My coworking journal week 3: Fear of Rejection, Coworking Edition

Me, deep in research mode

Well, my third week is over, and it has been a nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding few days. First, to re-introduce myself, my name is Emma Fenstermaker and I am an American student doing a six week long internship with Coworkies. I am keeping this blog to track my experiences as I explore different coworking spaces and interview coworkers.

During my first week, I dipped my toes into the water by reading as much as I could about the concept of coworking in order to increase my understanding. During my second week, I started digging into the coworking scene in Berlin, Madrid and Lisbon. I found several spaces in Berlin that I would like to explore further: Sankt Oberholz, Blogfabrik, and The Social Impact Lab. This week, there was nothing left to do but push forward and get in touch with those spaces.

I am a fairly shy person, and initiating contact with unknown people or entities will always, without exception, stress me out. However, nine times out of ten, I end up happy that I made the effort. Sending out emails to various people and places, requesting to meet them, made me nervous because reaching out blindly into the digital world always brings with it the chance of rejection. However, I heard back from almost every place that I contacted, and I am now all set to have an interview-filled next week.

Because this week mostly involved scheduling things for the weeks to come, I felt a bit like I have been treading water these past few days. It has also been a shorter week for several reasons. My parents are in town for a few days, and my study abroad program leaves for Prague early Friday morning, so I have not spent as much time at Impact Hub as I did last week. However, I still had the chance to enjoy the fresh daffodils on each table and the friendly dispositions of the people around me.

On Wednesday, I interviewed one of the event organizers at Impact Hub, Sophie Münzberg, about her educational background.

Impact Hub Berlin

The interview was for my Internship Seminar, which my program requires me to take as I complete my internship. I asked Sophie about her primary school days, courses she took in university, and how her secondary school was structured. While I did not learn anything about coworking from this interaction, I did get to know one of the Impact Hub members a little better, and gained a little bit of interview practice before my coworking interviews next week.

My other main activity this week was doing some leisurely research on different coworking stories. I spent a long time on the Sankt Oberholz website, reading through their “Lost and Found” page. The page chronicles different objects that have been left in the Sankt Oberholz cafe over the years. Each object is accompanied by a humorous description and a story about all the possible explanations behind the object. I definitely plan to include a question about this page in my interview next week because as someone who loves stories and creative writing, the quirky speculation struck a chord with me. I also found other interesting stories such as coworking space Supermarkt’s “Platform Coop,” a group exploring cooperative businesses and democratic ownership, and Jamie Syke’s story of how coworking saved him.

I may not have taken a great deal of direct action this week, but I have set up several exciting opportunities for the weeks to come. I pushed through my nerves about reaching out to new people and created connections that I hope will yield more fascinating insights about coworking and the people who choose to engage with it. I look forward to a busy next week and a full roster of new people and information.

You can read about my previous week here:

The Coworkies team has traveled to 110 coworking spaces across 12 cities and interviewed coworking space owners and teams, collecting stories along the way. They forge connections between coworking spaces and open doors to a more global coworking community.

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