Fifteen years ago while setting up Wildfire Technology I realised I desperately needed assistance. I didn’t need help with the strategy or product development, I needed help with social engagement and interaction. This was not a social media challenge, this was six months before Facebook was founded and only 10% of the world was online.
I had been working from home for while before starting the business but as anyone who has been there knows there’s abundant energy and excitement and there’s loads to do. Being a little bit of an obsessive problem solver I found it very hard to stop working, take a break and get out in the real world to meet real people. I was working for days on end without leaving home. I was developing cabin fever.
So to counter this I decided to recruit the help of an assistant. A bold move in a boot-strapped start up run from a back room in a Glasgow flat. I checked the small ads in the local paper, did some initial interviews and eventually selected a diminutive chap called Monty. He wasn’t your typical bright eyed young intern type, he was much better, he was a Border Terrier puppy and I believe he saved my sanity. Having Monty to look after forced me back out in the real world and got me talking to real people about real issues.
Monty has “worked” with me at Wildfire for 15 years now and he is nearing retirement. He still gets me out of the house every day to do things other than meetings and networking, he still makes me engage with aspects of the real world that business doesn’t.
The benefits to mental health of looking after a pet, especially a dog are well known (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm). I would recommend all home workers who are feeling isolated to consider getting a wee assistant like Monty. The pay is low (vet bills aside) and mostly biscuit based but the rewards and benefits for both parties are huge.
Happy 15th Birthday Monty!