When I tell people that I work from home the usual response is “Wow, you’re so lucky. I wish I had that gig.” Or something of that nature.
True, working from home definitely has its high points. I don’t HAVE to wake up early, I don’t deal with rush hour traffic (and in Santiago it’s awful), I get to hang out with my dog all day long, even while I work and I never have to deal with sharing bathrooms with coworkers (and the discomfort and too-much-information THAT entails.) Among other things, of course.
I admit that when I told my company that I was moving to Chile, their response was better than what I had expected. “Work for us down in Chile.” Sweet! After all, my position with them requires me to manage the Latin American region so the fact that I was moving to Chile (where we also have partners) made more sense than if I were moving to, say, The Netherlands. It definitely allowed me to cross one thing off the “to-do” list upon arrival, which was “find a job and a way to earn a living so you don’t end up living in a van down by the river.”*
However, as awesome as working from home can be, when you move to a new country, working from home actually TAKES AWAY the much needed social connections you are forced to have with coworkers when you work outside your home. Since I didn’t have that on arrival, it took me much longer to make friends and, a year later and still working from home, I have friends of course but I’m sure I’d have a few more if I worked outside. Further, they’d probably be Chilean, something that’s definitely lacking in the friend department for me right now.
In any case, I could go on and on detailing the pros and the cons of working from home, especially when throwing the fact that I’m new to the country into the mix. But, don’t pictures speak louder than words? I was on Facebook last night and saw that a former colleague of mine in the U.S. posted a comic strip that accurately describes (visually, since it’s what we all like) the good and the bad of working from home. I have to share it because, at least in my case, it’s oh-so-true. Sweetly adorable, chocolate covered truth … Check it out here. (Thanks to the creator of The Oatmeal comic strip for this and to my former coworker for sharing it on FB.)