New Economy. New Rules. New Social Arrangements.
August 6, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Yes, I'm Home. No, I Can't Pick Up Your Child. 'Diane Fitzpatrick works from home. To certain friends, neighbors and community groups, that means she's available. Ms. Fitzpatrick, a Jupiter, Fla., blogger and freelance writer, finds that PTAs, church groups and charities zero in on people like her—those who don't work in an office. "You're expected to pull the weight of all the people who can't," she says. "It's as if I have to explain what I do all day." A veteran stay-at-home mom who has been saddled with looking after the kids of working parents, Ms. Fitzpatrick says that at times she has felt like "the doormat of the neighborhood."'

'The pool of people who are at home today—because they're unemployed, retired, have telecommuting jobs, or are stay-at-home caregivers—keeps getting larger. About 35 million people work predominantly from home, compared with about 20 million in 2000, according to The Telework Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate hovers above 9%, and more than seven million Americans have been out of work at least six months.

To those who leave their neighborhoods to work, stay-at-homers look like easy marks for all kinds of requests: car pooling, errand-running, church-volunteering, school-committee-leading, and being the go-to neighbor for every UPS delivery. This being August, it's high season for high-powered office workers to go on vacation, leaving the at-homers to take in mail, walk dogs and water plants.'

'But now, thanks in part to the Internet, a doormat rebellion is under way.'
posted by VikingSword (65 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
$20 an hour per child, starting from the phone call.
posted by edgeways at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2010 [20 favorites]


Don't need the Internet or doormat rebellion to use the two letter word called "No"
posted by storybored at 1:01 PM on August 6, 2010 [21 favorites]


Pushovers Act Surprised They're Pushed Over.
posted by ao4047 at 1:01 PM on August 6, 2010 [35 favorites]


I worked from home for a year. I can't imagine any of my friends asking me to do crap like this for any reason other than an actual emergency.

Methinks there are some friend power dynamic issues going on here that have nothing to do with the working-from-home bit.
posted by gurple at 1:02 PM on August 6, 2010 [15 favorites]


I work from home and I've never had this problem.

(What's that honey? You need me to watch the kid for a few minutes? Oh, ok.)
posted by rouftop at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2010


It's all about setting boundaries and sticking to them. I work from home regularly and had to make it very clear to friends and family that this didn't meant I could do favours or go out for two hour lunches.
posted by Calzephyr at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nobody can take advantage of you without your permission, as the saying goes.

I have a good friend who works at home, and she gets unreasonable requests like this from people who don't seem to realize that she's actually, you know, working. Come to think of it, I have another friend who homeschools her two children, and she gets the same kind of thing. There are certainly some freedoms that come with being able to work at home, but a lot of times that freedom amounts to "only shower if you feel like it" and "no dress code," and not so much with the "nobody will notice if I take off for a couple of hours."

Bookmarked that TaskRabbit site for future reference, though I don't live close enough to a Big City for it to ever be useful to me, probably.
posted by Gator at 1:08 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Can you pick me up spaghetti sauce?'


"Uh, go fuck yourself." I don't see what the big issue is here.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm an at-home caregiver who has friends who work at home. I know my time is considered very differently than those who are working at home. Partly this is for good reason -- my responsibilities are a lot more nebulous and flexible than those of someone who has a boss who isn't three years old -- but sometimes it irks.

However, there is one neighbor whose requests NEVER irk me. She works outside the home, but has a schedule that is deliberately tailored to fall within her children's school hours. . . most of the time. So sometimes I find myself frantically on tap to pick her three kids up from school. Why does this not irk me? Because she is overwhelmingly generous with her own time, offering to take my 3 year old off my hands so I can get an hour of piece and quiet or saying "I'm going to Costco, do you need anything?" We have what we refer to as the Eternal Onion Exchange, where I loan her an onion when she needs one and doesn't have one and vice versa, and I have, on occasion, let myself into her empty house to borrow a pint of milk when I was out and didn't have any.

That's true reciprocity, that's how it works. And it's OCCASIONAL. I have another neighbor with school-aged children who is out of work, and she watches my kid for me when I have daytime appointments. . . for money. (I pay her $10/hr, same as the local drop-in daycare costs.) I would never dream of asking her to do that for free.
posted by KathrynT at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Pushovers Act Surprised They're Pushed Over.

