Should You Be Working at Home?

This week I decided to explain why working from home is a pleasure, and not something to feel bad about. Certainly, when I took my package from Koeberg in 1997 my family thought I had fallen from glory and was something of a disgrace. 'He won't make it outside' some of my colleagues sneered. The day I drove of the plant after shaking hands with friends and foes, I will admit I had second thoughts myself.

Working in a home office

Fortunately, my partner and I were already running a successful business on the side, so money was not the issue. It was more a feeling that it was somehow wrong not to put on a tie and jacket and report in to the boss every morning. To tell the truth, I was never good at doing what they told me. In hindsight, I did the best thing ever when I took my money and got out of there. I was lucky. I had the right attributes to go it alone. These are what I want to share with you.

Benefits of Working Alone

I can count many blessings from breaking out on my own. I am less stressed, and my health is greatly improved. These days as a freelance writer I can largely choose what I want to do, and when I want to do it. However, self-discipline is still the sine qua non.

That means it is an indispensable requirement for success. Before I get you shaking with excitement at the idea of swapping weekdays and weekends according to the weather, let us look at the sine qua non thing in more detail.

My Secrets of Success

My observation is that self-employment fails for many people, because they have lost the ability to grasp their lives and get on with them. It is as if they are waiting for somebody to tell them what to do. This is a tragedy, because South Africans have so much natural initiative. Unfortunately, the system beats it out of them.

Society certainly almost knocked initiative out of me as my life unfolded.

  • The teachers beat me at school because I could not see the use of what they taught and soon forgot it.

  • I was bullied because I was small, and different in ways I will not go into here because I learned they are irrelevant.

  • Being a forced conscript in the army was tough. I survived by being an average soldier and going unnoticed.

  • The varsity kicked me out because I was involved in student politics and irritated national security.

When I started working, I discovered I was actually quite bright. I got into the habit of obeying orders because it was the easy way to get through the day. As a result, I earned bonuses and promotions and gradually clawed my way up the ladder.

At the height of my success, I became ill and had a major operation. As I lay there in the recovery room wondering if life was really worth it, a strange thought came over me. I realised I was a child of God, that I could do absolutely anything, and that it was futile working to enrich bosses and feed their careers. This was soon to prove true. Nobody from work called me or visited me for six weeks I was off. When I got back to work, they treated me as if I was a malingerer.

My last few years at Koeberg were as a manager. I became privy to boardroom politics. It was a dog-eat-dog process where everybody tried to dominate. Finally, I decided I had had it. I left to preserve my sanity. That was the first real decision that I made for myself for a long time. I negotiated a handsome package. I was getting smart. I was learning to work for myself.

I guess what kept me going in the beginning was my pride. Failure was not in my dictionary. There was no way I was going back. After a few tricky weeks, I slipped into an easy rhythm. I found that working from home is true freedom. Looking back, I wonder why it took me so long to come to my senses. Did I waste my time? I think not. I picked up useful skills while being employed. Think about it carefully. Perhaps you are in the same position right now.

Take a Look Around

I am not going to tell you what to do. Working from home is like swimming. You just jump in and figure things out as you go along - although it does help to do a little planning. I reckon you need just three things to succeed the way I have, and these are what they are.

  • You must believe in yourself, that you are in God's image, and that your potential is as deep and wide as the stars you see on a dark Karoo night.

  • You must choose a service to deliver that you are passionate about. If you sell Avroy Shlain cosmetics, you must believe that you are delivering youth.

  • You must have some product knowledge. If you are a qualified motor mechanic, it makes sense to port your skills to your new working role.

So take a look around. Speak to your bosses, workmates, past colleagues, family members and friends. Ask them where they think your talents truly lie, and what service they would consider buying from you. If you prefer, you can also break out into something completely different. In that case, please follow my example. Do not jump ship until your new role is up and running, and proven and tested too.

The Key to Getting Going

The most important thing of all is having the resources to get started right away. You may have to afford equipment or buy trading stock. For the rest, use the facilities you have at home already, so you do not have to spend unnecessary money. Working from home is using the skills and resources you already have, to get what you need so you can enjoy your life.

If what I wrote appeals to you, then yes, you should be working from home just like me. I am not going to wish you luck with it. You do not need a lucky break. You just need to work hard at it. You already have the power to succeed.

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