Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Symbolic Analyst

While many commuters dream of working at home, telecommuting, I happen to know what it's like to work that way.

I never could stand to commute or even get out of my pajamas if I didn't want to, so I've always worked at home. It has its advantages and its disadvantages. Others like myself also have been drawn into the online world because they shared with me the occupational hazard of the self-employed, home-based symbolic analyst of the 1990s -- isolation.

The kind of people that Robert Reich, call ``symbolic analysts'' are natural matches for online communities: programmers, writers, freelance artists and designers, independent radio and television producers, editors, researchers, librarians. People who know what to do with symbols, abstractions, and representations, but who sometimes find themselves spending more time with keyboards and screens than human companions. ~ Howard Rheingold
via 43 Folders, as Matt Wood, also notes, "I’m curious to see [Rheingold's] updated thoughts on isolation of the self-employed, “symbolic analyst,” because as someone whose daily companions are usually a toddler and a dog, I can tell you that it still exists 16 years later.

As it does. 90 percent of the time, I can't imagine ever going back to "go-to-work" work. But the isolation - especially in the Winter when I tend to cocoon more, finding any excuse not to go out - does get to me occasionally. And, as much as I love them, two cats provide little intellectual stimulation. Emotional and even physical, as I chase the whooping Bear around the house, yes. Intellectual, no.

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