Do You Envy People Who Work From Home?

Dec. 3, 2006 – About 3 years ago, I was at a Christmas party and had a conversation with someone that has stuck with me ever since. When I mentioned I was an engineer and still commuted to work every day, my conversation pal looked at me in disbelief. Then he boasted that he had not commuted to work in years and that I was missing out by not working from home!

Wow! Was I really missing something here? Don’t most people live like me by commuting to work, or do most people work from home? Well, after that conversation I was compelled to do some research! For those like me, a comprehensive analysis can be forwarded to you if you visit my website and request it:

For those of you who prefer a summary, a 1997 survey prepared for Telecommute America, estimated that the number of Americans “Telecommuting” via a computer, rose from 4 million in 1990 to about 11 million in 1997. However, another census taken in the year 2000, showed a decrease in those that work from home and the trend was headed downward.

The most interesting thing about the 2000 census is the chart that shows in 1960 there were 64 million workers and of that number about 4.6 million worked at home. In 2000, there were 128 million workers and of that number about 4.2 million worked from home. So, that means in the last 40+ years we have doubled the number of people in the work force but actually fewer work from home. That also means that the 11 million in 1997 decreased to 4 million in 2000.

So, during the 1990’s there was a spike, and then things leveled off. I for one am interested in the 2010 census, but I guess I’ll have to wait. But, in the mean time, regardless of the numbers, I still envy those that only work from home. What about you?

Going back to my Christmas story once again, there is something that is worth clarifying. Although my conversation pal worked from home, he was not self-employed. Now that is an important distinction! Sure, working from home has its perks, but those that are enjoying the real financial freedom are those that work from home and work for themselves!

So, which person do you envy the most? The person that works from home but isn’t any better off financially than you are, or the person that works from home and is experiencing an increasing growth in personal wealth? Well, for me, it is the latter.

Not to long ago, I turned my envy into motivation. But, being of the practical sort, I had to find a way to work at home part-time in evenings for myself. This way, I could still be self-employed and work from home….on my own time. Well, it does mean more work for me, but it allows me to create another source of income. Is it worth it? How can one really find the time?

For me, it meant not interfering with time with my family. So, evenings meant 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm, and that is what I did. Interestingly enough, I found that once you gain the experience, you can choose opportunities that pretty much run on auto-pilot. It’s all about understanding how to leverage technology in your favor.

So, it’s up to you. You can be envious or industrious! I for one am looking forward to this year’s Christmas party. This time, I’ll be on the offensive. If you would like to know what I will say, I’ll tell you if you ask.

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