Do people understand what you do for a living?

When you commute to and from an office each day people understand you have a job. When you do this on a part-time basis or work from home occasionally people still have an idea what you do.

But when you work from home all the time and try and fit it around looking after children, I’m finding people don’t really understand what I do. I’m sure some people think my work is a hobby – something I enjoy doing when I have spare time. The reality is I don’t have much spare time. I’m sure many other work at home mums are like me in trying to find as much time in the day as possible to fit everything in.

I don’t work full time and I don’t earn as much as my husband (who works full time in an office), but I feel the work I do is just as important. I feel there’s a future in it. As my children grow and become more independent I can increase my hours and hopefully bring in more work. And over time hopefully my husband will feel the family is less reliant on him to bring in the income to pay for our bills and and essentials.

But many people I know still wonder what I do. I try to explain that it’s freelance writing but for many who have only ever done a permanent job in a workplace outside their home they don’t really get it. And so I don’t think they take it very seriously.

I think in the future more and more of us will be working for ourselves. I’ve worked for large companies in the past and I know that few of them offer job security these days. My husband has worked as a contractor for some years now and I think that will be the future for many of us: working on a contract or freelance basis. Personally I want to show my children how they can work for themselves. I think it’s an important skill and doesn’t leave you so much at the whim of an organisation which is regularly restructuring and having a clear out.

And when you work for yourself you become more of an all-rounder: you’ve got to have a handle on things such as finance and marketing as well as the work you  do. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Should you decide to work for a large company again it means you have a wide skill-set.

So I’ll carry on with the work I do and try not to be offended when people look baffled when I talk about my work. I feel lucky we now live in an age where we can work in this way and anyone else doing the same has my respect.

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  • Sympathies! We run a shop and effectively live ‘above the shop’. For some reason best known to themselves, some members of our family (who shall be nameless) seem to treat it like our hobby rather than a real business, rock up during the week for lunch, coffees etc and don’t seem to understand that if we stop working when they come, we work nights instead! The upside to this is that it’s lovely to see them and having family and friends with us in the week is one of the benefits of having our own business. Not quite sure how they think we make a living though… ; )

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