How I Transitioned From Working in an Office to at Home

When I started this blog years ago, I had absolutely NO idea where I would have ended up at the end of the yearlong unaccompanied tour.

I knew things would change – a lot. I was excited. I was scared. I was unsure. I was confused. And the list goes on and on.

At the time, one of my biggest fears was losing my job. Ironically enough, it did happen. I didn’t write about it so much because it sucked (no need to sugar coat). When the opportunity came up to share my story, I jumped at the chance. I wrote about how my work-from-home proposal was shot down on NextGen MilSpouse because it was something that needed to be shared.

(PS – There is a light at the end of that tunnel. I do project work for my old firm every now and again. Besides, I have enough work to keep me busy full-time.)

Anyway, I wanted to stay positive and remain hopeful, which was a great tactic because I managed to adjust my career trajectory from an office setting to solopreneurship quite fast. Things kept moving at a quick pace because I was planning a wedding, moving and changing jobs – all at the same time. I was on hyper drive and wanted to get myself squared away before our move, if I could swing it. 

At the time, I started spending hours in the evenings looking at job postings and in my networking groups. I had lots of things land on my lap, so I made sure to be as open and honest, especially that I wouldn’t be able to start till AFTER my honeymoon (thank you very much).

Saving up enough money to open up my own “office” was half the battle. Of course, I’ve been primarily using a company PC and at home I was using my decrepit laptop from college, which went rrreeeeeaaaallllly sllloooooowwwww. The list of office expenses kept piling on. However, I knew if I didn’t get myself situated right away, it would be a continuous struggle. 

First step, networking and interviewing.

Second step, making sure I was able to work where we were living. 

Do yourself a favor and create a dedicated work space! Whatever you can carve out of your home, know that it can be counted when you do your tax returns (not too mention all the goods you had to get for that space, i.e. new PC). As weird as it sounds, my dedicated work space in my house is a haven to me. Everything around the room is a reminder of how I got to where I am today. I have my group photo of my bridal shower handing up. A map of my old neighborhood in NYC right above my monitor and then good ol’ Yankee Stadium to the right. And behind me is a view I’m familiar with when I used to work at the top floor of a building in midtown Manhattan. 

Creating a productive work space is key – at least for me and makes me happy to “go to work” everyday. 

Once you get your space together, it’s important to establish rules. I’ve actually shared them at the start of working from home. They have been amazing with maintaining my productivity and keeping me sane when it’s just me and the cat at home. 

To me, the little nuances are the things that are the biggest differences from working in an office than at home. Duh, you won’t be in a room with people or perhaps get to interact with as many people as you used to, but there are now co-working clubs from coast-to-coast or you could create your own! Also, thanks to Skype I can see my colleagues as much as I’d like (yay all around!). 

My commute has cut down considerably from taking the subway from Queens to Midtown (about 30 minutes each way for me) to 3 seconds (from one room to another). If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all that you would need to do for yourself, don’t be afraid to take slower and littler steps because the more intentional and careful you are, the more it will stick, most likely. Things will catch up and the best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you get to where you need to be at your own pace. 

I am the BIGGEST advocate of networking. Seriously, if you see my writing anywhere else, it’s quite possible I’m talking about networking. Your biggest asset is your peers and who better to know and understand your situation but them, right?! Whether they are a military spouse or fellow professional in your field, collaborating and conversation is how we can learn from each other. 

Did you transition from working in an office to at home? I’d love to hear your story!

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2 Comments

  1. I moved from New Orleans to DC this past summer to live with my military dude, and I have been working (mostly) from home ever since. It’s soooo different, but it’s working for me so far. 1. Yoga pants on the daily and 2. I can work when I want, aside from the occasional freelance deadline.

    One thing I’d love to keep in mind for the future if I continue working from home is having an office. Right now, I’m stationed at our kitchen table, which is working, but this place doesn’t feel like my own.

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