Archinect
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Do you hate your job?

That's Chicago

Another night at the office until 9:30 p.m.... Is this really what architecture is like? It seems my friends in other firms face this reality as often or more than I do. I'm fucking sick of it!

 
Apr 25, 06 10:50 pm

sounds like someone needs to make a career change.

Apr 25, 06 10:53 pm
some person

You're an architect. In Chicago. In the Loop?

Life doesn't get any better, does it? What I wouldn't give or a slice of Gino's East right now....

Apr 25, 06 11:01 pm
liberty bell

I'm self-employed. I love my job, but:

1. I'm also sick of working til midnight 4 nights a week
2. I'm f*cking sick of being flat broke while working til midnight 4 nights a week.

Apr 25, 06 11:09 pm
SuperHeavy

archinect: exponentially increasing my disillusionment with the profession since
Aug 10, 2005.

Apr 25, 06 11:36 pm

I'd say exactly the opposite- the enthusiasm of the rest of the archinect community is the only thing that gives me any hope for the profession.

Apr 26, 06 12:27 am
timothy sadler®

What're you doing, Chicago? Door schedule? Submittal review?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Apr 26, 06 12:28 am
sporadic supernova

hey what's this ... I just posted on the other thread ... oh well ...!! ..here goes ..

Well I work on site ... so it's max 6:30 .. and I'm off ... :) ..

but when I used to be in the office ( during the design stage) .. I used to keep a sleeping bag at the office .!!!

Apr 26, 06 12:48 am
swisscardlite
link
Apr 26, 06 1:02 am
guiggster

Threads like this scare the hell out of me. I hate my job more than life itself right now...er, that didn't come out right...but its a dead end junior highschool assistant teaching position. For fun I stick pencils in my eyeballs, because then at least I'll FEEL SOMETHING again. Honestly, being stuck in an architecture office sounds pretty good right now.

Apr 26, 06 2:49 am
swisscardlite

guiggster, I'm in high school right now. I feel very sorry for you.

Apr 26, 06 2:58 am
harold

As long as you keep using the wrong tools, you'll be working till midnight

Apr 26, 06 3:55 am
underage rage

i absolutely love my job!

Apr 26, 06 7:52 am
Living in Gin

I love my chosen profession, but I loathe my current job. My boss is pathologically incapable to saying "no" to any request from a client, no matter how ridiculous.... She had already agreed to an insane deadline for issuing CD's on a project, and I just learned yesterday that Ms. Boss has now promised our client two schemes for the project. That's right, two different schemes for CD's, which means twice as much work to do before our deadline... And we already know that one of these schemes is completely incompatible with what the end users of the project have said they need.

Arrrgh!

Apr 26, 06 8:00 am
Josh Emig

That's Chicago, I decided a month or so ago, after a stretch of long nights and weeks, that I was going to set a schedule. I work from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. with one hour for lunch. That's 10 hrs a day and 50 hrs a week (although I occasionally break my schedule and work a few hrs on Sunday if necessary). It's still not a 40 hr work week, but it's structured, and at 7 p.m. I put down my mouse or whatever, shut down, and walk out of the office. I also figure that, if I can't get my work done in 50 hrs a week, that's not my fault -- that is bad management. So far this hasn't been an issue. In fact, I'm more focused, and my work is actually a bit more efficient because I know I don't have an open-ended workday. (more efficient except for the occasional archinect post).

Living in Gin -- another management issue. My employers have recently realized how much those friendly little add-ons and help-outs ("We're going to help them out and give them ...") have been costing the company. Slowly they are learning to either say no or at least get paid for extras. Of course, I realize not all firms are in such a position.

Apr 26, 06 8:45 am
liberty bell
As long as you keep using the wrong tools, you'll be working till midnight

harold, care to elaborate aka back up this assertion?

Apr 26, 06 8:46 am
SpringFresh

pretty much. i just quit

Apr 26, 06 12:41 pm
liberty bell

Good for you, I hope, Chairman! Good luck with whatever comes next!

Apr 26, 06 1:21 pm
e

yes, i'd also like to harold's reasoning.