A thousand times this. Here's some passive aggressive solutions:
1. Don't answer the phone.
2. Tell them you don't feel well.
3. Do a very bad job.

Alternatively:
1. Say no.
2. Repeat.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:13 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


They get calls from their local school to pick up sick kids because other parents have listed them as emergency contacts without asking.

Holy shit does the appropriate response to this venture into "this is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass" territory.
posted by griphus at 1:15 PM on August 6, 2010 [17 favorites]


Methinks there are some friend power dynamic issues going on here that have nothing to do with the working-from-home bit.

Yeah, I got that too. I work from home fairly frequently and aside from the odd door-to-door salesperson or JWs, have never been bothered by anyone intruding on my time. And the volunteer organizations I'm a member of haven't ever made any assumptions of flexibility as a result of me saying that I work from home (that's what retired people are for, duh).

Aside from the gender issue, I wonder if a big part of it may be "stay at home mom" versus "works from home," which is a distinction to a lot of people, and the article sort of lumps together. I suspect that many people just don't equate child-care (of one's own children) with a full time job, and assume that someone who stays home taking care of a child has a lot of free time, and a person who works from home but basically does a traditional office job sans office doesn't.

Someone who calls themselves a "stay at home mom" may therefore get a lot more requests than someone who says they "work from home [as a whatever]".
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:16 PM on August 6, 2010


Some people can be surprisingly thoughtless about what they ask. "I'm just asking" might be the most irritating minimalization phrase. If you're going to call me to pick up your kid, please do not give me crap about not having a safety seat. I do not drive kids around, I am not going to buy a safety seat on the off chance that I will.

If "no" isn't passive-aggressive enough for you, though, work that PedoPanic angle: "Yeah, stranger, picking up your kid ... I'll bet they give school crossing guards tasers now. I think my afternoon jolt is gonna come in the form of a Starbucks."
posted by adipocere at 1:16 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


KathrynT: That's true reciprocity, that's how it works.

I think this is actually the key to a lot of this "doormat" behavior getting started. It's not that they can't say no, or even that they are particularly agreeable. It's just "I can't say no, because what if I need something in return." And then, because of who they are, they never ask. Repeat a few times, and voila, (not-so-)instant resentment.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:20 PM on August 6, 2010


This is why you should never introduce yourself to your neighbors. Freeloading bastards.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:21 PM on August 6, 2010 [21 favorites]


Heck, even if they're unemployed or otherwise not busy, their time still belongs to them!

How about this: "I've got more free time than you, you've got more money than me. Let's make an equitable trade?"
posted by explosion at 1:23 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tell em you can't pick up kids, because, you know, the court order, and the terms of your probation.

At the grocery store, when the dudes are out there begging for signatures, I take great pleasure in telling them that I'd love to sign their petition, but can't because I am a felon. The look on their faces is priceless. No, I am not a felon. But I look like one. And I don't know that you can't sign a petition for not being a registered voter( because of the whole felon thing), either. But it buys me enough time to stroll into the store unhindered.
posted by Xoebe at 1:26 PM on August 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


I would be willing to very confidently make two predictions:

1. This impacts woman far out of proportion to their percentage of at-home people. Women are essentially trained from birth to understand that their time and bodies are not their own, and to go along with the requests and demands of others. As such, both due to the requesters being enculturated into viewing women as such, and due to women being enculturated as such, women are probably more prone not only to being the target of these requests but also feeling obligated to comply with them.

2. There is a serious asker/guesser thing going on here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2010 [20 favorites]


So I imagine this would be a relevant link? Ask vs. guess would probably answer quite a few questions here.
posted by charred husk at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2010


She's busy and she doesn't have to say what she's busy doing.
posted by anniecat at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy shit does the appropriate response to this venture into "this is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass" territory.

