Friday, January 25, 2008

Cafe Culture

Today I sat in a cafe with my laptop, writing an article for eventual publication on the new Nurse LinkUp website. What freedom to sit in a busy cafe on a cold winter day, steaming coffee by my side, getting paid to write. Is this really how I can now live some of my days?

The cafe is filled with people with laptops, typing away, sipping coffee and munching pastries. I help the woman next to me connect to the cafe's wireless internet network, and I surmise that she is a student. I run into an acquaintance who builds websites for a particular educational institution, and she praises the fact that she can telecommute two days a week. We wonder at the notion that more and more people seem to be able to work without leaving the comfort of home (or a cozy cafe). We also acknowledge that it is an incredible privilege to do so, and that we are very blessed indeed (and should count those blessings on a regular basis).

Walking through town, I encounter another acquaintance. She is writing freelance for a medical website and working from home, an amazing gift for a mother of school-age children. She has no medical experience that I know of. I recall speaking recently with yet another non-medical person who is a freelance writer for medical websites. I think to myself, "How can I buy a ticket for that gravy train?"

I then meet a close friend for lunch. He has been a consultant for several years now, and he describes the tenuous aspects of his working lifestyle: the deadlines, the uncertainty, the grant-writing, the question of where the next paycheck will come from. It's a mixed bag indeed. We discuss how, when working from home, one needs to be able to turn off the work and just be at home, making a conscious effort to say "I'm working now" and then "I am no longer working".

I've read jokes about how consultants are people who create problems which did not previously exist so that they can be paid to solve them while sitting in cafes sipping lattes. Some people say that consultants and students drive the cafe culture, keeping the coffee flowing by the gallon and the pastries hopping off the shelves. I am tangentially connected to that culture now, and I will certainly make myself at home there on the days when I can do so, knowing full well that I am privileged indeed.
Post a Comment