If you have a lot of side projects with overlapping interests or topics, occasionally the various streams in your life will cross. This is a good thing, though sometimes it happens quite by accident. This week, I’ve got four different activities converging in one place and event. It should be exciting! Here’s what it looks like from the freelancer’s perspective when multiple projects and customers overlap.
This week I’ll be Huntsville, Alabama, serving as the social media “reporter” for the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (TVIW), a gathering of scientists and engineers who are investigating the real-world challenges involved in building spacecraft capable of visiting other solar systems. That’s the primary job.
The guy who roped me into helping with TVIW was my co-chairman for the 2011 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) and is currently the President of the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5). HAL5 is partnering with Janet’s Planet, an educational website focused on astronomy. The two organizations will be at TVIW, showcasing a contest commemorating the 40th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. When Voyager launched in 1977, it had on board a gold (yes, actual gold) record containing sounds of life on planet Earth, the idea being to give any alien civilization that happened to pick up Voyager in space some idea about who built it and what they were like. The contest is for students in grades K-12 to select sounds or images that best reflect life on Earth now.
This is just the sort of activity that is interesting to readers of Spaceflight Insider, which I write for part time. So I’ll be talking with Janet from Janet’s planet and getting an article for SFI done. (Of course I’ll have to spell out my various connections to this event in the interests of full disclosure, but that’s my problem, not yours.)
That’s not all of it.
My buddy from HAL5 wanted to know if a couple of the Science Cheerleaders would be available to serve as judges for the Voyager contest. In my SciCheer “Gopher” role, I managed to arrange that as well.
Is there a point to all this?
How does this crazy-quilt event on my blog can relate to you? In a few ways:
- The more places you find to contribute your skills, the more people you meet.
- The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will find to connect other people with similar interests and create potential collaborations.
- By helping others create partnerships, you can position yourself to do more of the same in the future.
- All of this goes back to your network, expanding the scope of people you know, and broadening the opportunities that can open to you–maybe not now, but in the future.
Connecting and helping others can (and, in my view, should) be an organic, natural part of building your network. Connecting others with similar interests and objectives is a way for you to demonstrate your value. Call it self-interest taking the long view. I certainly didn’t do X, Y, and Z years ago with the purposeful notion of arriving at this particular multi-purpose event. The more stuff I do, the more I can do in the future. That’s worth considering, even if your resume looks a little chaotic.