office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fear & the iphone

It's done. I'm doomed. I did it.

Ever since starting my new job I have had permission to purchase an iphone (smart phone) to help me do my job. While this was exciting and very liberating to think about...I will show you the number one reason why I was full of fear at the thought of making a change like this:

This is my old phone, a Nokia 'music phone' that's supposed have a decent amount of storage for mp3's, etc. Notice, the strip of exposed wiring to the left of the screen. This was where my 'play/pause/fwd' keys once lived. Fortunately, I've only been without that panel for about 4 months and I haven't been shocked or electrocuted just yet.

This phone did what I needed it to do, send/receive phone calls and text messages. I also played the occasional game of Guitar Hero. After seeing this embarassing excuse for a phone, you can probably understand why I was more than a little afraid to walk into the Apple Store yesterday and trade in my sturdy and heavily abused Nokia.

However, after about two hours of playing with my shiny new miracle of technology, setting up an itunes account (yes, I'm a bit behind the times), and downloading free apps...I am no longer afraid! I have completely embraced the new 'phone' (I don't think the word phone really does it's a camera, computer, ipod, PDA, and probably lots of other things I haven't figured out yet).

The only thing I'm afraid of now is scratching it, dropping it, or losing it.  

This is not Jake.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cash Flow

I am always thankful when 'Pay Day Friday' rolls around, it gives our bank account a little extra room to breath, even though we've got the same bills to pay at the same time each month. God, in his infinite wisdom, matched me up with an incredible husband who is also an incredible saver. The past few years have been heavily focussed on socking away savings to minimize the amount of debt we'd have to acrrue while he is in school. It has been a huge blessing to learn how to practice the discipline of financial planning with Jake, but also to have the cash flow to do so!

Now that I am werking from home, it's a lot easier for me to reflect on ways I might have used our 'cash flow' diffrently when I was werking in the Land of Cubicles. A coffee date here, lunch out with friends there, drinks after werk on occasion. All of these are great opportunities to indulge in my love of eating out and my love of people! Very often, stewardship of our cash flow would take bottom priority when these opportunities presented themselves to me. (Very much the way the Starbucks on the corner of Garden of the Gods Rd. and Cenntenial Blvd. presented itself to me 1...2...3 times a week!).

My venti skinny Vanilla Latte was a comforting reward for long hours at the end of a productive week. There's nothing like the feeling of starting an 8am meeting, Starbucks in hand. Perhaps Starbucks is to me, what shoulder pads and power suits were to women in the 90's?!
As the.homewerker, I brew my own coffee every morning, make banana nut muffins from scratch sometimes, and pour my own glass of Malbec on occasion at the end of the work day. Perhaps werking from home will tighten up that leaky faucet in our cash flow, otherwise known as "Jill's non-budgeted budget".

I've also cut down on the number of miles I put on our car each week, gallons of gas consumed, and I'm guessing we might even be able to write a decent amount of expenses off in our taxes next year. As far as my company is concerned, when looking at the DBE (Distributed Building Expense) for having me in a cube vs. having me as the.homewerker, the.homewerker looks a lot better on paper!

So far, I think I've engaged in a win-win situation...although I did just discover a coffee shop a few blocks from our home that makes a mean mocha picante (i think there's cinnamon infused cocoa in it!)...perhaps we'll reserve that for special occasions when I need a break from home office.

Have a wonderful weekend, may the rest of your werk week go quickly, end with a smooth commute, and a relaxing Friday night!

For you Starbucks lovers out there, consider this before you impact your cash flow...and your stomach...with this novel size...the Trenta!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make Room!

Ever since we relocated to Denver a little over three months ago, I have claimed the guest bedroom as my future office, and have turned it into a dumping ground for boxes from my old office...and pretty much anything else random that is lying around the house without a home.

I work best under pressure, so when the Pottery Barn delivery guy called yesterday to arrange for the in-home delivery of my new desk and cabinets, I figured it was time to make some room!

So far I have worked my way through four boxes of work samples, mementos, and supplies. I even managed to throw some stuff away! The biggest obstacle to getting the room set for my new furniture is still that gigantic printing genius sitting it's 117 lb. self in the exact spot I am hoping my new desk will go. (Insert helpful hubby, here.)

