One of the best developments over the recent month was talking with my manager about working from home.
It’s hard to articulate how helpful it’s been, but I have to do at least half an hour of writing per day, so I might as well try. First off, the commute. It’s 5:17pm and I’m home. I left the house once today, and that was to renew my library card. That’s not even to mention the difference it makes to my entire day. I don’t have the worst commute in the world, but it’s still a shitshow. To get to work I take a bus south to the station. I don’t often have to wait for multiple buses, but often the bus I get on is crammed. Then at the station I transfer to the eastbound subway. This is usually much worse. Either the platform is rammed and I have to wait for a bunch of trains to go past, or I get in first time and it’s so packed I’m sniffing armpits or my back is bent around other people’s bags. Sometimes when the stars align I get a seat, which is swell. I get off after seven stops and wait for a bus south. This usually takes between 3-20 minutes. In the winter it’s even worse. These buses are sparse or three arrive at once. The wait is normally around the corner and there’s no shelter. Once again, sometimes I’ll luck out and get a seat. Otherwise it’s as crammed as the rest of the trips. By the time I get to work (about 50 minutes door to door barring a long wait for the final bus) I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. So that’s how I’m starting my day.
Sometimes I plan to work from home in advance. In that case, I’ll set an alarm for 8.40am (an hour’s sleep in) and casually roll out of bed. I can take my time getting ready, since the “office” is in our spare room. In other cases, I might wake up, look outside and decide that a) it’s gross enough outdoors, b) my workload is light enough to deal with the latency issues of working from home or c) (like this morning) both. If that’s the case I won’t bother going back to sleep. Instead I’ll get up and start my workday just after 8am. It’s so much easier to get stuff done without the distractions of the office. Nobody is talking to me or trying to get my attention. I can knuckle down to work and Get Shit Done. If it’s a light load I can take my time and clear out the majority of the heavy lifting before lunch. I’ll stay at home all day within reach of email, but if I’m done and nothing’s coming through, I can chill out watching Netflix or playing Magic. Maybe I’ll even invite another working from home friend over for a meal.
It’s unfathomable to gauge the extent to which this breaks up the week. By virtue of even one day working from home, the rest of the week feels lighter. I feel like I’ve had a break and come back to the office rejuvenated. Here’s the thing: Deep down, simply being in the office stresses me the fuck out. There’s a lot going on. It’s a massive building, there are shit ton of people to move/work around. They’ve recently moved a new team in around ours and, oddly enough, it’s messed with bathroom availability. I’m not gonna sugarcoat things, I drink a lot of coffee and eat a ton of fibre. Since they brought the new department in, it’s nigh impossible to find a free stall in the men’s bathroom before midday on our floor. I’ll go to the closest bathroom, both stalls taken. I’ll walk to the other side of the floor, both stalls taken. I’ll come back to the first bathroom, still both stalls taken. Yesterday it took 5 bathrooms spread between three floors before I could finally take a dump. I don’t mean to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I’m not taking molehills here. I leave mountains. This is a serious point of contention.
Also, failing anything else, the office fucking sucks. It’s in a shitty part of town with nothing around. It’s out of the way. The lunch options are sparse and overly expensive. The closest decent cafe is at least 15 minutes’ walk. The building itself looks nice, but that’s about it. Moreover, the job itself is the primary stress. The fact that I’m still in this job after all this time really does bum me out. Every time I walk into that office and sit down to do my job, I’m reminded of the many, many, many failures I’ve had over the years in trying to move on to other work. I feel miserable being there at all, which doesn’t dissipate. Those feelings stay with me all day, and that’s a shitty way to feel for the majority of your daylight hours. If I’m home, it’s easy to forget all the stresses of the workplace. I can relax and, while I’m not feeling fulfilled, at least it takes the injury out of the insult.
Does that make sense?