This Business Of Art Fix #30: Where Do You Work (From Home)?

feature image via my favorite song about Working From Home, “Work From Home.”

Welcome to the 30th “This Business of Art / Media / Web Fix,” in which I share with you things I read that I loved relating to the work I do here — online media, business, entrepreneurship, women in tech, start-ups, journalism, publishing, management, queer visibility, and so forth. You can expect this sucker to drop every-other Wednesday.


Where Do You Work (from Home)?

There aren’t any stand-out stories today to lead up the fix so let’s just talk about the world’s most interesting topic, which came up earlier today: sitting on the couch.

If you’re in school or you work from home or take your work home with you, where do you do it? I often find myself changing locations during the day — this has become more complicated since moving into an actual house, because I have more than one room to choose from. I know I always work best at my desk, but often find myself on the couch. Back in the day, I ran Autostraddle while sitting on a mattress, employing a cardboard box or chair as a desk, which wasn’t great for my back! This came up today:

Rachel: how is everyone
Yvonne: i’m doing fine! i finally am working at my desk instead of my couch
Rachel: oh nice
do you find that you get back pain if you work on the couch too much?
Yvonne: yes, i don’t ever work there normally
i slouch and get sleepy
slash lethargic
Rachel: it’s such a catch-22, it’s so comfortable to be there but makes me so uncomfortable in the long run
Yvonne: yeah for sure
Riese: yeah it’s hard
sometimes i feel on my couch like i’m not being serious
like that if i am on the couch i’m not REALLY working
which doesn’t make sense at all, but
Rachel: sometimes i will use the couch to bargain with myself
like if i’m really not looking forward to looking at sad stories for the news fix, i’ll be like, ok, i am allowed to do this on the couch
which ultimately just makes the whole thing take longer, kind of? idk

THOUGHTS/FEELINGS?


This Business of Online Media

+ Longform.org, an app I use every day and a site I frequently check, is testing a redesign which’ll include a ranking of the site’s most popular articles powered by a very complicated algorithm. I obviously hate it because everybody hates change at first, right? Also, its two founders “are embarking on new projects.” Also they never featured any of the wonderful Autostraddle articles we recommended on their site, BUT IT’S FINE, Longreads does!

+ Parse.ly looked into the statistics behind which political candidates people actually want to read about, and the answer is not “Donald Trump.” Hillary Clinton gets more page views than all the other candidates, and Bernie Sanders is the most popular social referral. Meanwhile, The AP “advised staffers to “practice situational awareness” at their bureaus and offices in the wake of social media pushback from supporters of Bernie Sanders who were angered by its decision to call the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton.”

How People’s Opinions Actually Change Because of Social Media: “…people’s opinions are formed in part by knowing that others share their opinions. So while a single post on social media may not instantaneously change their minds, that post could affect their opinions in the long-term: Even seeing just a few comments over time may affect someone’s stance on what they thought was a commonly held belief.”

+ Facebook reach is down, down, down for publishers, which is bad news for publishers. We’re a publisher, but whatever, F*CK YOU FACEBOOK.

+ The New York Times is exploring the possibility of an ad-free digital subscription.

+ Nick Denton burns Peter Thiel, the Paypal co-founder who funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit.

+ The Tribune has received a very bizarre and unfortunate rebranding, but its problems go far beyond the name “Tronc.” But, speaking of “Tronc,” which stands for “Tribune Online Content,” its vision “calls for perhaps the most concentrated mess of buzzwords that digital publishing has ever seen, and that’s some feat.”

+ There’s now more Americans writing for digital-only outlets than print newspapers.

+ That dreaded Instagram algorithm change starts now

+ Buzzfeed will not be taking any more ads from The Republican Party, because Trump.

+ DEAR JOURNALISTS STOP CALLING IT CONTENT


Businesswoman’s Special

+ The importance of a “don’t be boring” fund

+ productivity is really about what you don’t do

+ 10 ways to get relevant experience if you didn’t land an internship

+ how to avoid equating “spending money” with “getting stuff done.”

+ finding work/life balance with the four burners theory

+ 6 tips on building a capsule wardrobe on a budget

+ the most active jobs in america

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2822 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. i’m excited to be a part of a fading generation of media in 25 years, irately insisting on still calling it “content” and getting mad when young upstarts call it [barcode] or whatever writing is referred to by that point

    (this sounds like i’m trying to poke fun at older journalists but i’m truly not, i am genuinely excited and hopeful for this event)

  2. I do art stuff and technically it’s not work because I’m not paid for it in any way but I Aspire To At Least Self Publish so I’ve taken to *calling* it work, vision board style, and

    Rough drafts on the couch

    I draw like ten rough drafts per panel, it takes forever and at the end I am surrounded by torn out composition notebook pages / a general mess

    Final pencils while standing awkwardly in front of a window because I can’t afford a light board / tracing table type set up

    Final Drafts / inking at the kitchen table

    (I don’t have a desk and generally find them too low – – if I cant comfortably cross my legs under the table, the table is too short)

    (this issue is usually my first complaint at restaurants and bars: TABLES TOO LOW)

    • I will slouch no matter where I sit so the couch is only annoying for my propensity to lose pencils and pens and erasers between the cushions

      When I ink I tend to sit on my knees and hover over my paper Intensely, my chin very nearly resting on it

      It’s Not Great For My Back

  3. I recently started working from home and it is both great and weird. After 10 years of working in a corporate environment, here are the pros and cons of working from home.

