Managing Expectations

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Late last year, tech blogger and telecommuter David Tate wrote a humorous and very enlightening post (linked by Lifehacker) discussing the unique problems faced by people who telecommute. One passage that particularly struck me was the following:

There are two common complaints that affect worker and SO [significant other --ed]: the SO complains that the worker continues working past normal work hours (since the office is right there) and the worker complains of being constantly interrupted by their SO during the day.  Both of these common failures are just cases of work and home not being separated aggressively.
Not only can the telecommuting arrangement cause problems for both the telecommuter and his SO, but avoiding these problems requires effort and good communication from each. It is the telecommuter who has to take the initiative here to overcome the new lack of a physical separation between his home and work lives by means of a psychological one. This is what Tate is talking about, and he focuses on how to set those both for oneself and for one's SO.

An additional difficulty not covered much in the post is the fact that telecommuting is new and unusual enough that not many people, potential telecommuters or their SOs, really know what to expect. Fortunately, Tate is writing a book about successfully working from home and provides a link at the end of his post to an email notification list for anyone interested in knowing when his book is complete.

--- In Other News ---

The Tate post reminds me of a hilarious cartoon at The Oatmeal: "Why Working from Home Is Both Awesome and Horrible".

Speaking of books, Brian Phillips, who used to blog at Live Oaks, has just published Individual Rights and Government Wrongs.

Here's a time-saving tip: Use the "fetch news" recipe in calibre to dump the contents of your Instapaper account onto an ebook reader. Now, you don't even have to wait for a download to read some interesting tidbit you found, but didn't have time to read, and can read it on the subway or a plane. I also find the reading experience more satisfying when cleanly separated from the browsing "experience".

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