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The Lament of
the Work-at-Home Man
Here we are, raising our
kids, taking hold of our lives, and striving like the rest of
our country's workers to earn a paycheck and make ends meet.
It may not be glamorous.... but when my kids come home from school,
or my wife returns from work, I'm there to greet them.
by Jeffrey D. Zbar
We know what you're thinking.
You see some
guy working from home, walking to the mailbox in the early morning
sun, cup of joe in one hand, portable phone perched in his shorts
pocket. Your mind gets to thinking about his evil ways.
He's a corporate
drop-out, you smirk with disdain, someone who couldn't hack it
in the "real" world. So he shoves his wife off to work
every morning to slave at her day job, so he can sit home and
pretend to ply some trade -- all the while catching reruns of
Hawaii Five-O, and snatching up his spouse's net at week's end.
We've all suffered the snickers. We've been the bane of parents-in-law
for half a generation now. Even my daughter has publicly misconstrued
my career. When Miss Sheila asked a class full of 5-year-olds
what their parents did for a living, Nicole responded, "My
mommy is a nurse, and my daddy works in his underwear."
You think being
a man who works at home is all hack re-runs and slack schedules?
Put yourself in our flip-flops. In some ways, work-at-home women
have it easier; they're more common, and men, by whatever foiled
reasoning, don't belong outside the corporate tower downtown.
We've been called
"Mr. Mom" and "Soccer Dad." Heck, on the
days that my wife, Robbie, does work, I tool around in a minivan,
for Pete's sake, driving carpool and fetching kids from dance
practice -- all while I try to earn my keep.
Truth be told
(as if I have to explain myself to anyone), you've got the wrong
man. For the sake of work-at-home men and fathers everywhere,
I'm here to set the record straight. We work at home because
we want to.
Sure, maybe we
once were so much jetsam ditched by Corporate America. Or maybe,
like myself, we didn't like corporate life all that much, and
figured we could do it better on our own, thank you.
So here we are,
raising our kids, taking hold of our lives, and striving like
the rest of our country's workers to earn a paycheck and make
ends meet. It may not be glamorous. There's no watercooler to
schmooze around or boss to commiserate about. And sure, we take
chiding from those around us. But when my kids come home from
school, or my wife returns from work, I'm there to greet them.
Where are you, Mr. or Ms. Corporate Ladder Climber?
After 10 years
spent working from spare bedrooms in our various homes, a friend
recently referred to me as a "pioneer" on the work-at-home
frontier. Maybe so. If that's the case, then I guess pioneers
have to endure some arrows to settle the land.
Still, no one
said anything about Lewis & Clark taming the west in a Caravan...
- Jeffrey D.
is a home-based freelance writer, speaker
and author of the book Home
Office Know-How (Upstart Publishing/Chicago, 1998). Jeff is our EP Dad Expert and specializes in work@home,
alternative officing and marketing issues.