ramblings of joe / links / 2022 / 08

Is it really about pajamas?

Malcom Gladwell recently slammed advocates of working from home on the Diary of a CEO podcast. Among his quotable lines were this one about pajamas:

“I know it’s a hassle to come into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work life you want to live?”

And this great one about belonging to something:

“If we don’t feel like we’re part of something important, what’s the point? If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?”

These questions are not only intellectually dishonest, but intentionally reductive.

Forgive the sarcasm, but I have to ask: did you know that you can get dressed for the day when working from home?

Seriously, it’s true. You not only can shower and get dressed without going into an office, most of us did and still do despite having the option not to. And on the days (or weeks) that we don’t, I’m sure we had a good reason to be working in our pajamas or from the bedroom. You know, like the depression and anxiety that comes from a global pandemic affecting life and loved ones.

And taking this one step further, what if someone decides they do their best work in sweats? Maybe that is the work life they want to live, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

And to the point of “belonging” or “feeling part of something important”: I’ve worked remotely for the last seven plus years for three different companies. I’ve been part of important teams and projects for all three, and have contributed at a high level to the success of the companies.

But aside from the fact you can feel that purpose and belonging while working remotely, is it such a bad thing to want your work life to be a means to earning a paycheck? Is it so terrible to derive your self-worth and your happiness from things outside of work? I haven’t “reduced my life to [a paycheck]”, I’ve chosen to maximize my life by minimizing the sacrifices my paycheck demands of me, namely in limiting my commute and maximizing my productivity by controlling my work environment.

So Mr. Gladwell – is it really about pajamas?