Financial, Personal Essay

Working From Home-Be in the Know

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As the workplace changes with modern times, whether we are W-2 employees or self-employed, remote or working from home opportunities have come about full force.

Statistically speaking, according to the Gallup poll, there is a significant increase in people working from home. And there are even more who would be willing to leave their employment to accept remote opportunities. LinkedIn also ran a poll where they found that 82% want to work from home at least one day per week and 57% would like to work remotely about three days per week.

Some of the benefits of working from home are:

  • Improved engagement with the workplace.
  • Increase in productivity.
  • Helping the environment by decreasing waste of items such as paper, trash, and fuel.
  • More effective work-life balance.
  • Flexible work hours lending to more job satisfaction.
  • Better branding of the employee.
  • Less time off for vacations and sick leave.
  • Savings on clothing, transportation, meals, etc.
  • Family availability within reasonable limits.
  • Decreased chances of spreading illness in the workplace.
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As one who has worked from home since 2006, from my experience, it takes a certain discipline to maintain your work from home reputation. Setting boundaries with family and friends is important. Otherwise, it is too easy to fall into the childcare and errand running status for others, as well as people believing you are available at their beck and call.

Therefore, it is important to state up front and repeatedly (if necessary) that you work set hours and what this means as far as being available.

It is important to set a schedule, shower, dress in at least comfortable clothes. This sets the focus on work vs grabbing the remote and watching movies. In the case of work from home agents for customer service phone centers from home, there will be schedules to fulfill. It will be important to adhere to schedules and to manage background noise. A white noise machine works perfectly for this.

This is what mine looks like:

Ergonomics is just as important at home as it is in the office. It is important to have a desk set up to help prevent carpel tunnel, back issues, etc. Also be sure to get up and walk around periodically and just breathe. I used to set a timer each hour to do breathing exercises, but now it comes more naturally.

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My first job working from home was as a work from home agent for a call center based in Texas. Hours were chosen from a board and I worked a set number of hours per week, I did not have to exceed these. Opportunities to work additional hours, along with incentives would be available. As an independent contractor, I did not get paid for training. I received a 1099 for my wages and was able to deduct work related expenses, completing a self-employment Schedule C for tax purposes. Eventually, this company changed to an employee: employer type relationship, resulting in paid training and a W2 for tax filing. This changed the ability to take certain expenses in consideration as would be used when a self-employment Schedule C was filed.

Eventually, I switched to writing gigs and dropped the customer service call center work. One of the jobs was to write jewelry descriptions for a jewelry sales company and eventually to write articles about jewelry. In this job, I learned about SEO. Other writing jobs included writing blurbs for sites and articles.

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
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Just about the time the jewelry business went dry, I was approached about ghostwriting a book about Alzheimer’s Disease. This piqued my interest as my father had Alzheimer’s Disease. I was interested in learning all I could. This resulted in a published book from this project and I learned some key points about publishing and marketing books. Nowadays, I write and am working on a poetry book as well as some other publications.

This is the poetry book I have already published:

Working from home is not made for everybody. It is a convenience for many of us who, need this option. Some people find they can do their work in coffee shops, libraries, remote work centers, or essentially anywhere they can hook up to the internet, if needed. If working as a customer service agent, then this work must be from home in a secured, hard wired environment. Of course, this would also be the case if working in finance or other secure work.

Just like many other areas of life, there is always a chance of coming across scams. Having done some detective work in this respect, I have intentionally taken calculated risks to detect scammers. I have found some that got my spam stamp of rejection.

Discipline, due diligence, and dedication will get you far in work from home efforts.

Resources:

Gallup Poll on Working From Home

LinkedIn Information About Working from Home

Rat Race Rebellion – Work from Home Jobs

 

 

blog, Personal Essay, TTOT

Ten Things of Thankful – January 24, 2020

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That’s right, folks! It’s January 24 and a FRIYAY! So time for Ten Things of Thankful or TTOT!! So, let’s do this!

1. Mom! This would be her 97th birthday year! WOW! On January 20, 1923 God brought this woman into the world and in 1954 I got to meet her! How lucky was I? The luckiest baby in the world, but I am partial to my mother. While she did not get to stay on this part of life long enough, I am grateful for having her for a mother, who I always called “Mom.”
mom

2. Paul, my cousin, who passed away this past week. I am grateful that when I was last back visiting in Iowa that we got to see him. He is now with his beloved Sally and the rest of the family on the other side. I am sure he is talking away as he loved to chat up a storm. Rest well, Paul, you were always one I could count on to make me smile.
Paul Niemann

3. Learning – I have been learning so much from fellow people in many walks of life, but this week I want to feature Deanna Martinez-Bey, a writer, cook and fellow blogger. Here is one of her blogs The Fiery Whisk Bakery. I am reading one of her books and it’s making me hungry!

