My office is housed in a lovely low-rise where red brick lines the walls inside and out. The building sits on a large tract of land surrounded by a forest of trees. A hedgerow of cedars has grown tall on the north side of the lot, muffling the sound and masking the sight of the heavily trafficked street on which it’s located. The grounds in the back are dotted with park benches and picnic tables, where tenants emerge to enjoy lunch under the warmth of the sun or shade of a tree. A flock of geese that makes its home on our rooftop every summer causes traffic to stop as they waddle slowly across our driveway. The building’s star-shaped design allows all tenants to enjoy an abundance of light and views of trees, gardens and winding pathways. My office looks out on a grove of oaks, maples and birches and a small pool, kept fresh by streams of water emanating from the mouths of two stone lions. A magnificent red-tailed hawk has lately taken up residence in a tall birch 100 feet from my window.
I tell you all of this, because this lovely property is slated for demolition. It will be replaced by yet another in a series of condominiums spreading steadily eastward. Tenants have to vacate the premises before the end of August, after which the wrecker’s ball will come along and knock all this to the ground. It saddens me for obvious reasons: the loss of so many beautiful, mature trees, home to so many birds and animals; the loss of a perfectly good building with lots of character. But it also saddens me for selfish reasons, since this type of building will be so difficult to find again.
In the six and a half years since we have been here, office vacancy rates in this area have plummeted, possibly because of this type of action. It has become a landlord’s market and prices have escalated dramatically. The few available offices are much larger than what we need; the views, if they exist at all, are often of ugly, old buildings or tacky billboards. Green spaces are rare and traffic noise is all too common. It has always been my goal to provide a setting that reduces stress, not adds to it. So the hunt continues to find that new space that, with any luck, will become the new sanctuary.
When clients are going through unwanted changes, I try to help them identify some of the positive results that those changes might bring and lately, I have been doing the same. There are, in fact, many good things that will come out of this move. My current office is located in the northeast part of the city and has proved to be somewhat inconvenient for many of my clients who live downtown. So I plan to find an office that will be more easily accessible. The move has also forced me to begin some major spring-cleaning, not only of the stacks of materials that I have accumulated over the years, but also of some of those intangibles that need to be dusted off every now and then. I have begun a process of revisiting, reviewing and revising how I “brand” myself, what services I offer, materials I use, and various policies and procedures. I plan to have a new look on my web site to reflect these changes by the time I move.
One of the planned changes is to come up with a new name for my web site. As many of you know, I have been expanding my career counselling practice to include a personal counselling and coaching component. The name CareerActive doesn’t quite fit with all that I now offer. I also hope to expand my telephone coaching practice to accommodate the busy schedules of local clients and the inability of long-distance clients to visit. In addition, I plan to offer more group services to accommodate those who prefer them. I will keep you posted about the move and the changes as they arise. As always, I welcome your ideas and comments.
Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”
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