Unemployment Nine: Working from home, or house arrest?

I absolutely love working from home. From a work standpoint, I find myself to be far more productive when I can tune out the typical distractions of an office and focus on what I need to get done. From an economic standpoint, I save a bunch of money by not having to commute and not having to buy lunch (I tried the brown-bagging thing for a while when I was at my last job, but I forgot to bring lunch about one-half of the time, because I am not coherent before noon). From a comfort standpoint, no matter how casual the dress code at your company is, I somehow doubt it accounts for shorts, flannel lounge pants, sweatpants, T-shirts, jerseys, hoodies and hats, which is basically all I’ve worn for 14 months and counting.

House arrest

There are some bad points about working from home, however, and they’ve recently started to hit home (pun intended).

One issue is being completely removed from getting any kind of a sense of the vibe going around the company. Of course, this sometimes happens when working in an office, too – I had no concept, clue or theory that layoffs, including my own, were impending at my old company in October 2008, which was unusual, because we normally knew when things were brewing, even if we didn’t know details.

But in this case, my confusion is about my one remaining part-time job. In the past few weeks, the parent company sold off one Website, laid off the one full-time co-worker I had and bought two companies, including one that covers virtually the same subject matter I’ve been covering.

So, what does this mean? Is this good or bad? Does this mean more work (which would be awesome at this point) or less? Does this increase the potential for a full-time opportunity or grease the skids for departure? As I said earlier, when you’re actually in the office, you pick up on things just from conversations, people’s attitudes and the like. You can’t pick up the same vibes via e-mail and, unfortunately, I’m not quite in that loop, anyway, as any e-mails I’ve gotten have been strictly work-related and not gossip.

Another problem that is the result of both working from home and making less money due to the loss of my first part-time job: I am seriously going stir-crazy, and there’s not much I can do about it. When I first joined the wide world of unemployment 14 months ago, it was still fall, and I was able to take long walks or go for bike rides just to get out of the house for a little bit and get a little exercise. In January, neither is an option, because I’m not down with hypothermia. I’d go to the gym, but I can’t really afford one right now. And just about anything else costs money that I really don’t have.

It’s even started to affect my after-work life. With only the one part-time job, I clearly have to cut back, so I really have to pick my spots as far as going out. There was a happy hour last night that I’d normally have attended in a heartbeat, but with the National Football League playoffs on this weekend and a friend’s birthday that I just found out about, I opted to skip the happy hour. It would have been nice to get out of this apartment and have a beer or two, but, as I said, I have to pick my spots. That being said, as much as I love this apartment, it’s becoming incredibly boring.

Something really has to break soon. I can’t take much more of this.

One comment on “Unemployment Nine: Working from home, or house arrest?

  1. Deb says:

    I went through this crap a lot back in 2007. It was weird not having a full-time job, and the lack of freedom to go out or buy specialty coffee on a whim was sort of frustrating…

    But you will appreciate these social times so much more when you regain that freedom to spend a little extra. Trust. Really, we spend too much money on useless crap anyway. Maybe this is just a time to communicate more and reassess your values and think up creative ways to enjoy yourselves. We did. And we’re definitely appreciating our social moments more now, even if we spend less than we used to because other priorities have come up since then. We can’t even tell the difference.

    All about perspective. Good luck!

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