“Escape Cubicle Nation!” “Quit your oppressive job and start doing what you love!” “Screw The Man and find your passion!” “Make a 6-figure income, in your dirty pajamas!”
If you’re in the Twitter or blogging community, you can’t miss these messages. Though you don’t have to be on Twitter or have a blog or even read blogs to be aware of the whole “work from home, not from work” movement. It’s everywhere.
Maybe a little too everywhere.
Of course, I’m all for people ditching sucky jobs so they can make money doing something that doesn’t suck. Let’s be specific, though: because “job” does not necessarily equal “suck.” Yes, it sucks when you’re doing something you hate, working with people you hate, or working in an environment you hate.
But not all office jobs are shitty. Some are really fun.
Sometimes even the shitty ones are at least partly fun. I once worked for a boss I hated so much, I had fantasies about slipping a dead fish into her office air conditioning duct. But working there was at least half a good time — because we all felt the same way. Common enemies are a blast.
And that’s one of several fun things you don’t get when you work by yourself.
I’m lucky enough to have a client company – a tv network – where they treat me like part of the team. So I have the best of both worlds:
- meetings to attend a few days each week in a place where I mingle with other humans;
- the option to get up at 9:30 on other days and stew in my own unshowered filth for hours while I work. (Don’t recommend it, but it’s nice that I can.)
I’m not biologically fit to be any place by ten more than once a week. Not a morning person. Or, when it’s cold, a leave-the-house person.
So I’m really fortunate to work from home most of the time. But when I do, there are things I miss about working from work. Like:
TEAM BITCHFESTS. Sitting around and going off on that one annoying, work-shirking, credit-stealing, compulsive-lying, talentless person on the team is one of the great joys of office life. In my home office, who is there to make fun of? Myself, sure. But I don’t like being the butt of the joke. The other choices are the drunk doorman or my next door neighbor, whose apartment smells of cabbage, moldy books, and decaying flesh. That’s good fodder, but then who is there to bitch about it with me besides the drunk doorman?
THE WATER COOLER.Tweeting about how over Balloon Boy you are or whether Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite just isn’t the same as discussing them standing around the coffee pot, soda machine, or bathroom sinks.
SHARED BATHROOM. That doesn’t sound like something you’d miss, but when you look in your own bathroom mirror and say, “Oh my god, I look like death,” there’s no one else there to say, “It’s the light. It makes everyone look like death.” Nope, all you get is a telling silence — confirming that you do, in fact, look like death.
GROUP PROCRASTINATION. Misery doesn’t love company nearly as much as goofing off does. It’s so much better to be delinquent when you get other people involved. Sitting in someone’s office talking about “Jersey Shore” feels way more productive than eating Special K standing up in your kitchen. Trust me on this.
BRAINSTORMS. I feel like a user calling friends to help me come up with ideas. Wandering the office halls and bouncing ideas off of anyone I bump into, however, seems way less of an imposition. Especially if they’re just wandering the halls, too.
BIRTHDAY PARTIES. In the company I work for, these are actually just a pleasant memory from the 90s. Since the money disappeared, they’ve gone the way of big expense accounts and free plastic utensils. But I know some places still have cake when it’s someone’s birthday. At least they do at Dunder Mifflin, on “The Office.” We used to have cake and champagne! That was a license to linger around the office kitchen and not work for at least an hour.
NEW FRIENDS. Any friends I made after college are because of office jobs. And they’re some of the best friends I have. Bonds formed over that hateful boss 16 years ago have blossomed into something way greater — though we still reminisce over that bitch’s threat to cut summer Fridays. And over her too short, acid-washed “anniversary dress” from Strawberry that she wore on client calls at Saks, even though it didn’t zip all the way.
FREE OFFICE SUPPLIES. Duh.
Hey, if you hate your job and you hate office life and you want to start your own business, then by all means: get out of there.
But there’s nothing inherently wrong with working for The Man.
Especially if you like The Man, or the other people who work for The Man, or the thing The Man (or The Woman, or the Manimal) pays you to do.
I say: Don’t quit your day job. Unless you really hate your day job.
What do you say? Bet you have an opinion on office life. Comment below. The boss will be pleased.