I have been working from home on one contract after another for two years now. While there are some things I love about being self-employed and working from home, there are some things I really miss about having a job. I miss:
1. Income security: I love doing my work; research, writing, policy development, but I hate having to find the money to pay for my work. When I had a job, I never had to worry about funding my work. I just did it. I really miss that.
2. Time Security: I have never seen a job as merely something that pays the bills. I am a woman with a mission. So even when I had job security, I used my time efficiently. I worked hard, intensely, and did not take a lot of time off for training, conferences or sickness. But, with a job, there was comfort in knowing that if something took longer than was expected, which it always does, I would still be paid for that extra time. When working on contracts, I am always racing the clock; always working beyond the limits of my budget; and consequently, spending a lot of time working for free.
3. Co-conspirators: I miss having collegues. I miss having people to brainstorm with. I love the creative projects that can result from collaboration between a multi-disciplinary team of talented professionals. I miss having people who can constructively
critique my work. It is like swinging from a trapeze without a net. I miss having co-workers with whom I can celebrate the victories, commiserate about the losses, and
grouse about the frustrations.
4. Sense of Community: I miss being a valued member of a team; the feeling that I work with a group of people who know and care about the work I do, as I care about theirs. I miss feeling that I am part of a team that is working toward a shared goal.
5. Work friends: I miss the socializing that happens at work. It is something that we don’t think much about when we are working, but we miss it once we leave a job. There are all the small conversations that happen spontaneously in the course of a work day, over the photocopier, during lunch, and at the end of a meeting. I miss that!
6. IT Support: I miss having an IT team who can sort me out when my computer freezes, crashes or glitches! I have a pretty good IT guy (my husband) but he is away on work trips half the time. I cross my fingers and pray to the Goddess of Electronic Gadgetry every time he goes away.
7. Administrative Support: I missing having well trained administrative people around who can assist when I am formatting a report, stuffing envelopes, proofing my own documents, printing my documents, and setting up teleconferences. Anyone who does not think that a competent Administrative Assistant is worth his/her weight in gold has never gone without one!!