Today, I fell in love.

Well, not real love. Not the oxytocin drunk, I want to spend every minute with you, can’t concentrate on work because I’m thinking of you, smiling so much my colleagues wonder what’s wrong with me kind of love.

Maybe it’s more of a crush. The kind where I  can’t stop thinking about all the good things yet to come, about the great times we’ll spend together, about how unbelievably perfect it all seems to be, about the energy high I felt for hours after our parting, about wanting to share my feelings with anyone who will listen because I am just.so.excited.

I am falling for my office. For coworking.  I’m falling for Office Nomads.

I knew it was time for me to get some different office space after I emerged anew from my autumn transition, after some deep reflection about my personal and professional needs. I let go of one dissertation idea and let myself follow all of the obvious signs to accept and pursue a dissertation on social justice philanthropy. I realized I was woefully unproductive in my graduate student office, where the (perfectly normal and totally acceptable and I’ve been there) nervous energy of the new students was putting me on edge. I realized that many of the professional habits I had clung to (see “I’ve Always Been a Juggler“) were being triggered by the familiar space of my office and colleagues.

Two of my friends manage coworking spaces in Seattle (Impact HUB and WeWork) – both of which are incredible, and I would highly recommend them. However, they were both a bit out of my price range, and targeted for actual businesses or self-employed individuals / entrepreneurs who needed flexible but regular office space. I, on the other hand, just needed a place I could go once a week or so to shake up my routine. Where I might meet other hybrid-scholar-activist types who wear many hats in the world. Where I could go, sit down with my computer, not feel obligated to buy a coffee, not fight for crowded space, not risk falling asleep at the library (not like that’s every happened to me, but I’ve heard it could…)

Office Nomads, where have you been all my life?! With a new student priced membership, this was the perfect option for me. Free coffee, tea and printing. Unlimited wifi. Desk space guaranteed. Standing desks available. Meeting rooms to book. A shower (!) so I could potentially run mid-day and come back and work more. Dogs! (At least two so far.) Couches, where people unabashedly take naps. A lovely little kitchen area where I met three people already who have similar interests (one a social responsibility consultant, another who used kickstarter for a social action project in India, another who is discovering GIS for the first time). I had pleasant conversations with lots of other people. I listened to the light KEXP in the background when I wanted to, and put headphones in when I needed more focus. I drank a lot of (free!) tea.

I got about two days of work done in four hours.

Like I said, I’m in love.

Here’s to having space that feels welcoming, pleasant, encourages productivity and also play, has all the resources I need. Here’s to work space that is not filled with undergraduate students, is not freezing cold, is not a sleepy library, and is *not* my couch or dining room table. Here’s to an office that brings me into contact with lots of new people, and will foster the hybrid scholar-connector-event planner-writer-activist identity (and work) that I am working on becoming.

For more on coworking in Seattle check out the Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance to find a space that might work for you.

2 Responses to Today, I fell in love.

  1. Hi Elyse! I’m a longtime Nomad and saw your posting shared on ON’s Facebook page. Glad to hear you had such a great experience! Please look for me sometime when you’re in the office…I received my BA in Geography from UW (many years ago) and am now an urban planner, so I’d love to chat you up :)

    • Thanks, Robyn! I think I’ll be there regularly on Tuesdays, and more if my schedule allows. Looking forward to meeting you and talking geography and urban issues!

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