Post by BlogPaws’ CEO, Yvonne DiVita
I had a small gathering at my home, just a few weeks ago. It wasn’t anything elaborate. We’re down home people. We did a little cleaning, ordered a few food trays from the local supermarket, and reminded our would-be guest the pawty was BYOB… which either means Bring Your Own Bottle or Bring Your Own Beer. Here in Colorado, where there’s a brewery on every corner, right next to the coffee shops, or so it seems, it generally means Bring Your Own Beer.
There was a lot of planning and execution involved in preparing for that small gathering. Notes were sent and replied to. Notes were sent and not replied to. I had no idea how many people would actually show up. Sigh. The house was cleaned and…cleaned again. (we have two dogs and a cat… you understand) Food was ordered, cooked, then hidden from the two dogs and a cat (you understand), and as the time for the pawty got closer, we frantically fit in showers. Trust me when I say, the guests would have noticed if we had not showered. (you totally understand)
The gathering was a big hit. It was neither too big, nor too small. Like the story of Goldilocks, it was just right. The drinks flowed like Niagara Falls, the food disappeared a little at a time, and the animals behaved. Well, they behaved like animals. (you understand.)
During the pawty, I was showing our basement office space to a guest. She’s a Mom. She’s new to Colorado. She’s a little bit homesick. I commiserated with her but only to be polite because I don’t do the homesick thing. I’m pretty happy wherever I am. As long as I have the fur-kids with me. They keep me grounded. In more ways than I can count. Oh yeah, I know you understand that!
“This is great,” the new friend said, as I led her through the basement. I waved at Chloe’s office, showed off Molly’s space, stopped to let her view Tom’s desk. Well, she didn’t view Tom’s desk, it’s pretty well buried beneath papers and books and usually Molly, who lays across his keyboard every chance she can, even when he works upstairs. (if you have cats, you understand!)
But, she got the drift. That was his workspace…and it was in the building he lives, not in a building across town, where he would have to rise early, shower, dress, let the dogs in and out and in and out again, and then get in his car to fight traffic (I’ll leave the expletives out, but fighting traffic brings out the worst in us, doesn’t it?)… to travel to an “office” where he might get some work done, or he might hang around the water cooler talking about work. In all honesty, he would get work done. He’s good that way.
The concept of working at home was pretty attractive to this guest. Her eyes lit up, her smile became wistful; she sighed. “It must be great working from home.”
“It is,” I agreed. “We love getting up and being at work as soon as we get downstairs. It’s great to stand at the back door while the dogs are out in the yard and not care how cold it is, how windy, how snowy, or how hot and dry… because we’re comfy inside and we don’t have to venture out if we don’t want to.
“I can tell you this, traveling to and from an ‘office’, wasting a good half hour each way, does not make one productive. I will never understand why more people don’t work from home.”
The look on her face said it all. Then, she voiced it out loud, “I wish I could find a job like that.”
For a minute, I was taken aback. It’s a common enough statement. I’ve heard it, in various forms, many times before. “It would be great to work from home.” Or, “I’d love to be my own boss.” Or, “I’m so tired of trucking to work through traffic, in rain, sleet and burning sun… day after day. How do I find a job like yours?”
“You don’t find a job like mine,” I said to my guest. “You create it.”
And therein lies the truth of the matter. We spend eight hours a day at our jobs, no matter where we are. Some days, we spend more than eight hours a day. We chose our place of employment. We, as thinking beings, make a choice early on in our careers to be one place or another. We are either “here” or we are “there.” The here and the there are places of choice. I choose to work at home. I choose to be responsible to myself. I choose to make my work pleasurable and profitable.
You may be confused at this point, since you know BlogPaws is a part of Pet360, and now PetSmart, and not its own entity, as it was when we founded it, Tom and Caroline and myself. We do, at this point, work for someone else. Or do we?
BlogPaws is a company that is unique. It exists to serve a community of bloggers focused on their love of animals. When it was founded, the goal was to “help pet bloggers be whatever it is they want to be.” Everything we did was geared toward that goal. Including the decision to be acquired by Pet360, a little over two years ago.
Tom and I, and Chloe, who is now a major part of the BlogPaws team, and Carol Bryant and Felissa Elfenbein and Robbi Hess, allTime for treats… little Olive is hidden, but she’s there
continue to work on behalf of our bloggers. Each of us, from home. We are still fairly independent. We still make our coffee on the kitchen counter and wear our slippers around the house. We still stop to walk the dogs, when we can. Check out the view we have on our walks, in the picture here! Sometimes we hold meetings on those walks. And, we still consider ourselves to be a small part of a bigger picture – one that encompasses the desire to be part of something bigger than we are.
The day we signed with our new team at Pet360, we asserted the decision to work from home, in Colorado. We did it with a smile. We gave a little shrug when we were encouraged to go to an office in Boulder, a half an hour’s drive, each way.
“We work from home,” we said. “Our work is best done at home,” we said. “…….” We said. (that’s the silence that comes when someone, however gently, encourages us to work … outside of our home; it’s served with a smile and a proud lift of one’s head)
Being in charge of your life, your career, the work you do, is a choice. When you make that choice, you must accept the good and the not so good, that comes with it. There is no bad, by the way. If you have made the choice to be your own boss, to work at home, it’s all good. Days that stretch forever because of the work involved, are good days. Days that are crowded with phone calls, are great days. Days that are hard to get through because you’re sick, sick, sick but you can’t take off… are fine days. If you’ve chosen to work at home, and you are having bad days, you need to rethink how you’re handling things.
I operate from the Abraham Lincoln quote, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
This time of year, holiday time, there is nothing better than working from home, being in charge of my work, my time, and my career. It doesn’t make me less likely to get things done; it makes me more likely to get things done. Because I know my presence and my purpose is to serve others, from the comfort of my home office.
I repeat; I didn’t find this job. I created it.
You understand, right?
Editor’s Note: What steps will you take to create your own work-from-home job in 2015?