    PROS
    Pants not required
    Cats
    Nobody bothers me
    100% less creepy guys walking into my office and repeatedly asking me to lunch as if on the 12th time I’ll say yes, when the last 11 times I’ve come up with an excuse of why I can’t go
    I don’t have to see my ex ever again (yes, I was that stupid)
    I actually get way more work done
    NO MEETINGS
    NO “LEAN” MEETINGS (fuck Lean and fuck Lean’s favorite color)
    No asshole dudes
    My new boss is my old boss who hired me and he’s the bee’s knees.
    I can work out WHENEVER I WANT

    CONS
    Every time I leave the house I have to put on pants, and this seems like SUCH a horrible burden due to the fact that I now do not have to wear pants ever
    Same goes for bathing and doing my hair
    I’m expected to do more wifely duties like all the grocery shopping since my schedule is more flexible
    Cats = excema
    No ergo guy evaluating my bad posture
    My computer is not quite fast enough for 3D visualizations (but almost!)
    Now I have to pay for extra air conditioning

    I dunno. It’s not for forever but it’s definitely an adjustment. Super excited I don’t have to turn down creepy ass motherfuckers for lunch any more.

  4. The first item is timely. Right now I’m working in my summer office – which means I’m in my little sunroom, sitting on my weight bench in front of a folding card table (with my laptop and lucky rose quartz). I feel like sitting on a weight bench, even though I haven’t actually lifted weights in like a year, should count towards exercise. And it definitely feels more serious than working on my couch.

  5. The businesswoman’s special is always the highlight of this column for me, if only because it reminds me that lots of other folks are struggling with work/life balance and productivity challenges and being an interesting human who also makes a living wage.

  6. Where I work depends on the work that I’m doing. When I was in law school, I did all my readings on the couch, but anything that involved writing happened at my desk. Now, this occasionally backfired, as I did sometimes fall asleep on the couch while doing readings, but oh well.

    Today, like most days, I was thinking about the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival and how INCREDIBLY EXCITED I am about it, and I got suddenly scared for how Rory is surviving as a journalist in this brand new media world we’re living in. Is she working for a major daily like she wanted to? Or is she still working for an online magazine? Does Rory have to produce “content” or does she get to travel the world and report on things that are happening on the ground, like she always planned to do?

    Basically, I just hope Rory is secure and happy in her job, wherever that might be, and that she doesn’t have to write bullshit clickbait articles in order to survive. That’s what I hope.

  7. Psh, sitting on the couch to do work is for amateurs. I LIE on my couch with my laptop on a cushion resting on my belly. Meanwhile the desk and office chair I bought for this purpose collects old receipts, keys, cat hair and dust.

  8. I have a home office and I work there except sometimes I take my laptop under the covers lately because I can’t get out of bed, but this is temporary, I hope. I have to move out of my apartment because I can’t afford it alone, though, and I’m probably going to end up moving cities and having to live with roommates. What do people who live with roommates do? Working and sleeping and spending all of my time in my bedroom sounds horrifying but maybe this or finding a job somehow that has a place for me to go to are my only options?

    • I have roommates and they’re super comfortable with me occupying all the living spaces to do work. My books and papers are all over the living room(/my office). They’re really so sweet about it. It helps that they work outside of the home 10ish hours/day and that we’re all a quiet, introverted bunch. Maybe you could find roommates like that?

  9. I’m always confused when people give new work-from-homers advice like “get ready everyday like you would actually go to an office, don’t be tempted to wear casual clothes, keep clear work / home boundaries by not doing housework when you should be working” because WTF, like, the whole point is that I get to sleep in because I don’t have to get up and get ready to leave the house and instead I shower on my lunch break, and when I feel like procrastinating at work, I clean my house so I’m still being productive.

    I also work from bed almost every morning to ease into the day, then sometimes I make it to my desk but TBH, usually I’m on my couch. The key is making sure you have good lumbar support while sitting on the couch, like a serious pillow situation can keep you from being all achey. I’ve been working from home full time for four years and I find the couch with a pillow jammed into my lower back hurts the least!

  10. I kind of work at home…I’m an illustrator although I haven’t been selling or making much due to my day job (that totally doesn’t pay enough anymore because haha NYC rent plus student loans is a damn joke hahaha) as a dog walker. Anyway, I illustrate from my bed because I don’t have a desk. And I walk them dogs from the streets. It would be lovely if I could just illustrate though. Some day…if I don’t starve first. Eep.

  11. That “don’t be boring” fund piece TOTALLY hit me at the right time. Everything is workworkworkmoneymoneymoneybudgetbudgetbudgetguiltguiltguilt, and then I’ll realize I haven’t seen non-work friends in months and the only things on my calendar are appointments and obligations. I’m definitely going to try to prioritize not being boring a little more :)

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