Found your site via commandshift3.com - sweet design

Ben Hirsch said on May 22, 2008

I have found my local php group via meetup.com.

Matt Brett said on May 22, 2008

Great article, Jonathan. And something I really needed brought to my attention, as I've been working with my head down for weeks now. It's no good for the mind, or any other aspect of your life for that matter.

Sadly, the scene isn't exactly booming in Whitby. In fact, there's shit all happening here ever, aside from the frequent big-box store openings. Perhaps it's time to get out of dodge?

I was up in Ottawa a couple weeks back and really enjoyed my time there. It's a completely different kind of "big city" than I'm used to. Toronto is so busy, dirty and stinky - I couldn't stand driving in there every morning. But Ottawa and the surrounding towns are really nice and more humble. It's just too bad it's so far away (about 4 hours at 120kmph).

Kyle Hayes said on May 22, 2008

I must say that the biggest winner for me is my wife. She is so very supportive of my work and when I was 100% virtual with Boeing last year, she was my main human contact. Without her, I really would have gone nuts.

Jonathan Snook said on May 22, 2008

Matt, you should move up to Ottawa! There's a bit of a scene going on here...well, depending on where you live. Out here in the east end of town, it's pretty quiet. All the govt workers live around here. But downtown or just west of, there's a good "artsy" community. There's a cluster of print and web design shops in the Westboro area (nice and close to Little Italy and other yummy places to eat).

Maikel said on May 23, 2008

Interesting. I've been thinking about this, because I wish to be freelance and one of the points of reflection has been precisely the real socialization, I do not speak a virtual socialization through social networks or similar. Where exercising language and share with others individuals. The church, house, ... are my places of real socialization, while Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare and others networks are places for virtual socialization.

Gary Barber said on May 24, 2008

The interesting thing with twitter is that when you reconnect face to face with people its not longer "how are you going", it is now your latest tweet topic. The conversation is deeper, maybe more personal. More connected.

The introductions and familiarity build of the conversation are no longer required. You know what your people, your tribe is doing. You just get to explore and extend your online friendship into a Real World view. This type of extended instant connectivity is changing the web culture.

Matt Wilcox said on May 25, 2008

Nice article, and one well worth the read. I've been considering the freelance route recently and a friend of mine who went that route years ago had only one thing to say: Go for it, but first figure out where you will get your social interaction from.

Makes sense, sitting at home all day tends to get me down.

Sarah Ward said on May 27, 2008

Hi Jonathan, this is a great article.

Although I am not a freelancer, I have been working from home for the past few years since my daughter was born and feel I could really benefit from your advice here. With my employers office being a 100 miles away in London the cost of travel and childcare for me actually makes working in the office impossible at the moment, and you do loose that contact with the outside world.

Luckily I've found Messenger, Facebook, Email all good methods to keep in contact with the team at the office, and for a person who doesn't really like talking on the phone I seem to be using that more and more these days. I am always keen to get my name down for conferences and I am lucky that work will provide me with that opportunity. And I've just found Twitter and although obviously there aren't many people following me, it's a great tool to keep up with the conversation :) I just wish there was more general meet up events in my local area.

One bad point from working at home, you end up becoming the network administrator and general computer fixer for your family at home on hand 24/7.

meandmyself said on May 27, 2008

Email, IM, Facebook and Twitter (oh god I hate Twitter) are just surrogate drugs. As a freelancer who is working mainly on the internet the best way to socialize is everything BUT the internet. Just turn off the computer, stand up and go meet some people. Everything else is not socializing. I know this is hard but there is no other way.
I'm a freelancer btw...
I think communication over the internet is so much more fake then in real life. Besides it's kind of pathetic...

Paul D. Waite said on May 27, 2008

I second the library as a workplace for freelancers. I often find it easier to concentrate there than in my flat, as I live next to a main-ish road.

Marko Dugonjic said on May 27, 2008

Nothing compares to good ole BBQ.

No seriously. Hosting an informal event of Wii tournament or something equally geekish like a game of Risk proved to do the trick.

Phil Whitfield said on May 28, 2008

When i read the first paragraph i thought, wow Jonathan is just like me.. Until i got the the parts about increasing interaction.

I actually find comfort in my own company, i'm not a social reject, butt ugly or lacking in social skills i just really love working from home and not having to interact with people. My partner is exactly the same, we enjoy each others company that much it's the whole reason we work online instead of with a company.

