I used to work for a corporation. In my old cubicle, you can still find claw marks and fingernail bits like that scene in Silence of the Lambs, where the girl tries to escape from her well.
Mostly I'd yearn out the window for earthquakes, floods, the Rapture-any reason to go home. Sometimes I'd catch eyes with the window guy across the street. We'd stare at each other till the pain grew too rich and we both drew the shades.
I should have fled on my first day, when the boss led me to a snarly filing cabinet and said, "Welcome aboard, Jason. Your job is to figure out what the hell happened here."
But I kept the job for fear of interview fallout: Why did you leave your last job? Where will you be in ten years? Do you even know who you are?
My interviews were especially tough because the HR person would say things like, "I see you've been doodling Ziggy here on your application."
One day I was summoned by department head Ann Gitch, whose last name was off by just one letter. She asked why I had been ditching meetings.
I confessed that some meetings were so unthinkably dull that I saw people's faces melt off their heads. I also mentioned how Christlike it felt to carry my own folding chair to the meeting room.
Ann thanked me for my analogies and wrote a Letter of Probation. I decided to attend department meetings but skip the global ones where nobody was missed. Nobody was missed, that is, unless they happened to win the raffle.
"And this darling gift basket goes to ... Jason Love. Jason? Jason?"
Working at home isn't what it's cracked up to be. For instance, when you have a computer problem, you don't call IT and grab a Snickers; you register at Computer Hell University. A computer crash is when you finally throw the damn thing out the window.
You also have to pay for your own benefits. In case that's not enough, you have to pay for your own benefits! My HMO is so bad that all it covers is an apple a day. So it goes.
Another pitfall to working at home is that no matter which way you turn, the pantry can see you: Jaaason... Cream FILLing, Jason... That's a pickle for someone with an active lifestyle like writing.
It's true that people who work at home can wake up whenever they want. Alarm clocks are meaningless. But then so are holidays, weekends, overtime, and did I mention BENEFITS? You work 60 hours a week for 30 hours' pay, and your mom still asks when you're going to get a job.
I haven't shaved in days and suffer everlasting bedhead. I spend entire weeks working in swim trucks not because I swim but because the elastic grows with my waist. I've come to talk about myself in the third person. To no one.
So if you ever find yourself fantasizing about working at home, remember your old friend Jason. You will remember him, right? Drop by some time, maybe bring a friend? I know: We'll have a meeting!