Thursday, April 12, 2007

A day in the life of a work-from-home contractor (or: signs that you’re not going to get any work done today)

Another mother kindly spirits your child away for a couple of hours so that you can do some work. You then spend one and a half hours talking to your husband on Skype. The remaining ten minutes is spent in the shower. You open the door to the kind mother and your returned son wrapped in a bath towel.

You allow your son to sit in your bed and watch the football game you taped for him on the weekend, eating crackers and cheese from a plate and dribbling crumbs on your quilt. On the way to your desk, you are sidetracked by the plotline you glimpsed on Dr Phil when rewinding the football video. You switch on the television and before you know it, you’ve watched the whole show on ‘You’re Not the Hot Person I Married’. (Ironically, this is the only television you’ve watched all week. Obviously, when you’re bad, you’re very, VERY bad.)

A courier drops off some papers for you to read before a meeting next week. You solemnly accept the box and put it down beside the front door, before retreating to the couch to read your book.

After answering some work-related emails, you are sidetracked by your daily e-newsletter, and end up enthralled by Camille Pagila’s reader question-and-answer, particularly her dismissal of global warming as a left-wing beat-up. ('Man is too weak to permanently affect nature, which includes infinitely more than this tiny globe.') You are reminded why she is your least favourite feminist. And, in your opinion, not much of one at all. Or, evidently, much of a ‘liberal’.

Next, you end up reformatting your blog a little – just playing with the colours, really. You’re about to get back to work. Okay, start work.

Your son discovers you and asks to look at his blog. You acquiese. He wants to upload a video. You don’t know how. He wanders off, unimpressed with your limited skills.

You have a minor squabble with your son. You write a blog entry about it – your first in weeks. Procrastinating about work has ended your procrastinating about your blog.

You sit at your computer and answer another round of emails. You fill out your employment forms. You really must post them. You’ll need to go out.

You look over at your son, wandering about the house complaining about how boring you are and asking how long before he can go to his dad’s. (For the record: two and a bit weeks.) You look up the local cinema’s session times on the internet.

You put your work forms in your bag and holler to your son to get his shoes on. You’re going out.

It’s 3pm. Your work day is over.

** Disclaimer so as not to totally reinforce the opinion polls and recent media chatter: I’m working part-time from home. The work will get done. It will just be later, and late at night. And yesterday was much better … despite the presence of my child plus guest all day and for sleepover that night. (In fact, I think it explains my fatigue.)

*** Disclaimer 2: The mum who spirited my son away was the one whose child I had been minding for the past day and night. Otherwise I would have felt bad about having her watch F while I chatted to the Husband. (Really, I promise.)

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