Three months ago, I walked away from a job I’d held for 27 years at The Dallas Morning News. I quit being a reporter so I could focus on developing this website.
I went from working in an office with many other people to working at home alone.
What a change.
I had no doubt about leaving the struggling newspaper, but I wondered if I’d miss the office camaraderie. I had many close friends, and I enjoyed seeing them every day.
Now, I wish I’d left sooner. Working at home has been all upside – no downside.
I wanted to offer this assessment because I saw an article recently that cautioned dads about leaving a company to work alone.
“Though it may be hard to believe, many work-at-home dads find managing their own time very difficult, and grow to miss the structured environment of the office and ‘punching the clock,’” wrote Mike Spohr.
Now, it’s a joy to wake up every day and be in control of my own destiny. Finding motivation and managing my time hasn’t been an issue.
Spohr addresses my concern that dads working at home may miss their former colleagues.
“The work-at-home dad spends most of his time with his kids, precious little with anyone who can legally vote,” Spohr says. “It doesn’t take long for some work-at-home dads to go a little stir crazy.”
I understand what he’s saying. Fortunately, my son is 11, so he’s in school most of the day. As for interacting with other adults, I haven’t found a problem. I still have the same large circle of friends, including my old co-workers. Just because you leave a job doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with former colleagues.
My biggest challenge in working at home? It’s avoiding the temptation to let home projects interfere with work.
When I worked for the newspaper, my days were long and grueling. I’d pick up Connor from an after-school program about 6 p.m., rush home and fix dinner, help him with his homework, then get him ready for bed.
It was a fire drill. I didn’t have time to dwell on the leaky faucet or dirty air filters. Now, my breakneck pace is over, and I notice the little fix-it jobs I’d like to tackle.
It’s taken mental discipline to work on my website first, then undertake home projects. I’ve created a routine that works. I start the day at my desk, work a few hours, then take a break and do some tasks, such as rake leaves or vacuum the living room. The brief interlude refreshes my mind and makes me ready to tackle more website work.
Could you become a work-at-home dad?
Ask yourself three questions:
- Has your corporate job become intolerable?
- Do you have a skill that lends itself to being self-employed?
- Do you have the discipline to work long hours at home, without being distracted?
If you answer “yes” to all these questions, then you’re ready to move toward working at home.
My prediction: If you’re properly prepared, you’ll love being your own boss.
With the uncertain economy and gloomy job market, now is a good time to think about being self-employed. Even if you have a decent job, you could be laid off eventually. Working at home has given me a peace of mind and fulfillment I never had working for a big company.