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Should I get a part time job?
February 26, 2013 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Before I start, I'd like to point out that I'm not spoiled or lazy. I've been dealing with the very real problems of depression and anxiety for most of my life, and for the past five years I've been working from home.

I could make just as much working from home as I could working part time. However I realize that having employment outside the home would boost my self esteem, get me socializing with other humans again, and give me a healthy routine to follow. I feel like I would be well enough to do this.

However I'm afraid that if it's the wrong job for me it could make things worse. I've heard enough tales of nightmare supervisors, difficult coworkers, etc. Those types of things could send me over the edge if they got bad enough.

I'm weighing the pros and cons but it would be nice to get some input from people who've been in or witnessed a similar situation. My other alternative is to volunteer somewhere and continue to work from home. Overall my goal is to get myself out of the house and doing something productive on a regular basis. Thanks guys.
posted by Cybria to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How about keeping your home job and picking up a part time job just to see how it goes?
posted by michellenoel at 7:36 AM on February 26, 2013


Know that even if it doesn't work the first time, it doesn't mean it won't eventually work. Maybe the first job is the right fit for you, maybe it isn't. Don't allow things to get so bad that you accept unacceptable things. Work through what you can, disengage when you need to...up to and including quitting.

And work with your therapist to get back on the work train again. It will be a major change and changes can be scary. But you getting back out there and investing in yourself is a good idea. But baby steps.
posted by inturnaround at 7:38 AM on February 26, 2013


Maybe you could temp at a few places so you can see if you like the different work environments.

Also, check out the various potential employers ahead of time. If people are complaining about the service or work environment on Facebook or in public, then steer clear.
posted by dragonplayer at 7:38 AM on February 26, 2013


If you're making enough money at your work-from-home job, I'd definitely start with volunteering or with a part-time job that works around your existing job, so that if things don't go as well as you hope, you won't lose your income. Make a real commitment, however, to be somewhere at certain times when people are counting on you. If you can't go one day, either because your symptoms are bad or for some other reason, make sure you call in to let them know. If you want to quit, ask yourself whether it's the depression talking, or whether there's a real dealbreaker reason (heck, ask other people, such as your therapist, to weigh in on your reasoning to give you some outside perspective). I think that you're absolutely right to be thinking about ways to get yourself out of the house and back into a schedule where other people are counting on you. I wish you the best of luck.
posted by decathecting at 7:40 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could you continue working from home and add on a very short, say 2 days a week, part time job? This would both maintain your current income level plus ease you into the outer world a bit?

I know what you mean about the anxiety: I too hate hate HATE dealing with strangers, and can only do it in very small doses...... but on the other hand, we all have to do that sometimes, don't we? Just make sure that whatever you do as the part time job, it's not too interaction-intensive from the start: work your way up gradually. Don't get a job as a cashier at a grocery store, for instance; perhaps stock clerk would be better fit. Don't try to jump right in as a barista at Starbucks or a toy store in the Christmas season, because that kind of pressure will make you crazy and shake your confidence.
posted by easily confused at 7:43 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are you planning to take a job related to your current profession, or something different? You could do the latter in quite a low risk way. A lot of people work in retail, as bartenders, or something similar while also working from home. This can be a good way to get out, see people and have a sense of completion at the end of the day. But-- as alluded to above-- sometimes these kinds of jobs don't work out for whatever reason. I tend to be kind of isolating and depressed myself, and have worked on and off in bookstores while working at home too. (Bookstores are great for low-key people; they don't expect you to have the bubbly retail personality in a big way. You just have to find a bookstore that's still open.) But working in a store or a restaurant, you are always going to be at the whim of some individual who may give you a schedule or tasks that you don't like. There has to be something you enjoy about the job, to make up for the inevitable aggravation.

If you are instead looking for a job in your field, feel free to ignore this advice.
posted by BibiRose at 7:54 AM on February 26, 2013


I telecommuted for six months, and for all its advantages it really can feel quite isolating. When I returned to a job outside the home, it felt like my social skills had atrophied; I remember feeling a little awkward for a few months, and I think it would have been better for me to have come in with a little more confidence and grace. Even with that, it was the right move for me.

I think it's an excellent idea for you to volunteer; you'll get out of the house and get used to being around others, but the stakes aren't as high as a new job (or leaving a reliable job for an unknown one). Look for other baby steps you can take, too: are there any groups, meetups, free classes that you can join? Even just walking around the park by yourself when there are other people around can help.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:55 AM on February 26, 2013


I've heard enough tales of nightmare supervisors, difficult coworkers, etc.

Remember sample bias! People rarely tell stories about functional workplaces where people are nice and supervisors are reasonable because those stories are boring. I have had far, far more workplace experiences where no one was a nightmare to work for or with, and I've been working for 30mumble years.
posted by rtha at 8:27 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can absolutely attest that finding some way to get out of the house and interact with humans face to face is an important and healthy thing to do. When I began working from home I proactively went looking for some kind of local social outlet, because I knew I'd go crazy if I didn't get out of the house and interact with people. A couple of recommendations:

If you go the part-time job route, try to get something close to home; I spent 4 years driving 2 hours a day to and from work, and that wasn't much better socially than working from home; I wound up without any real roots in either place.

Personally, I would recommend pursuing the volunteer angle, or (and I'm sure everyone on MetaFilter is sick of hearing me say it) joining a local club or service organization.. or see if there are any meetups near you that look interesting. Most groups that meet on a regular basis will have enough structure to their meetings that it takes the edge off of the social aspect; in other words a meeting provides a framework on which to build social interactions, unlike going to a bar or a party where you're just turned loose in a room full of people and have to fend for yourself. A part time job could provide that same kind of structure, but you gotta have some for-fun time too.
posted by usonian at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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