There is something true about the saying that when you start off on a bad foot, you would end in one too. The week started off with a rant, and it seems to end with one too but this time I am not throwing an unreasonable tantrum.
I am a work-from-home woman. I have been working from home for the past 18 years of my life. Working from home comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are pretty obvious, the main disadvantage is that you need discipline in order to work from home, and while I do have bad days (like all of this week has been with respect to work discipline), I have developed a certain routine to follow. All that’s fine and dandy.
A rather under-estimated disadvantage that people who have never worked from home are not aware of is the perception of other people about your nature of work. While my immediate family and my birth family has always understood my WFH dynamics, it is never so with outsiders. In the initial years of my WFH life, I struggled to make my extended family-by-marriage understand that week day mornings are MINE to work, and I don’t appreciate insurgence. I don’t think they get it, and even now, some of my relatives don’t understand why I get cranky when I am invited for a Mangali pondugal or I don’t know, to take vethalai paakku for some Tuesday or Friday, or get visited bang in the middle of a weekday morning. It really bothers me because when people work at an office, their excuse of “I have to go to office” is accepted better than when I say it, because hell, I am home all the time…what could I possibly be doing?
I have somewhat come to terms with the fact that the oldies would not understand the concept of “WFH”. And the oldies have come to understand the concept of although-we-have-no-idea-what-LG-does-she-is-a-cranky-bitch-during-the-week; I am really not, if you knew me in person (and not from the rants in my blog), you’d know I am a very pleasant (bordering meek) person. In India, even a polite “no” is often taken as “HELL no”.
The reason for this rant is this: I am busy trying to work this morning, and my phone rings continuously, eight times. The car mechanic who was supposed to pick up my car for servicing tomorrow, calls me four times in a row, and a friend (?!) calls me four times, all in a matter of two minutes. WTH? When someone does not pick the phone, isn’t it polite to just hold off and call back a little later? While the car mechanic has nothing to do with me, and would probably not know how bitchy LG can be when disturbed from work, what bothers me is the friend. This is not the first time she has called in the morning and not been answered. I have even told her that mornings are when I work, and I prefer that she send me a message or email during the day. Yet, she calls me every time – sometimes it is to ask me if I got the message she sent me. Seriously.
The truth is that I don’t even like talking on the phone unless it is for information or emergency. When people ask me for my phone number, if I choose to give it to them, I always accompany it with “I don’t like talking on the phone…can you email/message me instead?” I get it that people find it easier to talk on the phone, but I think it is enormous insurgence into my private time. I never talk to people without first ascertaining with them if it is a good time to talk – either in person or on phone. I think I deserve the same treatment. A phone ringing when you are busy trying to frame a sentence that describes a difficult concept can set you back by hours. The irony was that this friend, after calling three times, disrupting my train of thought, sends me a message that “she has work to do now and will call me later”. That’s when I lost it. Yes, I could switch off the phone, or put it on silence, but I don’t like doing that because my immediate family is full of oldies and I am always expecting emergencies.
The train of thought has left the station and now I have to sprint behind it and catch up if I need to complete this difficult document today.