I have the luxury of being in a profession that allows me to work pretty much anywhere. Laptop in hand, I can review an upcoming story as I sip a triple venti nonfat vanilla latte at my neighborhood Starbucks, craft a memo to the staff from 30,000 feet over the Pacific, or type out this very column in the “courtesy lounge” while getting my car’s oil changed. (Grrr, who ate all the free doughnuts?) For that, I have technology to thank. And, like the countless others who don’t have to be tied to their desks, an understanding boss who realizes that just because I’m not in my office doesn’t mean I’m not working. In fact, I probably work harder when I’m out of the office!

I know lots of writers and editors who work out of their homes full time. They may freelance or they may actually be on the company payroll, but they have the luxury of doing their 9 to 5 in their pj’s if they want. While that sounds pretty heavenly, I know I’m not disciplined enough to do it on a regular basis. The pull of the couch, the refrigerator, and the great outdoors would be much too great.

I have a friend, though, who was a telecommuter and loved it. But she was recently asked by her company to come back into the office.

It took her awhile to adjust — I’ve listened to her grumble more than once about having to “put on her face” every day and how she’d forgotten how expensive dry cleaning was — but for the most part, she seems to be handling it well. I think she might even secretly like it. I mean, why else would she create silly little movies to show at staff meetings and buy a 1974 board game on eBay for co-workers to play? (It was The Match Game, the one that starred Gene Rayburn, in case you were curious.)

But although she’s now surrounded by warm, somewhat friendly humans on a daily basis, what she misses most about working at home — are you ready for this? — is that she can’t be around her two adorable cats (she made me promise to include the “adorable” part) all day.

She’s quick to tell anyone who’ll listen how much of a calming influence it was to have them around when office deadlines loomed and her in-box was overflowing. Now, admittedly, she’s an I HEART TABBIES mug away from being one of those crazy old cat ladies, but I see what she means. On the rare days I go home grumpy (watch it!), my mood is instantly elevated when my own big fluff of a cat greets me at the door (especially if she has a drink in her paw). And I have other friends who feel the same way about their dogs.

We’ve also all heard the reports about how animals can have a healing, soothing effect on nursing home residents, sick kids in hospitals, and the like, and how some companies will even let employees bring their pets to work with them.

But despite all our beloved pets do for us, they rarely get the recognition they deserve. So I propose a National Appreciate Your Pet Day. I mean, if we can have National Fig Week, then why not? I give the idea two paws up!

Picture of Sheri Burns

SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS
Editor