This has been a monumental month in the life of Dave Rupert LLC. For the first time in 12 years I’ve taken the plunge and rented a private office instead of working from home.

Exterior shot of white modern farmhouse building with my office window circled

About a month ago I realized my kids would be out of school all summer and I would be trying to work from home. We work really hard to coach our kids to not bother daddy when he’s working… but that works about as well as spitting in the wind. The other day when I was a participant on a Webinar panel, my 3½ year old daughter got tired of being quiet and started yelling “I’M NOT GOING TO BE QUIET!” If you listen closely towards the end of video recording you can hear her. I can’t really blame her though. As much as they’re in my workspace, I am in their playspace and it’s really unnatural for young kids to be quiet. Siblings push eachother’s buttons, fight, and scream. They need a space to do that.

I had originally planned to rent a dedicated desk at an open office co-working space nearby, but when I went to do a trial run at co-working, I learned the desks I was interested in had been sold. On a whim, my wife called our Realtor®️ to see if she had any commercial leasing insights and as luck would have it her agency had a private office for lease. So I signed a summer lease.

Working from an office is a bit of an adjustment. After 12 years of working from home I can tell I’ve built up some… ahem… “idiosyncrasies”. Tiny differences completely pull me out of my comfort zone.

  • The provided desk is about 3” more shallow than my desk at home, which means the monitors are just a bit closer and… I hate to be this petty, but it was throwing me completely off. So… Ungrateful Dave brought in my whole desk rig with monitor arms and everything from home.
  • I’ve been drinking the same coffee and same half & half (Ruta Maya Dark Roast with Central Market Organic Half & Half) for the last 10 years, so anything other than that, including the office Keurig, tastes like “not-coffee” to me.
  • I’ve discovered I have a long way to go at office banter.
  • I bear a small amount of shame at my inability to grasp office attire.

One of the big reasons I need a private office and can’t just hole up in a coffee shop all summer is I work with large enough clients where I handle literal trade secrets. I can’t just go hollering off about potential new product lines in an open office with randos. I also cuss a lot. I need a certain degree of privacy. A call room in an open office space would suffice, but my calendar is telling me I’d spend at least 10hrs/wk in there. Regardless, the biggest contributor factor to needing to a private office is podcasting.

Podcasting brings with it lots of plusses and minuses. Not only do I need a private office, I need a QUIET private office. One where echo, slap, bounce, and air conditioning rumble are reduced as much as possible. Unfortunately, the office I’ve rented has a few sound challenges: Next to busy road, can hear neighbor, high ceilings, and a glass door. So I’m working with my podcast editor Chris Enns (who also has a noisy echo’y office) on trying to reduce echo and we’re documenting the process.

Thankfully, the sponsorship bucks I get from Shop Talk more-or-less offset the cost of my office and help me buy some new gear to help with echo reduction. I’m very thankful that my weird niche hobby generates enough cash to support its weird niche needs. So thanks for listening.

The now vacant home office room is already starting to be taken over by the kids. Yesterday, my daughter played quietly in there by herself nearly all day. If we could start centralizing all of the kid shit instead of having it distributed all over the house, that would be a giant stress reliever for me. Regardless of whether or not I extend my lease or build a new work shed, I think it’s clear that separating my workspace from the housespace is beneficial to my family.

My lease here ends at the end of August. It’s too early to tell if I’ll extend but it’s nice to be out of the house and let the kids run amok at home this summer without disturbing me. I’m also enjoying … get this … leaving the house (!!!) and experiencing a slightly different neighborhood of Austin. Did you know Austin has different restaurants than the ones adjacent to my house? Did you know this city is filled with people during the day? Life outside the compound is filled with countless human-to-human interactions. Amazing.