Andy Sharp said on May 28, 2008

excellent sudo joke! LOL

Scott Chaney said on May 29, 2008

Nice article - you brought up several things I hadn't thought of before, but that might be a result of a generational difference. I've been working at home for about 23 years writing shareware and other software. Marriage is still strong which is not unremarkable considering you see your significant other 24/7.

I've found that most of my socialization comes indirectly thru my children. The parents of their friends become our friends. We both volunteer in school and help coach sports teams. And some of my friends who do this are also very involved in their churches. I also seem to find myself involved in a host of community organizations and causes.

Humans are social creatures. You will find a way to reach out and connect or you'll go nuts - even a recluse like myself. But the rewards! Who can put a price tag on putting your kids on the bus everyday and being there for them when they get back home. Or witnessing most all of their first steps, literally and figuratively.

Derek523 said on May 29, 2008

It really is important to get out and socialize, online socializing while good can only really provide a peice of what we need.. It is good to physically talk to someone, using sound instead of text... also facial expressions, tonality in voice, all very important things to exercise lest we become more digital than human...

Personally I try to go to church with my friends, out to lunch/dinner/movies and maybe just get together to play some frisbee golf ;-}

Andrew Woods said on June 03, 2008

Meetup.com has been a big one for me, as well as helping to organize Barcamp Seattle (June 14, 2008). Refresh Seattle is also great. As far as coworking spaces go, I know about Office Nomads in Seattle. There are others, but that's the best one I know of. Hope that helps.

Paul White said on June 03, 2008

I am in the same boat. Freelancing from home is great, but I don't get any contact from the outside world. That and my sense of style is now shorts and a plain white T shirt. Get your Girl to force you to go shopping every once in a while. This will help give you a some culture. Else you will go outside one day and start calling everyone dam hippies. I am only 28 yet I have developed the prejudices of a 65 year old man. I can't even imagine what my neighbors think of me. The Tall guy with white pasty skin, who wears the same outfit everyday ( rotating shorts ), who rarely shaves, never combs his hair, and seems to work between the hours of 8PM and 6AM and he likes it that way. Kids stay off his lawn

Paul White said on June 03, 2008

By the way Your blog's design is awesome! It pushes me to do better.

Alan Gresley said on June 05, 2008

I have just turned down my second offer of freelance work. They needed help with IE6 amazingly. I just have no spare time to have extra work on top of my usual work which is caring for my wife or creating organization in my house.

Networking with twitter, I don't see that happening. Adding comments to blog post, guilty.

Trying to get a stable computer to test IE8b on, I must wait until cash flow comes since I did need new shoes. Maybe working as a freelancer will stop my work as a CSS bug demonstrator.

Time , Time , Time, always disappearing on me. Time that could be spent working, socializing, looking after myself better or being a father to my kids. Such is Life.

Tobi said on June 05, 2008

Yes to me it?′s nearly the same. Working at the home-office, you become to feel like some kind of isolated freak, (hehe sorry) i often feel like it is to hard or it takes to much time to cook something - bread and some cheese will do it even faster - and you can eat it in front of your laptop, yummie. It?′s like voluntary imprisonment with bread and coffee. If i work in my home office full time (only friday and saturday) i normaly don?′t leave the house and also my girlfriend is not invited.I think she could?′n?′t understand it anyway how one can sit the whole day in front of a computer-screen... So what are my tipps for you? I?′m in the very happy position to teach some kundalini yoga on mondays,tuesday,wednessday and thursday evening. So when i have to teach it isn?′t possible for me to work more than 5 hours in front of the PC (which is my rescue) and i allways meet some (real) people. I could recommend you in participating in a weekly yoga class, or go to a gym with a buddy on a regular basis. A dog would be a solution to see more sun during the day..haha
I think to most important thing is to take your time off - and to switch off your computer and leave it all behind. And don?′t look back ;-)

Adam said on June 09, 2008

Your lucky, my ex just used to shout at me for not listening - Not understand that total concentration was being given to actually what I was doing... And then getting emotional when i scream "STFU" because im stressed with a bit of code misbehaving LOL!

