Since November 2009, my primary workplace has been a corner of the 1-bedroom condo I share with my husband, son, and small dog. Yes, I’ve coworked in a shared office once a week or so since 2010, but 90% of my work for the Empire has been done from a wall of a bedroom. In many ways, working from home was a tremendous blessing — with a newborn, it was easy to work weird hours. With an infant, it made sense to keep my leaking boobs close to the nursing baby. Through my son’s waddlerhood and toddlerhood, it made a lot of sense to be working from home to allow quick kiddo hand-offs with my husband who might come and go from teaching three classes a day… we handed parenting duties back and forth all day, every day. I saved a shitload of resources by working from home, spending zero cash on rent and zero time on commuting… all while slowly but surely losing my fucking mind.
Yeah, I said it.
Five years after I started working from home, here we are in 2014. Five years later, I am SO FUCKING SICK OF BEING STUCK IN MY HOUSE. My son is almost five and happily kicking ass in preschool. I, meanwhile, have forgotten how to have conversations during daylight hours with adults. Desk-sharing with a 4-year-old is a hard way to get your work done. I’ve also started making large business decisions based on the question “Does this get me out of my house and talking to people?” When I am actually out working with people face to face, I might be a little too touchy. “OH GREAT IDEA,” I say, touching the idea-haver’s elbow with my hand, and gasping internally omg omg omg real person live in the flesh instead of words on a screen. It’s not normal, you guys.
For these reasons (and so many more) I am SO EXCITED to be exporting my work brain to a place occupied by adults. Starting last week, I’ve got a full-time desk at the new coworking space upstairs/behind Ada’s Technical Books. See this picture? This is the one and only time my son will ever desk-share with me at Ada’s:
This is a win in so many ways, the biggest of which being that it’s only a few blocks from my house, which means that I can still work my somewhat unusual hours. Today, for instance, I’m working from 7am – 11am, then going home for lunch with my kid while my husband works, then heading back in for a second round of work from 2-6. Last week, I had some editing work I needed to hammer out at 9pm, so I took the dog for a quick evening stroll, smiled at all the diners on my beloved 15th Avenue, tucked into the office for an hour, and then walked back home.
Separation of church and state, you guys. Of course I still have a laptop at home, but my primary work machine is permanently waiting for me AT WORK and when I want to do work that’s more than just answering a single email, I GO TO WORK. I am so stoked not to have to worry about snapping at my husband when he asks me about groceries when I’m trying to file a bug with my developer. I’m so relieved to have a little bit more division between my “me time” and my “work time.” I mean, I love work and of course I’ll still do bits of work from home from my phone and crappy laptop… but my primary machine will be a four-block walk away. It’s kind of like how my mom stashes her weed in the woods so she has to go for a walk to have a smoke. Sometimes we all need just a little distance from our fixes, you know?
And lookit me! Out in the world! Around adults instead of small creatures like a 50-pound kid or a 14-pound dog. It’s amazing! Oh and Seattleites: if you ever find yourself at Ada’s for a book or a bite, feel free to @reply me to Twitter to see if I’m working upstairs. I’ll come say hi and touch your elbow.