Tuesday, August 14, 2007

From the Desk of Kafka

JunkThief Gregg woke up one morning to discover that he had turned into an enormous cockroach....

Okay, it may not be as bad as that, but after nearly a decade of working from home while being part of a 147 member global team still makes me feel at times like a variation on Gregor Mendel Samsa or some other Kafka office functionary in an eternal Interzone that is not quite real yet not quite fictional. Conference calls are always the worst, and I am often amazed when people praise me for facilitation skills that I think that I absolutely lack. I've learned to trust pauses and silences, especially when after prodding, people respond "We're writing."

Although I have a dedicated office space in my house, I selfishly (selflessly? self-denyingly), place it in one of the least appealing parts of the house since I didn't want to sacrifice a favorite room for work. I very intentionally avoid spending time on the living room couch, if only to avoid unsolicited assistance from my cat Bunter, but more importantly it feels like I am such a sloth to be working away on a place intended for other activities.

Recently, I seem to gravitate to the dining room/library looking out onto the garden as pictured above. The view is pleasant, though I have to deal with late morning sun, and there aren't the noise and visual distractions of the street from the front of the house.

I actually manage to be surprisingly disciplined on a work hour routine, starting at a business appropriate hour and not doing anything like eating chili while working on an expense report a 9 p.m. (okay, maybe once every quarter).

Having a full month not traveling, getting back into this routine is always hard. And then -- poof -- just when I think I've got it down I'll be back on the road. It's there, I sometimes think, that I seem to be my most productive. As the lyric goes "I was born in the wagon of a travelln' show..." All a junk thief needs to complete the trio is a gypsy and tramp. Any out there?

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At 2:49 AM, Blogger Pod said...


At 7:34 AM, Blogger marxsny said...

I've been working at home for a while now as well. Although I don't think I am as disciplined at it as you. I am thankful I can make my own schedule but when I continue to find myself working most weekends to make up for the time I spent on other things during the week I sometimes wish for a little more schedule inflexibility. Either way I'll take my home office over Dayton, Ohio or Huntsville, Alabama any day of the week.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Pod - Insect. This is a family friendly site.

Mark - Our main office is in Oklahoma City, a tad better than Dayton or Hunstville, but I'm not budging from San Francisco.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Scot said...

I would like working from home. I now have 2 empty bedrooms, so I'm all ready (although 1 may become a wardrobe).
BTW I got the literary reference, but I thought it was Gregor Samsa that woke up as a cockroach.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

You're right, Scot, on Samsa not Mendel. And to think I originally read that in German at university. Too many years ago. Gregor Mendel was the Austrian geneticist.

Dedicating one room as a wardrobe sounds like a great idea to me!

At 11:45 AM, Blogger WAT said...

U lucky dawg. I wish I could work from home, but alas, I must come into an office and be around all these oogly petty people.

I do believe however, that if I were allowed to work from home, I'd be a real bad employee and I'd prolly fool around and stuff. Or maybe not if I know I have deadlines and stuff to meet? Who knows? It'd be worth a try.

But first I need a job that allows me that kick ass option.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I wish I could offer my services as a gypsy or a tramp but alas must refrain from using those labels for myself - tempting as they are.

Gregg, I LOVE the evolving look of your blog. It is so inviting I just want to curl up with it.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

WAT - Sometimes I can be a real sloth or a blog sloth. Okay, wanna really hate me? I'm eligible for a six to nine month sabbatical, and I'm seriously thinking about taking it.

Gary - To be honest, I'm actually not a thief and really don't like junk that much. I'd like to unload a lot of it that I have piling up, actually. It's just a catchy title.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the "new look" which I hope to keep refining, tuning up. Curl up to your heart's content!

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Rather than the name Junk Thief, how 'bout Poutypants? heh!!


At 7:58 AM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Kafka RULES and I am noting a theme of arm crossing in your pictures - are you trying to keep people at a distance?

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Robert - Poof, indeed

David - Not distant, just resolved and a tough cookie. Warm and open are grossly over-rated. Wanna wrestle?


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