I have worked from home for more than half of my career. I’m no stranger to working in an office, but I find myself wondering what people actually do at work all day. I always imagine that my coworkers are more focused on their tasks than I am, or more driven to earn a promotion, or more highly structured in their approach to managing their work than I am.
I’m pretty sure, though, that that can’t be, because no one I have ever worked with in person was much more focused that I was, with the exception of one or two workaholic bosses I’ve had. Those guys loved their job in ways I couldn’t replicate—at least that’s what I thought—and that drove them to work well into the evenings every day, after I was ready to go home.
My last office-job experience was mostly great, but there was a lot of gossip, walking around, waiting for elevators, waiting for meetings to begin, going out to grab a coffee, and so on. Half of my day was spent on actual work, even though I spent almost the entire day with my team, doing the same things they were doing. When I worked from home on that job, I got a lot more done, even though I would take break to make my coffee or put a load of laundry in the washing machine.
My job today is different than any of the office-based ones. It is more fluid and unpredictable in nature; every day is different than the last, and some of my projects are vastly different from others. The sands are always shifting beneath my feet. I would prefer my job to be more predictable, for my mental health, more than anything. I think that it is probably anxiety more than anything else that makes me think, pretty frequently, that I’m not working hard enough, or as hard as my peers, or that it took me too much time to do a certain task I was asked to do.