One of the many reasons that people (including myself) think they ought not to work solo is that they need other people around. Even if those people are sometimes annoying, distracting, or infuriating, the argument goes, we need the gaze of other humans to push us forward.
When a friend of mine asked me a year ago whether I would consider working remotely, I actually gave her an emphatic, “Nope.”
I did that. I did it for over two years in fact, and I was not my best self.
But this time around, the situation could not be more different. Not only do I have connections that were woefully absent before, I’m also discovering that a human “gaze” can also be virtual.
Let me explain.
While at Content Marketing World last week (best week of the year, btw) I met up with two amazingly smart women who are supporting me as I transition to working for myself full time. We had dinner, we laughed, we gave each other knowing looks when other conference attendees were being obtuse. It was awesome.
Then there was a breakfast meetup of content marketers who prefer the content part of the equation over the marketing piece.
Basically, these are the people who are going to be differentiating marketing teams in the next few years. If you want to cut through the noise and reach an audience, employ these people.
But the point is that we all got up at like 6am the night after an after party that didn’t end until nearly 1am, just so we could talk to each other. We’ve spent the last several days exchanging dozens of emails, setting up a Slack group, and planning specific times to connect online so we can share each other’s work, collaborate on projects, and change the discussion around the topic of content creation.
It’s. So. Awesome.
The moral of this rather poorly crafted story is that office mates can be fine, but they aren’t the only way to get professional connection. I actually had really swell coworkers before I left to start Fox Content, but I found myself often distracted by them.
Now, I buckle down and work when I need to, and I turn to these self-made tribes when I need to.
And, because they are hand made by me with love, they meet my needs to a tee. There’s nobody in my new tribes that I don’t want to be there.
No incompetent colleague that you always seem to end up working with, no loud mouthed cube mate who won’t stop ruining the next episode of Ballers, and no meetings that seem specifically designed to destroy your day.
Tribes are good, especially the homemade kind.
(bonus points if you can find me in that photo)