Working from home, working past the guilt
Today is day three of my work-from-home adventure in Northeast Baltimore. Both my wife and I work in downtown Baltimore, with normally a 15-minute commute that is now all but impossible.
Our city neighborhood wasn't plowed through until yesterday (Tuesday) and our 15-month-old girl's daycare has been closed, or we just haven't been able to drive there.
Thanks to technology, I can do much of my work from home. But barely. My Verizon home telephone line is down, which means my DSL connection is down. If not for my laptop, which has a built-in wireless 3G broadband card, I would be of little use to the Baltimore Sun. If we lose power today, I am only as productive as the juice left in my gadgets' batteries. (Oh, and I'd probably have to move my family to a friend's house because we'd lack heat.)
Technology aside, I have wrestled with feeling guilty about not slogging into work this week, even though I have worked long and hard in my dining room.
Torn between caring for my daughter and helping our newspaper inform the public, I've settled into an uncomfortable middle ground for now.
At times, it can be hard to concentrate on work while worrying about your gutters falling off or your flat garage roof caving in. (Yes, that photo is a view of my backyard and my flat garage roof.)
Working at the office and outside the home, it's easier to put all that stuff out of mind. Being forced to work from home, I'm finding, is just as stressful as work at work, if not moreso. Yesterday, we hired a babysitter to help watch our girl while I worked on a story. In addition to the tons of money we spend on regular daycare each month, yesterday's work-from-home adventure cost us an additional $80.
Today, my wife took a personal day off from work and is acting as primary caregiver while I try to do my job. Still, I can't shake tinges of guilt for not being able to make it in. Though technology can keep us connected in these instances of disruption beyond our control, I have to think there are a lot of workers in the Baltimore area right now who are anxious and wish they could be at work, in an office. (Though many of you on Twitter also seem unfazed and are even accustomed to telecommuting.)
Am I off the mark? How are you feeling about not being able to make it into work today, or this week? Let's start a conversation about where technology and our own personal work values intersect and/or diverge. Afterall, what else do we have to do today?
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech