Aug 272004

One of the wor­st things about being an inde­pend­ent con­sult­ant is that you don’t have a lot of col­leagues in the form­al sense of people who work at the same com­pany. You have people you work with on pro­jects, and you have friends, who are often people you work with on pro­jects, or have worked with, or will work with again. It’s easy to get lost in your own world when you work on your own, only com­ing up for air when you notice the sky out­side is get­ting dark­er and it’s not just that it’s rain­ing. Get­ting a cup of cof­fee is not the way to take a break and talk to some­body; it’s just a way to get a cup of cof­fee.

Instant mes­sen­ger (of mul­tiple brands) fills that gap for me, and gives me a sense of work­ing in a group. It’s like being in vir­tu­al cubicles. I can see if people are around, I can see if they don’t want to be dis­turbed. I can knock on their vir­tu­al door to see if they have time for a quick chat. And when the names start to dwindle on the buddy list, I can tell it’s time to knock off for the day. 

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