For a long time, a large corporation provided the context for my career. Even amid dramatic change and outright chaos, relationships between me and just about everything in the big company – work variety, pace, people, meetings, surroundings, interpersonal interaction, moral support, etc. – remained very familiar. Now though, having ventured out to build my own business, I find that I’ve taken myself almost completely out of that familiar (and thus, comfortable) context.
I’m sure I felt similarly when I moved from a two-person research company to the Fortune 500 world many years ago, yet I don’t recall the changes being quite so stark. Now, instead of coming in and adapting to circumstances created by others, I am responsible for shaping the new environment.
It’s an unfamiliar and uneasy situation at times, leading me to develop and share my top ten list of unanticipated insights about working from home:
10. Not every phone number begins with a 9!
9. It’s possible, with a new address, to go hours without receiving any work-related emails.
8. Creative diversions while in a corporate job (such as blog writing) now induce guilt since they get in the way of 24/7 business development.
7. There are no conference rooms in which to hide meet.
6. Taking a nap during the day isn’t frowned upon.
5. Even though I’m in what looks like an office, it functions like a cube, because my wife listens and critiques my phone conversations.
4. There’s much less talk of downsizing.
3. It’s difficult to tell a “vacation” day or the weekend since I’m still at “work,” no matter what.
2. My work posture must not suggest “working” since doing a household chore is expected to receive immediate top priority.
1. After more than 9 weeks, we’ve yet to have a Monday morning staff meeting!
Despite trying to anticipate and plan for everything, all these things surprised me!
I don’t view being taken out of context as being bad though. It’s simply an interesting wrinkle and a cool opportunity: I can determine – with my wife’s input, of course – a totally new context!