Trumped at Work

Where were you when Donald Trump was elected president? I was at Framework Melbourne. The whole place had a sombre, eerie atmosphere from mid-afternoon when it looked like America might really do the unthinkable. Every conversation was interrupted by glances at a US map that grew increasingly blood red as the votes trickled in. Every attempt at creative production was stifled as minds wandered and wondered what the world was coming to.

Unlike the natural disasters and terrorist attacks that have caught the world completely by surprise, Trump has been slowly but surely amassing power for months. He had been the butt of the joke and the roll of the eye for the media, the public, and, of course, for many Frameworkers.

It struck me how different my experience might have been if I was alone. Typing away in a home office, keeping society at arm's length as I worked on a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel that was becoming all too real.

There is validation and solidarity that comes from experiencing a world-changing event with a group of people you see throughout the week. The build up. The letdown. The world toppling off the cliff that sits at the far right of the political landscape. And here I am in a coworking space filled with progressive start-ups, not-for-profits, and a whole lot of creatives in a city like Melbourne (quite the bastion for lefties).

But for me, rather than concentrating on the distress and concern, being at Framework meant I was surrounded by good people. Good people, working across different industries, with different backgrounds and different views. Good people that are living proof there's good in the world and the future is bright.

Framework Melbourne, and the whole coworking movement, is an example of how people can come together in a positive environment and build great things. On the day of the US election, I needed to believe in something like that. I know that sounds a little pompous and grandiose, but hey, that the kind of thing wins elections these days.