Goodbye backache from the card table I've been sitting at! So long disorganized stack of papers that has been migrating between my briefcase and the card table for the past month! Hello beautiful brand new furniture and all of the organizational saavy you will bring to my life. I have been waiting for you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 4pm sugar slump.

Sad but true: I am the girl who used to used to count her favorite candy to fall asleep, instead of sheep. I am also the girl who gave up any form of refined sugar for 2 whole years. Right now, I am the girl who just wants to take a nap because it's almost 4pm and my body is busy digesting the chinese food I ate for the couch across the room looks super cozy...

Do you have that certain time of day, especially at werk, when you just know that you have two choices: slump or cave? Slump=tick off the remaining hour or two of your day in a drowsy haze tucked quiety inside of your cube. Cave= scavenge, forage, hunt for any scrap of sugar, chocolate or caffiene that may have been haphazardly left around the office. Just CAVE in and go for it, it will get you through the rest of this crazy day!

I have taken many approaches to this slump or cave dilemma. During my sugar free years, I was the least likely visitor to the calorie counter (my poor assistant's desk which gathered all unwanted/free-for-the-taking sweets/treats). During my sugar-FUL years, I was (and still can be) quite a monster!

I was known to keep a bag of Dove chocolates in my drawer, an artillery ready and waiting to shoot me through those slumpy afternoons. Unfortunately, these Dove chocolates with their clever wrapper quotes are easy to eat and lose count of, and definitely stick to the hips!

To any young girl new to the werkforce or Land of Cubicles, if you want to keep your figure, be sure you are stashing carrots, whole grain crackers, and fruit in your drawer to help you through any anticipated slump. Also, don't give in and partake of every delectable day-old dessert your co.werkers bring to the office since they 'didn't want it lying around at home'. That's code for, 'I knew you'd snarf it down and consume the extra calories for me!'. There's my public service announcement of the day.

As for me, I'm on a three day exercise streak with the dog, so I'm going to make it four and walk away from the kitchen, and the couch. I guess the third option instead of, slump or cave, could be RUN!

Here's a question for you my dear co.werkers, how do you handle the slump/cave/run complex when it rears it's nasty head? Go ahead and comment! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lunch Break

The concept of a 'lunch break' has morphed for me through the years and the different positions I've held. At some jobs, it's been an instituted time when everyone on the team sits down around a table and consumes whatever meal they've bought/brought for the day. It's a conscious break in the day, whether or not you particularly enjoy the people you are attempting to make polite conversation with.

At other jobs, it's been a slice of 30-60 minutes where I can choose to eat/work at the same time so I can get out a bit earlier...i.e., fun from the building screaming to the comfort of my home or happy hour with girlfriends.

At the Land of Cubicles, my lunch break really depended on a variety of things: 1)if I had made plans with someone (which tended to shoot holes in our monthly budget due to excessive eating out...sorry Jake). 2)if I had a meeting over the traditional lunch hour, in which case I would snarf my leftovers down before the meeting or wait until after if my blood sugar level could handle the agony. 3)March down to the cafe with my team mates who were free and try desperately to make conversation about anything besides what we had in common at werk. After all, it's a lunch BREAK, right?

I have also LOVED not having to scoop up smelly, refrigerated leftovers into tupperware the morning before werk, just so I don't even have the option of saying "I didn't bring anything today, so I need to go buy lunch". The smell of enchiladas or the look of cold beef stroganoff  at 7am didn't always make me look forward to my lunch break!

Now that I am werking from home, most days my lunch break is a combination of a finishing off the pot of coffee from the morning, trying to decide if I want to eat cereal, leftovers, or just make something from scratch. This can happen any time between the hours of 11am and 2pm, depending on my schedule of conference calls, appetite, or general availability of tempting food in the house.

It's not so much a conscious break, as much as it is just 'lunch'. I also love that we go through our set of dishes on a regular basis now that I am eating my meals at home instead of scooping them out of the tupperware containers that used to dominate our countertops a day or two longer than necessary (sorry again, Jake!).

