Several people have asked overlapping questions about my unusual employment. I’m not sure what triggered this, but rather than write a bunch of emails I thought I’d write one post.
Yes, I work from home. I should point out that I’m not just sitting here at a desk jammed into a corner of the living room, which is what I think a lot of people imagine when I say I work from home. I have a proper home office with a dedicated phone line and good deal of equipment for doing my job. You can see a panoramic picture of the place here, although I place functionality over aesthetics, so it isn’t much to see. Kind of shabby, really.
I got this job by getting in on the ground floor of a newly forming company. I don’t know how to advise anyone else on how to secure a job like this (although note below: there are serious drawbacks) except to join a company whose future is still in question. Since 90% of all business ventures fail, this is somewhat risky. However, if you find yourself dealing with a small company who is strapped for cash, you may want to offer them something like this. You do your job from home, and they pay you less money. How much less is a tricky question. I suggest starting around $20k to $15k under your normal base salary. That is indeed a lot of money, but remember that you want it to be enough to really tempt your employer. Is having you in a nearby cubicle instead of a phone call away really worth $20k to them? If they really are strapped for cash, they will probably at least give it serious consideration. If they are of an environmental mindset, you can point out that you’ll be saving trees by burning less gasoline or whatever. Obviously some jobs are more suitable for telecommuting than others. Don’t bother asking if you’re the receptionist.
That is a lot of cash to give up, although I want to point out that there is a lot of money to be saved as well: Our family only needs one car. So we don’t have to pay for repairs and wear and tear on an extra car. We don’t have to pay the extra insurance. I’m not paying for the gas for a daily commute. I don’t eat out for lunch every day. I don’t pay for parking every day. I don’t have to maintain a wardrobe of dressy work clothes. Finally, we own a place in the untamed wilderness of western PA (my town doesn’t even have a single Starbucks!) as opposed to living in some traffic-clogged megacity with stratospheric property values. Taken together, this probably adds up to several thousand in savings a year.
A while back one person implied in the comments (rudely, or perhaps as a misfired joke) that I must spend all day goofing off. This is probably possible for someone working from home for a major company that employs hundreds of people. But if you’re on a small team you can’t get away with that sort of thing. If you’re in a team of hundreds of people building a skyscraper, you can probably sneak off for a nap and let everyone else pick up your slack. But if you’re the only bricklayer working on a particular house then goofing off is just self-defeating. The carpenter isn’t going to start laying bricks when he sees you dozing. My work is pretty tightly scheduled. I am hunted ceaselessly by the twin demons of cruft and obsolescence, and that sort of thing tends to keep your nose to the grindstone.
But the biggest benefit of a job like this is the fact that I don’t commute. That’s about an hour and a half I have every day that most people don’t. I also have my lunch hour to screw around, which most people spend driving, parking, standing in line, and waiting for food. How much would an extra two and a half hours a day be worth to you? That two and a half hours each day goes into this site, which is what makes it possible for me to keep up with something like this. If I had a normal job, this would be a normal blog. I’d post every couple of days and DM of the Rings wouldn’t exist.
The Biggest Game Ever
How did this niche racing game make a gameworld so massive, and why is that a big deal?
A horrible, railroading, stupid, contrived, and painfully ill-conceived roleplaying campaign. All in good fun.
Why Google sucks, and what made me switch to crowdfunding for this site.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.
The Plot-Driven Door
You know how videogames sometimes do that thing where it's preposterously hard to go through a simple door? This one is really bad.