There was a recent discussion in one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to. And I’m sure it was mentioned on many other discussion boards.
It was about the discontinuation of the telecommuting policy at Yahoo, mostly due to a rampant abuse of doing anything but work from home. Just how “rampant” it was, I’m not 100% sure – enough, I suppose to implement a company-wide proclamtion. But it certainly and unfairly penalized stay-at-home parents who managed to maintain their career responsibilities.
And how’s this for irony – Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, installed a nursery in her office to take care of her own baby. I don’t think many of her working mother employees have that same option.
More than ten years ago, I lived in Cupertino, the heart of the Silicon Valley. That was about the time I had my first daughter. After she was born, I stayed home the mandated number of weeks (six) for paid maternity leave before my then-husband pretty much said I was going back.
And just like a lot of new moms, I was completely torn at the prospect of doing this. In the coming year, I looked around at some of the playgrounds and playgroups I visited, meeting mothers who could keep their jobs (probably a lot like the ones working at Yahoo now) and enjoy being at home. Why couldn’t I be like them?
But I had a job where working from home simply wasn’t an option – an educator. You really can’t telecommute when nearly all of your work involves interacting with schoolkids.
That’s when I first heard about AWAI, and to make a very long story short, I’m finally working as freelance web copywriter, travel writer and photographer. Living that dream of working from home (or sometimes, from the local coffee house), just like I always wanted.
Don’t assume, though, I’m living on Easy Street. Now I find myself to be more driven than ever to work at this. I’m not sitting around watching TV all day, going on long training runs or taking long lunches with friends. I’m always thinking about what more I could be doing to grow my businesses, writing and taking photos all the time. Sure, the cash flow could be more consistent (goodbye, steady paycheck), a problem that will be solved once I have my self-marketing system in place soon. Actually, this is the MOST I’ve worked since I was let go from my school psychologist job last June.
And I love it.
The best thing? I’m not working for a company or organization anymore, and I get all the perks of working from home. I don’t have to follow the decisions of a seemingly hypocritical boss. Work on things that I love. Get to be there everytime my kids come home from school.
It’s definitely a trade-off. The stability of being an employee is gone, but this is the life I’ve been waiting for. I have a lot of plans and goals, and I intend to make each and every one of them come true.