Whether dealing with the pain and trauma of a marriage ending or the death of a beloved spouse, I know that many of my clients are coming to me with broken hearts. Keeping tissues close at hand during meetings is just one of the ways I try to make my office a safe and welcoming space for clients to feel and process their emotions. Among the helpful books from my lending library, the décor items intended to invoke a smile, and my cache of colored pens, what you won’t find on public display are pictures of my husband and me, and this is intentional.
The items I have on display in my office tell the story of who I am and help me build rapport with clients, and they were carefully chosen. The solar-activated Queen Elizabeth statuette that waves to all visitors announces that I am an anglophile. The lineup of rubber duckies on my window ledge often prompts a question, and once their purpose is known, a smile; they are my mascots because I help my clients get their ducks in a row. The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help attests to my faith and my mission. Several items in my office are precious gifts from my husband that keep him close to me throughout the workday. Their significance may only be known to me, but they are public displays of affection.
There is one photo of me and my husband in my office, discreetly placed so I can see it. While I know it was a picture taken right after our engagement, it does not scream love and romance to the casual observer, and that is why I chose that picture for my office. It reminds me of one of the happiest days in my life but doesn’t remind my clients of their losses. It’s not that I would not like to have more personal photos in my office, but I strive to treat the clients I welcome to my office as guests and offer hospitality. I display my personal photos at home and maintain a gracious atmosphere in my workplace. I suppose this is another take on work-life balance.