When I tell people that I am a freelance writer and that I work from home, one of the first things they say is, “Wow! I wish I could do that!” If that isn’t the reaction, it is often something like, “That’s not a real job! I could do that!” My follow-up is always something along the lines of, “Then why aren’t you?”
Misconceptions about working from home are nothing new. These are some common myths I frequently hear about working from home.
Misconception #1: You don’t actually have to work very much.
Truth: Yes, I do have control over my own schedule, but in some respects I actually have to work more than those who hold down a full-time job outside of the home. In fact, there are some days where I sit down at my computer in the morning and go on working until the wee hours of the night just to meet my quotas.
The other problem I often have is that I have trouble switching off. People who go to work and come home often do not feel as if they should be working when they are at home. There are many times I feel anxious because I’m watch TV or even spending time with family instead of working.
Misconception #2: You get to wear pajamas all day, basically doing nothing.
Truth: I wish! Well, sort of. There are days when I find myself in pajamas at 2 p.m., but I have also found that getting dressed is an important part of the daily routine. If I want to feel successful by the end of the day, I need to get dressed. I need to “get read” for work.
As for the other side of this myth, I absolutely do have to do stuff. I don’t make an hourly wage. If I do not meet deadlines, I don’t get paid. It’s as easy as that.
Misconception #3: You’re home all day. You can just take the day off/take care of this thing for me/hang out with me/babysit my goldfish.
Truth: I would love to be able to take the day off, but I can’t. Again, I create my own workload but I’m also only paid for the work that I complete. I don’t get sick pay. I don’t get vacation days.
Misconception #4: You don’t have a boss. Why are you under so much pressure?
Truth: Well, let’s see. I have deadlines. I’m letting people down. I don’t have money. I need inspiration. My internet just went out. My laptop broke. These are all reasons why I’m stressing out in spite of the fact that I am my own boss.
Misconception #5: You don’t have a real job.
Truth: Oh, really? It seemed real when I got my last paycheck.
Don’t get me wrong. I love working from home. I have just heard plenty of these assumptions and have sometimes been too weak to put my foot down about the truth. There are certainly benefits to working from home, but they aren’t always what they appear to be on the surface.