Home alone


I’m a systems programmer and I work from home 99% of the time. I go into NY for meetings and certain events about once a month. My job consists of writing code for automation on the mainframe computer and providing technical support for other programmers. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term mainframe, it’s simply a big computer that communicates with other computers. If you have ever used an ATM, then chances are you have interacted with a mainframe. The ATM can be thought of as the little computer that gets your information from the mainframe.
Among other things my job is to write code that brings the mainframe up, just like when you boot your pc. When your pc is booting it loads programs to give you the ability to use it. I write the code that loads those programs on the mainframe.
I also write code that monitors the system and sends emails and notifications if something is wrong. It can be interesting but for the most part it’s very stressful. Not due to the coding, but dealing with people. That’s a whole ‘nother story. Today I am focusing on working from home.
For the most part, working from home is good. I get to do house stuff occasionally while I work. The nature of my job requires me to be online the whole time. I spend a lot of time reading emails, making and receiving calls. It’s not a party by any stretch of the imagination. My job is extremely technical and requires extreme focus. There’s very little room for error and there’s a lot of work. A LOT. There’s days I will log on and work continuously until evenings, without a break. Sometimes I have to remind myself to eat. It’s gotten to the point where I have to set up calendar reminders to go to lunch.
My job also requires that I work on weekends. I have worked 12 weeks at a time non-stop.
Needless to say, it sucks for my personal life. I don’t get out as much as the average person does, which for me isn’t a huge deal as I’ve really outgrown the whole hang out scene, but one does require social interaction to stay sane. Spending too many hours sitting has also been proven to be deadly. To offset that I take breaks just to go out back or do something around the house, or get on the stationary bike and watch a bit of tv.
I like to cook which is not good all the time because it has made me eat a lot at times. To deal with that I now substitute meals with smoothies or home-made vegetable juice.
I live alone and that plays a major part in my activities. Working from home is good for people with families but there are times when those responsibilities can clash. I don’t like bringing stress into my home but there is little choice. To deal with that I only work out of my office room. This gives me a psychological barrier so that when I go out into the rest of the house it feels separate.
My job also requires that I am on call and that is where things get ugly. People expect you to always be available and they call you after hours for things that should be dealt with during work hours. Oh, I forgot to mention, my company is international, so I deal with people from all over the world. This means that you also have to take into consideration other time zones. It gets crazy at times but I have to say all in all it’s better than dragging my ass into the office everyday.

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