Working From Home: My Dream Job
My Upstairs Home Office
Working With Computer Software
I spent 4 years working as an Army Medic. I then worked for 10 years as a Registered Nurse in Intensive Care at a hospital in Indiana. After the years in Intensive Care, I took a job with the Nursing Informatics Department. With Nursing Informatics, I worked as a Software Application Analyst to setup and install a new computer system that medical personnel would use to chart the electronic patient record.
The electronic medical record was a major step forward. Patient information was instantly available to anyone who had security to access that information. Physicians could dial in from home and check patient status, vital signs, and lab and X-ray results. There were no more problems such as trying to figure out scribbling handwriting or finding where the patient’s chart had gone. Everything was typed, legible, and instantly available. The computer system improved patient care and patient safety.
The Nursing Informatics Team had four nurses and a team leader who was also a nurse. Not long after I started working with the team, I saw a magazine article about how computers were enabling more and more people to work from home. They could dial into their work computers and do their work from a home office. That article fascinated me. I took the article to work and showed my team members. I said, “Look at this. This would be the perfect job. I would love to work from home.” I had no idea that someday I would end up with that perfect job.
About a year later, I was hired by the company that owned the computer system our hospital had installed. For the first three years with that company, I traveled to hospitals around the country and worked with teams to assist them with computer system implementations. I helped them setup the charting screens and reports that would become the electronic patient medical records. I also helped them train hospital workers who would be using the computer systems. It was a wonderful job, and I felt good about the benefits the computer system provided to hospitals and patients.
Travel Means Dealing With Weather
At First I Traveled
I lived 1 1/2 hours from the Indianapolis, Indiana Airport. One winter morning we had about 12 inches of snow. I had to do a presentation on the computer system to a team at a hospital in Nebraska. The roads in Indiana were covered with ice and snow. I was running late and couldn’t find a parking spot at the airport. Finally, at the very end of one of the parking lanes, I saw a spot where there was a huge pile of snow that had been plowed into that spot. No one had parked there, because there was no room for a vehicle in that parking spot.
I didn’t have time to go to another parking lot and find a spot, so I backed up my Toyota truck, stepped on the gas and rammed my truck into the pile of snow. I was able to force the truck into the snow mound just enough so that cars could get through the lane behind it. I grabbed my luggage and headed for the bus stop.
By the time I got through security, I was late. I ran as fast as I could for the gate. I then saw that the flight was delayed. I stood at the counter and handed the agent my ticket. The agent checked my ticket and the computer for flight status, then he looked up at me and said, “You can breathe now. There’s no way this flight is leaving without you.” When he said that, I realized that I had been standing there and not breathing. I was panicked that I wouldn’t make the flight and that I would miss the presentation I was scheduled to do. I must have looked white as a ghost. I took a deep breath, and that breath felt so good. It calmed me down. I made the flight to Denver, Colorado, then drove three hours to the hospital in Nebraska, and I was on time for my presentation, and it went very well.
At that time, I loved the job and the travel. I traveled to a lot of cities that I had never seen before. I got to meet a lot of nice people, and I felt good about what I was doing. After three years with the company, I got the opportunity to change jobs within the same company and work with the Upgrades Team. The Upgrades Team worked with hospitals that already had the computer systems and were upgrading to new versions of the software. This job was all almost all work from home.
Long Travel Work Days
As soon as I stopped traveling, I realized how wonderful it was to work from home almost all the time. When I worked with the previous team and traveled to hospital sites, we normally worked all day at the hospitals, then we would go back to our hotels and work half the night on emails and voicemails from other customers. It was not unusual to work 16 to 18 hour days. Then the travel home would usually take several hours and into the night. I always felt lucky if I was able to make it home before midnight when I traveled.
After working with Upgrades for a few months, I had lunch with two of my previous coworkers from the Hospital Nursing Informatics Team. When I told them that I was working from home full time, one of them said, “Ron, I’m glad that you finally got your dream job.” When she said that, I realized that she was right. Until then, I had forgotten about that magazine article and how I had been so impressed with the idea that people could work from home. It turned out that I was going exactly what I wanted to do, and I was able to do it all from home.
A Few Disadvantages
A few years later, my wife and I moved to Tennessee. Since I worked from home, it didn’t matter where we lived, and we had family in Tennessee. Working at home, I always wore comfortable clothes. At one of my dental visits, I was wearing cargo pants, a short-sleeved shirt, and tennis shoes. I mentioned work, and my dentist said, "I wondered if you worked. You always dress casually." I said to her, "Oh this is dressed up. I'm much more casual at work in my home office." She laughed and replied, "Well, we won't get into that."
Working from home did have a few disadvantages. During storms, our internet access would be sporadic. Also, sometimes during team conference calls, I had to mute my phone, because my assistants - our little beagles, would be under my desk snoring loudly. They almost always worked right along with me, and often put in some very long days. I also found that I tended to work a lot of hours. I preferred to keep up on emails, and I almost always kept my work phone nearby - day and night.
WiFi is the Best
I Loved Working From Home
With the Upgrades job, I rarely had to travel. We did have team meetings or training once or twice a year, but 95% of my work was from home. I no longer had to routinely deal with traffic or worry about the weather, road conditions, or delayed or canceled flights. It turned out that my dream job found me. I had ended up with my dream job, and I was so grateful for it all.
My Wife Working From Home
My wife is a retired teacher. She is a writer and poet, and still works from her home office. We both enjoy being home.
In July of 2014, the company I worked for made some major changes. The company got rid of many employees who traveled and worked directly with customers. The Upgrades Team was told that we would have to pick up those jobs, work directly with customers, and travel again. I was 60 years old, and I did not want to go back to traveling, so I decided to retire.
The people I worked with were awesome. They were dedicated, hard-working and so much fun. I miss them, and it was very difficult to leave.
Once I retired, I quickly realized that there was one job even better than working from home. That job is retirement, and I appreciate it every day. My work is now mostly yard-work, gardening, working around the house, and whatever else I want it to be. It's another dream job.
© 2020 Ron Grimes