“Home Sweet Office! 30 years today, I began the voyage that would help me reinvent my future – and discover the magic that lay within it!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
30 years ago today, I began a new career, working at home, leaving the corporate world to pursue my own passions and interests! I’ve never looked back – and in fact, have been blessed to experience such absolute joy in the home office each and every morning.
It’s a crazy story, really. A full-fledged CPA (Canadian Chartered Accountant), I decided to leave what was then a predecessor firm of KPMG to build a career as – wait for it! – an e-mail and online information resource consultant. I had a great starting contract with a major Canadian company, but after that, had no idea how things would unfold.
The technology at the time? My initial office had me with a Toshiba 3100 laptop – sporting 1MB of memory, a massive 10-megabyte hard drive, and a 2,400 baud modem! Frustrated by the speed, I would soon move up to a 9600 baud super-speedster!
I was only able to take on this risk because my wife – we were newly married – had a stable job as the Tax Manager / Controller for a massive global food company. Listening to me each morning during our morning commute on the train, I think she sensed that I might forever be happier working in a world in which my imagination for the future was not being compressed by the inertia of an organization.
The fact is, I knew something big was happening in online world, and I wanted to be a part of it! I would soon go on to write my first book about the online with another fellow – and within but 6 years, we would pump out 34 books in all, becoming the Lennon and McCartney of the Canadian Internet scene.
Beyond that, a career path began to unfold that truly became unimaginable – just a year ago at this very moment, my wife and I were getting ready for a trip to Marrakech, Morocco, where I would deliver a keynote address for an event for the World Bank! I found myself on stage all over the world, sharing my hopes, dreams, insight and pathways for success.
The real magic, though, came from a life lived working t home with my wife and the joy of starting a family – and then watching my sons grow through each and every day from my home office. I think is the most wonderful career success of all – I am blessed beyond belief.
Imagine the joy that comes with the arrival of your first son, and then getting to experience this moment of joy through each and every working day, throughout the day!
Or starting your day with storytime as soon as they woke up? This went on as a regular routine for at least two years!
Imagine being on deadline for something, and seeing this little fellow come barging into the office to interrupt your thoughts!
Imagine walking in – and finding Teddy being sacrificed to the altar of technology on the fax machine!
The voyage has not been a solo one. In just over four years – after returning to work for six months after the birth of our first son and missing him terribly – my wife would leave her own job to start working with me in the home office. (I needed the support and assistance, and rather than getting on outside office, we decided to go all in!) She’s been with me ever since, occupying her own bit of space over on the other side of the room. She still is not in a cooperative mood when I decide that it might be a good time for some Led Zeppelin at 715am though!
The boys soon discovered that daddy had some fascinating technology at his desk, and soon always did their best to commandeer it! Many of my days would see this type of scene as a computer game took over the office agenda!
For years, my efforts to try to get something done would fail – with my attention being diverted by a different form of ‘office politics.’
Struggling through trying to pay attention to a conference cal? I’d get this bit of joyful energy wander in the room to say goodbye before heading off to school:
Over time, as my career begin to take off, I lived a life that had TV crew after TV crew come to my home office to film some bit of insight about the future. For a few years, my sons would wake up in the morning to find a TV crew out in the hallway, setting up for some sort of news shoot.
30 years! And now, I’m even more all-in! when I can’t get to a stage, I decided to bring the stage into another room near the home office:
That’s why I find all the gnashing of teeth about the future of the workplace so interesting. Quite clearly, with Covid-19, much of the workforce has discovered the joy and beauty of what can come with a home office environment. Yes, many people do miss the interaction with their business counterparts.
But let’s face facts – I dare say many of them won’t want to go back to an office workspace any time soon. They’ve discovered the magic that has been a part of my life for the last 30 years.
Lessons learned? Check my post from 2003! 10 Rules for Working at Home!
With that in mind, it is clear that there is a seismic workplace attitude shift underway, and we would do best to understand it!