Hidden Beneath

Social Education: So you hate your job?

Part 6

“We’re stronger together.”

Rachel Braithwaite, Executive Director, Barton Village BIA

What lies beneath the you that your resume or current job title hides from the world?

Perhaps we cannot incorporate all of our underlying passions into one career, but I have found it important to take stock of all of the little things that bring me great joy in life as I ponder possible next steps. One of them is playing the harmonica.

I did join a band around 2012. We called ourselves Steel Roots. We met once a week in an old warehouse and later at the lead singers house to practice, and played a few live gigs over the relatively short time we were together. We didn’t break up, but rather went our separate ways with families and careers. I miss the guys and the scheduled reason to pick up the harmonica and let it all out that one night with a great group of guys.

A poster for one of our shows that I did. I also designed the logo.

I haven’t stopped playing, although now I simply play as an overlay to some mainstream track. I occasionally record myself although my number one fan, my wife, is usually the videographer. I think we are getting the knack of ensuring the harmonica is much louder than the background music in an effort to not give social media platforms a reason to mute me.

This is the latest recording I did, quickly practiced in the kitchen before braving the elements on our miniature backyard rink.

There is also this one below which I host myself because it get’s shut down really quick from all platforms. A friend recorded it using a handmade microphone, and then overlaid it on top of the original track. I wish I had more professional recordings of me playing. It was such a fun experience and the sound …

Cover of Landslide by Stevie Knicks (Fleetwood Mac) by Lawrence Thomas

Maybe I cannot find a place for all of these hobbies in a new career, but it has come quite clear over recent years that at least some of them must work into the 9-5 because there isn’t enough time in 5-12 for all of the things I love to do.


Barton Street here in Hamilton is a great example of something hidden beneath. If you drive by quickly or only remember it from the last time you got turned around in the area going to the Hospital ten years ago, you’ve surely missed the little things that have gradually brought back the beauty once enjoyed only a generation ago.

In this episode of Let’s Talk Careers, Catherine Johnston speaks to our friend Rachel Braithwaite about her role as the Executive Director for the Barton Village BIA and her path to to this position within our community.

I am inspired by her passion and the affection she holds for her surrounding community. She has put so much into this role and her involvement in the neighborhood over the years and it shows if you dare to notice.

When someone talks smack about Barton, I tell them they should take a bus, walk, or ride their bike because it’s easy to see the negative when you don’t slow down and truly see the transformation.

I live off of Ottawa Street in Hamilton which is another of Hamilton’s thirteen BIA’s (Business Improvement Areas). I have seen a slow but exciting transformation of this historical textile district in the fourteen years I have lived in my home and what this new life has brought to all of the communities that bound it. A revitalization of Barton Street is something we all want as it’s victories are critical to Hamilton’s success as a whole. The more of us that highlight the good, the faster Barton’s Streets growth will occur.

Rachel had no idea what a BIA was, but through her involvement in the local planning teams and within her community in general – including leading a team of volunteers for the first Barton Village festival, she found herself in this role. First on a part-time basis, and eventually in a full-time capacity.

Although COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for local small businesses, thirteen new businesses have opened since the pandemic started last March within the BIA boundaries. In general, businesses within the BIA have pivoted astronomically Rachel states proudly.

Rachel recommends volunteering for a BIA near to you if you are interested in knowing more about this career and seeing if it’s for you. Or , follow follow them on their social media accounts to see what they are up to and where you might be able to help. Reach out to them. They surely have something for even two hours a week that they would love your help with.

What’s Next? Part 5| Part 7

You can follow along with the conversation on Facebook or preferably because Facebook doesn’t play nice, start your own thread below. I would love to hear your stories as I venture down my own path to now what, and for more people to learn from you as well.

You can also reach out to me at justwefamilyblog@gmail.com.

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