“Flexibility is one of the most important things”
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER, 30, is a successful fashion and lifestyle blogger on Meanwhile in Awesometown and other channels. He is based in Vienna but travels a lot. Despite numerous trips and events, the life of an influencer seems to be a rather lonely one. In the “Talk to THE FUTURE OF WORK” Vogelsberger said that in the future he might want to collaborate more with people again. The follow-up chat takes place in the hip Café Hildebrandt in the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art during their very busy lunch hour. The well-known blogger and trained jurist has to shake a lot of hands.
You basically produce a magazine for men, but as one-man-show. The focus is on you – with regard to content, publishing, legal issues, and finances. Do you see this as work, Manuel?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: It is actually a truly atypical kind of work. It started out as a hobby. I used to work at a law firm and on track to become a lawyer. THAT was work. And on the side, I enjoyed taking photos and was also interested in fashion. I had launched my blog during my studies when I was on an exchange programme in Sweden. I somehow enjoyed writing about design and fashion, and that’s when the first two paid jobs came in. I was not happy at the law firm and wanted to try to set something up on my own. So eventually I took off the summer of 2016 to see if I could make it, financially. And it worked. The more time you invest, the more work comes in, and that’s how it turned into my profession. It is a hybrid between work and private sphere.
As blogger, you disclose a lot about yourself to the world, right?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: I mainly share private topics with my community. On the one hand it is cool, because I am doing something that I like. On the other hand, it eliminates those areas of pure leisure. Switching off completely like I did back in the days on the weekend or when I had just come out of the office at ten at night – which happened a few times … that does not really work anymore.
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: Well, first off, I am self-employed and take care of everything myself. Also, my work touches upon many private areas, so the boundaries are blurred.
In the “Talk to THE FUTURE OF WORK” talk you told us that your current industry was very fast-paced, and you did not know whether it would still exist in ten years. Does that thought not concern you at all?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: There are moments when it does stress me to think about the future. Yes, I have a good education, I have work experience in different areas, and I have a solid network. Despite all that, we are raised to choose a job where you work your way up step by step. That doesn’t exist any longer. Or let’s say, it exists less often. Some of my friends became consultants or joined law firms where they advance gradually. I wasn’t able to warm to the idea of pretty much giving up my life in favour of someone else’s project. I feel that there is always something new just around the corner. I am quite sure that in ten years’ time I won’t be doing what I am doing now. But I meet so many people these days. If my job were to go out of existence in the current form, I suppose I would find something else. If you want to change your career path, there is still time to do so later.
Is it that simple?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: You have to keep up with the times; you can’t stay put where you are. Flexibility is one of the most important things that you have to instil into young people at the outset of their career; also for the reason that this straight career path of 40 years will not exist anymore. Digitisation will speed up the process of change even more.
Are you the odd one out in your circle of friends with your job?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: At the beginning it was something new and exotic to my friends. But these days everyone is on Instagram and knows about social media.
You have described yourself as self-employed. Do you sometimes crave a situation where you’d be collaborating with someone on a project in an office?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: I am ambivalent about that question. For example, it is great not to have to commute to the office in the morning, I can cook at home, and so forth. But the home office is not ideal. I sometimes lack the chance to exchange ideas with others. The exchange with others helps to develop new ideas. I am on the fence about this one. Either way, I don’t feel left out enough to be looking for a desk in a shared office yet.
You are probably not at the desk from 9 to 5 anyway, are you?
MANUEL VOGELSBERGER: My job does come with a lot of travelling. But I find the idea of working with and in a team again increasingly appealing. The idea of finding someone who would like to work with me on a project.