I made my debut on the local news last week. I was wearing my pajama hoodie, with no bra and no makeup. My hair was in what I hoped was a stylish “messy bun” but it was probably just a mess.
I had gone out to run a quick errand and was waiting at a pop-up stoplight with a sign on it that read, “Be patient. Maximum 9 minute wait,” when a cameraman and reporter I recognized as the on-the-scene guy from a local station ran over to my car.
The reporter wanted to talk to me because two weeks earlier our road washed out. Like, completely washed away leaving a 40-foot gap between the two sides. The only way to get the two miles from our house to the nearest city road is up and over a steep, winding and muddy back road. The steep and winding part is doable but there’s a section at the bottom that’s a combination of the skull-rattling shortcut to Hana and a quarter mile of hubcap-deep mud.
Because the road is so sketchy, my partner and I haven’t been going out much. Every five days or so we brave the road to stock up on groceries, get a latte, hit the Thai restaurant or Taqueria and get back home.
For the first few days, working from home wasn’t too bad—I rather enjoyed staying in my cozies all day. But it got old and I started to desperately miss my coworking space. In the last three weeks I’ve been to my home space twice. I can tell you, that’s not enough.
For nine-to-fivers, working from home sounds like a dream come true. It’s not. We’re social creatures. I need humans around me. I need those brief but friendly interactions over steeping tea. I like answering questions about a fellow member’s next blog post. I like talking with my neighbors about their favorite time-tracking tool, or when the next cool event is. Being surrounded by other people who are hustling, connecting and creating has become a vital part of my workday.
I’m more productive in a room full of people buzzing about than I am alone in my quiet home office. Plus, I’m learning that there’s a fine line between staying cozy and comfortable all day and being that person who now wears only pajamas.
There’s a New Yorker article making the rounds on social media. For anyone who’s ever worked out of their house, the piece is one of the most hilarious, relatable things ever. It’s a call between Robert, who works from home, and a 911 operator. Here’s my favorite section:
OPERATOR: I need you to tell me what you’re wearing, O.K.?
ROBERT: You know . . . just regular clothes.
OPERATOR: Outside clothes or inside clothes?
ROBERT: Hold on, I’ll check. (Pause.) Pajamas. I’m wearing my pajamas. I could swear I’d changed into regular . . . I thought these were jeans!
OPERATOR: It’s O.K., sir. Calm down.
ROBERT: Wait, this isn’t even a shirt. It’s just my skin! Goddammit.
OPERATOR: So just pajama bottoms, then. Can we assume that you haven’t showered today?
ROBERT: I don’t know.
The piece pokes fun at the not-so-awesomeness of working from home—that weird space where schedules, meals, writing, streaming Frasier reruns, calls and deadlines all swirl together into a foggy continuum of hours and to-do’s.
It drives home something that I know in every cell of my body: that coworking is a wonderful way to put your best self into the world and connect with amazing people doing extraordinary things.
It’s also a rather sad reminder of who I am until our road is fixed: a homebound professional who wears her pajamas on the nightly news and really misses her coworking crew.