My dentist's office just called to remind me of my appointment tomorrow. When the phone rang, I thought "Aha, that's the dentist's office calling to remind me of my appointment tomorrow." (Some may be impressed by my display of mental acuity, but those who know me well already understand that I have no life and things like dental appointments are easier to track).
My phone is not entirely my own, however, because I work from home and there was a chance it was a hotel calling me back. So I opted to use my "professional" phone greeting when I answered. "Hello, this is Kathy," I said in my best professional-phone voice.
I first hit upon "Hello, this is Kathy" when I worked for Alexandria Digital Literature. I was the Content Editor, a position I held for five years, and I worked from home. Since I worked from home, I knew I was going to have to field business-related phone calls at home, and I wanted to sound professional when I answered. I balked at answering the phone "Alexandria Digital Literature," however, and not just because it's a mouthful. What if it was somebody calling me, and not the business? Would they get confused? Would they hang up?
So I decided on "Hello, this is Kathy." It sounds professional (at least, it does the way I say it), and at the same time it reassures people calling me as an individual that, yes, they called the right number. I answered my phone "Hello, this is Kathy" pretty much day and night for the five years I worked for AlexLit, because it's one of those nutty Internet companies and you never can tell whether something is a business call or not. Well, you can't if you don't have Caller ID, which I don't.
After I left AlexLit, I got out of the "Hello, this is Kathy" habit (much to the relief of my friends and family, I'm sure), but now I'm working from home again (for Expedia this time), so I've dusted off the greeting and now use it during business hours.
None of this is apropos to anything, really, except that the dentist's office called while I was setting up my brand-spankin'-new Blog and I thought that "Hello, this is Kathy" would be a good title for a first post.
I have inadvertently stumbled upon a topic, though, which is Working from Home, so let's go with that for a while. It's weird, working from home. I've done it for some years, and honestly I'm to the point now where going to work in an actual office, with other people, would be a pleasant change of pace. I know that's hard to believe, so when I tell people I work from home, and they say, "Oh, you lucky thing" (or words to that effect), I try not to burst their bubble by talking about the downside.
For me, the main downside is the isolation. I'm single and have no roommates, which means I have a nice, quiet work environment. It also means that, unless I plan my week carefully, I can go for literally days without having face-to-face contact with another human being. On top of that, I'm shy and have trouble making new friends, so without the enforced socialization of a shared office, I wind up without a lot of human contact. If I weren't so interested in role-playing games, I'd probably be a creepy recluse by now. As it is, I'm just a creepy RPG geek.
There are other downsides, too, but they're mostly annoyances stemming from the fact that there's no little box to check. By "little box", I'm of course referring to forms and paperwork and routine questionnaires that get asked by banks and credit card companies and the government and various other people to whom we have to prove we're worthy citizens. They ask a simple question like "where do you work?" and all heck breaks loose. I explain, the person on the other end looks in vain for a little box to check, I explain again, they suggest a different little box that is very inaccurate, I explain again, they suggest another little box, and so on. How much human misery, I wonder, can be attributed to little boxes?
There are, of course, nice things about working from home. My car is 10 years old and has 80,000 miles on it. I've driven to Los Angeles and back at least five times (at about 2300 miles per round trip), plus taken other, shorter trips. It's amazing how little mileage you rack up when you don't commute. Or maybe it isn't so amazing; I don't know. I set my own schedule, which allows me to schedule "fun" things pretty much anytime as long as I make up the hours elsewhere. I can buy groceries and stamps in the middle of the day, and when my dentist or my hairdresser asks, "when's a good time for you?" I can say "whenever."
Still, I'm ready to work in an office again. With the economy in the shape it's in, though, I'm glad to take what I can get--which right now means working from home.
Hello, this is Kathy. Welcome to my Blog.