Friday, June 1, 2012


Is working from home considered on par with working in an office?

It is my personal view that if you live in India you should never work from home. 

Maybe things will change in the future, but the concept of working from home is not culturally compatible with the present-day Indian ethos. 

Going out of your home to an office or to a “workplace” is certainly more respectable than sitting at home and doing your work. 

In fact, if you “work” from home, most people think you are unemployed.

The accepted paradigm is that you leave for work in the morning and return home in the evening after a hard day of toil. 

This is what I did for more than 33 years. I would leave for work every morning and return home in the evening. 

Sometimes I would be away for days, sailing on the high seas or on outstation tours of duty. 

Everyone agreed that I worked very hard. 

It did not matter what I did at the workplace. 

What mattered was how many hours I was away from home “slogging” it out at work.

Now I “work” from home.

I will not tell you what I do but one thing is sure – the work I do now is more challenging and engages my internal resources much more than any work I did before.

And let me tell you that I have done all kinds of work – engineering, operations, production, maintenance, research and development, design, project and human resource management, training and teaching assignments.

For all these jobs I had to go out of my house to a “workplace” and the work I did was appreciated.

Now I sit in my house and work, but let me tell you that the amount of work I do sitting at home, I have never done before.

But there is no acknowledgement, no cognisance, of this.

In fact, the perception is that I am wasting my time, whereas the more charitable think that I am pursuing a hobby.

No one takes me seriously. 

Everyone presumes that I am always free and available to do all the “odd jobs” whereas everyone else is always very busy with their jobs and their career.

For many years my wife was a homemaker while I went out to work.

Now, after my retirement from the Navy, my wife goes out to work and I “work” from home.

This morning my wife asked me to do something (a routine job which was actually her “part of ship”).

I told her that I had planned do some writing today and could she please do the task.

She was furious, “I have timelines. You don’t have any timelines. So what if you don't write today? You can always write later. The heavens are not going to fall. Anyway you seem to be writing your novel for so many days. A few more days won't matter.”

(If these are her views about creative writing I wonder what she thinks of blogging – a total waste of time?)

Maybe my wife feels embarrassed (especially in front of her friends) that I don’t have a “job” to do or a “career” to pursue (like I did for 33 years). 

In her eyes, Creative Writing and Blogging is certainly not “work” or a “job” - at most, it is a hobby I do for fun.

Sometimes I feel that I should rent an “office” somewhere to do my writing and go to “work” everyday from morning to night.

Dear Reader, I have talked enough about myself. 

Now let me solicit your views.

Suppose you are a young career woman, maybe an IT Pro, a Techie, or maybe a manager or an executive or a professional working in the industry.

Suppose you have been given a choice of workplace – either you can come to office or you can work from home.

Also there are no extenuating circumstances requiring you to work from home like pregnancy, bringing up children, etc – it is an unconditional choice – you are free to work from office or you can work from home.

To add to the spice, imagine that you are living in a joint family with a mother-in-law breathing down your neck.

Now what will you prefer – working from office or home?

Okay, forget the mother-in-law and let there be just your husband who goes out to work – won’t the person who remains at home end up doing all the odd jobs?

Tell me, what do you prefer – home or office?

Now let’s reverse the gender – if you are a man, given that there are no mitigating factors and the choice is unconditional, which will you prefer – working from home or going to office?

Is working from home considered on par with working in an office?

I don’t think so – at least in present-day society in India

Please comment and let us know your views. I am waiting to be proved wrong.

I wanted to ask you one more thing.

When someone asks me what I do, how should I answer?

Should I say that I am a Retired Naval Officer or should I say that I am a Creative Writer?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Lost and Found said...

