Why co-working saved my life

Having spent my career so far as a graphic designer, where it has been my job to work with images and colour and visuals - writing a blog is a mountain of a task for me. My best efforts at school certificate English landed me a lucky 51%, a pass but only just. So, probably not the greatest way to start a blog piece (LOL) - but I apologise if this turns out incoherent and rambling and grammatically incorrect.

I’m giving this a go, because I feel so strongly compelled to share with you about how co-working has changed my life. In the cheesiest, clichéd, Jerry Maquire “Who’s coming with me” kind of way. I hope that this reaches someone who, like me, is wondering about what the next step is for them - and that some part of this rings true to them and their situation.

So that was the What? part of this blog. Keep reading for the Why!

Getting my mojo back

I’ve been fortunate in my career to have worked on some amazing projects with some truly good people. I’ve been an employee, a contractor, I’ve owned my own design company, and I’ve worked from home - from a dining room table to a dedicated home office. Maybe it was something to do with reaching 40, but 20+ years into my career I was fighting a constant feeling of restlessness and discontent with what I do for a living and how I felt it defined me.

Since coming to work at Mo-co, that feeling has completely lifted. It’s been replaced by a feeling of optimism, of wide open skies where anything is possible. I have the independence I was craving as an employee. I feel motivated to come to work each day. I have like-minded colleagues who understand the ins and outs of being self employed and having to find work. Who are encouraging of new ideas and can give me feedback on colours, tips on working smarter, or whether the raspberry or chocolate lamingtons are better. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that by being here, I’m part of something bigger than just myself.

Connecting to people and community

I have 13 personal facebook friends (laughter) - partly by choice, but partly because I’ve never been exceptionally good or interested in networking. I’ve lived in Wellington most of my life, in the Hutt Valley for the last 8 years. I know my neighbours but I’ve never shared a meal with any. Some days when working from home, I’d realise at the end of the day that I hadn’t spoken once to anybody, so I’d go to the supermarket to have an extended chat with an unsuspecting checkout operator. I’ve always known that it’s not good for creativity to be operating inside a vacuum, but like many, found it hard to break out of my comfort zone.

Before I start to sound like a total recluse, since working at Mo-co I've come to understand the benefits of being able to work with others in similar industries, and connecting to a wider creative community. Everyday I go to work, and we make coffee, and we talk. We share our contacts and think about who we can connect our colleagues with. Everyday I'm rewarded by the ever growing connections with interesting, good people here in Moera. By being part of a community that wants to change and grow and do stuff. I've met local business owners, chatted with MPs, worked with local artists, met illustrators, photographers, digital marketers, joined a networking group, connected to community leaders, and local residents. My boy goes to school with the boy who lives in the house next door to Mo-co. They met while playing at the park across the road. Now they play soccer together at lunchtimes. These connections are the threads that hold us all together, and the benefits are realised not only on a professional level.

If you are still reading, WOW! That is a surprise and a win for me. Thank you for staying. If you have time, I’d love to hear your thoughts.