List #265: Val the Writer

For the past few years, the one and only amazing Pittsburgh Blogger Alex from Everybody Loves You...has rallied the troops to put together one big blog swap. Just in time for April Fools Shenanigans. And this year's blog swap is bigger and better than ever! 40 bloggers are swapping their regular writing haunts and venturing over to different lands today for some fun. I'm writing over on Everybody Loves You...about what kind of fun you get into when you share custody of a toddler. And fittingly, the talented Val of Small Town Dad is writing about working from home as the guest post on Librarian's Lists & Letters.

Meet Small Town Dad from Beaver, PA

Val is a freelance writer who works from home. He's a super dad of two adorable children who loves his town, his typewriters, and his books. So you know, he's write up a librarian's alley. I'm in awe of how well can balance his life because mine feels like I'm jumping from one muddy puddle to the next.

Working From Home—A Love/Hate Relationship

I’ve had 15 jobs since graduating from college back in 1997. (That’s right, 15.) They told me you could do anything with an English major. And, boy, they weren’t kidding.

From hocking storm doors for a big-box retailer, to bussing tables for a flair-flaunting restaurant chain, to shipping truckloads of fireproof brick cross-country to line the interior of industrial cement kilns (I’m not kidding), I’ve done just about everything. And hated every single minute of it.

Through it all I’ve always maintained two goals that I wanted to reach before turning 40:
  1. Make a million dollars
  2. Work for myself
Since I’m sitting here writing this blog post and not off drinking margaritas on some secluded tropical island, you can probably guess I fell a little short of Goal No. 1. I did, however, achieve Goal No. 2 last June, when I set out on my own to become a stay-at-home-dad/freelance writer. And, I am happy to say, so far things are going rather well.

I haven’t lost my house yet.

Working from home is awesome! Sometimes. Other times, not so much. That said, the following lists detail some of the best and worst things about being a solo-preneur. Enjoy!

10 Things I Love About Working For Myself
  • The coffee is always perfect (because I make it).
  • Showering is optional.
  • Afternoon naps are mandatory.
  • I get to hear things like my son singing “Uptown Funk” while going #2 (true story).
  • No emergency meetings (or any kind of meeting, for that matter).
  • Four-hour workday (if that).
  • Working (ahem) while watching “American Pickers”.
  • No fear of the dreaded boss “pop-in”.
  • Daily afternoon walk break to pick up my daughter from school.
  • A 30-second commute.

10 Things I Hate About Working For Myself
  • Distractions abound (my kids, the dishes, my kids, the laundry, my kids, etc.).
  • There’s never any leftover office birthday cake.
  • I have to actually pay for my own office supplies.
  • The constant fear of a Nerf gun sneak attack.
  • No Christmas bonus.
  • The lack of water-cooler gossip.
  • You only get paid if you actually work.
  • I am my own I.T. Department.
  • Custodial, too.
  • Quite honestly, the benefits stink.

If you're interested in exploring the other 40! blogs you can can find them all linked below. It might take you more than just a lunch hour to read them all, but hopefully you'll discover something new! Many thanks again to Alex for putting this all together. Happy April Fool's Day!

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