Yes, but what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps?
posted by gern at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Then you say "Fudge it, let's go bowling."
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:35 PM on August 6, 2010


I work from home a lot. I ain't no fucking pushover. You would be aghast at some of the things people are even willing to ask. It is the can't hurt to ask syndrome; all he can say is no. I won't even answer my home phone line during the day. The FedEx guy will leave the package at the door if you don't answer the bell. If you need a favor, it may get done at 4:30 after my trading day. You want to meet me to talk about something like the school play needs volunteers? Sure, I can be at the Dunkin Donuts at 6:30am. I would like to get back to my home office by 8:00 thank you.

Silence is the great equalizer. I also immediately trade favors. You need me to pick up Joey at Lacrosse practice today? I can do today, but would you get my son next Tuesday?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was the stay-at-home parent I avoided this by being drunk all the time.

Try it, it's fun!
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:50 PM on August 6, 2010 [20 favorites]


I've been working from home for 8 months now, and I empathise but I've had to lay down the law a couple of times with my nearest and dearest, having done so I'm finding it much easier. But it's quite clearly an assertion problem, which happens in an office and elsewhere too.

And mr_crash_davis I draw your attention to Robin Williams at the Met circa 1986...
Parent: "How's the baby?", Sitter (drunk and/or stoned) "Baby? Fuck, whaddiddido with the baby...."
posted by magpie68 at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if gender is an issue here, as well as personality types. I'm a father, I work from home, and nobody asks me to do this sort of thing, except for perhaps close friends (who generally only ask for help when they need it).

My wife (who is a homemaker) is never asked to do this stuff. I suspect it's because she prefers the company of just a few close friends. I have noticed, though, that at our son's elementary school, the PTA is typically mostly female, and, from my perspective, the nature of female friendships and male friendships can be quite different. Some women are like my wife, and prefer small circles of close friends, while other women prefer to interact in larger groups of friends, I guess men are the same. However, I think the group dynamics are different for women. In order to remain part of the group, you need to conform and do shit, like bottle drives and organizing bake sales (I don't know of any male parents that do this at my son's elementary school). There must be a lot of peer pressure, and perhaps this spills over into "pick up my kids territory".

But the more I write here, the more it sounds like wankery. Saying "no, I can't" is often the best solution.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:07 PM on August 6, 2010


I would definitely guess that these requests are disproportionately asked of women. Back when I was a kid, the neighborhood families decided that my mother (who they knew worked the night shift, and thus was technically home during the day) would love to take care of all of their kids on snow days and inconvenient school holidays. She was, shall we say, less than thrilled with the idea, and denied their lucrative offer.
posted by fermezporte at 2:13 PM on August 6, 2010


I work from home a lot. I ain't no fucking pushover. You would be aghast at some of the things people are even willing to ask. It is the can't hurt to ask syndrome; all he can say is no. I won't even answer my home phone line during the day. The FedEx guy will leave the package at the door if you don't answer the bell. If you need a favor, it may get done at 4:30 after my trading day. You want to meet me to talk about something like the school play needs volunteers? Sure, I can be at the Dunkin Donuts at 6:30am. I would like to get back to my home office by 8:00 thank you.

Silence is the great equalizer. I also immediately trade favors. You need me to pick up Joey at Lacrosse practice today? I can do today, but would you get my son next Tuesday?


What the hell kind of friends do you have that can't take a hint?
posted by hamida2242 at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2010


Hello, they are called boundaries. Use them.
posted by jfwlucy at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I am going to start sending this woman my bills. I'll start with something small. My trash bill perhaps. Then move onto water and sewer. Internet. Credit cars and student loans. In a year she'll be paying my mortgage!
posted by cjorgensen at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2010


There must be a lot of peer pressure, and perhaps this spills over into "pick up my kids territory".

They probably just have a different definition of "work" than a "professional blogger" does, but since they in turn are likely white-collar "workers" that still doesn't excuse them from trying to take advantage of her.

She still needs to learn to say no, though. I guess that wouldn't generate any ad traffic so...
posted by hamida2242 at 2:22 PM on August 6, 2010


I remember my mom getting bombarded with these requests in the 80s and 90s when my sister and I were little.

