while running errands, to call to gossip in the middle of the day, and on and on. You'll quickly realize that people do not respect your home office and working hours.
Myth 7: I will treat my work just like a real job onsite.
Wrong. If you treat your work at home career like most people treat their onsite career, you will definitely fail. Working from home is nothing like an onsite job. You will have to be more dedicated, more responsible, more obsessed about perfection than you ever were onsite. After all, you are competing against millions out there who all want the same job you do! You have to be better, smarter, more efficient, and more capable that others in your field or you won't stand a chance!
Myth 8: I will dress up every day to start my workday with an attitude of professionalism.
Yes, you will…for the first week. After that, you will find it easier to just keep your pajamas on all day….and then you will start to wear the same pajamas for days on end. When you bathe, you will change from one set of pajamas into another set of pajamas because it's easier than changing into “real clothes.”
Myth 9: I will make the same wages as I did when I worked onsite.
Actually, no. You can make a lot more money than you did onsite, but you will have to work twice the number of hours to do it, because you will have to constantly improve upon your skills and learn more than your peers to stay competitive.
You're starting to get the picture, right? Telecommuting is hugely different from what you may have imagined it to be! It is hard work and long hours with no social life at all. So, right about now, you're either thinking that you would rather not do this or you're thinking that this is EXACTLY what you want to do with your life! If the latter, welcome to the world of the work-at-homes and best of luck to you!