Just because I never leave my house doesn’t mean I don’t do anything

I work from home. Work has several definitions. Let’s explore them!

In addition to exerting effort to accomplish something such as clean dishes, dinner, and folded laundry (lest anyone accuse me of not acknowledging the work of homemakers), I also perform labor as a means of earning my livelihood from my house. My house is where I live and it is also my place of employment, which is annoying and frustrating as well as awesome. From my house, I have written applications for habeas corpus relief, petitions to the Supreme Court, and gotten people out of deportation proceedings. So just because I wear pajamas to work rather than a suit and tie, don’t you dare ask me “are you working now?” or “so, are you practicing law?” or anything similar. Got it?

Now excuse me while I play solitaire and watch Breaking Bad while the boss isn’t looking.


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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12 Responses to Just because I never leave my house doesn’t mean I don’t do anything

  1. Kaoru Negisa says:

    Having just lost my primary job, I’ve been looking for ways to work from home. Not “I’m doing surveys”, but my actual career path job. Hopefully will be panning out soon. But it would be incredibly insulting to be told that I don’t work when I’m clearly working my heart out, just doing so from my bed.

    • emmawolf says:

      Good luck to you. This is pretty much what happened when I moved. I tried finding a new job in my new state (and went to interviews 7 months pregnant) but was told that my experience in Texas didn’t count. So I started doing things on my own. I think it takes a lot of courage to try to make your own path. I hope things will work out for you.

  2. sj says:

    We’ve had this discussion so many times, but NOT ALL OF YOUR READERS HAVE so I will just say again that it’s the most frustrating to be working and have everyone assume that I’m just effing around on the internet.

    I’ve tried having headphones on to minimize distractions, but I think that only makes it worse.


  3. Yes, and working from home is not code for “get all the week’s chores done in a day because you’re there anyway.” Laundry may work that way, but not much else.

    • emmawolf says:

      Yes! Or what I get (since I’m the mom of a young kid) is “oh, so you can watch the baby while you work! How nice for you!” Um…no. He’s a toddler now and gets into everything.

  4. I used to run my business out of my home. I don’t think most people realise that working from home is just as demanding as working from an office. Yes, I started my workday around noon because that’s when I felt like getting up, but I continued working until about 3am without a break and I didn’t get weekends or holidays off, either. When you work in an office, you have this physical separation of your working space and your personal space. When you work from home, those spaces overlap and it is much more difficult to set specific hours for work and personal time. In fact, I usually worked in my pajamas because I didn’t feel like I could afford to take an hour away from my work in order to shower, get dressed, and do my hair.

    • emmawolf says:

      “When you work in an office, you have this physical separation of your working space and your personal space. When you work from home, those spaces overlap and it is much more difficult to set specific hours for work and personal time.”

      YES! When I was in my old apartment it wasn’t so bad since I had a separate office. Whenever I was in my office, it was work time. When I was someplace else, it was play time. But now that I don’t (we are remodeling the office area) it’s been really difficult to make that distinction.

  5. Yes, what everyone else said.

    I actually find it difficult to turn work off when working from home, so it’s like there’s never a break. But this is only in the summer, when I’m writing full-time and enjoying my fourteen hours a day of drafting and editing. During the school year I’m teaching full-time, as well as writing full-time. Oh, and I almost forgot: teaching means bringing your work home all the time. 70 hours a week on average.

    Huh. You hang in there and rock on with your bad self. Tell the haters to piss off.

    • emmawolf says:

      I know a few teachers, and it’s ridiculous the hours they put in. And how a lot of people just don’t realize that. You guys must be part super hero.

      After college, I took time off to study for the LSATs and apply for law school. During that time I was also a nanny. I was once with my mom and we ran into the mother of someone I went to school with, and she asked me “oh, you couldn’t find anything in your field?” In what world is that not a ridiculously rude question? I think I am going to start telling people to piss off.

      • Yeah, that’s amazing. I love what Taylor Mali has done for waking people up to how hard teachers work and how vital their work is. I mean, if you want to live in a functioning, civilized society, that is. If only he could get more exposure…

        The other hard part is that I’m sometimes met with responses like “maybe if you didn’t assign so much work you wouldn’t have to bring it home with you” or “maybe you should use your skills in the corporate world and then you could make a decent salary” or nonsense like that.

        And then I’m tempted to respond, “See, this is part of why some people become teachers: to stamp out ignorance, one person at a time.” But I don’t want to be rude. They aren’t trying to be; they just truly have no concept.

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