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Professional Decorum

When you work from home, it is more crucial than ever to maintain professional decorum. In that way, people know you are truly working from home, as opposed to, you know, “working”.

Matt and I put on a clinic of at home professionalism on Wednesday evening, when he had a regularly scheduled meeting from 5:00-7:00 p.m. At about the 5:15 mark, while I was making dinner for Simon, I realized that he was stuck in our small half-bathroom downstairs off the kitchen. Many a guest has gotten stuck in this bath—the knob is tricky and needs to be replaced—so I didn’t think much about it when I heard muffled cries and the knob being jiggled.

I thought a whole lot more about it, though, when my usual strong-arm tactics failed to open the door. As I struggled to open the door from the outside, Simon continued to call out for help and wriggle the knob from the inside. He was a trouper for most of the time, but now and then got scared and cried.

After five minutes or so of struggling, a horrible thought dawned on me: What if Simon locked the door from inside? Had I given it two minutes of solid thought, I would have known exactly what to do: go get a screwdriver and either unlock the door that way or take the entire knob off. Before I clicked into gear, though, I ran into Matt’s office and whispered “Help, Simon’s locked himself in the bathroom” to Matt while he was on his call.

Matt put the phone on mute and walked downstairs to help us all out. While he went looking for a screwdriver long enough to undo the lock, I found my head, grabbed the screwdriver I keep in the dining room closet, and loosened the knob. At that point, I could open the door just enough to see a very relieved Simon and realize that our problem was a small plastic toy wedged between the door and the floor. We got the door open just enough to let Simon out, who squeezed past the sink, walked right past Matt, and uttered a very remorseful:

I’m sorry Daddy

as he passed by.

An hour later, after dinner, we had our second incident. This time I was doing the dishes while Simon played in the kitchen. He loves the phone, so I again thought nothing when I heard him pick ours up and say a very cheery:

Hewow? Yeah, Yeah. OK. Bye now!

I thought a bit more about it, though, when Matt came rushing down the stairs flailing his arms in the air. Simon hadn’t picked up the home line; he had picked up Matt’s office line and interjected himself into the meeting.


Amazingly (or disturbingly, I can’t decide which) no one said a thing about this on Matt’s call. Were any of them paying attention? Or has this become the new professional standard for those who work from home?

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