The fact that I’ve been steadily employed since my first job at a Hallmark store is as much of a surprise to me as it is to anyone else. I’m the kind of person who drinks cereal instead of eating it with a spoon, and laughs when narrators say ‘Homo Erectus’ in documentaries. Not exactly the kind of stuff that makes employers jump at the chance to pay me every two weeks.
I started working for a local publishing company in 2009, and in early 2012, they were acquired by a corporation in Boston. Roughly six months after the purchase, our office was closed, and the Portland team members began telecommuting. This day is also referred to as “The exact moment I started devolving as an employee and human being.”
Dedicated working spaces no longer have meaning to me.
One of the greatest joys of working from home is getting to decide where you want to work. Gone are the days of parking in the same space, sitting at the same desk, and shivering from the air blowing from the same vent directly above my desk. Now you’ll most likely finding me sending e-mails while on the crapper, regretting the Indian food I ate last night.
Hygiene became optional.
Smelling decent is important in the work world. Nobody wants to have a conversation with someone whose breath smells like they devoured a shit sandwich at lunch. Additionally, if your armpits smell like a cross between rotten meat and the way Paris Hilton looks, you won’t be invited to Happy Hour with the gang. Now I can attend “meetings” without washing my face, brushing my teeth, or changing out of the pajamas I’ve been wearing for a week. There are some days when I could be a dead ringer for a pre-sobriety Lindsay Lohan.
My wardrobe changed.
I’m not sure my coworkers at the time realized it, but I was actually making an effort when I went to work. I wore a bra. I wore pants with zippers. I wore underwear. Every day I showed up to work in the best clothes $10 at a thrift shop could buy. Once I started working from home, I realized I didn’t need my breasts to be above my belly button, and underwear were for women who were afraid their vaginas would catch fire from rubbing against their pants. Goodbye jeans, hello yoga pants.
My interpersonal skills deteriorated.
I’ve never been accused of being smooth in social interactions, but it has gotten even worse since working from home. You don’t realize how hearing workplace chatter, or engaging in water cooler talk, really helps normalize you. The moment my roommate gets home from work I jump all over him and tell him how I was able to finish a project while Maury Povich informed someone he was not the father. Gone are the days of knowing when I should/shouldn’t say something, and in are the days when I’m telling the grocery clerk that I haven’t had sex in so long I’ve got cootchie cobwebs.
Truthfully, working from home is a great gig. No commute, no office politics, and you can attend important meetings in sweatpants. But as is the case with any job, there are certain unique challenges I face being by myself for a minimum of 40 hours a week.
My dream has always been to own my own business, and the self-discipline aspect of this job is great training. Sure, I’d have to relearn appropriate workplace conversation, and I’d even have to fully groom myself before taking off to battle rush hour traffic. Not such a bad tradeoff for being the ruler of my own kingdom, one who enjoys e-mailing from her porcelain throne.