Life after school for an art or design major is a scary thing. You’re too young to work for the man. Is it possible to make a living without waitressing? The answer for many years has been a resounding unlikely. That is–until–some people started doing a little something called coworking.

You are Cool, Right?

Coworking provides a place for people to go to work. Staying at home in your PJs seems like a good idea, but personal hygiene and interpersonal relationships tend to suffer. Enter coworking facilities. employees can rent space (usually a desk) for an hourly, daily, or weekly rate. Seems bizarre to have to pay to work.

That money buys you something more than just plugs and horizontally aligned pieces of wood. It is your ticket into a subculture. You can still 9-to-5 your face off, but you can also opt into movie nights, bowling nights, and bar nights. It’s like you never left college.

Can You Work with Me Now? Good!

Although it’s by no means required, coworking gives freelancers a space to converse and network. In a booming coworking facility, there should be plenty of work to go around.

Coworking is not for all majors. It works best (right now) for design and computer science-type majors. There’s a straight need between the two: developers need designers for products, designers need developers for work.

In the future, there may be media coworking facilities (if there aren’t already). Rather than having effects and post-production boutiques around LA, you just might have independents doing it themselves. Boutiques are sometimes necessary to buy fancy equipment, but you can always rent.

The full potential of coworking is still yet to be seen.

Start with Jelly

As Julie Gomoll of LaunchPad Coworking in Austin recommended to me on Twitter, “start with Jelly.” Jellies are a

casual work event where everyone’s invited. It’s for anyone who’d like to work alongside other creative people in a welcome environment.

Jellies are the best way to jump-start your coworking career. They are the shores of a sea of coworking; you can dip your toes in before you take the plunge. There are many happening around the world. If there isn’t one in your city, make it happen. Get more info at the homepage.

Pack Up and Move

The man offers to pay for your moving expense in exchange for your soul. With coworking you have to pay your own way. Thankfully we have guys like Alex Hillman and his Philadelphia-based Independents Hall coworking palace. Indy Hall’s wiki provides a spot for people to list and request places to stay.

Moving back in with parents is one of the worst options. Start saving up your work-study cash and pick a place. If for some reason coworking doesn’t work out (pun), you will at least be in a more interesting place than your parents’ basement.

Further Reading

If coworking sounds right for you, check out some of these sites and articles to get a better feel for the whole thing:

And a big thanks to Julie Gomoll and Alex Hillman for giving me the scoop on coworking!