3 Myths About Working From Home

Forbes

Ah, working from home. Many people dream of doing it, and some of us get to live the dream.

Since the idea of not having to commute, deal with annoying coworkers, and eat cake while creating a PowerPoint presentation is attractive to many, there's a great deal of advice out there. [More from Forbes: Top 10 best-paying work-at-home jobs]

Are you working from home the right way or the wrong way? As it turns out, there are multiple myths about working at home that should be banished from your brain before you dare dip your toe in the telecommuting waters.

MYTH #1: Dress like you're going to work.

You hear this all the time. You may be working at home, but the theory is that you should dress as if you're going to work in an office.

Yes: pantsuits, ties, slacks, heels, shirts with collars, pencil skirts.

No: yoga pants, slippers, old T-shirts, not bathing, messy ponytails.

This is absurd. At this moment, I'm wearing a pair of sweatpants shorts, a heather gray T-shirt with "Indians" on the front that I stole from my husband, and no shoes.

They will tell you that you feel more professional if you fantasize that you're at work and dress the part. I'd suggest that if your confidence level is that low, you have deeper issues to plow than the ones at the bottom of your hamper. [More from Forbes: Marriage-saving rules for couples working from home]

Conclusion: Wear whatever the hell you want.

Bonus: It's cheaper.

Exception: Skype meetings. (Pants not required.)

Thought: Do people tell men to work from home in a suit and tie?

MYTH #2: You'll make less money.

Initially, this may be true, but it's not true for me now — although, I've been an independent contractor for over a decade.

That said, choosing to work from home does not doom you to a terminal pay cut.

One of the "scary" things about working from home is that you can't coast. How hard you work dictates the size of your paycheck. This is undeniable, unavoidable, irrefutable. You will find this empowering or paralyzing, motivating or debilitating, inspiring or overwhelming. [More from Forbes: 10 mistakes everyone makes when working from home]

So, who are you: Mr. Steady Paycheck or Ms. Seat-of-Her-Pants?

It's not that complicated. Bad at selling yourself = you'll make less money. Born to hustle = you'll make more money. Know who you are or your income will tell you.

Conclusion: It's all on you.

Bonus: Terror is a powerful motivator.

Exception: Don't do it if you're allergic to risk.

Thought: Halfway through this year, I've made as much as I did in all of last year.

MYTH #3: The water cooler matters.

Really? Does anyone actually believe this anymore?

Is your phone broken? Do you not know how to use email? Are you aware of social networking?

Think about all your relationships and consider what percentage of those relationships are conducted in a virtual space.

Absolutely, meeting face-to-face is worth it on occasion. Sure, you're not as present as Sally updating her Facebook status while stuffing a bologna sandwich down her gullet in the cubicle near the men's room at the office. [More from Forbes: The pros and cons of working at home]

But I'd venture face-to-face networking is dying. I don't need to shake your hand. I don't need to buy you lunch. I'm too busy working to go back to an era in which portfolios were printed on paper, and you couldn't figure out whether or not you wanted to hire me by Googling me.

Conclusion: Live somewhere cheap and invest time in online networking.

Bonus: You create the digital you.

Exception: Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesperson.

Thought: "There is no there there." — Gertrude Stein

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