Don’t Blame Me!

I left the house for the third time this week. If you have friends who work from home, you know most of us are loath to leave the house to meet up, run errands, or anything that might hazard bumping into other people. It’s a bother to go out. The shower (yep, we probably need one), the real clothes, the face, the hair, and (the horror!) shoes! Who could blame us for not wanting to meet up for a drink?

After going through this treacherous routine for a long overdue hair cut (it’s been seventeen months), I arrived to discover that my appointment was misscheduled. They had scheduled me for last Thursday, the week I was out of town, something I clearly explained when I asked for an appointment the next week. This week right here.

The receptionist probably unintentionally clicked on the wrong Thursday. These things happen to the best of us. I was almost over it, going through my list of consolations (fabulous weather, at least I don’t live far), when the manager came out. I assumed she was there to placate me.

You were scheduled for last Thursday. You even confirmed your appointment. 

Wait, what?

Yes, we have an automated system, and you confirmed.

That’s impossible. I was out of town.

They only had my landline, so she suggested maybe someone else confirmed it for me. Seemed unlikely, but I let her go with that, since I had no way of knowing until I was home to check caller ID. Rescheduled, so sorry, see you tomorrow, . . .  On the way home, I called my honey.

I don’t remember confirming a stylist appointment, but maybe . . . 

So he’s folded into this blame game too.

Why blame anyone?

When my children were young, if they started playing the blame game, sometimes I would diffuse it with It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It’s about responsibility. Pinning the blame on specific people is tricky and not necessarily useful. Approaching a mistake or mishap by engaging responsiblity and next steps is much more effective.

The salon had blamed me. At home, I checked my caller ID and found only one call from the salon, on the day of my appointment, fifteen minutes after the misscheduled appointment should have started. I won’t even flesh out all of the crimes against customer-is-right code that the salon manager committed. The need to blame is outside of that. My initial feeling was to call the salon and cancel tomorrow’s appointment because I had been falsely blamed. But that would be petty, and I truly need a hair cut!

More importantly, even if she broke the customer-is-right code, she may have honestly thought I had confirmed an appointment. I’m not sure how their system works and what she was seeing on her computer screen to make that determination. And who would lie about a phone call these days? We all have caller ID.

I did call the salon.

Hi, this is Pennie Nichols. I was just there. Yes. The misscheduled appointment. I checked my caller ID. I didn’t receive a confirmation call before the appointment. The only call I received from the salon was fifteen minutes after you had me scheduled. The message was that you were checking on me because I had an appointment. You should check your automated system. Apparently it’s not working.

What fabulous weather we had today. I’m happy I was able to get out for a bit.

Addendum: A fellow blogger shared this Brené Brown YouTube® with me in the comments. Don’t miss it! She pins down the blame point: Dr. Brené Brown on Blame.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

The Magic of Freelancing from Home Part 2

So you want to work from home? For yourself? Wondering how to “get in”? Sounds magical when you hear someone else talk about getting home to finish up some work? Honestly, it’s not any more magical than that very phrase taken out of context, and “getting in” depends on more variables than I could cover in a post. But if you’re considering the leap from workplace to home office, chew on these five freelancing-from-home essentials to decide if it’s right for you.

Five Freelancing-from-Home Essentials

1. Qualifications

One rule that doesn’t change when you freelance: you need to be able to supply what’s in demand. Data entry, coding, copyediting, writing, proofreading, PhotoShopping . . . the list is endless. Is there a demand that you can supply?

2. Home Space

If you’re going to work at home, make sure you have the appropriate space. It might be a room, the kitchen table, or even the coffee shop on the corner. But you need a space where you can be productive.

3. Tools and Technology

Do you have the things you need to do the job? Computer? Software? If you’re moving from an office where you have access to expensive software that is part of what you would bring to the freelance table, you’ll need your own at home.

4. Discipline and Chaos

You’ll need the discipline to get the work done, and often, you’ll need to hurdle chaos as you go. I’ll get into the dark side of the battle between domestic and freelancing in another post (when I’m ready for a deeper share), but consider the logistics of working at home: your workspace is in the middle of things that need tidying, sorting, cleaning, tossing, or (and especially if you have children at home) feeding and entertaining. It’s best if you can ignore them, except, of course, the hungry pets and children. Tuning out the chaos around you to work is crucial to content focus and turnover deadlines, which will become the very reason you can snag the next freelance gig.

5. Connections

Even if you have the first four essentials locked down, you’ll need connections. These might be connections you have through your industry, workplace, friends, or school. If you don’t already have one or some of those in your pocket, you won’t have the magic key until you seek out the necessary connections. The good news is that it has become easier to connect both socially and professionally. Be wary, however, as you seek out connections. After all, you’re working to get paid. Make sure they have a reputation for that!

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

The Magic of Freelancing from Home Part 1

Many people fantasize about working from home and freelancing. I do both. I was that wide-eyed “I want to do that!” I wanted to know that magic of freelancing from home.

Magic of Freelancing Germination

This idea seeded itself in me when I spoke with a mom in the daycare parking lot back in 1993. Maybe you’re on the edge of your seat hoping to discover the magical formula, just as I was when I listened to her bellyache about getting home to finish a project, pamphlets for a local business.

Eyes wide with wonder.

You work from home!

I didn’t stop there, I was so hungry!

I want to work from home! How do you get started?

The mom pal condescendingly cocked her head and said (something like):

Well, I have a degree in art and advertising design.

Today, I get it. I know why she rolled her eyes.

But my heart sank. I wasn’t an art or ad grad, just an underpaid Liberal Arts PhD. I was teaching at a university but felt unenthused about playing the publish or perish game. I loved teaching (was good at it), but my paycheck barely covered that 45 minute commute each way and daycare. What a dream it would be to work from home.

Less than a year after that condescending cocked head in the parking lot, I received a call from a grad school friend. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that call was my toe in the door of the freelancing world.

Do you think you have what it takes to freelance from home? Stay tuned. Next post: some (sometimes ugly) magic of freelancing truths.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2017