4. Walking – I have had some difficulty with walking and weeble wobbles, so I devised a way to walk indoors. I am “trying” to increase my cardio without going kerplunk! I did get to the gym and use the bike on the weekend, but I am trying this in home walking routine and so far, so good. One day at a time, right? I am thinking of trying this video again as it helped me before:

5. This spot is for you!! That’s right! I decided to meet you in the middle, so why not take the steps to join the party? Here’s the link to join us! Even one thankful is perfectly fine!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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6. Opportunities – I was having a discussion with my friend about how wherever you look, wherever you go, there are always opportunities to reach out and help others. We had that experience yesterday at the Dollar Tree, helping a lady who needed to find the right color flowers. And in the Living Poetry prompt “Service” was the theme. So, would you like to see the responses? you might see mine, oh yes you might or may… Living Poetry Monday Prompt

7. Glasses – I was at the blogger’s meetup and my friend and fellow blogger, Missy, had glasses to give us and I got a pair for my daughter. They are pink! Maybe she will model them when she gets them. Thank you, Missy!! Here’s Missy’s blog: Midlife Margaritas

8. Humor – So, I had a little fun this week with Medium. On Friday on post on the Friday Fix and respond to the prompt of the week. See what I did here and tell me if it made you giggle: Put the Seat Down

9. And many years ago I walked on water! Oh yes I did! It was ICE water, so there is that factor… Grateful I survived and that my partner in this did not fall in, that time… Here’s the story: Walking Across the Mississippi River

10. A Warm Bed – Not all people get to choose where they will live. Unless you call choosing between sleeping under the stars or in a tent a choice, then, there’s that, but I know I can lay my head on a pillow in a heated home. What made me think about this moreso this week was when I was driving and saw a tent pitched next to a fence. I am supposing that someone slept or was still sleeping in that tent. It is cold outside, even though in NC we joke about how that changes by the hour, it is cold and to have to sleep in a tent must be hard. Yes, I have slept in a tent on cold nights, but I was camping by choice. I had a campfire and I had warm sleeping gear, but it was fun for me. I cannot imagine that this person had a campfire or heat and yet they chose to pitch a tent and even take that risk near a busy road. I don’t know anything about this person. I don’t know their story. But I do know it is cold and I am grateful I am not having to sleep in a tent when I would not want to do so.

gray beddings
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Personal Essay, poetry

The Send Off

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The Send Off
a haibun

Preparing poems for a manuscript is a daunting experience. Just when you think they are all ready to send, you take that last look and there you see it. One has a stain on his shirt, she has jelly circling her mouth, an untied shoe, a shirt not tucked in and so it goes. Back to putting the kids in order and making sure they do nothing to embarrass you. There will be one who belches and is rather proud of it and another who gets gassy and lets everybody know in more ways than one. Alas… as soon as everything is in good form and functional and relatable and all the other ables you put them in the minivan and take them off to deliver them to the judges, experts, or whoever has devoted never enough time to look them over. I just hope that they behave while not under my watch. Somehow, I trust they will, but oh my I hope that chili last night didn’t stir things up. Such is the life of a poet, preparing the way for her children to have a review. Wish us all lots of luck!

taking a fat chance
life has many turns and quirks
hope Stanley behaves

Personal Essay, short story, TTOT

Ten Things of Thankful – August 16

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It’s time for the wonderful weekly wows of thankfulness! Let’s do this!

1. The Katzenjammer Kids – Not only is this fun to say, it’s a classic comic from looooong ago. They even made a postage stamp for them. It’s HERE Go and check this out on THIS SITE Comics, in general have always been my go to for entertainment. Back when I was a child I bought multiple packs of comics where you wouldn’t know what you got, except the one on top. It was always fun to see the reveal. Fortunately, I rarely found a comic I didn’t like and my brothers would find them interesting, otherwise. I think that was part of the fun. It was hoping I would find something to share with them. While I don’t subscribe to a newspaper anymore, I still look at the comics whenever I happen upon a paper.

2. Dogs I have known – I am in a reminiscent mood of late and I am thinking of the dogs who have influenced my life. Sport, who didn’t live long in our home and found a place on a farm, because he bit me. I cried when he left. Barney the beagle who lived in our hearts. I like how he always checked on my little brother, just making sure he was okay. And how he barked at toast. And ate my lunchmeat one too many times when I turned my back. And who played with Rowdy the neighbor dog, fighting over an old pillow while each had a end of it and would get in Barney’s house and run around and around with the darned pillow clenched in their mouths. Thump Thump Thump. Then Sam who preferred the outdoors much of the time. He was our watchdog. He was super laid back and some kind of mutt. Then there was Pee Wee, who was part peekapoo and part dachshund who got his name for the obvious. He was quite the dog and brave for his size. Then Patsy came along after Pee Wee died. Daddy suggested a beagle again and he was right on about Patsy. She was the sweetest. She rarely barked and was very simply a nice companion. Then there was Sandy, Maya, Hannah and Shakespeare. That’s enough dogs for this lifetime, doncha think? I won’t be having any more dogs, but I sure love when I can love on other’s doggies.