What's on the menu today? Probably some leftover Cuban Braised Beef with chips and salsa. On a real plate, eaten with a real fork and knife. There's just something civilized about werking from home. :)

Try this recipe, it's awesome, and easy to throw in the crock pot while you are gone at werk!:
 Cuban Braised Beef in the Slow Cooker!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Internet

This is my ode to the internet, as I truly believe this wonderful creation is the primary reason for my existence as 'the.homewerker'. We had some friends over for dinner the other night, and our land line rang, and I think it honestly scared all 5 of us! My friend's husband is on the more reserved side, and he was apparently so taken aback by the sound of 'ringing' that he jumped, laughed, and asked, "What IS THAT??". Well my dear friend, that's a little piece of history known as a land line, and no, I have not figured out how to keep it in my pocket with the ring tone set to vibrate.

This made me think back to the early days of the internet in the Ridder house, and that lovely static/piercing ring of the dial-up connection, taking your only phone line captive for as long as the internet user chose to peruse things like 'AOL' instant messenger, and this new site called 'google' that was occasionally used when I needed to cite at least one source from the internet for my high school research projects. (How annoying!?)

I also remember sitting on the ground next the family computer, waiting very impatiently for my sister to hurry up and end her conversations on AIM. Seriously, someone might be trying to call the house, or better yet, IT'S MY TURN. :) Love you, Sis.

I don't quite remember exactly when the internet exploded, and became this living, breathing, non-negotiable resource, communication method, or vital part of our society. It was probably at some point in college (2002-2005) for me, and then Facebook was opened up to my college during Junior year...and I believe I have probably been dialed-up, connected, plugged-in, every day since.

Between lightning speed emails, 'messenger' programs, blogs, social media, and search engines, I truly believe I am a smarter and more connected person. The pace of knowledge is set to 'instant gratification' as long as you have access to google, and the ability to be connected with people across ten, hundreds, and thousands of miles is just assumed. Why not skype with your friends in Minnesota or China, have a conference call that spans oceans and continents, or hire vendors in other countries?

Really, 'the world is flat' (and I keep meaning to read this book), for those of us who have technology at our fingertips. My werkplace is flat, because of my wi-fi connection and telephone. My relationships are global, because it's easy and a lot more interesting that way. So thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the's because of your genius that I can werk from the comfort of my home, neighborhood coffee shop, or wherever my smartphone takes me.

Paranoid disclaimer: on a personal level, it's really a beautiful thing to completely unplug on a regular basis. Stop staring at those screens, obsessively checking your email, and just give it a rest. I do secretly fear what the constant exposure to screens is doing to my eye sight, what sitting in a chair is doing to my spine and overall health, and what being exposed to 'wireless frequencies' is doing to my cells....while my 'ode to the internet' is largely positive in this blog post, it's mostly because it's a means to an end for this season of my life....but  I know this lifestyle is not necessarily how my body was created to be used on a regular basis. hopefully some day I can strike a healthy balance!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pet Friendly Work Environments

I am a dog lover.

I cry when the ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlin comes on TV, I want to adopt/foster/babysit dogs more than I ever wanted to for kids. I will even run a 5k if it benefits the local humane society. I am not a runner, but I am a dog lover.

A few years ago, I was pretty far into the interview process for a marketing position at the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis. A career in the arts, at the brand new architectural marvel in the Mill District? I was pretty much jumping out of my skin at the prospect. And then I think I actually did jump out of my skin when I was taken through their office space and saw that almost every employee had a baby gate on their office door and a cute little pup curled up on the floor inside.

This was a place where it was encouraged that you bring your well behaved dog to work! I'd heard of these places, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever come this close to one. It was like the unicorn of work environments.

3 years later, 2 jobs later, and I am finally in my own 'pet friendly work environment'. While we were looking for a new place to live in Denver, our #1 criteria was a fenced in backyard. We brought Lexi into our family while we were living in Colorado Springs, and without exaggerating, she is an active dog. Our townhouse set up with a tie-out lead out back was definitely not the best situation for her, and this found us on at least 3-5 miles of walks with her every day, just to get her tired enough to lay low in the evenings.

We now have the fenced in backyard, of which she is Queen. It's so fun to watch her relax out back, get amped up about squirrels, and 'do the polar bear' in the snow.

So far, having Lexi around during my werk day has been wonderful. She keeps me company, helps me get out of the house on walks, and even keeps my feet warm if I'm lucky. The only downside is that we might own the MOST talkative golden retriever since the beginning of time, and she occasionally likes to jump on conference calls or 'tackle-hump' me while I'm on the phone (she gets a running start and ends up in a hump on my leg while I am in the middle saving the world's children, one marketing campaign at a time). Many of my co-workers are aware of Miss Lexi due to these nasty habits, and most think it's funny, but most days, I do not.

