Archive for March, 2011

Other People’s Politics

Posted on: March 28th, 2011 by Cori

There are definitely some things I miss about working in an actual office, such as flesh and blood coworkers, free office supplies and a seemingly non-ending parade of cake for people’s birthdays. One thing I don’t miss, is office politics. They’re unavoidable and run the gamut from mild nuisance to total dysfunction affecting productivity. Seeing how dysfunction plays itself out at the office holiday party can be mildly amusing, but it’s almost worth being a solo entrepreneur and not having a party just to be able to forgo the politics the other 364 days of the year.

But having my own business and working from home certainly doesn’t mean I escape the politics. If anything, it’s a feat not to get drawn in more. Nearly all of my clients are companies. That means some type of office. And that means office politics. Alliances made behind coworkers backs? check. Right hand doesn’t know what left hand is doing because they don’t talk to one other? check. Raging office affairs? Well, haven’t seen that one yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

As the outsider, typically only involved with a client for a temporary period of time, you would think people would not want to air their dirty laundry. You’d be wrong. Maybe it’s because I am a “stranger,” only around for a finite period, so it’s easy to talk, sort of like confessing things to your seat mate on a plane that you’d never share with your inner circle.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times knowing the dirt and skeletons helps me maneuver and get my job done. I can feel like part Clinton (Hillary or Bill, take your pick) playing diplomat, part Dr Phil trying to solve the issues. It is an interesting reminder of how working from home means working differently. When I collaborate with people on a project, I’ve picked the people, and unless what they do is SO special and unique, if there is too much “noise”, I just don’t need to use them. There are plenty of other fish in the freelance/solo pool, fish with whom I’d be more simpatico. I get enough politics in the news, I’m happy I can usually do without them in my work.




As A Parent, Doing Something Right

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by Cori

Yesterday we had some friends over for lunch. Well not so much as our friends, but friends of Sara’s – twins- and their parents. We’ve met the parents several times, but only in big group settings like birthday parties, and thought it would be nice to get to know them a little better, and for the kids to have a play date. All three take a gym class together on Sunday mornings, so the timing worked too.

While Gary took Sara to gym, I finished getting the lunch ready, and at the last minute decided to make some chips from a bunch of kale in the fridge. Not only did I want to use it before it went bad, but I figured it would take the edge off everyone’s hunger before we sat down to lunch. They came out of the oven just as the crew was coming in the door.

“Kale chips!” exclaimed Sara, running to grab some from the bowl. The twins did the same, and within seconds all three had kale crumbs strewn about their faces and shirts. You would have thought I had offered ice cream. When we sat, I deigned to put the bowl in the middle of the table. “No,” said Sara, “that is for the kids, put it down here.”

Now, they were just as excited by the cookies that were proffered as dessert, but I have to say, all of the adults definitely had a moment of sheer pride. We must be doing something right, if all of our kids not only ate kale chips, but were excited about it!

What’s next  -brussell sprouts? turnips? Oh wait, she loves those too.

Dressing the Part or What to Wear/What not to Wear

Posted on: March 1st, 2011 by Cori

Every woman I know (and most men) has experienced moments of looking in to her closet and declaring she has nothing to wear. It’s an exaggeration, of course, but sometimes there is a germ of truth lurking beneath the blanket statement; there is nothing to wear that is appropriate, or flattering, or wrinkle-free. When I open the closet doors every morning, I can see the quantity of clothes, but it is challenging to find ones that strike the right balance between I’m working from home and I’m working from home.

In theory, I love the luxury of being able to wear anything, from work out clothes (as if!) to a business suit, depending on what I’ve got planned. But I tend to take the easy way out most mornings, reach for the first thing in the closet, and end up feeling like a schlub. Today is a good example. Granted, Gary is away and Sara had school, so the morning was a bit chaotic, but I am wearing jeans and a black sweater. Not horrible, but nothing that wows me when I look in the mirror, or makes me feel great about myself as I sit here typing. Basically nothing that makes me feel professional.

For some reason, unless I have a meeting, I steer away from the black pants. Maybe because they were part of the “uniform” when I lived in the corporate world? And dresses or skirts with tights in the winter? Forgettaboutit, they tend to hang untouched. So out of habit, most mornings, I go for the jeans. Which in and of itself is not horrible – in this day and age jeans can be dressed up, down or sideways. But it is bad when I am just putting on clothes, any clothes, instead of finding something that – to paraphrase Tim Gunn – makes it work.

Some mornings, I put something on and think – yes! Good outfit! I feel put together, sort of stylish even, and that definitely affects my mind set going in to the day. And I am not the only one who notices; on those days, I frequently get asked by Gary, or the sitter, and increasingly even by Sara – where you going? do you have a meeting? So why aren’t I dressing like that every day? If something doesn’t meet that Yes! criteria, why is it even still part of my wardrobe?

They say “clothes make the man”, that you should “dress for success”, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well I HAVE the job I want, but I DO need to work on the dressing part. A stylist would be great, to come and put together a “look book” of outfits that meet my feel good/work from home criteria. But short of that, not sure I have the stamina on my own to do a the type of radical closetectomy/outfit putting together that is required for consistent dressing wins each morning.

Any other work from home moms (or anyone really!) have this issue? Any great solutions?