For the past few weeks when we get to the Chamber office we aren't quite sure what to expect. It's been a blur of construction activity.
A large section of the interior of the building is currently torn up. The old carpet is gone, the old paneling on the walls is gone, the room has no furniture except for one extremely heavy desk that we'd rather work around than move. The old lights have been removed. The room is down to the barest of bones.
The exterior is another messy scene. There are stacks of materials lounging around the property. There are random extension cords snaked around the building. There is scaffold on one or more sides of the building on any given day. There are ladders that seem to pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes there is a large trailer, sometimes a dumpster, and some days both.
There is an incredible amount of dust. Even when we close all of the interior doors, dust still manages to creep onto every surface. And into boxes and file folders. And under tables. The windows are filthy, and getting dirtier every day. Dust sure is a sneaky bugger.
The noise is interesting too. Construction equipment and the pounding of a hammer can be loud. Just when you learn to block out one noise, a new noise is introduced. Just when things go silent for a moment and you pick up the phone to make an uninterrupted call, the roar starts again. Needless to say, email has been the top choice for communication around here lately.
The construction is also leaving us as "orphans" from time to time. My office is torn up right now so I am an orphan every day. I'm currently bouncing around from one open space to another, sometimes at area businesses, and once on a bench outside. The others in the building are interrupted as well. Sometimes if the noise is too loud outside the conference room, the meeting has to be moved to the next available location.
One day a group of eight or nine met in an office that really only fits four. It was cozy. And it's not just staff and tenants. Our visitors sometimes have to go through a maze to get to our lobby. Thankfully everyone is very understanding, including the workers who try to minimize the disruption.
This project sounds like a real hassle, doesn't it? People keep asking if we are tired of the mess and the construction yet. Those of you who have done major remodels might be nodding in agreement to that. But to tell you the truth, it's not bad at all. It's a bit of an adventure. And do you know why? Because the outcome of the project is completely worth it. And as was said in the movie, Message in a Bottle, "Nothing that's worthwhile is ever easy."
It's true. Good stuff doesn't come easy. Accomplishing great things is hard work. Hard work is just that, hard. We will happily deal with the construction noise, dust, mess, and interruptions for as long as we need to. As hard as it is some days to focus and be productive, we know that our patience will pay off when we have a beautiful finished product.
Life has many tough journeys that we can choose to take. Going back to school, working long hours to finish a project, running the longest race of your life, learning a second language, leaving someone you love for a while because in the long run it's for the best, losing weight, changing something about yourself, the list of tough things goes on and on. But the concept is the same.
If it's worth it, then the tough journey is worth it. The angst, the frustration, the failures along the way, the irritation, the dust, the tears, are all part of what will make the end result that much better. We don't mind the temporary discomfort here because in the end, our visitors and customers will have a better experience and better impression of this amazing town. A tough journey is worth it. What tough journey will you embark on toward a more desired, rewarding result?
Jackie Krawczak is the executive director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.