We are working on her manners, and trying to help her understand that being on the phone is not the signal to start moaning, growling, or tackle-humping. If that's the worst I have to deal with, I'll take it! She smiles more than any co.werker I've ever had, and she's definitely a welcomed addition to the.homewerker's office.
(Lexi, about 10 weeks old, napping on my boots)

(Lexi, feeling 'guilty' about being caught on the couch)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Happy Hump Day, co.werkers!

Hopefully this Wednesday finds you feeling like the weekend is super close and coming fast, instead of far away and out of reach. Don't worry, Friday is coming, it always does. And while it might be pay-day Friday for some of you lucky ones, for me, it is RECYCLING Friday!! After spending 2.5 years in Colorado Springs where the city didn't offer recycling, I get super excited about dragging my bright purple recycling bin out to the street every other Friday.

Happy Friday, Mother Earth. -Love- The City of Denver.

Ok, back to the topic I am wanting to write about today: multi-tasking. Some of you might feel as though this is a dirty four syllable word that haunts you and causes your cortisol levels to rise. Or, you might be in the strangely energized group who feels as though you simply aren't 'living up to your potential' if you aren't driving your car, drinking coffee, putting on makeup, and checking emails at the same time.

For me, my multi-tasking abilities have always been severely compartmentalized. Perhaps it's because I spend so much time living in the right side of my brain, I just tune the rest of logical world out. My favorite Painting Professor once asked me if I knew why my time in the studio always flew by. I had noticed that 'special effect' but thought maybe it was just the paint thinner getting to me. He said it's because I was so actively engaged with my right brain that things like time and schedules simply slipped away. LOVE IT.

Unfortunately, this also happens when I am in a creative upswing, I am so focussed on the thoughts flooding out of my brain I often honestly don't hear people speaking to me, and I definitely cannot move from one physical task to another without completely losing my train of thought.

In the Land of Cubicles, let's just say, I compartmentalized all multi-tasking capabilities I've ever had, into my project management skills. Answering 200 emails,  leading at least 5+ meetings with at least 10+ people in the room or on the phone, and knowing exactly what was happening with each of my projects at the same time...I rocked it. I thrived on it, it made me feel productive.

Those wicked multi-tasking abilities have gotten me decently far in my chronologically short career path, and now I am in a role where I have had to kind of de-program some of that 'multi-tasking=productivity' mentality. I truly believe that one well laid out email or timely phone call could take the place of 200 of my emails in my last position. Instead of measuring my success by the number of people I have kept in the loop and the number of deadlines I have hit, I am now trying to understand the concept of 'customer delight' and what I can do to engage constituents on a deeper and more relational level with my organization.

Talk about innovation and creativity, you might as well just put the paint brush back in my hand because my right brain is now going through boot camp! I am sure my multi-tasking skills will morph as I get further into this new position. So there will definitely be more on this topic in the future.

Time to change the laundry.
(photo borrowed from image)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace environment to fit the user. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.
I have had many different work environments over the past few years. One of the most notable would be the summer I spent working for an engineering/construction company in their equipment yard. The guys there referred to themselves as the 'Yard Dogs', so naturally that left me and the only other woman there to be the female version of that adorable little nickname. My 'office' was located in the breakroom, and my first task was to find my desk. No joke. After 3 hours of clearing off old phone books and parts catalogs, I uncovered a layer of mousepoop and grease so thick I probably went through at least 2 rolls of paper towels. Let's just say the fresh soft pretzels one of the guys brought up from Philly every Friday morning were the hi-light of my week. That, and being the first person to ever drive brand new F-150's to different job sites was also pretty sweet.

My first job out of college found me hunched over an old desk on a 30 year old office chair in the same room as our office server, in the 3rd bedroom of a 100 year old house.   After going slightly deaf from the noise of the server, and turning into a bit of a hunchback after only 4 days of work at the ripe old age of 23, I knew this could not be a long term position for me. That, and the putrid smell that wafted through the entire upstairs after the boss's post-lunch squat combined with the berry scented air freshener was enough to drive a girl 100mph down the PA-Turnpike, windows down, in the middle of January.

