My first gig as an attorney was at a wonderful law firm in Atlanta comprised of 60 attorneys working across the spectrum of practice areas, from litigation to tax to bankruptcy to commercial transactions. Taking up three floors in a downtown office building, it was a bustling place full of intellectual energy. Unless strictly necessary, doors were always open and there was a great deal of banter amongst the lawyers, paralegals and support staff. Although each lawyer had their own caseloads, there was a tremendous amount of discussion between us about our cases. We would brainstorm ideas, talk strategy and generally act as sounding boards for each other. The collegian and cooperative environment of that firm created a whole that was much greater than the sum of its parts.
What I Left Behind
When I left that firm for Colorado, one of the most difficult things to leave behind from a professional standpoint was the intense, charged atmosphere. It had brought my skills to a level that I would not have attained on my own and I feared some dulling of the blade as I transitioned to a much smaller and inherently quieter mountain community. There are far fewer lawyers in the valley than in just my one former mid-size law firm, so of course, it is impossible to recreate that exact type of environment. Fortunately, I discovered that I create more intensity for myself than I previously believed. Combined with colleagues that were smart, supportive, and creative, I did not experience the drop-off in sharpness about which I worried.
Filling the Gap
Still, until recently, there were times that I missed the hustle and bustle and craved the inspiration that comes from a group at work. That gap has been filled by my recent tenancy at the Entrepreneurs BaseCamp in Avon. Run by the Vail Leadership Institute, the Entrepreneurs BaseCamp is a co-working space where people from all industries and walks of life work under the same roof. There is a massive shared conference room as well as a shared kitchenette. Workstations of varying sizes are available for people who either need a desk to call their own or a space to drop in and do work on a project on a less regular basis. My new partner Dan and I are temporarily located in two of the five private, traditional offices while we await completion of our own office suite down the hall. Even when we move into the new office, we will still have access to the main Entrepreneurs BaseCamp space and its amenities.
These amenities are not all tangible: there is a discernible psychological benefit to working in the same space as the many talented and motivated people that currently office at Entrepreneurs BaseCamp. From established web strategists to Valley Leadership Institute officers to those entrepreneurs just getting their businesses off the ground, the place is positively jammed with ideas and excitement. Strategy sessions, focus groups and leadership seminars take place on a regular basis. I could feel the energy of the place even when it was still in the process of being built. Now that the operation is in full swing, Entrepreneurs BaseCamp is a lively place in which you cannot help but feel motivated and intellectually stimulated.
Of course, it does not hurt that everyone is an enthusiastic skier/snowboarder/climber/biker, etc. Multiple flat-screen TVs are in the space, usually showing ski movies or other footage from TV8. It is a testament to the balance that permeates the Valley that Entrepreneurs BaseCampers are often doing high-level work in ski clothes, either just back from the slopes or imminently headed out there. This serves as a poignant reminder that life is about more than just work.
Now, I have the best of both worlds: an office environment humming with creativity and a home office for solitude and spending time with my daughter. When I am at Entrepreneurs BaseCamp, I am capturing all of the benefits that I missed about my old law firm while taking the edge off the probably over-the-top fervor of that traditional office environment. It also helps that I have the freedom to come and go to Entrepreneurs BaseCamp as it suits my energy level (or lack thereof) and my work, family, community, recreation and social schedules. Instead of having to be at work all of the time, even when not being productive, I tailor my life to my needs. This has paid huge dividends for my working life and, by extension, my clients.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner and mediator at Voice Of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rkvlaw.com.