Dear Pandemic Ppl, Will we ever Co-Werk again?
A love letter from one freelancer to another.

For anyone currently furloughed or not-so funemployed, my freelancing journey was also wildly unexpected. I’d always romanticized being a “Fashion Editor” by age 27, which happened when an E-comm site hired me to build its media platform from scratch. The autonomy of curating the tone, topic matter, and trend coverage was thrilling, but like most startups, it came with a litany of problems. My boss – a European playboy slash entrepreneur – preferred borrowing other’s successful business models in lieu of creating his own, and had a generally indecisive attitude towards everything. I’m contrarily an idea factory, but lack discipline in editorial calendars and effective time management. Needless to say, we were a hot mess together.

He hired a managing editor to corral my unruly imagination, the voice of efficiency I needed, pushing me to produce content at the robotic pace of digital publishing. I struggled with this, but when she suggested I fly out to cover Paris Fashion Week, I figured I’d finally proved myself, 9 months in. I arrived to an abrupt EOD deadline for 3 full interviews, that I tirelessly slayed, after which they fired me over FaceTime audio with the option to stay freelance. No need to return to the office, my replacement was already nestled at my desk 4000 miles away. Désoléeeee. 

I declined, wanting nothing to do with a company that treated humans like trash, but had no back-up plan. Having worked job-to-job for a decade, it was unchartered territory, but a serendipitous ass kicking to dare what I was always too scared to do: freelance. 

I thought to myself, I’ve hustled up this industry well enough. I’ve got contacts, personality, and talent – being a freelancer writer can’t be that hard. Right? *insert loud laugh here* The transactional nature of the gig economy, the way social following dictates personal value, in concert with the general lack of responsiveness from inundated editors was quickly and profoundly discouraging. Sporadic modeling gigs paid my rent, but largely it was a year spent alone at home, convincing myself my voice mattered, Craigslisting ad nauseum, and banging on my keyboard for others to validate my stories. Learning the discipline to structure my day and keep myself motivated was hard as hell, I was miserable and hardly thriving.

Enter the magic of coworking spaces, which after a year of lockdown, their closure is driving us Corona crazy. I was literally at The Wing, my chosen co-working sanctuary, the day the city shut down. Most of us wholly unaware of the gravity at hand, thinking we’d be chillin home for 14 days till society sprung back in April. Damn were we wrong. Coincidentally, a few days later a scathing NYT article dropped calling The Wing out on its less-than-candy-coated company culture, shutting it tf down. Unforgivable infrastructure aside, from its hand-curated “Lady Library” and Chanel-ified wellness rooms, to insane event’s roster: think AOC and Taraji P to a panel on “Bey-ology”; this Pantone playland was THE mecca for ambitious, unapologetic and fabulous working women. If they put it in Black/Brown hands tomorrow, I’d be the first to sign up, but alas, the company was recently acquired by an old White man. 

I miss getting up and out the house, biking “to work,” and having a place to go. I’d even take café-hopping for an open chair and the right vibe, praying for the miraculous balance of un-spotty WiFi and quiet patrons. Often, it’s not the job we miss, but our work friends and social connectivity. Coworking spaces give us that sense of community, and the joy that comes with seeing and smiling at familiar faces. Slacking memes between calls just ain’t the same. I miss having a network of opportunity at my fingertips, in a space that truly resonates the collaborative energy of creatives popping off. Lastly, as someone who expresses myself sartorially, getting dressed and showing up for myself was a daily incentive to seize the day. I can not wait to get dressed and go places!

That being said, racking up our insta-carts, this time has forced us to work on ourselves, slowing down and growing up, with most of our escapist distractions unavail. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, burnt out, hustling to keep up, I hope we’ll reframe what truly matters: community, compassion and celebrating little wins. S/O to our collective power defeating that other crippling disease, @therealdonaldtrump. Imagine when we return to “normalcy,” the simple pleasures of unmasked meetups, sweatin strangers at a club, and Face2Face interactions that don’t involve screens. Think of how much creative juice that’ll put in our wings. We’ve had all this time to ideate and percolate, but soon enough, we can give flight to those dreams. Maybe they’ll take off, maybe they won’t…but at least you tried. As we’ve experienced, life flatlines when we sit on our asses, so we gotta reconnect and put our ideas in motion. And when we do meet again, let’s hope cross-eyed in the new chic. #zoomdoom 

Dear Pandemic Ppl, Will we ever Co-Werk again?
A love letter from one freelancer to another.

