Working from home made me richer

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I always thought working from home was a dream I would not attain. I had been through the ringer with bad bosses, negative work places, and disengaged colleagues. I thought it would never come. Finally, after leaving a job I had for 1.5 years, I got an email from a start-up that a former colleague joined. He gave my name to someone in the company, and next thing you know I was on a phone interview with a VP. I manage data in a database and a team of analysts. I work 7am to 7pm every day, and half that time on Saturdays and Sundays.

The first part of getting richer is saving money. It might seem counter intuitive at first, but saving money creates willpower when dealing with money. Working from home allowed me to severely cut expenses in the following areas:

  • Gasoline. Not having to drive to work limits how many times you put gas in your car each week. Also, no more traffic means no more unnecessary gas consumption. Savings: $25 per week
  • Food. It’s easy to spend anywhere from $30 to $50 a week on lunch, morning coffee, snacks, etc. you can focus spending money on food prepared at home. I was able to cut weekly groceries to $50 and that includes ALL meals at home every day. Savings: $40 per week
  • Clothing. The need to buy new clothes for work is cut down to zero. I seldom have in-person meetings, and I already own professional clothes for those. I wear sweats, jeans, and any other comfy clothes around the house. This certainly includes shoes, for which I swear by my slippers and Sketcher sneakers. Savings: $100 per month
  • Beauty. Since I seldom see people outside the house, I do not spend money on makeup, perfumes, hair products, regular salon visits, or other beauty products that I used to buy when employed in an office. Saving:$60 per month

Other ways you can be richer:

  • Time. No more more lost time with my family. I drop and pick up my child from school, help with homework, clean, and cook dinner daily. I make time fo everything. Not having a commute has reformatted my life.
  • Meetings. Almost all of my meetings are webinars or phone calls. I am included in meetings that are important to my role. I can do work while on the call since no one can see me, if I am just listening in but not participating.

I am earning more than I have ever before. I live in a low cost of living my state. That allows me the set aside every penny. I pumped up my college loan repayments from $200 a month to $400. I maxed my Roth IRA and company 401k contributions. I actually traveled to Europe last year for the first time since I was 7. I had money set aside for a trip to Vancouver for a week this year, and it was worth every cent.

Since being at home all day, my home uses the same amount of energy as if I was not there. Plus, I cook every meal at home. Every.

How can you find a work from home job? By constantly searching.

  • Search every job board, Ladders, Linked In, Angel List, Indeed, etc. Look for “telecommute” “home office” and other related terms.
  • Connect with people in companies that you know people work off-site. You don’t have to scrub data all day like me, but realize you will be on your computer a lot.
  • Real estate is a great industry for telecommuters. You can be in consulting, sales, research, or marketing. You can write sales proposals or content for any number of industries. The goal is to be a full-time employee with benefits.
  • If you want something part-time, you may have to make calls or research articles to write your own blog post for a company.

Now is the time!

 

 

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Don’ts of Cubicle Life

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At some point, you may have worked in a cube farm, aka cubicle. It’s an employer’s way of packing in worker bees in a small and cost efficient space. Nothing makes someone feel more like a cog in the wheel like having a cubicle.

The pros to cubicle life? Constant collaboration with colleagues. Open settings promote communication and collaboration.

The cons? Everything else. People interrupt you often. The noise level. Over hearing conversations you shouldn’t. Smelly food people eat at their desks. Etcetera, etcetera.

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Since you have to sit in a cubicle for work, make the most of it and don’t break these rules. Help promote good cubicle etiquette by being an example.

  1. Don’t decorate obnoxiously. Keep photos to a minimum by displaying just one or two. No kids’ artwork. No holiday or birthday decorations. Ever.
  2. Don’t display toys or action figures. It’s not mature. This includes bobble heads and anything called “desk toys”. If you need a fidget item, a stress ball is a good addition, but keep it inside the desk when not in use.
  3. Don’t eat at your desk, even snacks. Walk away and nibble on pretzels, or take that sandwich to the employee kitchen. If you need to space out from colleagues, step outside, go to the lobby, or even your car. Try to have lunch with one or two work friends away from the office whenever possible. Smelly food is the worst, so reheating that salmon and kidney beans is a terrible idea.
  4. Don’t over accessorize. Keep desk supplies inside the desk as often as possible. Items to keep on top of your desk: computer, mouse, phone, cell phone, one pen, and a notepad. Keep the stapler, tape, sticky notes, pens, and paper clips off the desk to prevent clutter.
  5. Don’t store files on top of your desk. Utilize your drawer to store file folders. Minimize clutter and keep snoopy eyes at bay.
  6. Don’t have an inbox tray in your desk. Things will pile up. If someone hands you something, tackle it right away.

Your cubicle doesn’t need to be sterile and devoid of personality. Instead, less than three items should be used for personality. Try two family photos and a motivational poster. How about one photo, one cool cell phone rest, and a cup of colorful pens. Maybe a photo of your dog, a small fan, and nice lamp. This rule of three will help you appear clean, tidy, and mature.