Work at Home = Unemployed?

Okay, so, here’s the deal.

An acquaintance of mine recently called me and left a message, asking me for a favor (she wanted me to drive her sister to the doctor). I heard her fumbling, trying to figure out how to hang up phone (she was using her sister’s).

When she thought she’d hung up, she continued to talk to her sister, whose phone she was using. I was amused that a geophysicist was having such a difficult time turning a cell phone off, so I kept listening to the message.

I was taken aback when she described me as her “unemployed friend.”

“Julia is unemployed… or she does a little bit of home business.”

Say what??? A little bit? How about 30-40 hours a week? How is that “a little bit”?

She said it several times, describing how, since I’m “unemployed,” I could possibly drive her sister where she needed to go.

Oh yes, I sit around all day eating bon bons and watching soap operas.

Right.

I guess the fact that I work from home, writing, editing, and moderating/community building on a freelance contract basis, isn’t very realistic to some people.

Or it could be that she just doesn’t understand the complexity of what I do.

Forget the fact that I’ve got a contract with a specific website (WEGO Health) that involves 30-35 hours a week of full-time work, which, I might add, I am enjoying immensely!

Yes, indeed. I’m unemployed.

In what world?

… I still love this friend, but I wish she’d take the time to listen and understand what I do.

Note to the people in the dark: Just because someone works from home doesn’t mean he/she is unemployed. A better description could be self-employed, or someone could indeed be employed by a company, and telecommuting from home! In my case, I’m a little bit of both: self-employed and contractor.

EDIT: No, I didn’t take her sister to the doctor. As it turned out, I had a conference call with WEGO Health that day.

About

I'm a wife and mommy first, as well as a social media consultant/manager, editor, and writer. I'm also editor of Musical Reviewer and Houston Theatre Blog.

Posted in Big Questions, My Work, That's Life, The Writing Life
16 comments on “Work at Home = Unemployed?
  1. April says:

    Uh-oh! If anything makes me mad, it’s just what your described here. I have people, who even though they know what I do, continue to ask me if I am working yet. Or if I am still trying my hand at writing. Excuse me?! Other people seem to ignore that I do anything at all. While asking everyone else how work is going, they bypass me. I find it so infurating and embarrassing because at some level they have me convinced that what I do isn’t much at all.
    I hate it. It’s so rude! If I were you I’d be mighty teed off. I am teed off FOR you!

    I’m like you, a lady of leisure, lol. We should get together for bon-bons πŸ™‚

  2. Ack! A frustrating situation indeed. Of course, what I want to know is… are you taking her sister to the doctor? πŸ˜‰

  3. Mridu says:

    I have been very fortunate in that I’ve never encountered this kind of attitude from friends. I’m only posting because I want to get in on that getting together for bon-bons.

  4. Merry says:

    Oy. When I’d only been writing freelance for a few months, I made mention on an assignment that was due out in front of my mother in law – she asked me if they would pay me for that… she was serious, for some reason she assumed the writing I was doing was for free… because obviously I’d spend hours upon hours writing copy for people I’ve never met without any payment…

    Ack, same thing with the people who think being a stay at home mom means you’re either lazy or unemployable… they should try it, I bet they’d miss the coffee brakes.

  5. JESSICA says:

    YOU’RE BACK!! Whenever I did my blog rounds and come to your page to see no update I would be sad —- but I’ve been behind for a while and I VISITED and wow you posted, A FEW TIMES!! πŸ™‚

    Yayy, hope you’re well.
    Business is good?
    Feel free to email me a response —

  6. Beth says:

    Ouch!
    That’s happened to me. When I quit my day job to go freelancing full-time, my colleagues threw me a retirement party, and I got lots of ‘now-that-you’ll-be-doing-nothing’ cards. I work more now than I did back then, because work is always just a few steps away, and there’s always something to do.

  7. Michele says:

    Hi Julia,

    It’s my first time here, but I agree with the others. People are rude and you have a right to be upset!

    Oh, there’s nothing folks don’t say to me, but that’s ok. It’s just another grand aspect of the “writing life”, I guess.

