The strange world of anywhere any time working

Technological challenges associated with 24/7 working can throw up some interesting situations.

Father with kid working from home


Sometimes when you work strange hours odd things happen. I was due to do an interview on Friday evening with someone in the US. It should have been by Skype on my partner’s computer, but things never go to plan. Just at the moment I wanted to use it Skype decided that it did not want to function. A face with a tear told me my internet connection was possibly not working when in fact it was. So I scrambled around for alternative means to contact my interviewee. He suggested Google hangouts. So I sat on daughter one’s bed with my laptop and started the interview. About 20 minutes in only son loomed in the background. Stark naked. He ran past on his way to the toilet.

My interviewee looked momentarily startled, but also fairly amused. Only son was then faced with the agonising choice of whether to dash back after he’d finished in the toilet, wait for half an hour till the interview was over or do a low crawl. He chose the latter.

It had been a long day and technology had not gone my way the whole day. Just at the moment I wanted to do a phone interview on the landline earlier the landline decided to play up. It said the line was permanently engaged so I had to go for the mobile, which has a dodgy connection in parts of our house. These parts change according to the way the wind is blowing or something so even when it works it is hard to know for how long. You ask your questions without knowing if you will be able to hear the person at the other end of the phone. It kinds of ups the ante.

Two nights before I had let out a howl of anguish after someone sent me a photo I needed in a zip file which wouldn’t open on my chromebook [only son has totalled the laptop again…]. It was very late, I was tired and if the zip file had been a person it would have been mighty afraid. Daughter one, who was still up at the time, attempted to help, but she is not a zip file connoisseur. Eventually, Youtube came to my rescue after daughter one decided the safest bet was to go to bed. “I’m really sorry for being so stressed last night,” I told her at 6am the following day since we both had to be up early to get her to work. “It’s okay, mum,” she said. “I know your anger management issues with technology.” She is very forgiving.

It’s not that I don’t get the benefits of technology. It’s just that I haven’t got a spare moment in my day to do tech support and it doesn’t get much better at the weekend. I was up early on Saturday to run daughter one to the tube for work [my partner had done the previous morning]; then daughter two needed dropping for a film thing she was making with friends; daughter three had counselling; only son needed a present for a swimming party later in the day and the washing and basic cleaning needed doing. And that was just the morning. Sunday was devoted to understanding the student loan system, coaching a friend in interview techniques, getting a birthday present for daughter two, ironing, school admin, dreaming up a World Book Day costume that only son would actually deign to wear [this year’s theme: rat, cat, hat] and generally gathering energy for the week ahead.

Every week that energy ebbs a little bit more, though episodes involving streaking children tend to give it a bit of a boost.

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