The Job Bank started as the brainchild of Woodstock area townspeople and local parishes back in 1970. The first “office” was in the basement of Saint James. Then in 1974 the “office” moved into the kitchen of the town hall, then to the elevator landing on the second floor, to the closet where the theater now stores the popcorn, and to the projection room. Finally the Job Bank came to rest in the lovely office on the second floor with great high ceilings and a bank of windows with lots of natural light.
When I took over, three and a half years ago, I had great fun searching out thrift finds to create a cozy welcoming office space. The office had a basket of toys in case a parent needed to bring children with them. It had a long, painted blue table with sturdy chairs for clients to work with the two donated computers we had to help them with their job search. It had a comfortable chair for me to write this newsletter, plants, art work, a tea pot, and of course a desk, printer, and lots of file cabinets.
I loved my little office. Alas the world has changed. While it’s true the pandemic has changed many things for all of us, in this case it wasn’t just that. When I put the office together it was in anticipation of meeting with lots of community members in the space. The truth is I rarely met in person with anyone. I talked with clients on the phone sometimes but mostly everything was done by e-mail and through the website.
As the years passed fewer and fewer people visited the office. Then came COVID and the Job Bank office has been closed for over a year. By necessity I learned to Zoom and so has everyone else. It works.
The Town Hall is going to undergo a huge renovation and my little piece of work heaven is one of the casualties. It’s sad in a way, but only as a symbol of how the world is changing. The Job Bank will still be here: still working as hard as ever, still working to help businesses find the workers they need, and still helping people who need work find a job. It’s just that now our office will be a purple LL Bean backpack, a computer, one closet in my home, and a washed out Zoom lady who needs to figure out how to get a more flattering screen presence.
It’s exciting, too. Imagine the flexibility! I can work in many places—even outside on a beautiful spring day. I can work whenever—at 3 AM when I can’t sleep. I can work more efficiently—no one will stop by to say hi and interrupt me. Change is inevitable, so I’ll look on the bright side and creat the best remote Job Bank ever—even better than before.