For anyone currently furloughed or not-so funemployed, my freelancing journey was also wildly unexpected. I’d always romanticized being a “Fashion Editor” by age 27, which happened when an E-comm site hired me to build its media platform from scratch. The autonomy of curating the tone, topic matter, and trend coverage was thrilling, but like most startups, it came with a litany of problems. My boss – a European playboy slash entrepreneur – preferred borrowing other’s successful business models in lieu of creating his own, and had a generally indecisive attitude towards everything. I’m contrarily an idea factory, but lack discipline in editorial calendars and effective time management. Needless to say, we were a hot mess together.

He hired a managing editor to corral my unruly imagination, the voice of efficiency I needed, pushing me to produce content at the robotic pace of digital publishing. I struggled with this, but when she suggested I fly out to cover Paris Fashion Week, I figured I’d finally proved myself, 9 months in. I arrived to an abrupt EOD deadline for 3 full interviews, that I tirelessly slayed, after which they fired me over FaceTime audio with the option to stay freelance. No need to return to the office, my replacement was already nestled at my desk 4000 miles away. Désoléeeee. 

I declined, wanting nothing to do with a company that treated humans like trash, but had no back-up plan. Having worked job-to-job for a decade, it was unchartered territory, but a serendipitous ass kicking to dare what I was always too scared to do: freelance. 

I thought to myself, I’ve hustled up this industry well enough. I’ve got contacts, personality, and talent – being a freelancer writer can’t be that hard. Right? *insert loud laugh here* The transactional nature of the gig economy, the way social following dictates personal value, in concert with the general lack of responsiveness from inundated editors was quickly and profoundly discouraging. Sporadic modeling gigs paid my rent, but largely it was a year spent alone at home, convincing myself my voice mattered, Craigslisting ad nauseum, and banging on my keyboard for others to validate my stories. Learning the discipline to structure my day and keep myself motivated was hard as hell, I was miserable and hardly thriving.

Enter the magic of coworking spaces, which after a year of lockdown, their closure is driving us Corona crazy. I was literally at The Wing, my chosen co-working sanctuary, the day the city shut down. Most of us wholly unaware of the gravity at hand, thinking we’d be chillin home for 14 days till society sprung back in April. Damn were we wrong. Coincidentally, a few days later a scathing NYT article dropped calling The Wing out on its less-than-candy-coated company culture, shutting it tf down. Unforgivable infrastructure aside, from its hand-curated “Lady Library” and Chanel-ified wellness rooms, to insane event’s roster: think AOC and Taraji P to a panel on “Bey-ology”; this Pantone playland was THE mecca for ambitious, unapologetic and fabulous working women. If they put it in Black/Brown hands tomorrow, I’d be the first to sign up, but alas, the company was recently acquired by an old White man. 

I miss getting up and out the house, biking “to work,” and having a place to go. I’d even take café-hopping for an open chair and the right vibe, praying for the miraculous balance of un-spotty WiFi and quiet patrons. Often, it’s not the job we miss, but our work friends and social connectivity. Coworking spaces give us that sense of community, and the joy that comes with seeing and smiling at familiar faces. Slacking memes between calls just ain’t the same. I miss having a network of opportunity at my fingertips, in a space that truly resonates the collaborative energy of creatives popping off. Lastly, as someone who expresses myself sartorially, getting dressed and showing up for myself was a daily incentive to seize the day. I can not wait to get dressed and go places!

That being said, racking up our insta-carts, this time has forced us to work on ourselves, slowing down and growing up, with most of our escapist distractions unavail. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, burnt out, hustling to keep up, I hope we’ll reframe what truly matters: community, compassion and celebrating little wins. S/O to our collective power defeating that other crippling disease, @therealdonaldtrump. Imagine when we return to “normalcy,” the simple pleasures of unmasked meetups, sweatin strangers at a club, and Face2Face interactions that don’t involve screens. Think of how much creative juice that’ll put in our wings. We’ve had all this time to ideate and percolate, but soon enough, we can give flight to those dreams. Maybe they’ll take off, maybe they won’t…but at least you tried. As we’ve experienced, life flatlines when we sit on our asses, so we gotta reconnect and put our ideas in motion. And when we do meet again, let’s hope cross-eyed in the new chic. #zoomdoom 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *