I’m reading about Secret Santa drawings and office holiday parties, and I admit to being a little jealous. Yes, I get to roll out of bed at 9:30 in the morning. No, my lunch isn’t going to mysteriously disappear from the fridge. But working outside of the typical office environments also means I don’t have face to face interactions with co-workers. Ever.
I am by nature an autonomous worker, a trait that makes the mobile lifestyle a good fit for me, but occasionally I miss lunches with colleagues. I don’t miss meetings, necessarily, but I do miss having someone in my field readily available for brainstorming and feedback. My husband and children don’t make the best sounding boards for questions on marketing or target demographics.
If I was anchored to one location I could turn to local networking groups for this support. Unfortunately, living a mobile lifestyle makes that impossible.
How can people like me fill that gap in our work lives?
I find social media can provide a little bit of connectivity and, once in a while, valuable feedback. Of course the value of those channels relies heavily on who you’ve connected with, and my “friends and followers” tend to be based on personal qualifications rather than professional ones. I am fortunate, however, to have a few people who shine in both categories and I love knowing I can reach out to them know matter where any of us is on the globe.
The occasional conference, seminar, or workshop is fantastic for refueling my interpersonal tanks. Money and time limit how frequently I can participate, but I make it a priority to budget for one or two meetings with like-minded people every year. In fact, I’d like to branch out to some new conferences in the personal development niche, I’m just not exactly sure how to find them yet.
I’m still looking for solutions. Last week I was in desperate need of someone to talk through a work question, and my poor husband was frustratingly not equip to handle my problems. I needed more than 140 characters and I couldn’t think of a single person I could call in the middle of a work day to hash things out with.
Do you work without co-workers? Who do you turn to for brainstorming and connection?