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Why One Partner Needs to Go Out and Work

Why One Partner Needs to Go Out and Work
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    With the rat race catching up and both the partners in a relationship slogging to make ends meet, don’t you wish that you would be able to work from home where both of you could spend as much time as you want to with each other? Well, if you have such desires and thoughts, it is highly recommended that you think through the various consequences of the whole situation before you decide to take the step.

    I have been working from home for the past 7 years but did not really realize anything till my in laws came over for a visit. Over the years, my social circle had been shrinking but I had not given it too much thought. Given that I am not the kind of person who would go out of my way to make friends, I realized that the office friends dropped and no new ones were made. The whole thing came crumbling down when we had a son and I ended up spending time with him post my working hours. The precipitating factor was the visit of my in laws when my wife and son spent a lot of time with them and I ended up feeling neglected and alone. It almost seemed as if my son and wife did not notice me or give any credence to my presence.

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    A little introspection made me realize why this was happening. The fact of the matter is that absence does make the heart grow fonder. There have been no times when my wife waits for me to return from a tired day at work. I am just always there! There is no thrill of taking a day off from work to do some of the household chores that have piled up or the excitement about saving time on a weekend to complete the shopping that we intended to do. Due to constant presence of the other person, we had probably got too used to being around.

    It is important that we realize that change is something that humans need. It rejuvenates and brings you out of the dreary boredom of regulated life. And if you are always busy on your computer day in and day out without moving out and meeting other people, you will soon become a recluse. Once you achieve what you want, the object looses its charm and attraction and that is exactly what happens when you stay with each other all the time.

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    But this does not mean doom for couples that have work that requires them to be at home. It is just that you need to realize that there are certain steps that you need to take to ensure that you keep the excitement alive in your life.

    Explore the option of taking up a part time job so that you can be away from home for a little while for a few days in a week. This will ensure that you shall also look forward to your time out, meeting people other than your wife and kids. It does not matter what the job is. Try teaching, giving tuitions, doing some administrative work or the like. You could also consider other things to do that take you out of the home environment. Take up a new hobby that requires you to go to classes every week. If you are already making money out of what your hobby was, try taking up a new one. Hobby classes are a good place to socialize and make friends. And this will give you a chance to meet people with similar taste and interact.

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    The idea basically is that if you have work that keeps you at home, choose hobbies that take you out of the house. Make efforts to meet more people and don’t restrict your perspective by staying at home and in front of the computer all the time.

    Vishal P. Rao runs the Work at Home Forum, an online community of those who work from home.

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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