First Click: Work from home, make money fast!

June 1st, 2016


My morning commute lasts 20 seconds. Sometimes longer if I can’t find my slippers on the way to the office some 15 feet from my bed. It’s been this way for more than a decade when I began writing blog posts for Engadget at $5 per. I’m fortunate that my disposition is perfectly suited to the task: self-motivated and capable of sitting alone and in silence for long periods of time. Hell, it's almost noon as I write this and I'm still in my robe.

The latest telecommuting stats from Global Workplace Analytics show that 80 to 90 percent of US workers want to work from home at least part time, but only 20 to 25 percent actually do. And according to a Gallup poll, those that do telecommute only work from home about two days per month, on average. It’s no wonder those "work from home" scams have had such longevity. It's the dream for many, but a reality for just a few.

That makes me one of the lucky ones. But I do miss being in an office. Our sister publication Eater puts on the best parties and Dieter Bohn’s resting whiskey face is something you must witness in person to believe. Slack over high-speed broadband, for all its wonders, is a poor substitute for casual face-to-face banter and serendipitous decision making. It’s also not a catchall for every important conversation that happens in the office. More often than not I feel like I’m playing catch up.

I’ve worked in offices before, of course, some requiring hellish commutes. The two-hour roundtrip from Flint to Detroit stands out, as does the three-hour roundtrip from San Francisco to Santa Clara. I don’t miss those for a second (though I do have fond memories of that lovely bit of open road along 280 near San Andreas Lake). Sitting in that car, choked in traffic took days off my life — time I can’t afford to lose as a father.

The greatest gift of work-from-home has been the flexibility it’s afforded me as a parent — especially when I was raising two kids on my own. Yeah, I've had to work some strange hours, and sometimes it takes twice the effort to stay informed. But I decided long ago that in the pursuit of work / life balance, I would err on the side of life as often as possible. As such, I’ve been home to see my boys grow up to be teenagers. I was here to wake them up, make them breakfast, pack their lunches, and take them to school. I was here to receive the call when my daughter dropped a tiny seashell into her ear, and again when my oldest son fell from his bike and busted a tooth. And I’m still here each day when all three get home.

True, I’ve sacrificed professional advancement as a result of my choices. But I’m fairly certain I won’t be wishing for just one more day in the office when my time is finally done.

Five stories to start your day

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Commuted Commute of the day

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