Friday, December 21, 2007

Reach Out and IM Someone...

IM (a.k.a) Instant Messaging
The New Co-worker

For those of us that work from home, it can be a lonely endeavor. Don’t get me wrong, working from home can be great. Where else can you work in your pajamas and slippers with your hair piled on top of your head and your teeth whitening tray in?

As great as that can be… can also be isolating and sometimes, even boring. There aren’t any co-workers to dish with. No one to bitch to about your boss (because YOU are the boss and the only worker). It can be a detriment to your wardrobe and your weight. There should be a disclaimer on your application for a business license that says “Be warned, you will gain 10 lbs.and your wardrobe will consist of yoga pants and hoodie.”

I’ve been working from home for the past 6 years. Most of which were just like this. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how long I’ve actually gone without styling my hair or putting on make-up at times. My poor..poor husband! What a doll he has been. He’s never complained, never told me how pathetic I looked or suggested I, um, put on some concealer to cover the dark circles.

Okay so back to the topic at hand. Working from home can be lonely, yada, yada. Up until a year ago, I did the majority of my work alone. I would hire painters, who would come and go to pick up or drop off work. I never really wanted to have them here. So I contracted work out. Last November I met my good friend, my new “co-worker” if you will, Jamie. Jamie is just like me. She worked from home like me for a long time before she just couldn’t stand it any longer. We became fast friends because we have so much in common. We share the same channels, the same industry and have experienced the same things, basically at the same time.

Jamie introduced me to Instant Messaging. Now, I have three boys, two of which are teenagers, so I’m well aware of what IM’ing is. They do it all the time with their friends. Typing at warp speed and chuckling to themselves. I always thought it was just a teen thing. Never entertained the thought of an adult doing it. Let alone myself!!

After swapping emails back and forth for a week, she suggested I get a Yahoo IM account so we didn’t have to wait for her west coast email to hit my east coast inbox. So I signed up and the rest is history. Now my husband and kids laugh at my warp speed typing and laughing out loud scenes.

I can’t tell you how nice it has been this year having someone to talk to all day long. Since I spend most of my day at the computer, as does she, we are almost always connected. Since we are in the same industry, we are literally talking to the same people in the same day. I can know what one of my vendors is doing without even talking to them. Jamie will give me (or I her) a heads up. We swap links to great blogs or networking groups. We can verify deadlines at a moments notice, just like she’s sitting next to me. Except we don’t have to stare at each others ratty old slippers and think to ourselves “Gee, she really needs a manicure”.

If I’m having issues with photoshop or need a phone number, I can IM her and get instant help. If I want to escape the idle chatter of my painters, I can bury my head deep in my wireless laptop and pretend to be working. KIDDING!!! I’m always working. It’s just doesn’t feel like I’m always working.

If you work from home or alone; I highly suggest networking with friends in your industry or other people you have things in common with. It really will help give you a refreshed point of view on business. It helps keep you motivated and is a wonderful way to grow your business.

The information we have shared over this past year has been great for both of us. I give her advice, she gives me advice and we pass along some great opportunities to each other. There have been many days I’ve wanted to throw my hats up in the air and quit. But I always have an encouraging word on the other end that reminds me why I do this and that it’s just a bad day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay silly girl - this is the second time I have tried to "comment on your blog" but your stupid...ya I said it....stupid blogger system sucks. Okay a few things - you may be in pj's and hair not done but I am ussually at work with employees. I may not be looking totally fab - but I am showered and such. Love chatting with ya on IM though..and would you log on, like NOW!!! Where are you?