Archive for the ‘Homeworking’ Category

Back to work day for homeworkers

In Homeworking on January 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Tree shredded. Cards recycled. Kids back to school. Partner back to office. Heating off. Jumpers on. Glasses on. Computer on. Wash on. Coffee drunk. Twitter checked. Facebook checked. Emails checked, then ignored. Spam checked optimistically, then deleted. Work-begging emails written. Invoice-chasing emails written. I-haven’t-had-time-to-finish-that-thing-I-thought-I’d-have-loads-of-time-to-do-over-the-Christmas-so-called-‘holidays’ emails written. Childcare swaps in the pipeline. Quick crossword done. Tax not quite done. Fridge empty. Biscuit tin empty. Celebrations tin empty. Stomach empty. Inbox still empty. Bank account empty. Appallingly-paid, takes-three-times-longer-than-you-thought commission stuck into. Blog posted.


Happy National Freelance Day!

In Homeworking on November 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

So apparently today is National Freelance Day. To celebrate, I will be spending my time as follows:

10% ‘doing research’ on Twitter in lieu of having colleagues or other grown ups to talk to. Or my own watercooler

10% sending pitches/enquiries/spec CV

8% immediately leaping on any new emails in hope that they are replies to pitches

4% being disappointed

8% checking my ‘junk’ folder because clearly all the replies to pitches must have gone in there

4% being disappointed

1% excitedly answering phone to an unknown number assuming it must be something about work

1% discovering it’s just my daughter calling from a friend’s mobile because she’s out of credit again

2% patronising local independent traders (esp ones that sell really good coffee) in a spirit of self-employed camaraderie

2% thinking ‘I know, I could work in/open a shop’, then talking to independent traders who tell you it’s the quietest time in retail FOR A GENERATION

5% half-heartedly doing bare minimum housework/childcare by default

5% staring. Just staring

6% chasing invoices

7% worrying about money

7% worrying about future

7% wondering why the Hell I thought ‘going freelance’ would be a good idea

3% making tea

1% eating ham from the packet from the fridge plus any random leftovers I can find for lunch

1% going back to the jumper draw to put on another layer to keep warm

3% wondering if it’s too early to start drinking

5% crying


So, much like any other freelance day, then.

The Apple Genius Bar, and other people I couldn’t live without as a freelance

In Homeworking on November 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

For the third time in the past 12 months, the Apple Genius Bar (Covent Garden branch) has saved my ass.

One of the disadvantages of giving up working in an office for working at home is no more tech support. No grumpy men (and occasionally woman) to ring up just because you can’t get into your email, you’ve spilled something on your keyboard or you’ve accidentally deleted a really important file. (One company I’ve freelanced for hilariously and inaccurately calls it the ‘Zen Desk’.) No one who’ll come and put missing fonts on your computer for you while you go and make a cup of tea (even though you probably could have done it yourself if they’d only show you how). And no one to pick up the pieces when your hard drive melts, your CD drive fails or you smash your iPhone screen – all of which… Read the rest of this entry »

The horrible habits of the homeworker

In Homeworking on September 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

C’mon. We all have them. I mean, if you’re left alone in the house all day where no one can see you, not even your Twitter friends, then you’re going to allow yourself to, shall we say, ‘relax’ in a way you might not if you were in an office, or in the presence of other human beings.

Below are some of the most common homeworker habits gathered from a totally unscientific sample (I’ll admit to about 70% of them, but I’m not saying which ones).

How many do you do?

(note to self – avoid doing any of these next time invited anywhere for a day shift) Read the rest of this entry »

Supporting the local economy, one mouthful at a time

In Food & Drink, Homeworking on August 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love it when people send me free food.

So I was very pleased when Kristina from Makerhood arrived on my doorstep this morning with this:

It’s the first ever raffle prize I’ve won (if you don’t count a bag of dog biscuits 8 years ago – and I don’t even have a dog): a hamper from  Brixton cafe/’corner shop’ Cornercopia. Read the rest of this entry »

The lunching habits of the homeworker

In Homeworking on June 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Hey, fellow homeworkers. What did you have for lunch today?

I’m guessing a significant number didn’t stop for lunch because you’ve got a piece of work to finish and children to pick up from school at 3.30pm.

A lot will have just been grazing from the fridge/biscuit tin all morning because you are working on something really dull that you’ve yet to really get a handle on and need displacement activities. Read the rest of this entry »

#62 Crash!

In Homeworking on November 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm

It finally happened. Every homeworker’s worst nightmare. My computer has crashed, not just irritatingly crashed but irretrievably crashed. Hard drive devastated. Everything gone. Just like that.

And yet I feel strangely calm about the whole thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

#60 Stop this East Dulwich cafe madness!

In Food & Drink, Homeworking, South London on November 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Just when you thought SE22 couldn’t possibly support any more cafes-cum-artisanal-bread-shops-cum-cupcake-outlets, along come even more. Read the rest of this entry »

#49 Dreaming of Soho, sandwiches and a really good cup of coffee

In Homeworking, Jobseeking on June 18, 2010 at 10:40 am

So it’s now finally official, I didn’t get that job. But before I cave in to disappointment, I thought I’d pause one last time to indulge the fantasy I’d created about what it would be like to be back working in an office…

The fantasy basically involves me meandering up through Soho in the morning, perhaps pausing to indulge in a really good shop-bought takeaway coffee, full strength, ground on the premises, and with that pleasing crema it’s impossible to replicate at home. Read the rest of this entry »

#45 What’s the best day of the week?

In Homeworking on May 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

A couple of weeks ago I unexpectedly bumped into a friend casually wandering the neighbourhood on a weekday, when one would have expected them to be shaved and behind a desk. A much deserved promotion to a high-profile role on a Sunday has meant a 24 hour time shift in their week – they work till all hours on Saturdays, but get  Monday off.

It’s a sign of how blasé I’ve become about my own working pattern, which allows me to adjust my local wandering to the weather and the opening times of cake shops, that my initial reactions was – ‘What a shame you get Monday off, Thursdays are so much more fun.’

Quite rightly my high-flying friend pointed out unbounded joy he was experiencing at having any weekday to himself, that if you have children, and even if you don’t, the weekend is no place for rest and relaxation. While us homeworking layabouts might take for granted having the place to ourselves during the week, those committed to an office move from weekday hubbub to weekend mayhem. A Monday off means the luxury of silence.

So from the privileged perspective of those who see the world every day and are around to bear witness to the nuances and subtle variations, what is the best day to have off?

Monday? My own prejudice against Monday is that you end up starting the week a day behind everyone else, there’s no one to play with because everyone is serious again, and the butcher and fishmonger are both closed, along with lots of smaller museums and galleries (but not the big ones any more).

Tuesday? A good nondescript sort of day. Too early in the week for anyone to be persuaded to have lunch with you though. And usually dominated by after school clubs and classes.

Wednesday? The last place I worked had a farmers’ market outside the Tube station on Wednesday’s and Fridays, with a stall selling what has since been voted (by TIme Out) the best coffee in London. A good reason to go to work on Wednesdays. Plus I’ve also noticed that some shops (and the public library) in more suburban areas still uphold the arcane tradition of a half day on Wednesdays, which is rather inconvenient.

Thursday? From the point of view of  finishing projects, submitting reports, applying for jobs, ‘end of the week’ deadlines, etc, a terrible day to have off. But in terms of the world outside work, the party is just beginning.

Friday? Surely the king of days off? Sleep of the  hangover from Thursday night, and steal a march on everyone else by being incredibly well prepared for the weekend. Local markets and weekend festivals get going on Fridays, and you can get out of town before the rush.

Saturday? An absolutely rubbish day off. In fact, there’s no ‘day off’ about it. The busiest day of the week, filled with swimming lessons,shopping, housework, washing, and lots of other tedious chores. There’s no lie in, no rest, only a G&T and Doctor Who to look forward to at the end of the day. With no party invites or all night raves to go to these days, most Saturday nights are spent in front of a computer anyway.

Sunday? On the plus side, everything is now open on Sundays. On the minus side, town is therefore packed. There’s also a subconscious obligation to do something bonding with friends and/or family, or carry out DIY, so you just feel guilty that you don’t. Much better to have work as an excuse.