Vikramji, I totally understand where you're coming from. I am a working woman and given a choice, I'd totally work from home, be my own boss and do things without having to be a slave to 'office timings'. I'd proudly tell people that I work from home in my own time. I was between jobs recently and it hurt to see my husband leave for work every morning while I looked for a job. Then I realised that I was feeling hurt because he left with a purpose each day and I had none while I stayed at home. Being at home wasn't my problem. Not having a job was. You should gladly tell people that you're a creative writer (I've been wanting to say that since forever!)Also tell them that you're lucky to be doing something you love within the comfort of your home while they go slog it out in an office with a boss and deadlines and other nasty stuff. Also, I think your wifey is secretly proud of you.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Dear Lost and Found,
Thanks for your views.
I am happy that you feel that given a choice you will like to work from home? Your point about having a "purpose" is most relevant - yes, lack of purpose makes one dejected.
But like you said (when you were between jobs) most persons (in India) think that if you stay home you are unemployed. Also you have hit the nail on the head when you say: "Being at home wasn't my problem. Not having a job was". Not having any purpose in life can lead to a feeling of emptiness.
Now, like you said, I am going to tell the "office-goers" that I am doing what I love sitting at home while they are slogging like slaves in offices.
By the way, I told an ex-colleague of mine that I am a creative writer now and he said, okay, but what to you do?
All the Best
Thanks, once again for your comments which add value to my blog.

Lost and Found said...

:) You should tell your ex-colleague that you do something that he cannot be remotely expected to understand. It isn't easy to write so well. Hit him hard on the head with your wonderful book and see if he gets the message :P

simran said...

I can't really answer this question.......because I don't have any sorto carreer.....I move with my husband to wherever he's posted..and I sat at home to look after the kids....I have no regrets about either...IF I were to would be work from home..always.
I would go with telling people that you're a retired naval officer who's now a creative shouldn't wipe out 33 years of your life

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Simran,
That's a nice answer - a sea dog who has turned creative writer.
Looking after kids and home is a full time career - later you can always take up a job but you can't go back in time to look after kids again once they grow up.
Also, I feel that it is must to stay together, at least in the early years of marriage, so it is a good thing you move with your husband and enjoy married life.
All the Best

Peter Thomson said...

Vikram karve is very good creative person.He was an retierd Naval Officer.He has written a some number of fiction short stories.

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Guha Rajan said...

Work from definetely would help. I would say, its a mind game and depends on type of job you do. At time physical presence is very essential at office but not always...

Couple of years back had written about it in my blog

Anonymous said...

I would keep it much simpler:
You did what you had to do for all those 33 years based on the circumstances presented to you. Now here is a chance that you can choose to do what you want to do...and you are doing that [period]
Regarding going to office:
It depends more on your need of meeting people. [The human hunger of stoke] Rest all can be managed.

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Brinda said...

g8 post now a days work from home is really on demand

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p4parttime said...

Yes, You are right to some extant but If you are unemployed and do not have work then work from home is certainly a good idea and better than sitting idle.

ShUbhi said...

ahh so here its a blog I read which describes somewhat about me too. Yes,I am young girl ,due to some circumstances can not go outside for job.So I am looking for work from home jobs.But I am not getting Legal Work from home jobs too.So I am actually busy with house chores and looking after some family responsibilities but whenever I get time I spend time in blogging and some creative work.People on facebook do like my work but they call it as "your free,you got lots of time so you do time-pass like this." It actually hurts when people appreciate my work a lot but at the same time few people point at me as you do time-pass all the time without even knowing about my life.Secondly,People think not going for job outside means unemployed and lazy and free person all the time.And hence they always say "You are good for nothing".
Also I would like to add another point,Nowadays,many Writers are not writing meaningful content blogs.They are more busy in competing :"whose blog is more famous ,whose novel is more famous?"
I see people around me who read my blogs appreciate it and send feedback on facebook inbox.But,out of them the other bloggers in my circle are too busy in publishing they are silly blogs ,when I ask them to read the blog ,all they got to say is :"Please read my blog first,please give me your article ,I will post it & its more ridiculous when they post it with they are name on it".
Yes,I used Silly blogs because there are really some stupid blogs but yes I appreciate nice blogs too :)
I think Writers should be respected and people working from home should also be respected and should be called as Employed.
This was my view :)