Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Working from Home Does Not Always Work

   I am not the world's most sociable person. I don't like going out for dinner. I don't do parties as a rule. And I get irritable when my house is full of people for more than a few days. So why is it that what seems to be the ideal job for me - working in solitude from home - is far from ideal?
   I moved to a small port city, population 17,000, in Massachusetts a few years ago. After living and working in London for the better part of 20 years, this meant that I was moving to an area where I knew no one, had no work colleagues and no family. My husband had secured a great job in a NH town 30 miles north, where he worked with one of his best friends and found an instant circle of like-minded colleagues.
   Luckily I had already established myself in freelance writing, so I reached out to colleagues and friends and Wall Street types and got contracts for several financial and technology publications, plus I got a lucrative PR gig with a large UK news agency. I worked from 6:30am until 4:30pm most days, with a one-hour gym break or walk mid-morning. The money was pretty good and it was satisfying to see that the more I wrote the more I got paid. I liked the big  house, two cars and clean air but I missed London, I missed my friends. Most of all I missed going to work, where there would be banter and ideas flying and talk of global events or travel or the financial markets.
   To help compensate I started a social group of local writers. As I write this we have about 40 members; usually 15-20 would show up to the "potluck" dinners that they all seemed to prefer (rather than meeting in restaurants). I made some friends. I learned a lot about writing and publishing books, something I had always yearned to try. But there was a major flaw. Few of the group had the vaguest notion of what I do for a living - which is writing about issues and trends in financial markets, energy and technology. I would go so far as to say they disliked hearing about it, especially if I mentioned places on the globe I have travelled or "faces" I have met in the course of my work.
   Then I discovered a fabulous writers' workshop in Boston and signed up for course after course, where I received encouragement and learned about writing a novel.  I finished my novel. And revised it. I met agents at a writers' conference who were encouraging. But I just couldn't drop my paying work to do the work necessary to polish it. Plus - gasp - I found it boring. Re-writing and revising the same 90,000 words over and over again versus writing a hard-punch article about high speed trading? Or a cleverly funny blog about self-learning algorithms? Or a straight-forward story about oil prices? The book lost.
   Gradually I realized that even the stories that I loved writing were getting harder and harder to write. I had no context. I was not going to conferences unless I paid for them. I didn't meet anyone in my line of work. Phone calls helped, but being out of the line of fire was really dulling my senses. I was working alone, in a quiet and sleepy little town. My cats were my only companions during the workday. They don't know much about finance.
   So when a job at my old alma mater McGraw-Hill was posted on Gorkana, I did not hesitate to apply. It offered a newsroom, a team, offices around the world, a topical subject matter. I got the job, and had to speed up my planned move to NYC. So with much organization and money spent I am on my way to New York on Sunday. I don't intend to work from home again for a very long time. Maybe when I retire.


  1. I all the time used to read article in news papers but now as I am a user of web so from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.
    Feel free to surf my web site : Speed Up My Computer

  2. I have read so many articles on the topic of the blogger lovers
    except this piece of writing is truly a good post, keep it up.
    Feel free to surf my site - Cheap property in Bodrum

  3. I was suggested this blog via my cousin. I am not certain
    whether or not this put up is written by way of him as nobody else
    understand such precise approximately my trouble. You're amazing! Thank you!
    Also see my site - how to lose man boobs

  4. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it's driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.
    Feel free to visit my website

  5. I am curious to find out what blog platform you have been using?
    I'm experiencing some minor security problems with my latest blog and I'd like to find something more safeguarded.

    Do you have any suggestions?
    My web page: how to prevent acne

  6. If you want to obtain much from this piece of writing then
    you have to apply these strategies to your won blog.
    My webpage


  7. Feel free to surf to my blog ... web page


  8. Here is my blog post web site