Right now, I’m sitting at a picnic table in the middle of Center Square Park in Blue Bell, PA.
The sun is shining. The birdies are chirping. It’s a beautiful, 83-degree summer morning in July.
A seemingly nice man just parked and took his dog into the fenced dog play area to my left.
And here I am, on my laptop, enjoying the breeze as I type this. Yes, that is my monster and my avocado. I’m terribly addicted to caffeine, yet at the same time I do try to eat healthy most of the time.
Why should I be in an office right now?
Obviously, it doesn’t actually matter.
Sometimes an office is nice because all of your tools and equipment is right there when you need it.
My work from home office has three monitors, air-conditioning, and an unlimited supply of my favorite coffee. It is quite true that no one is coming to refill my mug when I’m ready for the next cup.
But there are just some days when I couldn’t be arsed to be inside any four walls.
I might be a plant too. I crave the sunlight and the fresh air!
I work as a software developer. It’s certainly not the most glamorous job in the world. It often consists of long hours, and many points of frustration as I bang my head against the keyboard trying to figure out why this one, stupid thing just isn’t working right. (Turns out it’s just a dump bracket out of place.)
Yet as a programmer, I am afforded the flexibility of working anywhere in the world where I can access the Internet, and these days, that’s just about anywhere.
I can change my hours as I like to accommodate the needs of my family. And I can go to exotic places and still have some kind of income.
It’s not always easy to have a flexible schedule.
Sometimes this can be nerve-racking.
When I take a 2-3 hour lunch, and I still have things I need to accomplish for my clients, it forces me to forego the traditional routine of “winding down” at the end of the day. Instead, I must go back into my cave and bang out some work until 11pm or midnight in order to meet my deadlines.
I hate deadlines.
I also love them.
Without deadlines, I would be significantly crippled with procrastination. It’s not like I really want to spend hours figuring out why this bracket is out of place. What I would rather do is dip in the pool.
It’s a sinister shackle- being outdoors enjoying the air and the sun, and yet being tethered to my keyboard and this hard-to-read screen which performs infinitely poorer when the sunlight hits it.
$2500 on a Dell XPS Laptop and I can’t see the screen.
Yet for now, this is what I do.
This is not a punishment. Nor am I enslaved or have terrible working conditions.
It’s not exactly freedom, yet it’s certainly far from awful.
I could easily pick up a shovel and offer to move manure from one place to another.
I think in the long run, this laptop, as terribly useful and confining as it is, will prove to be my most liberating tool.