Even if you're really good at being assertive it still sucks to have to say no that much. I know the frequent asking (and presuming) got to Mom, and it made an impression on me.
posted by Neofelis at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2010


I worked from home from 2005 to 2009 - my biggest challenge was overcoming my mother's point of view that I was a lazy good for nothing who surfed the webz all day and occasionally spoke on Skype. Until the first project worth 15000 a week plus expenses materialized. Now I'm back to being the apple of her eye... albeit working my ass off in an office ;p
posted by infini at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2010


Man, if I had kids and was homeschooling them, every request like that would be an invitation to explain the day's lesson plan. Sure Jimmy can come over today! If you get him here at 10am, Janey and Tommy are researching the menstrual cycle for their biology class. Then we're going to break for lunch, and around 1 or 2, I was going to have them present their sociology posters on the history of the white power movement in the United States...

Yeah, this is why I don't have kids.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:32 PM on August 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm a stay at home dad and some of the moms and I do the kid-trading thing all the time. I'm more than happy to pick up a kid's friend afterschool if the parent is late or whatever, because I know I'm going to make that same phonecall later. Totally not a big deal. But only with people we know, obviously. I'd just say no to some random mom calling me, although no one ever has. Maybe because I'm a guy.
Also the buying groceries thing is completely over the line. Who would do that?

The one thing that rang true is the idea of needing to justify what you do during the day to people who don't stay home. It's never said but it's kind of implied. And now that my kids are older people always ask me about "going back to work," (real work, is the implication.) I kind of want to tell them, "I've been wiping asses and cleaning barf and making 3 meals a day and volunteering at school parties for 12 years now. So now maybe I'm just going to drink too much beer and play Wii all day." It's their whole implication of, "well you can't just do NOTHING." Who said I'm not going to do anything?
But I just want to say to them, "Yeah, I'm going to do nothing. I earned it. Why should I go out and get some shitty, stressful job? Lucky me."
posted by chococat at 2:38 PM on August 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I work from home and, man, the pressure to do things for other people...is NOT EVEN CLOSE to the amount of annoying phone calls I used to get from coworkers begging me to take their shifts. In fact, it's practically nonexistent.
posted by Ouisch at 2:39 PM on August 6, 2010


There's such an easy solution to this problem. You just say, "I'm working from home, it's 10am, I'm on my third gin, sure I can pick up the kids, but I'm not going to ... what the fuck is the cat doing now?"
posted by Elmore at 2:42 PM on August 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm having a hard time believing that this is a real problem.
posted by Ratio at 2:50 PM on August 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite words should suffice: "No."
posted by SuzB at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find anything in a Google search about Diane Fitzpatrick. Is someone actually paying her to write?
posted by Brocktoon at 2:56 PM on August 6, 2010


Diane Fitzpatrick, a freelance writer and blogger, has learned to put her own errands first.

Diane, I don't use the word "hero" very often, but you are the greatest hero in American history.
posted by Ratio at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Here's a tip- Caller ID- look into it.
posted by ancguy at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2010


I'm probably in the minority, but a professional blogger is not work...oh and TaskRabbit? PepsiBlue

Faux Journalism
posted by sfts2 at 3:30 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find anything in a Google search about Diane Fitzpatrick. Is someone actually paying her to write?

Perhaps she's one of those Digg shills? kidding
posted by edgeways at 3:32 PM on August 6, 2010


It seems like the schools that let out early every week or require volunteer commitments, the delivery services that arrive in the morning or early afternoon, and the employers who expect their workers' spouses to do charity work ("it's good for their husband's positions") are also guilty of expecting people to be constantly "on call." I'd like to see a story about that phenomenon.
posted by transona5 at 3:43 PM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it really so hard to say yes in emergencies for good friends, but otherwise say "No, I won't be done with my work and meetings today in time to do that" or to call neighbors and let them know "hey, I'm totally available for picking up and babysitting your kids, first come first serve, for $x an hour"?

I mean, wow. She IS the doormat of the neighborhood, AND she lives in a neighborhood of assholes.
posted by davejay at 4:11 PM on August 6, 2010


it never fails to amaze me how many people will say "yes" to inappropriate requests, over and over, because they're afraid of how the asker will view them if they say "no".
posted by davejay at 4:12 PM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Move to a place where all the moms stay at home. Problem solved. In fact, you'll get them running errands for you, they're so bored.
posted by L'OM at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2010


hamida2242: What the hell kind of friends do you have that can't take a hint?

