At the start of May of 2015 I was working happily as a Chemical Process Engineer designing offshore Oil and Gas Rigs and vessels in the North Sea and beyond.
Halfway through May 2015 the project team was called into a “Town Hall” meeting where we found out that the project was being cancelled and 90% of the people present, over 100 of us, would be losing their jobs. That 90% included me. Dammit!
This came as some surprise in spite of the knowledge that the oil price had been decreasing at alarming rates. It was like watching an egg timer some days. Other projects had been flung to the wayside but we, defiantly believed, like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, that we would be immune to this global shift.
So I did ended up on the Oil and Gas scrap heap, but I had a Silver Lining. This meant that I would have time to expand on my “side hustle” as a Digital Marketer, which was exciting!
The job loss did come at a particularly bad time (is there a “good” time to lose your job?). I was getting married at the end of September and all of my fiancée and my budgeting had included the fact that I would be earning. A few less invites were sent out unfortunately…
There was a huge benefit from losing this job, however, and that was the opportunity to concentrate fully on my Digital and Social Marketing Consultancy side projects.
Many people ask how I could perform a 180-Degree switch from Oil and Gas Engineering to Digital Marketing. It’s a fair question as on the face of it there is no commonality!
The simple reason is that is that I am a geek and so fascinated and intrigued with Social and Digital Media that I took a Masters Degree in Social Media at Salford University. All whilst working in Oil and Gas full time in Norway! It was a tough but enjoyable time.
After completing the course and acquiring my Social Media Jedi Skills several companies approached me to help them with their online and digital presence, which I was glad to do with some perks. One company tailor made all of the suits for myself and my ushers for our wedding!
I wasn’t putting myself out there as a Social Media Consultant or Digital Marketer so this type of work was few and far between. As far as I was concerned I was still working in Oil and Gas and these would we great side projects.
This job loss give me the opportunity to expand into an area that I have enjoyed.
I initially started out by making websites for companies whilst lying in bed in my onesie and this was the best thing ever. I worked from home with no problems at all and had the benefits of NO COMMUTE WHATSOEVER!
Why wouldn’t everyone want to do this?
To mix things up I would go to the local library, which would inevitably be full of mentalists or The British Library, which was further away and meant that I gave myself a “commute” that would cost money and I would spend my reduced earnings on any one of it’s plethora of tasty treats.
Another downside of working at the library was that I had to take my laptop with me every time I went to the toilet for fear of theft!
I also tried working from coffee shops. That’s how J.K. Rowling started after all.
I would feel guilty though as I’m not a big coffee drinker and you I’d get people sitting next to me and have high decibel phone conversations and/or breathe heavily on you.
Plus I would still have to take my laptop with me to the toilet…
After a few of these missteps I decided that being at home in my onesie “suited” me down to the ground.
This was until the point where I started doing some work with Digital Agency, Transmute, who were based at the Co-Working Space “WeWork” at the SouthBank of the River Thames in London next to the Oxo Tower. I worked with Charlie Southwell, who co-founded and directs Transmute with Tiffany St James the first Head of Digital for the UK Government. When they had started out they had worked from home in their formative months, but took the jump to working there and noticed a positive spike in productivity as a result.
I took these comments on board but at the time could not justify the additional expense plus travel time and need to get to the tube from where I lived. I looked at other co-working spaces, which seemed to have the same problem of additional cost plus travel.
At the start of 2016 once the Wedding/Honeymoon/Christmas/New Years Haze had died down I made the resolution to go to more networking events. The first one that I went to was hosted at Work.Life in Camden, which instantly had a great “Kobi, you need to work here” kinda vibe as I walked through the door for the first time.
The main thing that struck me is the number of cool people working passionately on projects that they love and how infectious this atmosphere was. I am fine working at home by myself but have noticed a distinct and substantial spike in productivity since starting working here.
Within the first hour of walking into Work.Life I was introduced to Josh, Dave and Josh from Mattr.Media who picked my brains about Inbound Marketing and Digital Marketing. Later that week and we decided work on a joint proposal.
I really hadn’t considered that opportunity to work collaboratively would arise and that is a huge bonus.
I remember reading this article by Suzanne Bearne on the most Productive Places to Work and I whole heartedly agree. I would recommend that you try out a couple of co-working spaces before you settle on one as the culture and the vibe do vary but I’m certain that once you find your co-working tribe that you won’t look back. I do recommend that you look at a variety of spaces as they vary in size, cost and amenities but I think most important is that everything fits you like a glove. The people here at Work.Life suit me down to the ground so I haven’t looked back.
If you do want to contact me then drop me a line via the Kobestarr Digital website!
PS. You don’t need to worry. I still do use the onsie but it’s been relegated to wear during TV series binges. I’ve scheduled time with my onsie for a “Walking Dead Season 6” binge followed by a “Game of Thrones Season 6”. Happy days!