Monday, November 23, 2015

Working From Home – A Bad Idea

DO YOU WORK FROM HOME...?

A young lady (an IT Professional) came across this article on my blog when I first posted it online in June 2012. 

Those days she was working from home (as she had a baby).

She related to the article and felt that she was experiencing the same issues mentioned in the article.

Co-incidentally  the same lady relocated to Pune and became our neighbour.

She told me that she fully empathised with me and that she had decided not to work from home the moment her kid started going to daycare.

Later – the lady and her husband relocated abroad – and – yes – now – she does not work from home.

don’t know why – but – this evening I suddenly remembered the lady – and the article.

So – here is the article – once more...


WORKING FROM HOME  A BAD IDEA – ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN INDIA
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE


THE PERILS OF WORKING FROM HOME

Are you thinking of working from home?

Think twice.

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 and wasting your time doing nothing.

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

This is what I did for more than 33 years in the Navy. 

When I was on a shore based assignment – I would leave for work every morning and return home in the evening. 

On sea assignments  when I was posted on board ships  I would be away for many days – sailing on the high seas.

Sometimes  I would go away 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 (from home) is more challenging and engages my internal resources much more than any work I did before (from office).

And  let me tell you that during my life  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 at home.

But let me tell you that the remarkable amount of work I do sitting at home, I have never done before any “workplace” .

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

In fact, the perception is that I am wasting my time sitting at home.

The more charitable think that I am pursuing a hobby.

No one takes me seriously. 

Everyone presumes that I am always free  and so I am always available to do all the “odd jobs”.

On the other hand  everyone else is always very busy with their jobs and their careers since they are seen physically commuting and going everyday to their “workplace”.

So – everyone – my mother – my kids – my friends – they have no qualms about disturbing me at home and they give me various “odd jobs” and tasks to do – since they feel I am free since I am sitting at home – whereas others are “busy” doing “work” in office and cannot be disturbed.

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 but time consuming chore  a job which was actually her responsibility  or her “part of ship”  as we say in the Navy.

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

She was furious – and she said to me: “I have timelines. You don’t have any timelines. So what if you dont write today? You can always write later. The heavens are not going to fall if you dont write for one day. Anyway you seem to be writing your novel for so many days. A few more days will not matter.”

If these are her views about creative writing, I wonder what she thinks of blogging.

I am sure she thinks that my writing and blogging is 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 when I worked in the Navy). 

In her eyes, Creative Writing and Blogging is certainly not “work” or a “job”.

At the most  she  like most people  think that writing and blogging are hobbies that I do for fun.

This evening  my wife made some disparaging comments about my sitting at home and doing no “work” – while she was slogging away at her “workplace” and doing so much work.

So  I said to her: “Let us do one thing – I will “Google” my name – and you can see what I am doing all these days – and – then we will “Google” your name...

“Dont give me all that nonsense – just because you get more hits on “Google” does not mean you doing more work,” she said unconvinced, and walked away.

Sometimes I feel that I should rent an “office” somewhere to do my writing  and physically go away from my home to my “office” every day to “work” daily from morning to night.

Perhaps  only then will my wife and others accept that I do some “work” – though what I will be doing in my “office” will be exactly the same “work” that I am now doing at home.

In India  the place where you work counts more that the job you actually do.

Working in an office is more prestigious that working from home.

So  working from home is not a good idea  if you live in India.


IS IT WISE FOR CAREER WOMEN TO WORK FROM HOME ?

Dear Reader  I have talked enough about myself. 

Now let me solicit your views.

Suppose you are a young career woman  maybe an IT Techie  or maybe a Manager  or an Executive  or a Professional  working in the industry.

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

Also let us assume that there are no extenuating circumstances requiring you to work from home like pregnancy, bringing up children, familial commitments etc

So  you have an unconditional choice of selecting your workplace.

You are free to work from office  or  if you prefer  you can work from home.

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

Now which option will you prefer...?

Will you like working from office  or – will you prefer to work from home...?

Okay  forget the mother-in-law.

Let there be just your husband who goes out to work every day to his office.

Won’t you end up doing all the odd jobs  just because you remain at home...?

Tell me  what do you prefer – home or office?


IS IT WISE FOR A MAN TO WORK FROM HOME ?

Now let’s reverse the gender.

If you are a man  given that there are no mitigating circumstances  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 conservative patriarchal society in India.

Working from home is not considered on par with working in an office  at least in India.

If you work from home  people will think that you are unemployed and are living off your wife.

Or  at best  they will think that you are doing some part-time job to supplement your income or to pass your time.

So  if you want to pursue your career seriously  never work from home.

In India  a man working from home has no respect in society.


WORKING FROM HOME  NOT A GOOD IDEA IF YOU LIVE IN INDIA

To sum up  in a nutshell:

In the present day socio-cultural ethos in India  working from home is not a good idea.

Maybe  things will change in future and working from home will be considered on par with working from an office.


Dear Reader: Please comment and let me know your views. 

I am waiting to be proved wrong.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This is a spoof, satire, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. These tips are based on my own experience and represent my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence. Also, do take this post with a sense of humor.
3. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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