That is part of my point. People have balls. People who aren't the people I ask to meet me for a beer. People who just know you are home. Not friends. They will ask anything. It amazed me. Took me two or three of these requests until I quickly said whoa. No is a great word. Throw in a "sorry" in front of it and away you go.

Hell, I have coached sports teams where the kids are supposed to be picked up at 9:00pm. I have waited with a lone child in the cold waiting for a parent to pick up who shows up at 9:30 with not even a sorry. Just honk and have kid come to car. Or you get the sorry, I had scheduling issues. Like my friggin schedule means nothing? I learned there too. I sent an email to the team. Practice ends at 9:00. I recognize there may be issues. I will stay with your son until 9:15. At that point I am walking him across the street to the police station. He will be safe with officer friendly and then you can come any time you want. Only had to do it once in three years and this was only because it was a pattern. Call me and tell me you are stuck in traffic, I will take you kid home with me and feed him dinner until you can make it, but have a pattern of disregard and it is sending a message to your child too that you just don't care.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:28 PM on August 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yet another reason I'm glad I'm an asshole. I like to think my friends would prefer their child was left alone with a random stranger.
posted by yerfatma at 4:36 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've worked at home for years and never been asked once. You see: as a single man, odds are I'm a pedophile.

There's always a silver lining.
posted by LordSludge at 5:15 PM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


At that point I am walking him across the street to the police station. He will be safe with officer friendly and then you can come any time you want.

See, that's the nefarious part about it. Because now you're the bad guy because of something that someone with their foot in the pool of consideration wouldn't even think to ask, wouldn't even assume was an option. I give you my time. You don't presume to ask for it. If you ask me for it, we better be best fucking friends or you saved me in a war or something.

I had someone walk up to me today and ask me for a dollar right as I'm in the middle of paying for a coffee. Like, my wallet is out, we're in a place of business. Are you shitting me? What the fuck is that? Go outside and ask me for a buck, nine times out of ten I'll at least give you a quarter. But there are rules, man.
/end rant
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:32 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


...oh and TaskRabbit? PepsiBlue. Faux Journalism.

That was my thought, too. It's an ad for Task Rabbit. That whole article struck me as completely made up.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:49 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find anything in a Google search about Diane Fitzpatrick. Is someone actually paying her to write?

Her blog is called "Just Humor Me." (Blogspot) She has a post about the WSJ calling her for comments, then she ends up on the today show. She does have a few ads, so yeah, someone is paying her to write.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:01 PM on August 6, 2010


I couldn't find anything in a Google search about Diane Fitzpatrick. Is someone actually paying her to write?

If you google her name in quotes her twitter stream is the fifth result. In her profile she has a link to her site. In there, as ThatCanadianGirl points out, she mentions the interview. She's a writer in the non-profit sector, so unless you are into grant proposals and newsletters and such you probably haven't heard of her. That's all the stalking I'm going to do.

This comment seems like fair game to me, since I think the presumption is that if you're a writer doing a WSJ interview you're actually hoping for the attention. I would also hope the reporter would verify she's actually what she says she is.

I'd suggest we take her bio as presented in the article at face value.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:23 PM on August 6, 2010


It helps if you only have one car, and it's always with the at-work commuting parent. Even if someone called my husband for favors, he's stuck till I get home.

But then, most of our friends are alcoholics without kids, so that works pretty well for us.
posted by emjaybee at 7:36 PM on August 6, 2010


Somewhat related. When I was a kid - 12-14 or so I had little brothers I was tasked to care for - somehow I also became the neighborhood unpaid babysitter during the summer. Real conversation: "Johnny, (OK names are changed to protect the innocent) it's time to go home. Lunchtime! I'm sure your Mom is expecting you."
"No, no one's home. Mom is shopping." Sure enough, Johnny's home was locked up and empty.

Seriously, these mothers would just drop their kids off " to play" at my house, leave off for a shopping trip and NOT EVEN TELL ME. Of course, they were right. There is no way I would have left their child abandoned and unattended. But still. I was such a chump. And they were bitches.
posted by mkim at 8:15 PM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is why I travel from place to place with a large cheetah. No neighbors.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:47 PM on August 6, 2010


She needs a supportive partner, someone like Andrew Cohen
posted by quarsan at 9:52 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is why I've crafted a pedophile serial-killer look*. The downside is all women stay 600 feet from me and scream in terror.

