This month, I'm editing my 58th issue of The Lutheran Witness, which is no small feat for the girl whose editorial beginnings were more than humble. That's right: I started by editing my own newspaper -- called The Toodleloo Times -- at age 8.
I had 25 subscribers then. We're in the hundreds of thousands now. I reprinted old jokes then. We're creating infographics now. I ran copies off on my dad's copy machine. We've got a legit printing company now.
You could say I've learned just a bit along the way.
I've even learned how to work from home. And you do have to learn how.
No, I don't work in my pajamas. Can't. Won't. Couldn't.
No, my office isn't my couch. I'd fall asleep before the 9:00 a.m. staff meeting even started.
No, I don't go for days without showering or stay in bed with my laptop until noon. Just say no to slobbery.
What I do know is that:
- You have to be a self-starter (or learn how to develop those qualities if you're not). It's harder for people to breathe down your neck when you're not actually in the office, so organization, forward motion, attention to detail and initiative become important really fast. Of course, these should be traits you develop regardless of where you work if you actually want to last there longer than a hot minute, but they're invaluable when you're on your own.
- You have to find other creative outlets. In the office, there's always a person to bounce ideas off or to say, "You're not actually planning on doing that, are you? Because that's the worst idea the world has known since some fool started putting nuts in brownies." When you work from home, you've got . . . uh . . . the dog, and while he's probably pretty good at drooling, he's really awful at helping you brainstorm. So you find other ways -- a walk down the lane, refilling your coffee cup, letting your puppies mob you for a minute or two -- and they usually work!
- You're more efficient. I've now worked from home for almost two years, and much like homeschooling, I quickly discovered I can accomplish a lot more in a shorter amount of time. It doesn't mean other pieces of the job (like planning or brainstorming) don't eat up more time, but when there's no one to chat with around the water cooler (Ok, there's actually no water cooler at all), there's no reason not to keep plugging away.
And best of all . . .
- You don't have to work in a freezing cold office. I can wear short sleeves! I don't have to wrap a coat around my shoulders in the middle of the summer! My toes aren't blue! I don't think I can emphasize strongly enough how much of a win this is for mankind.
Developing initiative, finding your creative streak, learning to achieve more faster and not freezing to death in the middle of a cornfield . . . I call that success right there. And so does your boss.
Unless, of course, you're still editing your middle school paper. Then we should probably talk.