On Friday I blogged about my first taste of Jelly. For those of you who are wondering what on earth I am going on about, Jelly is the name given to informal co-working, in which freelancers, creatives and anyone else without a traditional office set-up get together once or month or so and work alongside each other for the day.
I was pretty taken by Jelly and think more people should know about informal co-working and what it can offer them. To help do this I recorded short video interviews with my fellow Jelly colleagues. In the interviews people say a little bit about their work and what they like about Jelly. I have quickly (read roughly) edited the videos I shot and set them out below. I have included myself as an interviewee as I did not feel it was fair to put my colleagues through something I was not prepared to do myself.
A big thank you to everyone who agreed to allow me to interview them on Friday. Unfortunately it was not possible to use every interview due to technical reasons but your commitment to Jelly is greatly appreciated.
I’m writing this post on a Friday morning from a branch of the Urban Coffee Company in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter’s curiously named ‘Big Peg’ area. Don’t ask me why it’s called the Big Peg, it just is.
Jelly is the new black
The reason for telling you this is I wanted to share with you something I am currently experimenting with, which is known as Jelly. Jelly is the name given to a casual form of co-working, whereby freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs meet up once a month or so to work alongside each other. By doing so, the aim is to maximise creativity and reduce the isolation of being your own boss. Like all good trends, Jelly started in New York back in 2006 but there are now hundreds of meet-ups all over the world. Click here for more information on Jellies in the UK.
So far, I am glad I decided to venture out to Jelly this morning. Already I have caught up in-person with a fair few people I follow on Twitter and had an interesting chat with a new contact about a possible piece of joint working. Plus, and this is a big plus, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the excellent coffee and pastries the Urban Coffee Company has to offer. So, all in all, I think I could get into the habit of coming to Jelly.
Re-thinking work and life
I’m trying out Jelly as part of a wider review of the way I work. While I’m pleased to say I’ve found myself nicely busy working on a couple of new freelance projects since I am also trying to build in some time to explore new things. By building in a variety of commitments throughout the week, such as my photography course and teaching myself web design, I am hoping to force myself to achieve a balance between paid work, skills development and, importantly, enjoying the here and now. I may find it’s not possible to achieve the balance I am hoping for but I won’t know unless I try.
Besides taking care of paperwork, I’m pleased to say I’ve started to pick up some work from clients. I can’t say too much about this work just yet other than it relates to issues I care about, including social justice and public services. I will look to update you on the interesting projects I’ll be working on over the next month or so.
Exploring Career Options
In amongst all this activity, I am also trying to give some serious thought as to how I should develop my career. It’s almost three years since I left my first career in local government.
Back in 2010 I was working as a senior policy adviser and speechwriter to a Chief Executive in inner London. Since leaving I have been fortunate enough to have been able to broaden my knowledge and skills through a variety of roles encompassing social innovation, design and digital technology. While I am incredibly proud of the varied contributions I have made, it can make it hard to categorise what it is I am about and, linked to this, what areas of work I should seek to prioritise.
Over the coming weeks and months my aim is to build-in time for self-reflection and for exploring new possibilities. With this in mind, I have just this afternoon started on an intermediate photography course at mac Birmingham. The course not only offers an enjoyable creative outlet during a time of change, it will also, I hope, allow me to offer visual communication services to clients in future.