After posting a story last night lamenting a certain work-from-home-with-my-husband situation, I got this response from a follower:
And then I proceeded to get like 60 messages all with people agreeing/ sharing their own stories of WFH hell with their spouses or roommates (they are not an exception!), which had me rolling.
Let’s back up here. Andrew normally not only works from his office, but travels a lot. Cut to the quarantine, and there is no travel and he and I are sharing my open-concept office during work hours (we are super, duper lucky to have a nanny who still comes everyday, lives alone and is taking this VERY seriously) and the change of scenery from the house to my office is sanity saving in some ways. But let me say, in the last 2-3 weeks, it has been EYE OPENING what Andrew’s co-workers have to deal with on a daily basis. I mean, I had a clue, I’ve been with him for 15 years- but I really thought he liked to just annoy ME because I have a short fuse for repetitive Dad jokes/ his cringe-worthy mob boss impressions and music playlists. Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Things I’ve witnessed while working with Andrew:
- he spends 90% of his 8 hours day on conference calls, talking loudly and making horrible jokes (and then laughing at them and giving me the thumbs up). He also likes to pace the room during these calls.
- he says things like “biz dev”, “let’s circle back on that”, “I’ll ping you” all day long and I want to throw my water bottle at him.
- he also refers to Coronavirus as “a case of the ‘rona”.
- he likes to do various workouts mid-day right on front of my desk while complaining about said workout.
- he EATS pistachios while on conference calls- those poor people on the other end!
- he makes roughly 10 cups of coffee a day (WHAT??)
- tells me almost every day “you know, you should meditate”…. which literally makes me never want to meditate ever and ratchets up my stress.
So yeah- it’s been interesting. Did I mention I’m also 31 weeks pregnant and chock full of hormones and can’t drink wine? Yeah. And then we get to go home for MORE TOGETHER TIME while he sips a nice bourbon and I glare at him with rage! There really is something to that whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” saying, isn’t there? There ARE benefits to Andrew being in my office- he is unwaveringly positive, even during salary cuts and layoffs, which is way better than a fellow doom-and-gloomer like me. He does wash my coffee cups and vacuumed once, so that is a nice bonus! And I was really proud when he called out to a colleague on Zoom “Dude, you gotta paint those cabinets white! It’ll make such a difference!” But guys, it’s HARD. We are ALL struggling as we discover what annoying weirdos our spouses, roommates and partners can be during work hours! So as that one follower asked, followed by many more, here are my tips to not annihilating them during this never-ending quarantine:
Noise Cancelling Headphones.
I don’t own these (pretty Beats by Dre pair), and I think I need to. Just being able to block out the sounds of a conference calls littered with business-dude jargon and ill-timed jokes would probably take things down a notch or twelve.
The Calm App.
This one I did download. Mantras to keep you from going all homicidal.
Good Snacks, especially candy.
Hidden in your own secret drawer where you don’t have to share, especially after they say “nah, I don’t want any”, and then eat the whole bag.
Take a minute and lie down and put on an eye mask to block out the horror that is watching you partner on video conferences/ workouts.
Weighted Anxiety Blanket.
When you feel overwhelmed and need a hug, but can’t hug a stranger and are feeling stabby at your significant other, wrap yourself in one of these weighted anxiety blankets. Go for the full 20 lbs. It’ll hold you down, if nothing else.
End Of Day Me Time.
When the work day is over, try to give each other at least 30 minutes of alone time while the other watches the kids (or just leaves you alone with the door shut). Be it to do yoga, watch a quick show while doing a face mask, nap, read or maybe just sob in the shower.
So, share your tips on how you stay sane… or just vent your annoyances! It’s a safe space here…you’re in the trust tree. :) We gotta laugh about this or we’ll cry.