“You don’t have a real job.”
I heard this, in essence, from two people this week.
A ”real job.”
What makes a job ”real”? A paycheck? A boss? A timeclock? I have these things. The only thing special about my job is I do it from home.
I complained to my co-worker at the vet (my part-time real job) how working on weekends was getting harder and harder for me. She said, ”Oh, I covered a few nights and I loved it! I’d love to sleep all day and work nights!”
”Yes, but I can’t sleep all day. I work my regular job all day.”
”Yeah but…you work from home, right?”
You work from home, right? Not a real job, right?
I was hanging out with my friend and kept reminding him I had to work later that evening. ”At the hospital or your other job?” My other job. “Oh, so you don’t REALLY have to be back…”
You don’t REALLY have to be back because it’s not a real job.
I’m sure they don’t mean to be insulting. I get it. ”Work from home” used to mean stuffing envelopes and assembling birdhouses while watching daytime TV. Then this cool thing called the in-ter-net came along and changed all that.
I am a medical transcriptionist. My company has contracts with all these hospitals to prepare medical documents for their doctors. My company hired me to help them with this. I even had to take a special course to learn how to do this, because medical terminology gets complicated, and a critical error could result in someone’s death. No pressure, right?
My company has these contracts and these things called “turnaround times,” which means we promise if a patient is having surgery tomorrow, their preop note will be in the chart before then; sort of important. Like most clients, they get testy if work isn’t done and deadlines are missed, and contracts are lost. Just like in the real world! So my company came up with this groundbreaking idea to create shifts, and schedule employees to make sure the shifts were covered. I know, they’re a really exciting, modern workplace, like Google or Pixar. But you can start to see why I can’t just work when the fancy strikes me.
And thanks to new technology, my employer not only knows when I start working, they know how many keystrokes I average, how many mouse clicks I perform, and how many minutes I spend not touching the keyboard at all. Just like having an honest-to-goodness supervisor!
Also, I’ll tell you another secret: I don’t get paid salary or even by the hour, but per line produced. Which means I’m not making any money if I’m fooling around watching TV, or Facebooking, or YouTubing, or doing anything other than my job. And I’m not in this game just for the thrill of reading about grandma’s blood pressure regimen or her nonhealing ulcer. I got bills that won’t pay themselves.
I get a paycheck, with real taxes and real health insurance and a real 401k and everything. Because I do it from home makes it no less real. So think of all this before saying something thoughtlessly dismissive like, ”But you work from home, right?”