Pee Wee

3. Cuisine – I’ve been bored with my cooking lately and WARNING!! When you get older, your taste buds change. Some days I can barely taste what I’m eating other than to say it’s salty or sweet. I use more spices than maybe others do simply to try and put some flavor in there. A friend was making tacos yesterday and inspired me to try roasting peppers, onions a mushrooms. I could actually taste quite a bit of these, so that’s a win. I suppose that stronger tasting foods are going to be my choice. And I thought that if I could not taste so well that would mean apathy leading to weight loss. No, it does not work that way. You still try to find some things that taste good. No worries, though, because the weight is still becoming a loss. If you really want to see what I had you have to go to this LINK

4. Flea Market finds AND a friend who will pick them up and deliver them – welp – not really, but I saw these two chairs by the dumpster where I live and grabbed them. They are going to be picked up today by my friend and used on the patio of my daughter’s home. Aren’t they cute? I didn’t keep the ball.

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5. Art – I’ve been in a creative funk of late when it comes to my art. Last Monday I got together with a dear friend and we did some artsy stuff before we did some writing stuff. I took a picture of the asphalt cracks a good while ago and from that I was able to create this image of what I will call Lady on the Bridge.

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6. Six Sentence Story – I am working hard on story crafting and this group helps me to stretch my brain cells. Here this weeks story and I will warn you that it’s not a happy story, but I believe it will have a happy ending. You just gotta believe! Here is the STORY

7. Angel Card Project – We participate in the Angel Card Project and while the focus is on Christmas cards we expand to other cards when a need comes up. The leader/creator of the group has a Facebook page and if you would like to join, that would be awesome. Many of the card recipients are people who are lonely and need to know there are people who care about them, regardless of being strangers. After all, a friend is a stranger until you meet them. Here’s the link to the Angel Card Project page.

8. Errand Buddy – Each week when I run errands, mostly grocery shopping, I have a bestie who goes with me. While we are running about we solve most of the problems of the world. So, if you find that it’s a better place out there, you are welcome.

woman standing beside pineapple fruits
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9. Messy Desk – Right now, I would not take a picture of my desk as it is very messy. That is something to be thankful for. A messy desk is a sign of production and I have been trying and it shows.

10. Invitations – You are invited to be a part of Ten Things of Thankful. Why not join in and share about your week? It is inspiring to hear about life and it’s challenges and overcoming adversities. Now, more than EVER we need the connection of love, caring, sharing to hold each other up. So my 10th thankful is that I am able to invite YOU to a place at the gratitude table. Come sup with us and leave feel satisfied. I may even cook some greens and cornbread for you.
Or do you need sweet tea?

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I like that expression!!

Sooooooo, drum roll!!! Here’s where you go to Link Up!!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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blog, Personal Essay, poetry, short story

Writing Raw and To Prompts Opens up Possibilities for Creativity

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Writing Raw and To Prompts Opens up Possibilities for Creativity

Many times when we write it’s to some kind of theme. It could be from a prompt or thought finding a place on paper. Have you ever written raw? Writing raw is putting pen to the paper and writing whatever thoughts come to mind. When I took the course The Artist’s Way I found this technique to be most helpful. We wrote every morning in what they called the “Morning Pages” and there were no hard and fast rules. You just grabbed your notebook and wrote by hand (yes no keyboard) and wrote a designated amount of time. Then, you put it away and went on about your other life duties. In the course, you came back to the writings and from them could find things to further write about or learn from. It was very revealing to me about certain things needing focus and other things I needed to let go. It was a revealing and healing exercise. It also helped me to use this technique in other writing.

 

I am in an online group call Signs. It is a slow writing group where we write to a certain theme, but it’s not rushed. You take some time to write to the theme and just let it flow. No edits. Just flow with the theme and write whatever comes to mind. It’s another way of revealing to me, my innermost thoughts. It’s not completely writing raw as there is a theme or photo prompt, but it can end up being a piece that may not have one thing to do with the prompt. So, I would call this writing “Lightly Prompted.”

Another online group I belong to also has prompts and you write six sentences to reveal your thoughts around the prompt word. I have been a part of this group for a good while now. It has opened up for me to be more concise with my words and to tell a story with fewer words. Sometimes I write poetry to these prompt words and, one of my personal favorites is to do acrostics. The group supports each other with responses and it is fun to see what develops. Some have developed longer stories from their works on this challenge.

Recently, I started writing to a haiku/senryu online challenge where we have a picture prompt which we interpret and write to in the form of a haiku or senryu. This is a newer challenge and I am loving this. It is interesting to see what others come up with and is a lot of fun.

About once a quarter the Living Poetry group here in the RTP area has a Germination Workshop in which we write to prompts. This helps generate some rough draft poetry. You can develop poems from this and some have been published. The reveal, where we all share what we write is interesting as you hear so many points of view.

What do you write to? Are prompts helpful for you or do you prefer writing raw? I like to mix it up. When you are stuck or need a warmup exercise for your other writing, thinking long work report you must get done, try to write a haiku or short, short story just to get the brain warmed up before entering the demands of life. That is what I am doing right now. It’s gonna make for a much better day.

If you would like links to the online challenges please let me know. I am happy to invite others to join the fun.