What we miss most

August 28, 2020

by Erin Ortiz, Community Engagement Specialist

The other day, I unlocked our Monterey office and walked into the darkness, by myself, to do some work alone. I have two kids and a small living space, so it’s nice to be able to find a quiet workspace. As I walked in, everything felt so still and empty. Not eerie, not exactly sad, but lonely enough to make my every move seem giant and loud.

I miss the way it used to feel walking into our bright, cheery space each morning, greeting people and observing the hum of activity. Standing in the kitchen for a moment to catch up with coworkers while we waited for the coffee to brew; its aroma filling up the office. Swapping stories about motherhood with my officemate Rita. Walking back, forth, and back to the copy machine.

I miss the warm, reassuring voices; the camaraderie; seeing folks come through our doors for support.

Meeting with my coworkers online just isn’t the same anymore. Our work still gets done but the missing piece is the togetherness of the office. Our work involves a lot of collaboration and being each other’s support network. 

Oh, do we miss being together at the office. I asked my coworkers what they missed most and they chimed right in:

“I miss walking into the office and smelling fresh coffee! I feel lucky to have thoughtful coworkers that make coffee for the office when they arrive in the mornings.” -Nicole

“I miss the face to face interactions and the energy generated when everyone is together in one space. Virtual meetings are the next best thing and I'm so glad we have them.” - Sheryl

“I totally miss the smell of Devan's Aromatherapy machine pumping out the scent of Lavender, as I sip on a cold crisp Rockstar to start the day!” -Carl

And Devan says, “I most miss having a spacious office that afforded Carl and I the space to have so many awesome colleagues pop in for one of Carl's amazing stories or just to say hi! I also really miss our potlucks that were always overflowing with delicious food, laughter and time for us to connect with each other!” 

“I miss hearing about the little things: the fabulous dinner someone made the night before or plans for the weekend or latest with their kids.” -Tiina

“Mostly, I miss seeing my coworkers on a daily basis, but a bunch of other things too: The sound of people talking, laughing, sharing; phones ringing; The big printer/copier/fax machine; The convenience of grabbing a file in my office instead of waiting once a week to get it; Seeing clients coming and going, knowing that they feel better when they leave; Hearing how clubs and presentations went when a staff member returns to the office; Being able to separate the office from home by leaving it at the end of the day.” -Clare

“I miss seeing our clients, their kiddos, and their siblings every week. Seeing them play Connect Four and/or get really excited about the snack that we have in the office.” -Lauren

“I miss being able to walk outside of my office to check in with my colleagues, discussing weekends/exciting news over lunch, and taking a break to go for a walk to get tea with each other after a hard day.” -Amanda

“I miss the beautiful chaos. Over the course of just one hour, there could be a crisis call about a truly devastating reality, a fun chat with a client who dropped by for grounding and connection, a joke from a colleague and a call from a community partner with an opportunity to make systemic change. There was always so much going on that it often felt like the best and worst of life was constantly coming through our doors.” -Deborah

“I spent a lot of my time at schools, but when I wasn't at school I was fortunate enough to bounce between both the Salinas and Monterey office. What I miss the most about the Monterey office is arriving early and the smell of coffee! Also our Monday morning coffee meetings and talking to Erin about kids! What I miss the most about the Salinas office is the socializing and my goodness, the FOOD! I miss seeing and experiencing how close-knit everyone is.” -Rita

“I miss walking into the building and greeting the neighbors, people and clients walking in or out the office.  I also miss picking up/dropping off children that needed a ride to and from therapy, but what I definitely miss the most are my coworkers and going out to lunch with them while discussing the best possible way to support a client.”  - Rosa

“I miss seeing our clients in person.” - Maria

We know many of you are feeling the same wistful way right now about your community, whether it be your school, extended family, workplace setting, circle of friends, community gatherings, etc. Please know that our community, and you, continue to be in our thoughts, as we look forward to the day when we can safely gather again.