Wibble Wobble - Working at a Jelly
No, I'm not perfecting a pudding recipe. I'm actually already great at making jelly. What I am doing is beginning every Friday by getting on the tram, or (sometimes!) cycling, to Manchester from my flat in Altrincham where I spend most of my working hours. Why? To join a bunch of other freelancers, home-workers and people who want a break from their offices in the top floor of Manchester's Digital Laboratory, MadLab. This is Manchester Jelly.
I find it a great opportunity to get through accounts, emails and content updates, or just try something new out code-wise. I'm free to come in at eleven and leave at four, or turn up at nine and get booted out at six.
There's free tea and coffee. Sometimes there are even biscuits. But there's always someone interesting there to talk to, should I wish to. There's no obligation to engage with conversation with any of the people sitting around me, but I inevitably find that I end up doing so. A quick introduction while making a brew often turns into a long chat about what we're working on, how much we charge, the pros (and cons) of being your own boss. That said, it's categorically not a networking event, and anyone entering the room spraying business cards will be reminded of that. It is, however, a co-working space that naturally tends toward the social – the last Jelly of the year was marked by a potluck lunch and was a pretty packed affair (needless to say my mince pies went down a treat).
It's a chance to get out of your head, escape cabin fever and meet some lovely new people. And it's not just happening in Manchester – the original Jelly was founded in an NYC apartment back in 2006, and has inspired people to set up their own in over a hundred cities across the world, including Liverpool, which I sampled (thanks to a friend met at Mcr Jelly) on Thursday - and since it's funded by Liverpool John Moore University, you get a free giant sandwich and pot of tea! I highly recommend you find one near you.
Some links for ya:
- Manchester Jelly
- Manchester MadLab – the venue for Mcr Jelly – offers free hire space for groups/clubs.
- Liverpool Jelly
- Work At Jelly – the founders' site with history and a list of worldwide Jellies.
- UK Jelly – UK specific Jelly site