At the end of September, I started a new job with the Tessitura Network, a company where nearly all of the employees work out of their home. My particular job involves some travel as well, but now that I’ve settled in a little bit to a new routine, I think I can finally provide some answers to the ever-popular question: So how is it working from home?
I left my job at McCarter Theatre, where my office was like a train station. People coming and going, sometimes actually forming a line outside my door, there was noise in the hallway, noise in the marketing office next door, colleagues “popping in” – pretty much a continual stream of conversation. Now, there is no one. Well – except my husband Joe when he is off from work, which as fate would have it, is more than he used to be, since as a fireman, his shifts recently changed to 24 hours. But Joe is a pretty quiet guy, so it’s usually me yammering away about something while he nods and drinks his coffee. And then he wants to go take his nap after he gets home from working 24 hours. I am learning to adjust, and even appreciate, the quiet house.
My cats love me
We have 3 cats, who have now decided that clearly I have decided to stay home so that I can let them in and out. All. Day. Long. And when I am on the phone and can’t get up, they will knock over my cable modem, jump on my computer, or start scratching papers up in the office. I can say that I have never have had office mates that were as furry or as needy.
The Fed Ex man scared me to death
One warm October afternoon, I had the window open next to my desk, when I heard a man talking outside. My heart literally stopped – I listened intently, crouched under the window, then stealthily darted from window to window trying to see who it was without being seen myself. I was sure there was a serial killer in Titusville who must have known I was working from home all alone and he was coming to get me. (And he was right outside my window!) Finally when I bravely looked out the front door and saw the Fed Ex truck, (which I never heard pull in the driveway…) And I then saw him scratching my cat Maxine’s little head on our front stoop while talking to her, well, forehead smack. #thefedexmanisnotanaxmurderer.
No, it’s not a person coming down the stairs
One of the most difficult things that I’ve found about being home alone is sorting out the various noises in the house. I keep trying not to imagine that every little thing I hear is not a ghost, or that someone hasn’t snuck inside the house while I was on the phone with my headset on. After the first couple of days, I finally stopped jumping out of my chair when I heard our littlest cat plodding down the stairs. For a cat that’s literally the size of a kitten, she is very heavy on her paws, and she absolutely sounds like a person. But she’s a cat.
My kids are chill
My son Joseph, a 7th grader, was at first just a little disappointed that I was now occupying the space where he was used to playing his X-box when he came home from school. He now has to wait a full hour and a half before he can watch TV, etc. in the office. But, on the flip side, he no longer has to wait for me to commute home from work to start dinner, and I think he is digging this. My daughter Shannon, a 10th grader who really enjoys some quiet time alone in her room after school, has adjusted to my existence, (even though she used to regularly call me at work when she got home) – I don’t think she wants to admit she sort of likes my being there. Anyway, Joseph said, I keep forgetting that you’re going to be here when I get home, but I kind of like it. Hey – I’ll take it!
Nothing happens in our neighborhood. Really.
I knew we lived in a quiet neighborhood. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much. But somehow I thought, maybe some exciting things happen during the day – like the senior citizens on our block had a dance party, or I would see moms and their small kids walking, or maybe there was a secret spy ring on our street that I would uncover because I now worked from home all the time. Well, there’s none of that. I believe we live in the quietest, most uneventful corner of the country. The deer tromp through the yard and eat our apples, the lady across the street picks up her leaves one at a time…(seriously), and evidently anyone with small children is keeping them inside. But that’s OK.
I have to put a sign on the door when I’m on the phone
Since everyone in my family assumes that I am always available to start a conversation anytime they’d like me to, and since I have a headset on and they can’t really tell that I’m on the phone – (talking to someone else), the easiest way to avoid the kids bursting into the room while talking loudly is just a simple post it note on the door that says: I’M ON THE PHONE.
We’re all adjusting
The real answer to So, how is it working from home?…. is, I guess, a mixed bag. It definitely has its great aspects, I enjoy walking down to the Delaware river, or taking a bike ride when I have a chance at lunch, I sometimes get to have a meal with my husband (when he’s not napping) – and I really like being able to check in with my kids after they get home from school. Even when they don’t really want to talk, they know I’m there. I no longer feel the stress of trying to leave the office on time and get home in rush hour traffic so that I can get dinner started (and eaten) before we have to dash off somewhere. I get to drink my own coffee, and work while looking out over my nice little yard. What do I miss? Well, I have to admit that I didn’t actually mind my office being a central repository of people. And I like Wawa coffee. And sometimes I wish I could walk into the town of Princeton to get sushi or ice cream. But, for now I’ll take my quiet neighborhood, my needy cats, I won’t kill the Fed Ex man with a baseball bat, and you’ll be the first to know if I uncover that spy ring.