On to bigger and better things, I started work at the Newspaper, and instantly developed a habit of sneezing every 45 minutes. While the cube space was probably outdated by about 20 years, I at least was sitting close enough to some windows that some natural light would occasionally peek over the top of my cube.! Once I learned that the entire first floor of the building I was working in used to be the press room floor, and that decades of ink and oil saturated the floor beneath me, I suddenly began to understand the cause of my 45-minute sneezes, and knew I had to get out of there. (That and surviving 4 rounds of corporate lay-off's doesn't really entice you to stick around for the long haul).

Enter the most recent Land of Cubicles. My cube was beautiful, really. I was only one row away from wall-to-wall windows, my cube had a trendy burnt orange and grey color scheme with ginko patterned fabric, and my desktop was adjusted for my height, and my tush received the pleasure of knowing exactly how comfortable Herman Miller chairs actually are. I even had a conference table and two chairs for visitors (or what some might call 'drive-by' meetings!). Every time I moved cubes, I had an ergonomics consultant come in and make sure I was fitting into my environment properly, it was truly a thing of beauty.

As I type this from my kitchen/card table and my tush is going numb as I hunch over my computer, yes, there are times I miss my Herman Miller chair. not fear...another Herman Miller chair is on it's way to my office, as well as my Pottery Barn office furniture. The days of the card table office will soon be behind me, and I think I might have the sweetest office environment in my short professional history. Heck, I could even out-do the laws of the Land of Cubicles and have plants or a fish at my, or even burn a scented candle. Now there's an idea...

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Monday and Happy Valentine's Day (for those of you who observe the holiday)'s so good to be back home! The past week I was in 4 all day meetings, with a few dinner meetings thrown in to the mix down at Headquarters/the Land of Cubicles. Since the Land of Cubicles is at least an hour from my house, I decided to play the role of 'the girl on the couch' and crash wherever I was welcome for a few days. This actually worked out really well, I got to catch up with a great friend who unnecessarily gave me her plush Queen size bed for two nights, and the second two nights I crashed with my parents at their hotel as they were in town for some meetings, too. I soaked up every minute of quality time that I had, and it was awesome!

So, let's just say that this past week, I realized that I am an undeniable extrovert. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be 'the homewerker' and an extrovert at the same time. That is why this past week was, meeting new co.werkers, catching up with old co.werkers, and talking with others about everything from whether or not I should go with the iphone4 on Verizon or AT&T to engaging in heavy debate about a new marketing campaign being pushed down from a corporate level. I left feeling energized about my job and the organization that I work for, and excited to deepen the new friendships that have just begun. (Seriously, I love my job).

Insert reality check, it's Monday morning, I just rolled out of bed, I am on my second cup of coffee and I have already let the dog out 3 times. The house is bathed in that 'early morning quiet' while I scroll through emails that have landed in my inbox over the weekend. And yes, of course I am still in my pajamas! (I learned from a few other co.werkers who also werk from home that they only change out of their pj's when it's time to make dinner...)

I think I am going to love this balance of having the space and quiet to really think about my werk, prepare dinner, keep laundry going, hop on conference calls, and manhandle emails all at the same time. It's a good thing that I'm not too far from the Land of Cubicles, however, because some really special people werk there and I know I would miss them if I saw them any less.

Now to get this beast figured out...anyone know how to set your printer up to be wireless?? 117 lbs of pure printing genius sitting in my guest bedroom, and right now, I'm a little scared of it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why work sucks and how to fix it.

No schedules, no meetings, no joke-- the simple change that can make your job terrific.

The title of this blog and that first sentence is the title and lead-in to a book, written by two lovely Minnesotan women, who are pioneering the Results Only Work Environment methodology (ROWE) or movement...and I just spent all a mandatory meeting...learning about why this is the direction my company should or is going. Ironic? Maybe just a little.

First things first, working for a conservative Christian organization, headquartered in Colorado Springs, and led largely by a group of white male boomers, these sassy ladies from MN didn't exactly win the hearts of everyone in the audience. However, they provoked a lot of interesting thoughts and discussions, which will do nothing but further the cause of the ROWE.

