Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

My office in Santa Monica

Today is my first day at the Yahoo! Launch office in Santa Monica.

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After two years of working by myself in a home office, it is a thrill to be in a real office environment again. Even though it’s my job to be a computer geek, I supsect that I’m really a “people” person.

Many friends and co-workers I’ve spoken to about the move have expressed surprise that I would choose to give up such a sweet telecommuting deal. They wonder why I’d want to give up the ability to work in my bathrobe and set my own hours. They’ve never tried a permanent-telecommuting arrangement themselves, but they imagine that it’s the good life.

On the contrary, working from home every day of the week starts to make you feel cut off from the rest of the world. There aren’t any co-workers to say good morning and good night to, to go out to lunch with, and even to chat about politics or some stupid TV show we all saw last night. This might all seem trivial on the surface, but the social connection is a really important part of feeling productive. This is probably why I’ll never go into the software consulting business. Too much alone time.

Moreover, working from home makes it far too easy work really long hours. Since the Internet connection is always on, I’ve found myself hanging out in front of my computer until 8pm, grabbing some dinner, and then going back to work. That’s unacceptable; I refuse to let my workaholic tendencies take over my life. So I force myself to stop working by turning off my computer. It sits there in the spare bedroom, tempting me to turn it back on.

I’m hopeful that having an office in LA is going to help me to do a better job of keeping work separate from my personal life. I’m looking forward to coming home from work each day, having dinner with Ariella, and knowing that the rest of the evening is ours and not my employer’s. Whatever unfinished business is left on my desk will be waiting for me tomorrow.

Even though I’m in an office here in LA, I’m still working in a remote fashion. My boss (and my direct reports) all work in the Sunnyvale office. So I’m still going to be doing the whole LAX-SJC-LAX commute that I know so well. So far this year, I’ve averaged about 1.5 days a week in Sunnyvale.

Thanks to some help from Laura in the IS department, I just got a network connection set up. Now I’ve gotta figure out my how to use the new voicemail system and maybe order me some new business cards.