13 Reasons Why I Love Working From Home

My office.jpg

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:  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  
  4. I don’t have to have “leadership” qualities, and I won’t be judged for not desiring those qualities.  
  5. 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.
  6. 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.  
  7. No extreme temperatures.  Every office I’ve worked in has its hot or cold days, but mine is always comfortable.
  8. No confining feminine undergarments.  I still dress as I would for an office job but more comfortably.  
  9. I make my own schedule.  Almost nowhere can you do this.  This is especially great since I am still going to school.  
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. There is no bad time to take a bathroom break.  For someone who drinks as much water as I do, this is important.
  13. 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.

I’ll Take Two of Everything

I hadn’t planned on getting two degrees when I decided to go to community college for my Health Information Technology degree, but with the Allied Health classes being hard to get into, to make up for what I thought at the time was wasted time (time spent learning something worthwhile is never wasted), I started taking writing and literature classes so I would still qualify as a full-time student and be eligible for all the scholarships I had already applied for.

I hate to say that such classes boost my G.P.A., and it’s not that they’re easy, they’re just fun for me.  They require work, sometimes a lot of work, but it’s fun work.  I try not to inwardly roll my eyes when people talk about their 3.9999999 G.P.A.s when they majored in English or History, because I might have much closer to that if I hadn’t had to take Pathophysiology and harder math classes (okay, hard for me).

But maybe I’m just whining.

So would I go back and change my major if I could?  No, because I need job security, and the healthcare field is where it’s at, but the journey has taken a lot longer than I thought it would, and a lot longer than it should have.  I won’t say that I’m a professional college student (a la Diane Chambers), but rather, a lifelong learner.  (I will graduate no later than spring of next year, one healthcare class, of course, being the hold-up).

Life is funny in ways.  It was because I could only get into one class in my major one semester that I ended up taking Creative Writing.

It was because I was one credit hour short of being a full-time student (the medical internships/practicums being only two credit hours) that I ended up in the one-credit hour College Publications course, which turned out to be the The Corsair student newspaper class.

And taking those classes led me to taking other classes, some of which led to scholarship awards, which enabled me to take even more classes, so I was building toward an A.A. before I realized I wanted one.

So circumstance kept pulling me in a direction that I knew wasn’t the most profitable, but led to the richest experiences. I didn’t become something else, I became more me. It was a creating as much as it was an uncovering.  I could write, but I needed focus and polish, and my college experience has given that tremendous gift to me.

I am incredibly blessed.

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When I took two maths this last semester, it made me realize that I had no desire to build onto my A.S., but an A.A. Life was too short to spend in the math lab (clocked in 80 hours last semester, btw).  I will never be a scientist or a mathematician, but simply, a writer.  Creative writing won’t pay the bills (at least not anytime soon), but technical writing will (or working for myself as a writing tutor).

Sure, women in STEM is a Thing now–it’s all about breaking glass ceilings, but I don’t care about breaking class ceilings, only my own records. That’s what makes me happy.  That’s what some women who broke glass ceilings fought for–for women to have a choice in what they wanted to do with their lives, and writing is what I want to do with mine.

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This semester, I am preparing to be the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper (promoted from copy editor), as well as a student editor of the college’s annual literary journal, Hurricane Review (which I did last year).  I’ve been prepping stories and materials for the fall paper, as well coming up with posts for the Review’s Facebook page and designing the website (https://pschurricanereview.wordpress.com/).  It’s still in its infancy stages, but I’m hoping to learn some graphic design skills in the meantime.

I was reticent about becoming the EIC, but a part of me wanted to give back what I knew I could bring to it.  I really am Sarah Eagle-Eye when it comes to proofreading other people’s work, and, to a certain degree, my own.

What a way to end my community college journey, doing what I love.