I haven’t shared this bit of news on the blog yet, but in the past month I’ve made a transition that I’d been told was the next logical step in my career, but that I’d been resisting for almost a year. I’ve become an independent consultant. That is, I’m self-employed. Aside from farming out myself as a freelance writer, I’m primarily working as a “blogging & social media consultant”; a title I invented and started toying with around the same time.
One of the reasons I took the plunge is because Parker is getting closer to school-age, and eventually he’ll have a sibling who will also go to school. As I’ve been paying attention to the kinds of trouble some young people get themselves into, looking back on my own past, and wondering what kept me out of trouble. I think it made a huge difference that I never came home to an empty house. When I opened the door upon coming home from school, there was almost always someone there. In my case, my mom, who didn’t work outside the home. I’d been thinking about how to structure work so that I can be there most of the time when our kids get home from school. Well, I figured out how.
So far, so good. A number of interesting opportunities have already come my way (but not so many that I’m turning some away, yet) , and it helps that my former employer is one of my first clients and has been hugely helpful in sending other opportunities my way. Things look good and likely to get better. And I’ve enjoyed the independence of begin able to work at home or anywhere else that has wi-fi web access. But there’s just one drawback that’s been bugging me lately.
Yes, I’m an introvert. I may even be something of a loner. But working at home can get very lonely, and even maddeningly boring if you look up and realize that the whole day has gone by and you haven’t gone anywhere, or any further than the end of the driveway. Plus, the rest of the family is due home any minute and you probably going to get out of the house in the evening either.
So then you vow to get up and get out of the house the next morning, but once you shower and get dressed (’cause you gotta do those two things if you’re going to work outside of the house) you realize that you don’t have any place in particular to go. So, you head out to the nearest coffeehouse with wi-fi, which is either fee-based (a’la T-Mobile) or “free” but limited to a couple of hours, which means you’ll have to move-on to no place in particular again. (And preferably somewhere with an available outlet, if you’re battery life is running low.) That works for a while. You’re at least around people.
But eventually, it proves lacking. Because you’re around people, but not around people with whom you have any particular relationship. That’s my experience, at least. So I was intrigued to hear this story via Lifehack.
I didn’t know what co-working was, but it looks like there are other people in D.C. who are interested in trying it. I’m not sure I’m up to joining a space just yet, but I’ll put my name on list. At the very least, maybe there are a few more people who wouldn’t mind finding space to share or sharing space they have.
At the very least, it’s comforting to know I don’t have to work like a refugee. (With apologies to Tom Petty.)