Dec 7th 2020 — Today is my 37th birthday. 7 days since I left my role as the Global FF&E Director, which concludes an incredible chapter in my life. I sit back and reflect on a turbulent yet eye-opening year. I’m supremely grateful for my family and health. Watching my son take his first steps has made 2020 a special year for me despite the pandemic panic.

It’s also been 7 years and 7 months since I first visited a dark & moody 2nd-floor office building on 175 Varick Street, New York. The WeWork HQ at the time. I was in NY for the long Mayday weekend visiting my then-girlfriend (now wife), who had transferred from her LDN office to NYC towards the end of 2012. Before the trip, I speculatively applied for some jobs, not thinking anything would materialise. However, I got a response and an opportunity to interview for an Interior design position at a fledgeling workspace startup, WeWork.

I first met Devin Vermeulen (DV) on Friday (May 3rd 2013), and we spent some time together talking about my design experience, life and music production. He recommended that I meet Miguel McKelvey to see if I was a good fit for the job on a team of around ten people.

After a successful meeting with Miguel on Monday (May 6th), I flew back to London with a simple decision to make…I quit my job as a Senior Designer, packed a few bags, and within a few weeks, we ‘figured out’ a package for me to move to NYC. My goal was to stay for a year — enjoy the Big Apple, travel around and return home to rejoin the ‘typical’ career path of Senior Designer, Associate, Director, etc. If you had told me what a journey I was about to embark on — I would’ve probably laughed it off as a dream.

This year has been one of transformation. Many of my friends and former colleagues have also moved on, and my time has now come. In the last 18 months, much has been written about WeWork surrounding the much-publicised failed IPO. I sat back and watched it all unfold: talk of a TV show, the podcast, and what felt like a billion news articles. While there is so much talk, being an employee was super weird. Much of the coverage seemed to lean on the side of ‘bandwagon bashing’. The new leadership understandably avoided commenting on every story, which was smart. However, along with the high turnover of employees, it meant that the narrative came across as unfavourable and one-sided…So, it all must be true, right?

After 7 years, I learned that the best remedy for failures is to show gratitude for your achievements.

In a world that feels a little more restrictive and closed, I’ve decided to open up and share my story of how WeWork changed my life. I’ve organised my thoughts under the headings of the 6 original company values to illustrate what they meant to me. I hope my experience can provide some insight into what it was like for one of the OG’s and inspire any young designers open to trying new things. I will start this series by being grateful.

Thank you, WeWork and Thank you for reading. 


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