For those who don’t know, I work in a home office in my basement in Maryland. I telecommute for a company in California and I manage projects with people from three continents. I am one of the 2% of the American workforce that is a full time teleworker.
Telecommuting full time is not easy. You have to communicate better and perform better than your office bound counterparts to get the same amount of recognition and career advancement potential.
I have a family to support, so career advancement is an important issue for me. So you may be wondering why I would want to make it more difficult to get a promotion.
One reason is lunch. Yes, Lunch.
I save $7-$10 a day by going upstairs for lunch rather than to the local greasy spoon for my mid-day meal. Of course that $1600 a year is not the reason I like lunch at home. I like it because I get to eat lunch with my two-year old son.
Yesterday, I gave him chicken nuggets for lunch. He ate all but two and then said, “Daddy’s nuggets” and began rotating the plate so that the nuggets were closer to me. Whether this was generosity, a lesson in sharing, or a clever ploy to get out of eating the last two nuggets was anyone’s guess.
In any case when he completed the 180 degree rotation, he stopped, got a funny look on his face, giggled, pointed at the nuggets and then said, “Eyes!” He realized that the 2 nuggets at the top of a blue plate looked like a funny face and was amazed by the discovery.
So there it is. In 30 seconds, I got to see my son plot, plan, execute, use his imagination, discover, and communicate his creative discovery with glee.
This is remarkable to me because last month I was amazed when he started putting together words into sentences that made sense. The month before that I was amazed when he started saying, “Yes” to things instead of the ubiquitous “No, no, no!” that was his response to nearly every previous question or request.
By eating lunch at home, I get to watch my son grow, learn, and discover. I don’t miss out on the mischief, plots and bursts of creativity that only happen in the middle of mundane tasks like eating lunch.
Watching your kid grow up is an amazing thing that I get to do more often because I am not sitting in traffic for two hours day. I know through the little things discovered over lunch that he is smart and becoming more clever everyday. This is a great thing to see, because it let’s me know that the extra $1600 a year I am putting into his college fund will not go to waste.