by Tammy Taylor~
When RancherMan & I bought this little piece of paradise several years ago, we were still commuting to Dallas every weekday for our corporate jobs. I was finally able to convince my boss to allow me to telecommute three times each week. Sweet! Hearing the radio drone on & on about the horrific traffic jams that were always present in my typical route, I’d simply grab a cup of coffee & ‘log in’ on my computer.
Commute Time: 2 minutes! 🙂
But I was always super sensitive about the perception to my in-office cohorts regarding my working from home. I went out of my way to make sure my all my work efforts were very clearly visible. Plus I was always instantly available by office video chat. And I purposely worked many more hours than I was being paid for ‘just to be fair’. Oftentimes I worked well into the night and on weekends too. Still I felt there was a false perception by my coworkers regarding the time I put in for my employer.
But soon the call to be a Homesteader 100% of the time called to RancherMan and me. We crunched the numbers and found that although it would be very tight trying to make ends meet without a corporate paycheck, we’d set ourselves up here with little to no debt. And we weren’t frivolous spenders anyway. If we were mindful, we could do it!
With much anticipation we finally pulled the plug on our corporate employment. We’re working from home every day now. Not for some big corporate fat cat, but for ourselves!
False Perceptions of Being At Home Each Day
But we found that working from home still carries that same false perception by those in the outside world. Just like the flawed perception of my co-workers so many years ago, the population in general often makes assumptions when you work from home that just aren’t true.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, homeschooler, telecommuter or are self employed – you already KNOW what I mean!
Now don’t get me wrong – I love this life! Being able to watch that gorgeous Texas sunrise every morning as I look across this land that speaks to my heart? Well that’s worth any monetary sacrifice we may have to make. It’s just right for us!
Flexibility For Family When Needed
And it allows a small amount of flexibility when needed too. For instance, if a family member falls ill and needs our help – we’re there!
When my grandmother was in her final days, we were with her at her bedside the whole time. Mom didn’t have to bear it alone – we were there to support her too.
And when dad lost his wife suddenly, RancherMan & I were there. There for him during the challenging medical decisions, there when she passed, and even there to help with final arrangements. It was important for us to support dad through this difficult journey. Yes it took several weeks of being away from the homestead, but we were there with him!
Since we’re self employed there was no need to beg for time off work or to be told no. There was no demands of a corporate boss about a project too important to allow our time away or that our absence was too long. We’re able to prioritize where our time goes. And our family comes first!
Also, it’s important to RancherMan & me to be involved in our small community. We volunteer for several causes that are important to us. So we dedicate time each week doing our fair share for the common good of our community.
But when something pops up, others almost always turn to us to pick up that volunteer slack. I mean, we’re working at HOME, so we have the time, right?? It’s not like we’re really working.
I feel that old familiar wave of guilt each time I must tell other volunteers that we just don’t have the spare time for more.
Flexibility… and Rigidity Of Homesteading
But the truth is, when you’re self employed you’re working many more hours – typically at much less pay – than when you collected a corporate paycheck. No standard hours of 8-5 or quittin’ time here! No cushy bonus check at the end of the year. And no time off for holidays. If we don’t do the work we don’t reap the financial reward. (And unfortunately due to drought or circumstances beyond our control, sometimes even when we DO the work the financial reward isn’t there!)
Hard work and financial uncertainty is just part of the equation when you’re self employed.
And while it’s true we often have some flexibility in our work schedules, being a homesteader means there’s also some pretty rigid schedules as well. The calves must be worked when the time or weather is right, as do the bees and garden. So much of our day-to-day revolves heavily around timing.
Bad Weather Days NOT A Day Off!
Rain, while a blessing, means we won’t be working on our outside chores that day. Instead we may be inside doing some of our many household chores. Being self employed means I’m making our food from scratch instead of buying it premade. So I’m often in the kitchen planning meals or making Yogurt or sandwich bread. Or maybe writing & formatting a new blog post. RancherMan may be in the shop making repairs or doing some online research for an upcoming purchase. Not even a bad weather day gives us the day off! LOL
But weather isn’t the only hinging factor. If a heifer is due to calve, we can’t go running off for a fun weekend. We really need to be here in case she runs into difficulties. It’s rare, but we’ve had to assist in birthing calves on a few occasions. I shudder to think what could have happened had we not been here to assist. We’ll not allow that heifer to suffer because there was a beach party going on that weekend.
Our Pay Is Often By Way Of Expenses NOT Incurred!
Just as my previous corporate experience, working from home means we’re constantly working way more hours than we’re ‘paid for‘.
Especially since our pay is often by way of expenses NOT incurred.
That means repairing instead of replacing things that break. It means working hard preserving our garden abundance to lower our grocery costs. And of course it means thoroughly researching a purchase for quality, or cooking meals from scratch. But those things together all require huge chunks of our time. Time we spend willingly to be able to live this life we love.
If you’re self employed or a stay-at-home worker, do you find those around you just don’t get it? Are you constantly dealing with the false perception that you’re just sitting at home in front of the tv watching soap opras and eating bonbons?? Yeah, us too…