I worked in St. Louis, Missouri for years. 17 in all, in fact. Five of those I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia. And while I loved that job, the firm I worked for, my colleagues, my clients and the work itself, traveling (and all its inevitable hassles) back and forth and not having the ability to “walk the halls” of my clients’ offices frequently wore me out. While I’m clearly a big believer in staying connected to others through social networks, I deeply value the ability to show up, to be present and to be eyeball to eyeball with people who are important to me.
At the end of 2010, after that last lonely hotel room, that last airline delay, that final unexpected layover, I quit the job in St. Louis and at the beginning of 2011 I opened my own shop in Charlottesville. I haven’t looked back since.
One of the truly great joys of working here is the ability to be present, live and in person, with our clients. A common day might include running into clients on the downtown mall, or really anywhere around town. Or learning the Gangnam Style dance from a client prospect at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Our proximity to those we serve allows us to dash, sometimes literally around the corner, to a client’s office. A client had a crisis recently and my colleague Rusty and I were able to pick up sandwiches for a working lunch and land at their office to work through the crisis management within the hour.
I’m not saying it isn’t perfectly possible to work at a distance, and we’re happy to do that, but there’s great gratification at being able to connect with those right here in our community.