*not a pedophile

Oh, also not a serial killer
posted by dirigibleman at 11:24 PM on August 6, 2010


nthing: My wife stays home - I just asked her and she has never had this problem.
posted by crapples at 6:14 AM on August 7, 2010


You guys who are incredulous at the idea that the ability to be assertive is lost on anyone fail to notice that the people who aren't assertive enough to say no to these people probably aren't assertive enough to log onto the internet and talk about how assertive they are.

It fails to take into account a number of factors, from anxiety, low self-esteem, or just a mutation of being raised to be 'polite', and the fact that selfish people have learned to exploit people's inability to say "NO." directly. For such people, no needs a reason, and these askers know that, and will keep asking around any passive-aggressive excuses. Someone upthread said "don't these people know to take a hint?" I'm sure they do, but they actively refuse to, because they know the doormat will break and deal with their shit. It's easy to say "ugh, just say no to these people, how is this a real problem!?" but it's a bit like saying "Why are these people poor? They should just get a job!"

As someone who had to work through and fix that bit of weakness, I find a good coping phrase is "Sorry, man." See, telling someone you're busy leads to asking what you are doing, when it ends, oh maybe we can work around that, how about i drop the kids off after you get back, oh you have some errands to run? it's ok, they just need somewhere to do their homework, they won't bother you etc. You can't argue with "Sorry, man." it's a "No" dressed up as apologetic inevitability. Instead of coming across as defiant or negative, it sends the message "I totally would if i could, but... Sorry man."

A bit manipulative? Maybe, but fair's fair, they're trying to manipulate you.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:16 AM on August 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


This being August, it's high season for high-powered office workers to go on vacation, leaving the at-homers to take in mail, walk dogs and water plants.'

I live and work in Bar Harbor, Maine. Trust me, it's August right now and these people suck just as much when they're on vacation as when they're at home.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:26 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've worked from home for about 11 years now, and I occasionally get the "but you're home" nitwit who seems to believe that just because I'm not working in an office, I must be screwing around playing with myself or something. Regardless of whether or not that may be accurate at any given time, it is not within their purview to interrupt me or assume that I am at their service simply because my workplace isn't in some kind of corporate park or retail establishment.

I've never had a problem saying no, but with a lot of the people who have dared to ask more than once I've definitely had the problem of them taking no for an answer, to the point where I've had to get snappish a few times and let them know in no uncertain terms that I am not available.

The worst was a landlord I had when I lived in California. Over the course of about four years I had to repeatedly tell him that I was working, and that if he wanted his rent every month he'd have to get it into his thick skull that my office was also my home and that no, I could not come over to fix his computer at his command. He had the nerve to actually tell me, not ask me, when I would be expected to be ready when he dropped by the house to pick me up. It was definitely a female thing with him, as he was a pretty misogynistic individual. A kind man, but a dyed-in-the-wool chauvinist. Since I happen to possess boobs, he naturally assumed that I would be at his beck and call regardless of how many times I told him how full of shit he was in that regard. We had a good relationship, but he annoyed the hell out of me on several levels - that being the worst.

What finally cured him was my calling him a few times at 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to ask him idiotic questions. When he asked me what in the hell I was calling him in the middle of the night for, I told him, "Oh, well, it's the middle of the day for me since I work nights, so I figure if you didnt mind dropping by without warning at 10:00 in the morning when I'm fast asleep after working 10 or 11 hours, I figured you wouldnt mind if I called you during MY regular hours when I needed to speak to you."

He seemed to get the message pretty fast after that, and though he never stopped dropping by unannounced, he did stop asking me / making appointments for me to fix his computer, and whenever he did drop by without asking always apologized for interrupting my work and got out of there fast so I could get back to what I was doing.

Which was usually screwing around and playing with myself, more often than not. There are definitely perks to working at home.
posted by perilous at 6:47 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by how reading MeFi makes me feel normal just like everyone else
posted by infini at 10:07 AM on August 8, 2010


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