Every now and again someone will ask me how my parents and brother are doing in Calgary amidst the pandemic and I laugh to myself because my parents have been thoroughly home-based for more than thirty years.
Both of my parents have worked primarily from home for as long as I’ve been alive. In 1996, they were even profiled (along with my dad’s twin brother Malcolm) in a ‘Homepreneurship’ news feature about home-based businesses.
“Is it a temporary trend or a revolution in the workplace?” the newscaster asks, a few years before the dawn of the third millennium.
Today was actually my first time seeing this footage of my parents speaking about their home-based businesses as well as their motivations for working from home.
My dad and my uncle both left their jobs in oil and gas to work from home doing photography, videography, and creating and selling tutorials for how to do both.
I’ll always remember when my dad was driving me to a dentist appointment as a child. “Do you hear that?” he asked as we sat in traffic. “No,” I said, “What is it?” “Baaaaa!” he said. “It’s the sound of all of the sheep going to work!”
As he says in the news clip, his parents thought he was crazy for giving up benefits and a pension. “I’m giving it up for freedom and for the independence of being self-employed,” he explained confidently.
My parents are not morning people. They’re not really routine people, either. But that doesn’t matter because, as my mom put it in her interview, “Anything you enjoy doing, you can make money doing it.”
And my dad attested, “I have not had to cramp my lifestyle since leaving my geology job. I haven’t cut back on expenses or vacations.”
Growing up, my mom used to say that she wanted her home office door to have glass windows so that it would never really be “closed” to us and so she could always be watching me and my brother growing up.
I certainly grew up with parents who prized a lifestyle of freedom and leisure over excessively long workdays or super demanding business growth.
And while I have always loved agendas, routines, structure, and order, my whole upbringing was informed by my parents’ approach to work and home life, including their example of being self-directed, self-motivated, and simply not doing things they hate.
Since there are so many ways we can create value and live our passions at and from home, staying home isn’t so difficult for Achtmans, after all.