Small Talk About Working at Home
Nosy family members … we all have them, probing into your business, asking uncomfortable questions, who basically intrude into your personal business. “When will you get married?” “When will you have children?” These—and many more questions—are sure to come up at any family event, making you very uneasy.
The dreaded “What do you do?” question is a big one, and while it may seem innocent enough, what your family members are basically asking you is: “What is your profession?’ Translating to: “How much money do you make?” When you have the luxury and convenience of working from home, many do not know how to answer this without opening a huge door to a thousand more questions. And let’s not even go in to the whole, “I don’t understand what a virtual assistant does!” discussion (we can save that topic for another post).
Here are some of the common ‘working at home’ questions and how to handle them.
1. Are you really working?
Most people do not ask this to be rude. In fact, they just assume that because you are working from home, you either goof off all day or have a really clean house.
At-home workers know this is not the case and this type of work can be even more stressful than having to report to your boss in the office every day.
You can assure these interrogators that your boss knows you are working due to the amount of work you produce. Most at-home workers are in constant, or in the very least, daily contact with their employers, either by email, phone, social media or other platforms. Eventually some sort of physical product or outcome is obtained, giving your boss evidence that he was not paying you to be on Facebook all day.
2. Can you get me a job -or- Can I work for/with you?
Once family members learn of your at-home job, they too, will want to have a job like yours. This is understandable, but nonetheless annoying. After all, you are a stay at home worker, not a “head hunter” for a major corporation. It’s even more problematic if you run a solopreneur virtual assistant practice.
An easy way to get out of this one is simple. You could either imply that you rock your job because let’s face it, you probably do! Advise them that it is not the wisest choice to mix business with family, and you value your personal relationship much more than any capitalistic means. You could also be blunt and tell them to Google ‘work from home’ and offer to point out common red flags they may encounter before any issues occur.
3. What if the client does not pay you?
You can assure your cousin that you have been approached by scammers before, who demand you do two weeks’ worth of work and promise to pay you. Tell them you can see these people coming a mile away and only work with reputable companies in which you have done your homework on.
4. Will you come stay with us for a week or so since you can work from anywhere?
While it is true you can work from anywhere that offers WiFi, tell Grama that you still need to have a quiet space away from any distractions. After all, there is work to be done and your client’s DO notice when you aren’t on your normal schedule.
5. Do you wear a business suit?
Be honest with this one. If you wear a suit, say so; but also do not be ashamed if you do not get dressed at all. The luxury of not wearing pants is a perk, be proud of the benefits your job offers.
6. I bet you are up to date on all the viral videos!
While the newest dog tricks can be intriguing, explain that there is software that can block these types of websites if you are unable to stay away from temptation. Holidays and other family events are great for catching up and all; but when it is focused on your “easy” stay at home job, you will encounter these questions. Be prepared! If all else fails, change the subject, and ask about Aunt Judy’s fifth marriage.
At the end of the day, working from home, is still a viable employment (or self-employment) option for many people and regardless of what your friends and family may say or do, only YOU control the destiny of your career. Take the initiative to be present, to move forward, and to be the utmost professional in your home office and your virtual assistant practice will thrive.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: Working from home by Britt Selvitelle | CC BY 2.0