I think it takes a good relationship to keep it a relationship in our field, as time can be spilt away so easy, especially when just starting out, atleast for me anyway - depending ont he clients I can get very very EMO :>

Raspberry said on June 09, 2008

It got really bad for me about a year ago, I was incredibly isolated and didn't have much access to other people in my stage of life who I could socialize with. It got really pathetic; when I think back to that time I can't believe how close I was to being a social leper. I also became resentful of most online interactions, it just can't replace the real thing. Nowadays I avoid IM, Facebook and the like, I've been challenging myself to become a better real-life friend; it's a good way to live and the pay-off is much much greater. However, I am starting to read design/freelance/code blogs on a regular basis, it's great to know there are people having similar work and business experiences. The water cooler experience is the one thing I've missed from the 9-5 gigs...

I work outside the house a lot. University libraries and campuses are the best, lots of studying students around who motivate me and places to wander when I want to take a break.

Nick Fassolas said on June 11, 2008

If we also add how problematic socializing has become for everyone in todaya€?s societies then I guess being a freelance web designer makes it close to impossible to socialize. In my case I seem to find the idea for the creation of a rejuvenating pill, more and more attractive!
My problem has to do with time and the biological need for sleep! As for where to socializea€|I agree with all the above.
Co-working is a great idea, needs more conversation though.

Thanks for a great article Jonathan.

klash said on June 24, 2008

Hey Jonathan, nice to read your this post, I enjoyed it, and I am also facing the same problem, cause I am the only one in the office who is working in this field and as I am outside of my country, I face the same problem and I am not able to get connected to the peoples who share the same field and I try to get in touch as much as I can online, but it always keeps me inside the room. Let me know if you find more ways to get rid of this ;), and by the way Twitter is blocked in here, Dubai, UAE :), so cannot use it here.

Anyways, take care and be in touch ;)
CHEERS!!!!

Scott Lenger said on June 25, 2008

1. The Mrs. and I make it a point to go out with friends at least once a week.
2. When you meet with folks make sure it DOES NOT include staring at a display/screen. It really helps me detach emotionally :)

Chris said on June 28, 2008

Ii gotta sayJon, I've the opposite issue where I have way too much social interaction. It is difficult to get things done between 9-5, and so I've been locking myself in a boardroom for half the Dayton get anything meaningful accomplished. Feel free to come join me :)

John said on July 11, 2008

It?′s hard to socialize if you?′re somehow addicted to the internet or your computer.
It is good to have something regular in your day to day life:
- 1 day in the week leave the computer completely off
- 1 evening a week meet with friends,
- 2 times a week go jogging ...
- add something here what you like
and than stick to it!

This works for me!

Johnny Meiss said on October 26, 2008

I have this same issue, I too work as a freelancer and also have my own websites. The work is endless, and it can be somewhat isolating. I actually go to the gym several time per week, something have to force myself to go. We recently had a Hurricane IKE came through Houston, it cut the Internet off for almost three weeks. I almost went through withdraw from the Internet. When the Internet and power came back I actually slowed down for a bit, but soon was back at it 110%. It is hard to slowdown on something that I really enjoy ! Great post at least I know I am not alone.

Sophia said on November 07, 2008

Nice post as well as comments
In todaya€?s market it can be hard for your company to stand out in the vast online crowd. Thata€?s why we need employees for our organization with outstanding skills. And in the present scenario the global economy is going down and down tremendously. In such circumstances ita€?s very difficult to manage a€?needless reports, high recurring expenditures and unfriendly, unknowledgeable outsourced staffa€?.
What to do?
Better option is hire virtual employees and be tension free.
I can say that because I have done the same thing. And ita€?s only possible with the of www.marketraise.com
So, visit www.marketraise.com today to experience how cutting edge web design, software development and Search Engine Optimization from MarketRaise can make all the difference for you!

Sophia said on November 07, 2008

Nice post as well as comments
In todaya€?s market it can be hard for your company to stand out in the vast online crowd. Thata€?s why we need employees for our organization with outstanding skills. And in the present scenario the global economy is going down and down tremendously. In such circumstances ita€?s very difficult to manage a€?needless reports, high recurring expenditures and unfriendly, unknowledgeable outsourced staffa€?.
What to do?
Better option is hire virtual employees and be tension free.
I can say that because I have done the same thing. And ita€?s only possible with the of www.marketraise.com
So, visit www.marketraise.com today to experience how cutting edge web design, software development and Search Engine Optimization from MarketRaise can make all the difference for you!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.
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