I'm already considered a 'regional' employee by my company's standards, which is basically everything from the traditional concept of home office and telecommuting, to the more progressive concept of ROWE where your work and life a balanced and happy with each other. I'm not totally sold on ROWE for myself, because I don't like the concept of being on call 24/7 (as long as my actions are producing results). I just really like shutting my computer at the end of an 8-5 day, and not having to check in or answer work calls on the weekends. And, my dearest co.werkers, up until this point in my life, I think I have managed this make this approach/work ethic/whatever you call it, work for me.

I mean, happy hour in the middle of the day sure could be nice at times, or even not setting an alarm on Monday morning if I don't need to be 'producing results', but seriously people...the trade off of also being expected to answer emails, calls, and possibly even attend meetings on my sacred weekend and holidays or during off hours...I don't know how much my concrete sequential mind can handle right now.

So, first things first, I should probably actually read the book. While I have welcomed 'werking from home' into my life, I am not totally sold on ROWEING from home just yet.

NOW it's time for happy hour and yummy dinner with a wonderful friend...more thoughts from the homewerker later.


Monday, February 7, 2011


Happy Monday, co.werkers! Regardless of the team you were rooting for in the Superbowl last night, I hope you all enjoyed the 6,000 calories estimated to be consumed by most Americans, as well as that adorable VW commercial with the mini-Darth Vader appearance. Least favorite on the Superbowl commercial list for me? The tacky and insensitive Groupon commercial that had no shame about exploiting the poverty of the Tibetan people for a good deal on their food. Boo!!! (stepping off my soapbox.........)

As I enter my 4th consecutive week of being a homewerker, I am also slightly dreading this week. Not necessarily because of the 5-10 inches of snow that is supposed to arrive along the entire front range tonight, but more so, because of the three all-day meetings, plus dinner meetings, I have lined up in Colorado Springs. While I know I will be thankful for my 4-wheel drive vehicle and being able to crash on the couches and spare beds of people of love, I am not super excited about the following things:

1. Spending 4 nights away from Jake and Lexi, and the creature comforts of being in my own home.
2.Planning 4 consecutive days of professional work attire before I leave...chenille track suit and jeggings will likely not make the cut. How in the world did I do this everyday?
3. I am a bundle of nerves, as I head into a long week, surrounded by highly motivated and energized coworkers, who are also mostly extroverts. While this is definitely one of my favorite parts about working where I do (the people), I'm working with a new crew now so I'm slightly intimidated, although I know I'll come through it with 50 new bff's. I hope!

Now I hope you'll join me in sending up a quick prayer that the boss approves a hotel room in the Springs for me tonight so that I don't have to drive through 5-10 inches of snow tomorrow morning! White knuckle drive with your morning coffee? No thank you!

(I have been finding these nationwide weather maps slightly amusing lately...check out all that blue!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Land Line.

It's official, I now have a land line hooked up at our house. I was trying to remember the last time I had purchased a land line phone and actually paid for service, and I realized that outside of my college dorm room, I have NEVER done this before! There's a first time for everything, right?

I braved the 3 inches of 'paralyzing snow' that fell in Denver yesterday (they literally had to shut parts of 1-25 down), and headed to Best Buy to select the right phone system for my office. Hidden in the back of the store, right next to the microwaves and vacuum cleaners (all of the other products you never knew you could buy there!) were the regular old phones.Since I had about 3-4 options to choose from that met my needs (a cordless phone, with an extra handset for another location in your house, as well as a hands free headset), it took me all of 5 minutes to pick the one I, I tend to be an impulse shopper. Guilty.

The very first call I received on my new phone was a guy from ADT, the conversation went something like this:
Spammer:"Hi m'am, how are you today?"
homewerker""Fine, how are you?" (tone of voice: anxious, a little angry, and ready to hang up)
Spammer: "Please don't be concerned, m'am, I am not trying to sell you anything. I work in the promotions department for ADT!"
homewerker: (inside voice, "OF COURSE YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL ME SOMETHING")

The rest of the conversation is just as interesting as what I just typed, so I promptly hung up the phone and went  to the 'National Do Not Call Registry" website and registered all three of my new phone numbers. Sheesh, the phone line was active for less than 24 hours and already I got hit up by Mr. Spam-a-lot.

