O the joys of working from home
My job is very convenient. I work from home from my home studio and my home office, situated in my home. So obviously, I’m at home a lot of the time. This means I rarely get to leave the house. I’ve written elsewhere about how this is causing my social skills to regress. But what I haven’t written about is how other people perceive home workers.
Take the window cleaner yesterday, for example.
“At home again are we?” he bellowed through the window, shaking his chammy leather at me accusingly.
“Well yes,“ I said. “I work from home.”
“Pfft. That’s what they all say!” he said.
“Who do?” I said.
“Skivers,“ he said, viciously spitting the word out. “Come on. You don’t fool me. You’re pretending to work. You sit and watch telly all day, don’t you?”
“Er…no. And in case you haven’t noticed, there isn’t a television in my office,“ I said loftily.
“Yeah, but you’re on the computer all day, aren’t you?”
“Yes, but I need to be at my computer to do my work.”
“Pfft,“ he said. “That’s what they all say. Sitting there looking at cheap tat on Ebay, checking your horoscope, watching ‘Dear Dierdre’.” And before I could say ‘Speak for yourself!’ he’d made off with his ladder, sloshing dirty water all over my buddleia.
And then there are the neighbours.
“At home again,“ said one, the other week.
“I work from home,“ I said.
“Whatever,“ she said. “Can I come in and watch Cash in the Attic? We could have a cup of tea and a biscuit.”
“I can’t,“ I said. “I’m working. Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I’m not working. Honestly, I’m working – look!” I said pointing to a pile of scripts.
“Pfft,“ she said and left.
And then there’s my family.
Mr Clarke, I’m sure, thinks I sit at my desk all day just killing time. And I’m convinced he thinks my studio has got a special super-sound-proofed force field around it that completely silences his voice; I need relative quiet to do my job. He doesn’t seem to realise that when I’m in my studio it’s not acceptable for him to use power tools while singing the ‘Bat Out of Hell.’ When I ask him to be quiet because I’m recording, he gives me such a look of wounded contempt anyone’d think I’d just eaten a kitten.
And then there’s the children. Oh, I do love the bones of them, I really do. But why oh why oh why do they ALWAYS come into the studio to ask me where babies come at the precise moment I’m trying to master the pronunciation of a Welsh village?
So what’s the solution?
A big red ‘Recording’ light in every room in the house to communicate to my domestic colleagues they must tip-toe round the place like neurologically challenged mice?
An electric fence?
Or perhaps a little more tolerance.
(From me, that is).