So Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal is pretty much a genius. He sold an early social network he coded some years back, so I have no idea if he needs to sit at home creating antisocial quizzes and hilarious webcomics. But, need to or not, he does. Today’s entry is Why Working at Home is both Awesome and Horrible, which certainly resonated with me. I found it because it was posted on a forum for internet professionals which I frequent.
So I read the comic strip below and all the others in the Why Working at Home is both Awesome and Horrible. I started writing about The Oatmeal because I really enjoyed it and felt I should share it with the class. Only then I clicked around it a little bit and got kinda depressed. Given that I probably could organize nude laser tag with lingerie models, what do I have to be depressed about?
First of all, I never really made the decision to totally excise cubicle work from my life. For more than a decade, I did contract work via agencies, in addition to Blue Blood and Blue Blood CBLT contracts. There are honestly, like The Oatmeal says, both awesome and horrible things about being answerable to kinda no one. I enjoyed the variety and doing both sorts of gigs made me appreciate both more. The main agency I worked through was called Aquent. (Well, really they went through a lot of names, in the variety of cities I worked for them in, but they finally settle on Aquent.) I referred a lot of good designers and other sorts of computer people to Aquent over the years. But I referred two too many and Aquent let the last couple I referred get into my personnel file. I was pretty upset when these two gloatingly told me, but, given that one of them was describing the black and white fetish artwork from one of the recruiters’ bedroom walls, I didn’t feel in a position to voice my distress particularly loudly. As near as I can tell, these two job referrals tampered with my file, but I’ll probably never know the truth. Still bothers me.
Secondly, I love leading projects, but I kind of don’t like having other people dependent upon me for their financial well-being. In a bad economy, a person with a cubicle job can tell if they have it or lost it. A person with their own business just has a rough time. If someone is doing bad work, my commitment to making a project the best it can be makes me okay with removing them. But I feel intensely horrible if, in that situation, someone lays how bad their life is on me. Flava Flav’s got problems of his own.
Most of all, I realized that I couldn’t just sit there and read the entire Oatmeal web site. My friends and comrades with corporate and government jobs are always asking me which links are safe for work. Safe for work? How is reading webcomics appropriate at work at all, at a job with nothing whatsoever to do with webcomics or even viral marketing or any related field?
So, although I have played laser tag in some pretty skimpy outfits myself, sometimes I wish I could just collect a paycheck like people with cubicle jobs. They have to get up to alarm clocks and work under fluorescent lighting and get hairstyles they might not prefer, but they get paid whether or not they do anything useful at all. Okay, I’d probably find that would wear thin after six weeks or so, but that’s why I used to do short term contract work. Right now, I just feel like reading the rest of The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman.
Also, if I had a dumptruck of lingerie models gearing up to play nude laser tag, it would probably be work. And sometimes work becomes work, no matter whether it includes nude laser tag or not. Then again, my friends and comrades getting paid to sit in a cube and read BlueBlood.net right now probably think it would be fun to go to nude laser tag instead. For about six weeks.
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