So often when we talk about the history of women in the workforce we are talking about women’s access to space, a historical transition from the home to professional settings.
Many modern working women are looking for non-traditional spaces outside the home that are comfortable and professional, places where they can be away. These spaces can be hard to find. Virginia Woolf’s seminal book A Room of One’s Own drove this point home way back in 1929 stating: “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” I have to wonder, what would Woolf have to say about coworking?
At Union Club, we work hard to be a space where women can set upon these “freedom(s) of the mind.” With almost 47 percent of U.S. workers being women. And women owning close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts (source). We need to think critically about women in the workplace and their specific needs. In honor of mother’s day, we interviewed two mom’s who utilize our space to get their stories of work, balance, and business.
You can usually find Tracy Fisher parked in the bright corner of the Union Club maker space covered in paint, always smiling.
As her paints and canvases are stacked up around her she says, “The past two homes we’ve lived in we have never eaten on the kitchen table, unless it was some major holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas.” I laugh with her, telling her it’s not hard to imagine a trail of paint following her around the house. After starting her membership at the Union Club she feels like she has an office. “I just went on and bought placemats! And they are on the table with a little plant, it’s so bizarre!” After selling men’s clothing out of her home Tracy transitioned to making art full time around 2004, calling herself a “word artist.” As a working mom, Tracy is well accustomed to the hustle of raising a family while pursuing her art career.
“I’ve worked farmers markets, I’ve woken up at 5 am to sit in a tent, with my kids!”
I ask her what specifically about the Union Club draws Tracy into her creative process. She stares out the window stating, “I’m a Pisces and I’m looking at water, I’m drawn to water. Sometimes I will just come in here and read a book. This room feeds my soul in a way I cannot describe and it reminds me of my grandma and grandpa.”
Ashley Olin has been working for the Surge Tacoma since 2015. She does everything from leasing to accounting.
Ashley is the rock of our business, so much so when Ashley left on maternity leave our momentary panic was palpable. I caught up with Ashley and Annie this week to talk about her transition back to work and how she balances bringing Annie into her office at Surge Tacoma.
The coziness of Ashley’s office is magnified by her 4 months in her arms. “Everyone here is so nice and happy to see her,” Ashley says while swaying Annie back in forth in that impossibly perfect mom rhythm. I ask her about what life looks like at home nowadays with two little ones crawling around.
She explains how she stayed home with her son Austin for 8 months after he was born, reiterating the “sunshine and rainbows” that comes with your first child. But with two, home is decidedly less peaceful,
“That’s one of the other reasons why I was ready to come back to work because I felt like I couldn’t get a minute to myself.”
Surge Tacoma provides her with that space. “I am starting to not work from home as much because I want to be with my family now, I’m a happier person now at home.”