Well, the tunes of Jeff Buckley singing 'Hallelujah' are calling me away on Pandora...more thoughts on the land line to come, I'm sure. Happy Casual Friday to all of you workin' stiffs who have the pleasure of visiting the Land of Cubicles on a regular basis. May your Levis keep you casual and comfy today. In case you forgot, this is how to rock 'business casual Fridays':

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Back when I worked in the Land of Cubicles, I was fairly aware of the environment or atmosphere that I was working in. Normally, I was more aware of noises or people or smells that were 'out of place', and if none of those popped up, I was lulled into focussed concentration by the white noise pumped into the office at a carefully controlled decibel by our facilities team.

You think I'm kidding? Have you ever been on an airplane when they turn the fans or air circulation off for a minute or two, and did you feel like your ears are going to explode because of this new found deafening silence? I have been in the Land of Cubicles after hours when the white noise was turned off, and it was like the world stopped spinning...until I realized what happened.

So, what is the atmosphere like in my home office? Let's see, today, the air is filled with smoky sweet smells of elk jerky cooking in the food dehydrator (Jake's hobby of the day), music from my Ray LaMontagne Pandora station (which Jake just handed me headphones for...subtle hint?), and the sounds of neighborhood dogs barking...with Lexi occasionally in the mix. Another regular occurance is the SLAM of our metal mailbox on the side of our house whenever the mail-person (gender inclusive, yes), decided to VIOLENTLY drop our mail off. Perhaps I should leave a little note on the box, 'Quiet Please: the homewerker is in residence'?

I'm just thankful that when I burn popcorn I don't have to shuffle out to the parking lot with 900 of my closest colleagues so the fire department can check the building. I'm also thankful I don't have to clip on my badge every day that says, yes, I belong here and I am ALLOWED to be here. No, I don't need an escort to the front door.

Time for true confessions. In the Land of Cubicles, I always secretly wanted one of those silly rear-view mirrors for my computer, so I could see who was sneaking up behind me in my cube ("Of course I was looking at Facebook for WORK!"). I never caved, because I kind of thought they had a slight connotation of 'office creeper', but my dear co.werkers, I now no longer have to even pretend that I want one of those. The only rear-view mirror in my life now is on my Jeep, and it is only used for getting out of my driveway and heading into the wonderful world of cozy coffee shops with free wi-fi.

Elk jerky, anyone?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

participating in the day: redefined.

i am working really hard to get over my nasty habit of getting up before 7am every day, brushing my teeth, showering, putting on makeup, doing my hair, and then jumping into a snappy outfit that says "I am young, cute, AND professional".

ok, just kidding.

while I have done all of those things religiously for the past 6 years, which is something I referred to in college as 'participating in the day', I think I have successfully kicked this habit. Well my dear co.werkers, it only took me one week to purchase my very first chenille track suit...and I LOVE IT.

I bought one in dark gray, but now, stick with me here, maybe I need one color for every day of the week? Genius, no?!

the hardest part of working from home and following my strict dress code has basically been figuring out when to change out of my pajamas into my other more comfortable clothes. gross, right? I get up, hop on email at 8am, and just kind of get sucked into my morning coffee, calls and emails without remembering that I'm still in my PJ's. Personal hygiene goal for this next week: change out of PJ's and into work clothes before 10am.

also, I am now testing out how many days a week I actually need to wash my hair, and I am already calculating how much stinkin' money I'm going to save on makeup...since I lacquer it on only a few days a week now. don't worry too much, I'm not totally letting myself go...just gettin' back to the basics.
 so far, Lexi (my golden retriever), and Jake (my husband) don't seem to mind!

homewerker, defined.

Let me clarify one thing, this is a blog about working from home. title caught your eye though, didn't it? (no, this is not about a home 'wrecker').

Recently, I transitioned into a new role at my company and I am now set up with a home office. Well, currently I am working on an old Dell laptop, on a card table in my kitchen, with some minor back pain...ergonomically correct chair and big-girl office furniture is soon to come. Thank goodness!

So while I wait for my upgraded gear to arrive, and excitedly pick out which colorful office supplies to procure for myself, I thought it might be an excellent time to kick start this blog. I am a right-brained, extroverted, twenty-something with a need to do a brain dump every once in a while...which will hopefully serve to entertain you as I make my maiden voyage into the world of working from home.

I welcome any feedback/comments/suggestions, sign up and be my 'co.werker' and follow along!

One of my favorite work related pictures to date: on a project in the UK, working late at night from the hotel lobby. beautiful, isn't it?