Essays

What family dinners and coworking spaces have in common

coworking family dinner

Yesterday we had our annual holiday potluck here at Groundwork! The spread included Cape Verdean beans and rice, an entire roasted ham, quiche, soup, and a number of desserts from bread pudding, to pumpkin pie and a very decadent layer cake.

As I looked around the table, I had the unmistakable feeling I was among family members.

Family: you stick with them no matter what. Like Aunt Susan and Uncle John who accept you unwaveringly despite horrible haircuts, teenage acne, and bad boyfriends. Like your Republican grandparents who mean well despite their alarmingly sexist and racist view of the world. Like your great aunt who always gives you a check for exactly $35 dollars. Like your cousins who you used to play “squirrel” with in the back yard.

For better or for worse, we’re stuck with our family. And it’s actually pretty great, because it teaches us to love people despite our differences.

Unlike belonging to a family, we all elect willingly to work at Groundwork! But we don’t get to hand-pick everyone else who works here. And that is precisely why this community is so rich.

I’ve found in the three short years of running this place, that I’ve grown to care deeply for (and even love) people who I might never have pursued friendship with otherwise.

Last week at our holiday party, I found myself sitting at the bar with a new-ish member towards the end of the night. He turned to me grinning and said, “I don’t want to sound cheesy, but this is the first time I’ve had adult friends in a while.”  

Allow me up the cheese factor even more: I’m starting to think of my Groundwork! friends as the “third side” of my family.

If I’ve learned anything from running a coworking space, it’s that you don’t need to share blood lines to care deeply about someone with whom you have little in common.

So I’d like to offer an idea for 2018 and beyond: what if we all extend our family circles a bit wider? We’ve already mastered the trick of unwavering acceptance at the family dinner table. Let’s take it onto the street, and see what happens.

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Sarah

Co-founder at Groundwork!
Sarah lived all over South America, produced a documentary about Patagonia, and worked in digital marketing for a decade before settling in New Bedford to start Groundwork! She loves running a coworking space because she gets to meet the coolest people in the world.
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