    Yes, people are rude and very inconsiderate. It’s really a shame they don’t understand how exhausting writing can be a lot of the time. How our backs ache and our eyes blur… How our head hurts and our hands and wrists cry out for a massage (our neck and shoulders, too!)

    Well, I guess you can ponder all these things while your tasting those bon bons with your feet kicked up watching tv, ha!

    Smiles,
    Michele
    “Writing the Cyber Highway”
    http://writingthecyberhighway.blogspot.com/

  8. Amy says:

    Don’t forget filing your nails. Don’t you also file your nails between bonbons? Grrrrrrr. This one hits a nerve!

  9. Lori says:

    I sincerely hope you didn’t take her sister anywhere. I’d be tempted to call back, explain that you work a good 50 hours a week on average, and leave a number for a taxi. How are you not totally pi$$ed about this?

    I’m upset for you!

  10. Jack Payne says:

    When on a plane heading for Pittsburgh to appear as a witness for the Government in a Federal Court trial, I sat next to an engaging, interesting man who wanted to know what I did for a living. I told him I was retired. He talked on, much to my delight. Coming back I sat next to an unbearable bore. He asked the same question. I told him I was unemployed. He thankfully shut up and let me read my magazine in peace.

    Isn’t it the same thing? Use to your advantage.

  11. Lisa says:

    Julia,

    So often, too often, people don’t understand that freelance writing is a job to those who are serious about writing. Even close family members who I love intensely do not fully understand.

    Anyway, I’m so glad to see you are back! I missed your posts!

    Hope you are having a wonderful day!

    Lisa

  12. Doug Rosbury says:

    Hi, I’m “retired” but I consider “living” to be a” Full time job”. Isn’t it? of course it is,
    So everyone works full time. There’s always something to do. Even lounging in my easy chair is “doing something”. We need an attitude that unifies us all don’t you think?
    “working” is a mental thing really and my mind is always working so I’m always and continually working. There, that should take care of that problem of perception. Know that you are loved and don’t be concerned about short sighted people who have nothing to do
    but criticize busy people. Keep up the good work. tell your friend for me to mind her own “business” She has more to work on than she may realize. —Fond regards—Doug Rosbury

  13. Doug Rosbury says:

    Whoever says “people are rude” Remember this: “rudeness” is a perception. When you
    perceive someone as being rude, remember, you are the one calling them rude, and when
    you do that, you are also judging them. The question I would ask is this: Will you enjoy
    the judgements life will impose on you as one who has pretended to be the judge of another? And remember, you judge another because it makes you feel powerful, correct?
    But that is an illusory power. and what it does is to make you even more powerless, not
    less. When you pretend to judge another, you are actually judging yourself as being
    the same because there is nothing more rude than to judge another as being rude.
    Others are never rude to you. They seem rude simply because you disagree with what they say which, by the way , may well be the truth. —Doug Rosbury

  14. Let me start by saying this isn’t my first visit; I’ve visited before, but forgot to bookmark you and lost the URL. Then I found you again today through a link on someone else’s blog (can’t remember whom). Anyway, you’re now in my bookmarks of blogs I visit every night.

    Okay, now that I have that out of the way I’ll continue. I wanted to say I know just how you feel. In fact, I just posted something similar to this. Check out my post here: http://mistisandefur.blogspot.com/2007/11/its-not-hobby-its-my-job.html

    This is why I’m so thankful for the Internet, because writers can communicate with each other, and it seems we’re the only ones who really understand. πŸ™‚

  15. Craig says:

    There is so much wrong with her attitude. It’s as if people don’t know how many folks work from home and how hard they work.

    Let me share a my pet peeve with you. Couple of years ago I was working as a computer developer. Whenever someone I new had a broken PC they would call me. Now I don’t mind helping my friends out, but when some guy I met once once calls me, after I spent all day sorting out frustrating computer problems. I get grumpy.

  16. Doug Rosbury says:

    When you get grumpy about work or other peoples attitudes, you are being
    untrue to yourself. Be your own friend and for others, understand that like yourself, they have a need to learn that it is possible to be cheerful about life.
    We all have a similar choice. Be cheerful or be a drag on others. We need your support as much as you need ours. Let’s make a pact to be cheerful, for Heavens sake and stop the complaining(!!!!!!) OK(???)—Doug Rosbury

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