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Reunited (And It Feels So Good)

When I lived in Los Angeles, many people told me that if I could make it six years, I’d never leave. Something about the weather finally making the traffic, high cost of living, police helicopters and Kardashians tolerable. Well, I came up a couple of years shy and have been in beautifully boring — and super cost-effective — Flower Mound ever since.
When I recently started working from home, I was told that if I could work at home for more than two years, I’d never even think about stepping into another office again. Well, I came up woefully shy of that mark too. I was back in an office in just nine months. 
The reasons I failed to stick around Hollywood boiled down to the obvious: Texas is one million times better. Except for some oppressive heat and Baylor football fans, Texas pretty much dominates every category.
The reasons I’m back to my morning commute, toiling behind a desk and sharing fantasy football stories with my office mates is a bit more complicated.
Let’s start 10 months ago, when I first decided to take the plunge and work from home. I’d been driving to an office since I started gainful employment at the Carrollton Chronicle (the great Carrollton Chronicle!) as a senior in college. I’d had commutes from 10 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes. I’d had window offices with cool views, dungeon offices with no views, and stints in cube cities. I’d had walking bosses that watched the clock like we were working at a steel mill in North Korea, and I’d had bosses that wanted to go to happy hour four days a week. I’d experienced enough office politics to last me a lifetime. And I’d missed way too many of my kids’ practices, open houses, meetings with teachers, etc.
With one kid just two years away from going to college and the other playing three sports, the reason for trying out the “work from home” gig was more obvious than picking out the best office romance.
First, the good stuff about my experience. In terms of spending time with the kids, those nine months were absolutely awesome. I drove my son to school every day, waited for him when he got home in the afternoon and helped both my kids with more homework in those nine months than I had in the previous 10 years. I quickly became one of those dads I had wondered about when I occasionally stayed home from the office. Those dads I saw walking their kids to school in sweat pants and baseball caps. Those dads I saw playing golf at 10am on a Monday, while the rest of us sat in traffic. Those dads who always looked happy.
I forgot my way to the dry cleaner after a month. I forgot how to knot a tie after two. I learned that daytime TV is terrible and addictive and I got to know, by first name, the owners of our local Corner Bakery, Einstein’s, Starbucks and La Madeleine. Yes, I said La Madeleine. Don’t judge. They’ve got great sandwiches and flavored iced tea! And they all have free Wi-Fi, so I could escape the clutches of Judge Judy.
So with all this luxury living of working from home, why did I not make it even a full year? It’s easier if I give you the bullet points . . . 
Yes, I got more work done in an hour than most office-bound people do in eight. But that didn’t lead me to employee of the year awards. Instead, it led to frustration. I didn’t have anyone to measure up against. I couldn’t complain about how busy I was in the elevator or brag about how early I arrived or how late I worked at the breakfast bar. In short, I missed office dysfunction.
Yes, I got to do more with the kids and that was, as I already said, greatness. But when even the kids noted that my work ethic seemed a bit waning, I knew it was time for a change. Working from home has a way of zapping your life force (or at least it was zapping mine). When your commute is the 20-second walk from your bedroom to your office, you can get up at 8:28am and be at your workstation with time to spare. That sounds awesome, but there’s a malaise that quickly arrives and causes, well, laziness.
Despite rumors to the contrary, I’m a relationship guy and my dog Snickers just isn’t much of a conversationalist. Before I turned into Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I figured I’d better get back to an office.
The bottom line is that working from home, while fantastic for some, is just not the right fit for me. I don’t have what it takes and I’m good with admitting that. 
Like Los Angeles, it’s a great place to visit but a hell of a place to live.

Rudy lives in Flower Mound, sells stuff to make the house payment, spends weekends on dusty ball fields and recently had a GPS chip attached to his daughter. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.