Serious Question: Would You Live In Your Office To Save Money?

September 1, 2015  |  

Yes, I realize that question sounds like an unemployment and welfare line waiting to happen all in one, but if push came to shove — and you were creative enough — it would be possible to make your office your temporary residence.

Such was the case for Terry K., a columnist who wrote about secretly living in his office for 500 days on Salon a few months ago. I’m not sure why the story popped up on one of my social feed all this time later, but I was very intrigued by the tale– mostly by how he managed to pull this off and second, all the rent money that could be saved.

Rent is exactly what pushed Terry to move into his office full time. Working 60 hours a week at two jobs just to live in a studio in Venice Beach was becoming extremely taxing on the California resident and after renting out his place for a month and testing out his office digs ’round the clock, Terry eventually gave up his place and most belongings altogether and lived at work for more than a year. Of course this required some craftiness on the aspiring actor’s part, like rising for early morning workouts at the gym where he would also shower, and being sure not to be the first one in the office — sometimes even arriving late on purpose and blaming L.A. traffic to ward off any suspicions. And though he had the routine down to a near science, there was always the lurking fear someone would catch him sleeping under his desk at night. Those fears seemed to be thwarted by the “$20,000 in living costs and 216 hours of commuting” he saved before his company eventually went under.

It’s those numbers that made me think twice about this notion. While I’m one of those people who hates to be in the office even during my required hours, the prospect of saving even a month’s worth of rent sleeping under my desk makes me want to list my place on Airbnb real quick. And because I’m a writer, I can always claim I did so under the guise of getting a good story.

As should be pointed out in Terry’s case, though he considered himself “not your average homeless person,” he also acknowledged: “what is the average homeless person nowadays, anyway? The once-wide chasm between ‘homeless’ and ‘middle-class’ has shrunk to little more than a fault line, over which many find themselves standing in a precarious straddle, a little bad news away from losing it all.” And that’s the heart of the matter. Few people who find themselves deciding whether to sleep at the office or not actually have a choice, unless park bench versus office chair sounds like a choice to you. In the end, when Terry’s company went out of business, he found himself in an even more precarious living situation: sleeping in his truck which he’d turned into a mobile home of sorts. Happier than he ever was breaking his neck to have a traditional home, I have to say his situation makes me want to give this a go, if for no other reason than to add a bit more padding to the rainy day fun. But I also know myself and cutting back on spending and tightening the budget are probably better precautionary measures.

Would you ever try to live in your office to save money?

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