As soon as I can find a way, I’m going to start working from home again — and this is part of the reason why.
This could have been almost any evening rush hour on I-459 south of Birmingham, but it happens to have been Wednesday just after 5 p.m. We were at a dead stop for awhile and then we inched along for awhile. There were two wrecks between I-65 and U.S. 280.
All of those highways are clogged in the evening even when there are no wrecks. But when there are accidents, the place can be a parking lot.
I spend about an hour and a half each day driving to and from work. By the standards of some — especially in larger cities — it’s not bad to drive 45 minutes each way. But I find myself wondering how we ever came to accept this as normal.
I used to work from home. I kept my own hours. I dressed as I wanted — unless I had to meet with clients or visit vendors. I controlled my time. Nobody dictated when I had to be where.
When I started driving again to a job with set hours — about five years ago — I swore it was temporary. Then I picked up another job and that turned into my full-time gig, but it still required me being in the office half the day each weekday.
I’m not sure how I came to accept that this was necessary. Honestly, I’m not sure how our entire culture was conned into thinking this is a reasonable use of our time.
We used to live close to wherever we worked. That was out of necessity in the days before cars. Then cars made it possible for suburbs to sprawl farther and farther out. People started accepting spending ridiculous amounts of time in cars every day, rarely stopping to think how much time it was taking us from the people we say we love.
I know everybody accepts it as normal now, but it’s not the way I want to live.
The way my work is structured right now, I have to show up at the office Thursday — and Friday and next Monday and so on. If I don’t, I don’t get paid. But it’s a mistake for me to think I have no choice in the matter.
I don’t want to keep wasting this much time in my car. I don’t want to blow this much gas driving to an office. I don’t want to be at an office certain hours — even if it’s only half the day — because someone expects me to be.
I want to work from home again. I want to work for myself again. I want to take back the control I used to have.
Ironically, there’s more money to be made in doing things which allow you to be in control of your time. They just require — at least for me — going back to the mindset I once had that I was going to work on my own terms and accept only the work I wanted.
In politics, that was easy. It can be easy in other things.
I have a specific list of things in my life which I’m changing. It’s a written list and I read over that list fairly often. This is one of those things on the list.
I’m going to be working from home again — or nearby, as I choose — before long. I’m going to take back the control I’ve given up.
I’m not going to sit with the rest of the suckers in the rat race on I-459. I’m going to do things my way once again.