Homebody Diary: Am I a shut-in?

8 October 2012

When I tell people that I work from home, I usually follow it up with "Yeah, and now I'm no longer fit for society" and a laugh. We've all seen that Oatmeal comic. We know how the story of the remote worker is supposed to end: covered in urine and communicating in grunts and half-words.

I thought I would need more socialization when I started working from home. I was convinced that I'd end up at a co-working space at least once a week (or at the very least, a coffee shop). I soon discovered that getting out the door was more trouble than I was ready to put up with in order to pay for coffee or a seat. I mean, I have a chair here, and coffee in the house is free!

I was surprised when I found out that I didn't miss people at all. I'd expected to be lonely, and I wasn't. Excellent!

In early September, I went to DjangoCon US. I love conferences. I'm an incredibly social person, so I tend to be in a rather manic state for the entire time I'm there. I want to see all the people that I only get to see at conferences, and there's always a few mavens that want to introduce me to a slew of new people. Add to that the fact that I can and will talk to anyone who happens to be within five feet of me, and that's a lot of social contact.

It started great. I was seeing people, hugging people, shaking hands, sharing stories, seeing talks, talking about talks... and then, at about 2 in the afternoon, it hit me.

I needed to be alone for a while.

I just didn't want to talk to anyone. I felt drained. I wasn't tired (I have a strict in-bed-by-eleven rule at conferences). I wasn't sad. I just... didn't want to talk anymore.

I skipped that round of talks and took a bath in my room. A cup of tea and some quiet time later, I felt ready to join the masses again. I chalked it up to being mentally exhausted after my tutorial.

Then it happened again on the second day. Then again on the third.

I've never had this happen to me. I've never gotten tired of being around people. Hell, even when the people are super annoying and I want to strangle them with their innards, my reaction is to find different people, not to find a quiet space.

I wish I could say that I'm posting this with any idea what this means for my future. Instead, I'm posting this as a way to record the first incident of becoming slightly less social. I can deal with needing a half-hour of alone time during a conference. It was nice. I can't picture a time when I simply can't go to conferences because I can't be around people that much.

If I do show a trend in becoming less social, then I'll have to make an effort to find some ways to inject people into my life during the day. Maybe co-working, maybe a coffee shop. Maybe I'll teach more. I just don't want to end up the person who never leaves her house five years from now.


Related tags: remote


1 Noah Kantrowitz says...

A bunch of Ops people I know (most of whom work from home) do a scheduled, weekly Google hangout. Maybe we should start a PyHang :-)

Posted at 12:22 p.m. on October 8, 2012

2 T.I.J. says...

Geez ... This is the way I always feel. I was unaware that it required a special set of requirements to get that way. :)

Posted at 1:05 p.m. on October 9, 2012

3 Catherine Devlin says...

I totally want in on PyHang! +Catherine Devlin

Posted at 6:11 p.m. on October 9, 2012

4 Hugo Estrada says...

It seems like you are becoming more introverted. I have never heard of it. What you describe is normally my experience in conferences, but I try force myself to hang out with people. Yet thinking back, I do seem to hide for an hour or two at some point.

Posted at 8:06 a.m. on October 15, 2012

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