Posted by Dom
One way or another, moving has played a huge part in my life in the last few years. In early 2006, I took Voluntary Redundancy at the publishing house I worked for in Bournemouth, which had just gone into liquidation. Three months later, I was saying goodbye to the South Coast and upping sticks to Kingston in preparation for starting work at MSN – helping the removal men shift 234,567 boxes (approximately) on one of the hottest days of the year.
Such upheaval was nothing new to me, after five moves in seven years whilst in Bournemouth, and four moves as a student in Cardiff and Islington. For today’s twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, moving is an accepted part of life far more than it was for our parents – my folks, for example, have spent over three decades in the same house in Kenilworth, whereas I don’t know anyone of my age who’s been in the same place for seemingly much more than the blink of an eye. We move on in relationships and jobs at a staggering pace these days, at a speed which would have been unthinkable only 15 or 20 years ago.
And as I type now, I’m surrounded by huge yellow moving crates, as Microsoft itself prepares to make the giant step of leaving Soho behind (sob!) and re-locating to plush new premises in Victoria (which is rapidly becoming one of the major media hubs in London, with Google and the Daily Telegraph already based there). I can’t say I’ve worked here long enough to have built up any massive affinity for my current offices or their location, but for many more experienced heads, moving throws up a whole range of different emotions.
And that’s the whole concept of moving in a nutshell – there’s a huge contrast between the excitement of going somewhere new, and the apprehension or sadness about leaving behind somewhere that was an integral part of your daily routine, with all the different memories that go hand in hand with that.
Our lives are increasingly divided up into a number of different segments, relating to where we lived or worked at any particular time; when you move on, the leap into the unknown can be an extremely hard thing to face up to.
The emotional impact of moving isn’t helped by the sheer logistical nightmare of it all. We’ve been sent emails about our Microsoft re-location for months now; everything has to be planned down to an absolutely minute level of detail, and even then you can pretty much guarantee that a dozen or more salient points will have been forgotten. The administrative and financial concerns that need to be addressed when you move house, meanwhile, are staggering – anyone who can truly remember their exact status with every different phone, television, gas, electricity or pension provider has a mind that’s far more focussed and organised than mine.
There’s always help at hand when you move, of course – for example, you can take a look at our very own re-location checklist, or just use a search engine to access plenty of general advice about how to make the whole up-rooting process easier. No guide however, no matter how well written, can ever strike at the heart of the issue – the irreplaceable, intensely personal memories of incidents, whether happy, tragic or simply mundane, that link us to a certain workplace or house.
What are your experiences of house moves or job re-locations? Is it really one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, or should people just get a grip? Do we get too attached to buildings, or is it human nature to fear change and regret leaving behind years-worth of shared memories? Send us your comments and let us know.