August 23, 2011
Working from home
I mentioned (whined) about the air conditioning breaking three times in the first month we (I) were in the house.
Part of the huge impact on me was that I really need my desk. I'm a bit quirky in that I need an organized environment in order to be truly creative. Even in college, I'd have to clean and organize my Art Barn space before beginning to paint. (I also have to do that in the kitchen before cooking.) Being 'homeless' and not able to work in my office made it that much harder to hit the insane deadlines that were being thrown my way. My brain felt fogged and it was hard to get into right-brain mode.
Since the second-floor AC still worked, I ended up perching on the loveseat in our room (not such a bad place to work, but it wasn't my custom built desk! Plus baby-belly hunched over a laptop=not comfy!) (I know, I know, "first world problems", right?)
Now that the AC is fixed, I love our office (bonus: replacing the fan motor got rid of the floor vibration completely). I say 'our' because Jrex is sharing the room with me. It's not as bad as it sounds. As you can see in the picture below, I intentionally set up my desk so that I won't see any visual "distractions" while working. (Let's just say one of us needs clean surfaces to have a calm mind and the other prefers the 'geological' method of organization. That is, finding where something is in the pile based on time of deposit.)
No office is complete without timezone clocks. The black frame is for me in Dallas, with the others for coworkers in Boston and California. It must be the visual thinker in me, but it really helps not to have to 'translate' what time it is.
As of September 6th, Jrex will have an office at UT, but since so much of his impending work will involve writing grants and responding to emails, it makes sense for him to have an office at home. Upon arrival here, we realized that even though the master bedroom closet IS huge, it's not THAT big. Fitting a desk would have been tight (and hot). Having this home office for Jrex also means he'll be able to come home early, play with the kid, and then continue working.
He has 1/3 of the room to the right of the arch while the daybed (for overflow guests as well as a place to brainstorm, sketch and edit) and my area take up 2/3rds.
Thus far, I'm enjoying the expected perks that come with working from home: wearing comfortable clothing, being able to sleep in, being able to take breaks to deal with contractors and repair people, not having as many distractions, and being able to take a nap as needed. The surprise is how aggravating it is being two-hours ahead of my coworkers. It messes up my mealtimes and means I don't get an evening. I often finish work at 8:30 or 9 pm and then have to figure out food (which keeps me up late, wakes me up late and costs the morning as well as the evening). That part should be better in September when there's not as much going on, but there's no guarantee in this business.
It's good to be able to check off another life fantasy ("if only I could work from home and make a good living, everything would be better"). This solution has been great for our transition to Dallas and should be good for the first year of the kid's life, but I don't see it being a long-term solution. It works out well since my company is nuts and burns people out faster than a six-year old boy who's found a box of matches. I'm really hoping to get the brain space to stop talking about my job so much and be able to LIVE outside of work.