Work vs. Work

I was trying to “work” today. My work is writing, though it is not particularly arduous writing.

Downstairs, my neighbour was playing his guitar and it was breaking my concentration. I’ve asked him before not to amplify his instrument at home (surely he could play acoustic only?) but he claims to not even be at home during the day.

The confrontation at least had the effect of him no longer playing at night, and I’m prepared to accept his lie about daytime hours: he’s a grown man who doesn’t enjoy being ticked off on his own doorstep, and he deserves to protect his dignity.

It occurs to me that it might not be right for me to complain at all though. I have, after all, turned my home into a place of work, which it was never intended to be. If I want silence perhaps I should rent a hot-desking booth in an office somewhere. Obviously I don’t want to do that because it would incur a cost and I hate going to work, but my request that this neighbour knock it off might not be morally upheld. He should be able to play guitar at home if he wants to.

Maybe work shouldn’t be done at home at all.

Then again, my neighbour seems to be practicing for something. He probably sees his guitar practice as work too. So we have a situation of “work vs. work.”

When did creativity become work?

When did work invade the home?

I know the answers to these questions because for 16 years I’ve been advocating for creativity as a way to escape drudgery and also for the sensible benefits of WFH as a way to escape the commute and the office environment.

Why do I feel like I’ve shot myself in the foot?


Issue 14 is sold out and is now only available in digital formats. There aren’t many copies of Issue 15 left either, so here’s where to go if you’d like a copy in print or indeed digital.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Work vs. Work”

  1. Radhika says:

    I love having an office. If I ever did my own work and could afford it, I’d love a small little office like in all of the PI movies. So of course, I’ve tried the co-working hot desk before. I don’t recommend it for quiet. People are very presumptuous in that space, and for some reason, every sound sounds 10x louder. I like the library for quiet work best. It’s free and actually quiet.

    Also, while I’m here, I have an irrelevant question. I have just begun a 6 months leave from work because my body is temporarily broken, but more importantly, my soul seems to have lost its rebellious spark and call for adventure. If I want to come out the other end more escapological, which book of yours is the best to revisit? Thanks!

  2. That’s not an irrelevant question! If you’re returning to work at the end of this try The Good Life for Wage Slaves. If your plan is to escape conventional employment try I’m Out.

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