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What does he do in there all day?

May 13th, 2004 · 2 Comments

David Weinberger also works at home, like my husband. Sometimes I wonder how Ted feels all day in his office, a small room, off of our dining room, that rivals the size of our master bath. Two glass doors separate his world from ours. Maybe he feels like he’s inside a fish tank, a cedar trimmed tank, but an aquarium nonetheless. To get his attention, we tap on the glass or throw food inside (in line with Douglas Couplands’ Microserfs, we slip flat food beneath the door…)

Ted started working at home when our oldest was 2, and its the only life all our kids know. When I asked 6-year-old Abigail to tell me what Daddy does all day, she replied “work on his computer” and “type on his Apple laptop” (notice the alliteration of the “p”s). Explaining careers and jobs, what other people do to earn a living, becomes a bit more difficult when all they see of the sole provider is that he sits in his room two yards from our dining table and plunks letters on a keyboard. “You know how Daddy works on computers all day for his job?….Well, some people do other things, like drive bulldozers…and fly airplanes…”

Like David, Ted does “click on a keyboard” for some number of hours a day (for work and for pleasure). He also has plenty of phone calls (for which we try to cooperate and provide appropriate background sounds) and some IM, IRC and iChat. Unlike David, he has yet to wander around the house with headset during calls (Ted wandering around in shorts with his headset could be a bit distracting for all…). My husband travels but he usually goes for a week at a time or so, and I suspect he may even enjoy his “high cholesterol” breakfast. I don’t cook him too many eggs and bacon. But I suspect he gets more bagels than bacon while on the road. He has brought home photos of his conferences to show the girls. They like to see what Daddy’s doing. Perhaps they are so used to his presence and his office that they don’t know what he would do somewhere else. Work = office at home.

But, as David Weinberger said, I think that it “beats the view of worklife” that either of us got growing up. It’s a great lifestyle and we’re grateful. The commute from upstairs to downstairs is manageable. It’s a win-win for both work and family since Ted has more energy and time for both, without a crazy commute (I’m sure he misses those adrenaline moments on 280!). We get to spend the day together as a family. Even if Ted is swimming in the tank, he’s still visible and we can exchange facial expressions through the glass. When he comes up for air, for water or a break, we all get to enjoy him as he wanders around the corner. Our “water cooler” chat is usually discussions of ABCs… and I always know when he’ll be home for dinner (he’s home for lunch too!) Whatever he’s doing in there all day, it’s worth it!

Tags: journal

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lenn pryor // May 14, 2004 at 10:49 am

    I too work from home and live in a “fish tank” so does my wife. It is a unique lifestyle that we are lucky to have. It comes with its challenges especially when you are both so busy that you could scream and the dogs need to have a walk … but in the end … I can’t imagine going back to the old way. Losing hours of life in a car, spending all day away in a sterile cold office space with people who don’t know you and don’t really care. Being at home with those who love you is a great productivity boost to me personally. I have never felt better physically.

  • 2 Julie // May 15, 2004 at 1:56 pm

    Lenn – thanks for your comment. I didn’t realize your wife works at home too. That is cool.

    Yeah, I imagine you feel great physically – you’re also exposed to fewer illnesses at home – yet another benefit – besides all that love, comfort and encouragement from your beloved…will all do wonders for your psyche and immune system… 🙂