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From the Email Bag – Home-Based and Lonely: Remedies
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
August 9, 2012
Dear Rat Race Rebellion:
I’ve been working part-time at home as an online researcher for
five months. I love it except for one thing: I get really lonely.
I’m single and live by myself, so there’s no one to talk
to. I had a long commute before and I hated it, but at least when I got
to work it wasn’t an empty room! This is depressing. Help!
– Kristen in Charlotte, N.C.
Isolation and loneliness are the dark side of working from home, and
many people fall prey to it. When you think about it, much of our
social life – and often even our love life – revolves
around “the office,” and suddenly your “office”
It’s not just the gossip at the water cooler, either. Marriages
and newborns, birthdays and achievements, illnesses and bereavements
– all are recognized and shared at our workplaces. We lunch
together or have a drink after work, we make weekend plans, we find
dates and mates. When we commute, we leave our empty “bedroom
communities” behind, and create our communities in the office.
However, until the numbers of virtual workers reach critical mass,
isolation will continue to be an issue. But fortunately, you have some
options. Here are three.
1. Volunteering. Donating your time can be a great way to get out and socialize, make new friends, and do some good in the world as well.
We ourselves work from home offices, and in spite of daily Skype
sessions we feel isolated sometimes, too. We volunteer in our
respective regions, and it’s very rewarding. Mike in Northern
Virginia is an advisor to the Washington West Film Festival
(Washingtonwestfilmfestival.com), which gives its net proceeds to
charity. Chris in Connecticut volunteers for Relay for Life and other
Your region should have many opportunities to choose from, too. For
more on volunteer openings, see VolunteerMatch.org and
2. Coworking centers.
These have been cropping up across the U.S. in response to the growing
numbers of teleworkers, freelancers, road warriors, and bootstrapping
entrepreneurs working out of their kitchens. Research firm
International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that these “mobile
workers” will reach 1.3 billion internationally by 2015.
Many coworking centers offer coffee and snacks, a relaxed and friendly
ambiance, and meeting rooms as well. Membership plans can be daily,
weekly or monthly.
A quick search for coworking centers in Charlotte, where you live,
turned up Lightbulb Coworking, at Lightbulbcoworking.com. For more on
coworking, see Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coworking.
3. Guest speaking.
Community colleges, chambers of commerce, groups for freelancers and
other small-business owners – these and many more can be sources
of guest speaking opportunities. Sharing your expertise in public
settings is an excellent way to get out of the house, build your
network, and find new clients or employers, too, in one fell swoop.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM