The Girl of 100 Hats

November 29, 2012 by Jen

It is true that I have been known to hold, concurrently, as many as four part-time jobs. I am comfortable wearing many different hats, as long as the wool one with the flaps over the ears is on the bottom and the pink straw Easter bonnet is second from the top.

That being said, I have recently noticed an unusual trend in public perceptions of my employment history.

According to the casual listener, my list of recent jobs includes not only tasting room manager, curriculum writer, and private tutor, but also cafe barista, food service worker, national parks employee, and gas station attendant. No wonder I’ve been tired lately!

Well, as it turns out, I don’t give off that much of an overachiever impression. Like many other miscommunications and dilemmas, this one results from linguistic ambiguity. (The English major in me feels really good about that last sentence.)

See, I work from home. In this age of computers, that means that I can work from just about any location with access to WiFi. What breaks the tedium of my daily routine is the opportunity to observe different slices of life as I change my working environment. Logically, then, when I tell people about my day, I feel the need to specify the setting of each story I relate.

  • “When I was working at Starbucks…”
  • “I was working at Sheetz the other day…”
  • “I was working at a vineyard last Friday…”
  • “The last time I was working at Panera…”
  • “I needed to get away, so I was working at Pilot Mountain…”*

You get the picture. To the casual listener, I am working for each of these diverse enterprises rather than using them as substitutes for a fixed office space.

I can’t help wondering if this confusion will diminish as the American economy transitions away from an 8-5, M-F model of work. (That’s my deep thought for the day.) In the meantime, however, to fulfill my civic duty of minimizing miscommunication, I shall henceforth speak of my coffee shop-related adventures in the following manner: “When I was doing work at…”

You know where to find me with the Nobel nomination. Or maybe you don’t. It depends what day it is.


Have any other work-from-homers encountered this? What’s your favorite non-home work space?

*that last one might be an exaggeration…

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