First let me state that I love my career. I work at home (yes, sometimes in my PJs) and I’m a self-employed freelancer. I have a few important sounding titles here and there, and I make enough to support my family. On a tight budget, mind you, but enough nonetheless.
Overall, I have to say that I wouldn’t trade working at home for anything, even a higher paying job. I get the best of both worlds, in a way. I’m able to be there for my kids when they need me and I’ve been able to build a rewarding career.
There are days, though… Oh boy, are there days!
I wouldn’t say that I would discourage anyone from pursuing a work at home career. Quite the opposite, actually! However, I would advise you to understand exactly what you’re getting into. Even if you manage to snag a reliable income stream with work at home jobs, which is the hard part, it ain’t all rainbows and roses.
Don’t believe me? Here are the top 10 things I hate about working at home…
10. Some people don’t seem to think that I have an honest to goodness real J-O-B.
No matter how hard I work or how much money I make, some people just can’t get it through their heads that I really do work at home. I don’t just hang out in my pajamas and eat bonbons all day. I also get paid real money for the work I do. Quite a concept, no?
This is usually how the conversations go between myself and those non-believers….
Them: Hey, I have a day off tomorrow! We should go shopping!
Me: I can’t. I have to work.
Them: Are you still playing with that computer stuff?
Me: Uh-huh. It’s my job…?
Them: Ugh! It must be nice to not have to go to work!
9. Sick days, vacations, and any other days off are a thing of the past.
Achoo! Boy, I feel awful. I’d better call off— Oh, wait…
No, I won’t call off. Usually when you have a work at home job, you’re self-employed. And, when you’re self-employed, you usually don’t get the luxury of days off, including sick days. That is, unless you want to have a few all nighters to sloppily finish work before a deadline. The same goes for vacations and mental health days.
8. Bringing my work home with me is a given.
Work at home jobs require you to…well, work at home. That means bringing your work home with you is pretty much an everyday occurrence. It’s so hard to turn off “work mode” some days, especially when you have a blank screen and a looming deadline.
The result? Added stress, usually combined with a little crankiness.
7. The thought of social interaction is laughable…and a little scary.
In my past life, I was a bartender. Not surprisingly, I was also a very social person and felt at ease conversing with just about anyone. These days, though, I’m lucky if I can get out a coherent sentence in the checkout line without sounding like an idiot. Since I work at home full time, I don’t get much chance for social interaction, aside from my family.
In all seriousness, the isolation is probably the worst part about working at home, at least for me. Going from a social creature to basically a hermit has really taken its toll on me. I find it difficult to talk to old friends, let alone strangers, and the thought of even leaving my house anymore can be a bit frightening. If you are lucky enough to snag a work at home job, don’t make the same mistake. Work is important, yes, but take the time to get out and see the world too.
6. Schedule-schmedule! Pshaw!
Schedule…? What schedule…? When I had a “real job”, back in the day, I knew when I had to be to work and when I was done. Unfortunately, I never really was very good at managing my time before, and I was glad to let my boss do it for me.
Working at home, though, I have to make my own schedule. And that’s—more often than not—a miniature disaster at least three times a week.
5. Financial security?? What financial security?
I’m a big fan of financial security. Unfortunately, in the world of freelance and work at home jobs, the thought of financial security can be truly laughable at times. Have you ever heard that term “feast or famine”? Well, if you become self-employed and work at home, you’ll become all too familiar with that cute little idiom.
Some weeks I have so much work, I’m not sure where to begin. During those weeks, I’m a bit stressed, but I am able to self-soothe a bit with visions of a big fat bank account. Other weeks, I’m sitting at my desk making paperclip sculptures and refreshing my email 32 times every hour waiting for the next project to (hopefully) hit my inbox. I don’t like to talk about those weeks. They make me sad.
4. Working in PJs is more of a curse than a blessing.
One off the undeniable benefits of work at home careers is the unalienable right to work in PJs. I won’t deny that I have been known to stay in my PJs for the greater part of a day. Heck, I even brag about it to some of my family members who have to get up every morning, scrape three inches of ice off their windshields, and drive to work. (‘Cause I’m mean like that.)
The truth is, though, it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be. Staying in my PJs for most of the day can be comfy sometimes, but most of the time it just makes me feel like a frump. Then, of course, there are the days when a client decides to spring a surprise Skye video chat on me. Not pretty!
3. Every day is bring your kids to work day.
I love my little brats more than anything in the world, and for good reason—they’re amazing kids! However, that doesn’t mean that I want to take them to work with me.
Imagine trying to get your work done and discuss a big upcoming project with a very important client at the same time. Seems easy right? Now try doing that while the little ones are behind you trying to shave the cat, shoot each other with rubber bands, bite each other, plot world domination, fly, or play some other fun little game they’ve come up with. And people wonder why my house is messy most days…
2. The benefits SUCK!
I really don’t want to talk about my retirement funds, or lack thereof. It’s depressing and makes me want to cry sometimes. Ditto for my health insurance.
Since I’m self-employed and work at home, I have none of these employee benefits.
1. Uncle Sam sees more of my money than I do.
Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it feels like every year when tax time rolls around.
When you work at home, you don’t have an employer to withhold your federal and state taxes for you. That means that you and you alone are responsible for paying your taxes, Medicare, and Social Security. Come tax time, you could be in for a big surprise if you didn’t pay your estimated quarterly taxes throughout the year. Oh, yeah—and even if you did, you’ll still get socked by Uncle Sam if you underestimated your income at the beginning of the previous year.
At this point, I’m sure that most of you fall into one of two groups when it comes to your train of thought…
“Ha! What’s she talking about? Work at home jobs can’t be that hard!”
“Good GOD! Why would I ever want to be self-employed and work at home?!”
To the first group, I say go for it! Jump right in and have a ball!
And to the second group, I say this…
Working at home is difficult and it has it’s ups and downs. It requires hard work, patience, perseverance, and—at times—the guts to scream and cry without shame. But, it’s also extremely rewarding and the best decision I ever made. You may not make a boatload of money, at least at first, but the independence and extra time with your family is ultimately worth it.