Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I don't think I have mentioned this before, but my office will be moving at the end of May or early June. Our company has bought a building in the Chelsea area, and they plan to combine several programs there--the detox, a 400 bed shelter, the main office, a cafeteria for the clients, the outpatient mental health program and my program. Saves them money on rent, to be sure, but I'm not looking forward to it. Perhaps if I saw some of that saved money in a salary increase, it may not be so bad, but I'm not too keen on being up on the 10th floor with all of the shelters on the lower floors. Personally, if I'd designed the building, both of the outpatient clinics, those programs where people come in an out all day, would be closer to the ground level than those who will live in the shelters, and the clients in the detox who never go out.
And, if that's not bad enough, I've shared an office now for almost five years, and you all know how miserable that has been. The one thing that excited me about the move was the fact that I would finally have my own office. Not so. It seems that in the new building, I will be sharing a cubicle with THREE people, including my current roommate. See, the dunce who designed the building decided that both of the outpatient programs should be on the same floor. Hence, not only do we have to share these cubicles, but there is only three meeting rooms to hold an individual session with a client. Not too bright in my book. Of course, I am well aware that medicaid only pays $77 for an outpatient visit while the funding sources for the shelter and detox pay far more. That's where the money is, and money is always what it is about.
And, I will admit, I love this building and area where I work now; there is an ambiance. There is a history in this place and one can just feel the presence of those who have been here before. At one time, it was a bank; at another time, a social security office. And somewhere in the distant past it was a home for wayward boys. When I can look out my window. I can see the Lower East Side Tenement Historical Site, and sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can actually visualize the hustle and bustle of the New York City of my ancestors who lived here when it was still New Amsterdam. In the basement is the strange tunnels which connect one to every other building in the area. Some say they are a remnant of the Underground Railroad; others say they were built during the time of the speakeasies to enable speedy retreats....
...and, of course, I can't forget about the ghost/spirit who welcomes me almost every morning. I've no idea who she is and why she has chosen to stay, but she has never frightened me. Right from the start I knew she meant me no harm. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps she is one of those poor souls who lined up in front of this building on that day, June, 14, 1904, to enjoy a picnic excursion on the General Slocum and never returned. Over 1300 died that day. Could it be that she returned to the last place she knew before she embarked on her fateful journey? And yet, I have always thought that this was once a hotel. Could she once have been a guest?
At any rate, I am beginning to wonder if this might be the beginning of the end for me at this job. I've voiced my concerns about the lack of space to meet with clients, and my boss agrees with me, that we will probably lose quite a few with the move and will no longer get referrals from the Lower East Side. He has joked around that there will be plenty of floors to meet with clients, but I just cannot picture myself running from floor to floor, client in tow, looking for a vacant room. I will just have to wait and see.
Thanks for listening to me today. Just had to get this out. As time gets closer, I get more and more anxious about what is to come.