Luckily, back in 2011 I started working for a 3rd party data abstraction company. That's a pretty vague description but I don't want to get too deep into that. It's brought in a nice stream of second income, sometimes more than the first job did. It's kept my family afloat, even if I'm not always available to enjoy the ride. When I lost my main job, I still had this one. Luckily shortly before the layoff I picked up a huge account that was going to be enough to make up for a little more than half of my hospital salary.
Since then I've been lucky to keep that income coming, but contract work can be unsteady so I'm always a little worried that my clients are gonna decide to start doing the work in house, and I'm out of a contract. I have some money in savings to get us through an extra month, and I know I CAN get a job. I have a good education. I also simply try to do my best work, keep a good outlook on life, and simply keep hope.
So since it's been a year, I think I can safely make a good assessment of what I love and don't love about it.
- Flexible hours. This is a nice feature but one I can't take advantage of. I currently have two clients. I know approximately how large the work load is as well as how fast they need it done. So while I may be able to take a random day off, by plan or by circumstance; I also know that if I slack off too long, I will run out of time end up working all day and night to catch up.
- More time with my family. The exact reason I don't want to be working all day and night. I enjoy not having to rush thru making dinner. I have time to help the kids with their homework and listen to stories about whatever they want to talk about. I can sit outside with the man while he works on the car, although that leads to me helping him somehow, which I hate doing. I enjoy having time for the family if they need me.
- Time to run errands. Its nice to have time to get things done. If I have a doctors appointment, I can make it almost any time of the day. Minus drop off and pick up times for the kids, I have the whole day. I can run errands thru the day and work in the evening if I need to. I can go grocery shopping without watching the clock. However, I have been using Instacart to do my grocery shopping. I love that app.
- Television. I love being about to watch TV while I work. Enough said.
- No traffic. This is a huge selling point. My commute was 55 miles each way, 5 days a week. The drive took anywhere from 45 minutes to work (if I left before 5AM) to 3 hours home (if I left after 3:30 PM). This also meant a lot of money spent on gas. I used to fill my gas tank every 3rd day. 10-12 times a month. Now I only fill my tank every 9 or 10 days. That is a lot of money to save.
- Working alone. This is a nice thing. There's no workplace drama. There's no interruptions or people looking over my shoulder on a daily basis. I do have oversight and people who check my work, be it a colleague or the client, however it's not every day or every few hours. No workplace drama (although I admit I do kinda miss the gossip).
Now there are things I don't love about working from home. I don't hate them. I don't hate anything about this job, but there are some downsides.
- It's hard to stay disciplined. It is really important to stay disciplined and stay on the schedule I give myself. Without that, its easy to get too far behind. Each chart I work on, takes 20 minutes to an hour. I never know how long it's going to take until I open the chart and get in there so if I run behind, push some work to the next day and then get 3-4 bad charts, that can take up a lot of time that I would be doing other things. It's easy to get distracted, with the kids, the animals, housework etc. I try to focus 1-2 hours at a time, and then take short breaks. I try to only work about 5 hours a day every day. If I stay focused, I can be done working by 1PM every day. If I get distracted, I can end up working until 7PM! Its easy to think I have all the time in the world, but really- I don't.
- Becoming a hermit. I admit, lately I don't really want to leave the house. I like being home in my house with my family and my dogs. I also enjoy my time alone. I may like it a little too much, to be honest. I am doing my best to meet up with friends when I can, and not give in to the desire to stay in all the time.
- Eating. It's easy to eat all day long. This hasn't been great on my ass. I don't move around enough. I've put on some weight. Lately I've been putting better food options in the house.
- Lots of interruptions. The thing about being at home, is that I'm at home. My house can be a pretty busy place sometimes. There is the man, three kids, two dogs, two cats and a turtle. Most of the chores are done by me. Not all of them, but the ones I don't do, I have to remind, coordinate and check on (otherwise they don't get done). It's easy to get interrupted, and side tracked.
- Losing track of time. I keep a calendar, but it's easy to lose track of what day it is. I know that on Wednesday the kids have an alternative school schedule. Of course they are off on the weekends. Summer is gonna be a blur.
- Because I can work any time, it's easy to work ALL the time. I enjoy my work. I really do. It's important work that changes the way patients are cared for. That means something to me. Also, the money is good, so I am always open to take on new clients when given the chance. I need to make sure I manage my time correctly otherwise all I do is work and I have no time to relax. I have to remember to give myself time to relax.