My career as a professional work-from-home hermit

Freelancers and digital nomads don’t “go to work”. But they still work away in their caves. Welcome to my career as a professional hermit.

You’ve seen them, those work from home ads:

“Work from home. Make big bucks in your pajamas.”

Quick. What do writers, stay-at-home parents and online marketing geeks have in common? I mean, besides insanity, and presumably a pajama fetish?

They are all hermits.

What's the big deal about working in your pajamas?

NOTICE This article is republished “many years later” after being deleted from the archives on another website.


What it’s like to work from home

The typical writer locks himself up for years, brooding in a dark room, surfacing only long enough to find out who this year’s American Idol is. This solitary brooding, alone, evading contact with other human beings, is supposed to help a writer develop a keen sense of the human condition.

Stay-at-home parents are prisoners in their own castles, as each child has a different toilet schedule. And a different nap schedule. And a different tantrum schedule. By the time they are all buttoned up in their snowsuits and hopefully not needing the bathroom in the next 15 minutes, the stores are all closed.

Online marketing geeks sit down to their computer screens in the morning. When they look up, they wonder how it got so dark. The next time they look up, they wonder how it got so light again.

What a sad bunch. What a sorry lot. Who would take on such careers?

I would.

I’m a writer. I’m a Stay-at-home Dad. I’m an online marketing geek. I’m … Super Hermit!

“Get dressed.”

“Why? Don’t you like my pajamas anymore?”

“You have to go out.”

“What?! Why would I do something so radical?”

“It’s Tuesday. You have a big outing.”

“Tuesday? Tuesday? What’s Tuesday?”

“Garbage day.”

In the country, three minutes to the road and back with the bags, then again with the recycling, qualifies as a big outing for a professional hermit. In fact, that’s more time than most couples spend each week being a couple.

If this sounds like just the kind of self-inflicted bliss you’ve been itching for, there are a few things you should know before making the big career switch.

Who needs a shower when you work from home?

A dedicated hermit often skips a shower. Sometimes, the hermit gets away with it. To help the hermit remember when shower day arrives, there is a simple four-part clinical procedure:

Do you need a shower?

  1. Lift arm.
  2. Insert nose.
  3. If you faint, it’s time to shower (when you regain consciousness).
  4. If you don’t faint, schedule a shower — as early as next week, if your partner insists.

Personally, I apply a simple rule of thumb. As long as I spend more time showering each week than I spend taking out the garbage, my wife probably won’t divorce me. Unless I forget to take out the garbage…again.

Here are a few more tips for shower-challenged hermits everywhere:

  • Wear cologne. Lots of it. Your partner will think you did it just for her. Or him. Or it. If you wear enough, the kids might even let you out.
  • Wear many layers of thick clothes. Warning, if you live in Edmonton or Moscow this might force you to open all the windows to keep from smelling even worse. If you live in Dallas or Delhi, it might force you to close all your windows to keep from smelling even worse.
  • Eat garlic for breakfast. If that doesn’t work, eat garlic for lunch, too. And for dinner. And for dessert. Nobody will notice your shower schedule, and the kids will definitely let you out.

Who has friends when you work from home?

We professional hermits also lose touch with our friends.

“Hey David. How have you been? It’s Al.”

“Al? Al who?”

“It’s Al. Your friend.”

“I have a friend?”

If working in your pajamas appeals to you, perhaps to avoid being the next victim of the “What Not to Wear at Work” TV crew, a career as a professional hermit is your ideal gig. Pick up a pen and paper, get yourself a second-hand computer or borrow some kids.

If you barricade yourself in your house long enough, you can enjoy your very own life of abnormal isolation and solitude. And everyone will know just what to buy you for Christmas – more pajamas!

NEXT: This feature continues with the pajamas fashion primer and home office policies.