There are perks to being a freelancer with a home office. You don’t have distracting co-workers on a loud call right next to you. You don’t have coworkers coming into your office every five minutes through what has suddenly turned into a revolving door. Most importantly, you don’t have to wear pants. But with perks also come disadvantages and a major disadvantage for every home office freelancer is loneliness. So to combat that mind-numbing loneliness, home office freelancers have some solid options to create socially fulfilling, imaginary colleagues.
The Work Spouse
In every office, there are various couplings of “work marriages” that get close co-workers through the day. Work marriages inspire a sense of comradery, loyalty, love, support, and bickering that a holy matrimony brings. The first thing to do is to tell your imagined work spouse something you wouldn’t tell another co-worker, something secretive or gossipy. In no time, you’ll be calling your imaginary friend either your “work wife” or “work husband” and the rest of the “office” you’re also imagining will think it’s super annoying but hey, they’re just jealous.
Being your own boss is hard. There’s no one to blame when things aren’t going right but yourself. You have to set your own deadlines, you need to both pep talk and straight talk yourself, and sometimes, you even need to ask yourself for a raise. So it’s no surprise that a key imaginary colleague for home office freelancers to create is “the boss”. When you want someone to blame, talk smack about your imaginary boss! Gossip, curse ‘em out, and question their choices! It’ll feel good to put some of that pressure where it really belongs…on the “higher-up”
Don’t you wish you had some help! Someone to do the mundane office work you’re sick of doing like stuffing envelopes or ordering business cards. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could grab you your coffee and know your order, just the way you like it. What if you had someone who was there just to learn from you? Well, there’s no one to fill that role like an imaginary intern. Wax on to your imaginary intern about all the important work you’re doing. Teach them the things no one wants to listen to you pontificate about. You’ll feel like you’re making real change in a person’s life. Just remember, they are imaginary so unfortunately, you still have to grab your own coffee.
The Postal Service Worker
If you get sick of talking to imaginary colleagues, try to make a colleague out of someone who stops by your door each day…drum roll please…your postal service worker! This won’t be a simple task. You don’t want to piss off the mailman enough that he ends up spitting in your mail, just like they do in the restaurant biz. This is a real life person so you have to ease in to the conversation. Ask your postal service worker about his or her life and slip in a few facts about what’s going on with you. A real water cooler conversation except, inevitably, by your mailbox. Eventually, they’ll become that colleague who brings you your mail just like mailroom workers in office buildings. And they won’t even notice you’ve made a colleague out of them. Hey, they’ll probably be happy they have someone to talk to as well. Think it’s hard for you? Getting mail is exciting and they get mail that’s not for them and they spend their day driving it around, giving it to other people. Talk about loneliness.
When all else fails, WILSON it.
Remember Tom Hanks in Castaway? His best friend was a volleyball named Wilson. When (spoiler alert) Wilson fell off his makeshift boat and sailed into sea, Tom Hanks screamed “Wilson! Wilson!” and audiences around America cried with a very thin, blonde-bearded Forrest Gump. If you need a physical object to get into the spirit of having an imaginary colleague, channel Tom Hanks and anthropomorphize a stapler, a notepad, or a special choccy you keep on your desk. You’ll never feel alone with your very own Wilson by your side.
The Chief Operator
Your CO is your spirited left hand. What M is to James Bond, your Chief Operator is to you, sans the lethal weapons…instead taking care of your invoicing, paperwork and the other admin work. This might sound like another fictitious colleague, but it actually can be reality if you become an AND CO member.
So there you have it! A perfectly acceptable list of imaginary colleagues to create for your home office. Just remember, if you go to talk to the postal service worker or any other real life human being, put on some pants.