I am loving the gig economy. Maybe it’s a millennial thing (I was born in ’81), but I’ve done the whole 8-4 (and the even more ungodly 7-5) shift, four or five days a week, in rain or flood. I have tried for years to be an early morning person, but it just wasn’t happening. Maybe it’s because I am my most creative at night. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a dad whose day never began before noon (unless he had a doctor’s appointment). Maybe it’s because I like sweaters, not blazers (i.e., power suits). Maybe it’s because I am a people person—just not for eight hours a day, which is why I still work as a Writing Lab tutor. If you never work around people, you will lose those soft skills. Don’t do that.
I have been working from home for at least three months now (I don’t really have a concept of time), and there are 13 things I love about it:
- I save time. Rather than my workday beginning at least a half hour early (meaning when I leave the house), I simply walk into the next room. All I have to do is pull up my Merriam-Webster, Slack app, and my proofreading manuals on Google Docs, as well as my work window. I can get up every half hour and stretch (because editing for long periods is intense) to refresh my brain.
- I save gas. Thus, I am able to keep more of my own money. I also don’t have to sit in traffic, which has been a nightmare ever since Hurricane Ivan blew through.
- I am valued as an individual (I avoid the collective word, “team”) for my technical and writing skills—not for who I know or who I don’t know.
- I don’t have to have “leadership” qualities, and I won’t be judged for not desiring those qualities.
- No staff meetings, which I dreaded more than getting a pap. No more being put on the spot, trying to figure out what I did wrong last week that can be an “opportunity” (to improve) the next.
- No artificial light. When I worked for a grant-funded program that helped low-income students, I had my own office where I never turned on the overhead light but had a window with the best view on campus.
- No extreme temperatures. Every office I’ve worked in has its hot or cold days, but mine is always comfortable.
- No confining feminine undergarments. I still dress as I would for an office job but more comfortably.
- I make my own schedule. Almost nowhere can you do this. This is especially great since I am still going to school.
- I can work anywhere. If I do need a change of scenery, I can enjoy a nice day under a shade tree or a quiet corner in a library while I work.
- I don’t have to plan. I don’t have to think about what to bring for lunch or make sure I bring money to buy it. Either is a hassle.
- There is no bad time to take a bathroom break. For someone who drinks as much water as I do, this is important.
- And the best of all? No ringing telephones! With email, you have time to think about your answer; with a telephone call, you generally have to come up with an answer right away. This is why my friends know not to call what they can text.
I don’t know what my future will be after I graduate but I have to say that every day, I learn something new and useful. Being a proofreader has proven to be the most intellectually challenging job I have ever had—just as being a professional writing tutor has been the most challenging when it’s come to communicating concepts to others in a way that makes sense to them.
As a proofreader, you don’t have to worry about making the other person a better writer; you’re just making the document better. I like to think of myself as cleaning up the world’s written litter—one character at a time.