…Then I read PAST the headline….
New York Times Journalist Katherine Campbell had a great 3 page article this morning talking about something that I have been promoting for YEARS, OK decades, but I’m trying to seem younger. Miss Campbell has come to the ASTOUNDING and amazing conclusion that mid thirty somethings (my Gen and into Gen X) are looking around after a decade in the workforce and realizing that what they have is lots of lost hours. Apparently the newly younger middle America has woken up to smell the coffee beans only to find that the credit on their Starbucks card ain’t what it used to be. Worse those people they went to school with that they all laughed at, because the married young, had a family young and STRUGGLED, who are now looking at a nice retirement and an empty nest, may have had the right idea all along!
Welcome to the world Miss Campbell, and I’m not being harsh to her, in fact before today I’d never heard of her, but for over a decade I have been derided by media types like her for being old fashioned and ‘ out of touch’ for promoting the idea that by cutting back, you really can have it all, and have a great family ad some awesome experiences, without both parents working 80 hours a week. Please do not think that I am taking pot shots at those hard working young men and women who went to school got a great education and entered the white collar job force and worked really hard for 10+ years. Instead I’m just glad that they finally caught up to my “forward way of thinking!
Unfortunately Miss Campbell only chose to perform a superficial look into the subject and therefore, it appears, only spoke to 2 people in this age group who had reached this decision. Both women in their mid 30’s-40’s had determined that telecommuting is their ultimate solution. Now personally I think telecommuting IS a great idea, and it CAN help a great many folks in a lot of different ways. But I also think there are other alternatives that got missed.
However, in the spirit of ‘looking on the bright side’ lets look at how telecommuting can benefit everyone participating. First is the obvious COST SAVINGS. Now this is a two sided benefit so both the employee and employer can win, in the beginning anyway. For example, if you employ 100 web designers who currently come in to your company every day and sit in a cube for 8 – 10 hours a day and use your resources (coffee, tea, lunch break, bathrooms, etc.) you should be able to send the majority of these folks home to teleco0mmute and then start saving money on floor space, energy, even insurance if you’re willing to work it right. For your web designers, as long as the boss has some way of tracking your work than you should really be able to clock your hours on a more flexible schedule and no commute to the office, means less gas, oil and wear and tear on your car. It also means that there will be far fewer days when you need to dress in an office fashion. Therefore your dry cleaning and laundry bills should be lower.
Now lets look at TIME savings, I know this SEEMS like its only on the employees side, but its not. Yes the average employee is using 55 minutes every day just to drive in to their job. But it goes much deeper than that, many employees actually consider their ‘work time; as having started from the moment that the enter company property. Which in some instances, like a job site, could be valid, but just because it takes the 15 minutes to find a parking spot and an additional 15 minutes to unload their things from their car and then walk (or shuttle, something else you wont be paying for anymore) into the office,. They are actually ‘losing’ another hour off their productive day. This of course they charge o their employer, after all if the boss didn’t want them to they would have provided better parking, right? But how many manager cringe every morning when Johnny SlowStart comes in lays his briefcase on his desk and then IMMEDIATELY heads or the coffee machine, or worse the bathroom? There’s another 30 minutes, then you take the 30 minute lunch you give them and double that and its cost you another hour. Combine in the 2 15 minute breaks that (my states) law requires employees to have, but double them because they have to either walk off campus to smoke or across the street for donuts, and you are down 3.5 hours before the employee has ever entered web command ONE!
Now this MAY seem as though I am only harping on employees wasting time, but now lets look at employers wasting time. The parking is just one example, lets instead look at the incessant MEETINGS that are called all hours of the day typically just as you have (finally) gotten started on a project and now you have to unplug from that thought process and open up a whole NEW one that involves back filling management on what you have already explained any number of times in emails throughout the week! But since they are to busy to read them you are invariably yanked out of your schedule, or asked to stay late to explain why anyone needs any of this? Compound that with the addition of emails, instant messages and no less than 2 phone lines per employee, added to a company cell phone and their private cell phone and you now have no less than 10 things competing for their attention at any given moment of the day. Don t laugh I have seen managers go right down the row from device to device interrupting you and your team constantly, just to get and answer to a question that is no longer relevant to anything currently underway, and you now start to see why telecommuting has many more benefits than just the superficial ones that most folks think of.
So apparently I’m not considering Miss Campbells one little stab at an idea anything more than a cop out to fill newspaper columns. What would I suggest you ask? Well, sit down, strap yourself in and lets look at this from an ADULT perspective, because some of what I’m going to say here your NOT going to like!
But lets start with the actual issue at hand, whats the core problem? Well according to the article it revolves around these three women (yes the author and her 2 examples were all woman), have determined that the ideas they were taught during their time on college, preparing for a leap into the white collar business world, was not exactly as fulfilling as they had expected. Matter of fact most of these women have become so obsessed with advancing their careers many have either not been married or have advanced themselves onto the BONUIS round, known as second mate! Many of these folks who are on their second mates, are looking around and realizing that many of their friends children, are either join college or at least starting High School. Meaning that by the time her son reached college age she will be knocking that door of retirement! Most of these folks are very smart, they will determine very quickly that raising an infant/toddler while working ‘from home,” is not going to work very well at all. Babies need a lot of your attention, and that Senior VP on that conference line does NOT want to hear you singing Barney,,,,
OK J, whats YOUR suggestions. Remember how I said you weren’t going to like it? Well here goes. Number one, you and your spouse, if you have one, need to seriously look at ‘scaling back’ your lifestyle. I mean really, who needs THAT MANY cable channels? Don’t quit your job, yet, but do the math, see how much you can trim OFF you monthly fat, and sill have a decent enough life. Instead of investing $20,000 on a new pool, look at the Y down the street, your whole family could attend for a very long time before you ever hit that kind of money! Determine exactly what you need on a monthly basis to make it, if you think that you are already at that point, then lets go back to step 1 and trim some more things from the top! Now once you really have THAT kind of a figure determine one or two things that you could do to earn some extra money, if tragedy ever struck, could you edit other folks copy? Could you perform voice overs? Want some ideas, look at some of whats out there already, go to ELANCE,COM and see what folks are bidding yo do what you want to do, and see if that interests you, at that income. Same goes with FIVERR.com, you would be amazed at what folks will pay $5,m $10 or up to $50 a shot for you to do for them! Now that you have that idea, jump into it! If you really want to get some great training and some amazing ideas look at some of my other blogs and web sites, WriteYourBookin21Days.com, any-excuse, True North Training Solutions, and see whats available for little or no money for folks to start working on a method or alternate plan that work from 20 – 65 and then die!
This may not be the perfect plan, and I’m certainly not fleshing it out very much for you, but that’s not what this is about. This is being produced to make sure that you understand that yes your boss may let you work from home, if you ask. My goal however is to inspire you to look beyond the easy steps, look beyond what everyone else is doing and instead take that chance.
Or you could just pick an excuse, any excuse really. Just make it a good one, make it one you like, because you probably are going to need to rely on it for a number of years, time and time again!
And now for something REALLY different, watch for my next MEDIA post, for those of you ON THE GO!