I work from home and I’m my own boss. Sounds awesome, right? Sometimes it is, but other times it’s frustrating.
There is no water cooler, no staff lunch room, no one to gossip with. No one gives me exciting new projects to work on or congratulates me on a job well done. There are no bonuses, no retirement plans, no health or dental insurances. I hunt down my own work and market myself. And when things don’t go well I can only blame myself.
Time becomes amorphous. Since I work at home and live at home, I feel like I should always be working. And when I’m not working, I feel guilty. This is compounded by the fact that not all of my work is paid. I want to take on paid work because it feeds my ego and my bank account, but it also takes time away from my personal projects.
I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity, which also adds to the guilt. I feel like I have to make the most of time away from traditional employment. I read less and exercise less than I did when I worked 50 hours a week as a teacher. I have trouble sleeping because I am thinking about my next story, my next project, my next blog post.
My husband says starting a writing career is like starting a business or investing. You take calculated risks, hoping that things work out for you in the end. But I’m risk-averse. I find myself stuck, 260 pages into a manuscript because I don’t think it’s good enough to be published. I’m reluctant to spend more time on it, but if I don’t spend the time, then it certainly won’t be published.
I miss teaching because at least it was a place to go every day. I had friends there. Sometimes I had bad days, and sometimes I felt like I really made a difference. Working from home can be great, but it’s not always as great, or as easy, as people think it is.