- The day begins with internet connectivity problems. This is not the IT department’s problem. There is no IT department – there is just me.
I end up having conversations I barely understand with people in different call centres who contradict one another. Then it starts working again of its own accord, at least temporarily.
- A client hasn’t paid on time. This is not the Finance department’s problem. There is no Finance department – there is just me.
I spend ages trying to word a polite but firm email which encourages action without sounding begging or threatening.
- I’m not feeling motivated or something about a task is annoying me. This is not something I can moan about over lunch or coffee with colleagues. There are no colleagues – there is just me and whatever random leftovers I can cobble together into something resembling a meal.
I end up venting to the husband and the boy over dinner later on. They are (well, one of them is) politely sympathetic. The other continues to tell us in great detail about a computer game that neither of us has ever played, or wanted to play.
- Someone points out a spelling mistake on the company website. (Which has been there for years. Oh the shame.) This is not the Marketing department’s problem…
You get the idea. I’m not complaining, mind. I wouldn’t change my situation for the world. (And I do happen to have a pseudo-IT-department in the shape of the husband, to whom I’m very grateful!)
My point is that sometimes I start to feel as if working from home in this way is a bit too comfortable, a bit too easy. I do something I enjoy and feel is worthwhile, and I get to do it at home and be at the school gates for the boy every morning and every afternoon. I start to feel that I should get out of my comfort zone and do things which challenge me a bit more. Then I realise that I do – most days. Because there’s only me, all of the jobs are mine, whether I’m naturally good at them or not. This comfort zone can get pretty uncomfortable at times.
Of course, what I’m best of all at is knowing when I absolutely can’t – or won’t – do something. Then I’m brilliant at either finding a reason why it doesn’t really need to be done, or finding someone else who’s better at it than me – and paying them. Enter my accountant – who doesn’t chase late payments (I can do that, even if I don’t enjoy it), but who does sort out my accounts and tax returns (which would drive me round the bend).
Then there are the times when I’m asked, “do you do such-and-such?”, where ‘such-and-such’ is something which I’m sure I could do if I put my mind to, but have never actually done before… and I hear my own voice say, “yes, I can do that.” Then there’s no-one except myself to blame for the huge learning curve I suddenly have to embark on. That’s pretty uncomfortable, and very good for me.