Apr 26, 06 1:43 pm
cln1

love: the management style of the firm i work with, the salary they pay me and the people in the office.

hate: the projects we do - well... i dont really hate them, but we have been doing a lot of the same project type for the past few years and I am ready for something different.

This also motivates me to do my own stuff at home. looking forward to the day when I start out on my own full time, but that wont be for a few more years, until then - I could not imagine working anywhere else.

Apr 26, 06 1:54 pm
nicomachean

well put The Public

it's a lifestyle choice - just decide to start leaving at 7 every night.
50 hrs is far and above what's reasonable, especially if you're not getting paid overtime.

i've found i'm more efficient, happier, and more confident, besides having legions more time for personal art projects, hobbies, workouts, etc.

perhaps this is because you don't feel like a slave to some unnamed driving force....a force that isn't controlled by you (your boss), as it would be if you owned your own business, in which case I would feel much much better working long hours for myself.

a habit of working long hours causes more trouble in the long term - your bosses start expecting the same level of production and plan their schedules accordingly. you get burnt out, depressed, out of balance.

my first semester of design I got all my work done in class hours, produced great designs, and got an A. and I was awake enough to retain what I learned. later semesters were addled with coffee-induced indigestion and general nausea mixed with delerium while burning time on detailed models and loopy design ideas. most of what I learned wasn't retained, or at least was retained only in my subconscious...probably because I was only partially conscious during those sleepless days. i'm convinced that, in the long run, i lost more than i gained because of the studio culture - physically and mentally.

Apr 26, 06 4:38 pm
whistler

Sounds like everyone needs a solid dose of Tony Robbins and take control of their lives.

I think those of you who have the confidence in your contibution to the firm and set a schedule will see the value to your mental state and physical state. When I started to have a family, the weekends were open to work in a very relaxed way, but clients started to figure out that the weekends was a time they could contact me a I started to feel that I never could get the time back. As the family got bigger and all the kids grew it was way more important to spend time with them instead. Even last weekend my youngest proclaimed that sunday was his best day ever! You forget that you mean a lot to these other people in your life, it s not just about you but the other people in your life too.

Apr 26, 06 6:10 pm
liberty bell

Actually whistler's comment reminds me that I should clarify my own. I work until midnight several nights a week because every day without fail I leave the office at 5 to go pick up my son, we play for a few hours and have dinner as a family, bathtime, bedtime stories etc. So when he is asleep at 9:30 every night (he's a bit of a night owl for a 3yo) I can get back to work until midnight.

Those 4-5 hours of family every night are far too important to miss. The next couple of weeks I'll have work-related evening events to go to and I'm bummed about it. For the most part I actually don't mind working on the computer while my husband watches the Daily Show across the room. But for those of you who think being self-employed can mean an end to long hours: not necessarily. There is infinitely more freedom as to when you work those hours, but owning a business is a ton of work.

Nonetheless, I do love my job.

Apr 26, 06 10:04 pm
SuperHeavy

thanks lb. Family is and will always be at the top of my list of priorities. Now, when I'm young and single, I can more or less afford to spend time alot of time working/in studio, without it affecting those relationships. But I also know how obsessive I get about anything I put my name to. I've thought about this before, and I am deathly afraid of being a distant husband/father.

Apr 26, 06 11:11 pm
SuperHeavy

Though I guess if I need to put it in perspective, the most important thing I can ever 'put my name to' is my family.

Apr 26, 06 11:11 pm
That's Chicago

I feel like I'm jumping through hoops... I tell myself "just one more year here will really help me in the long run", but I don't know if I can take it another week. Competition ends, another one starts.... This cycle is deadly!

Apr 26, 06 11:56 pm
e

well stated lb and the rest. family always comes first. while i was doing my thesis, i would come home at 3am and leave the next morning at 8am. this was 6 days a week throughout the semester. at that time i was living with my girlfriend [now wife]. she moved out and got her own place because i was never there. can you blame her? relationships require at least two parties to equally participate. when there is only one, the relationship will eventually fail. i was lucky enough that we made things work, and/or i should say i changed.

and yes, as lb says, being self employed does not necessarliy mean the end to long hours because it is a lot of work. i also would not give it up. i love my job, and equally important [because they are also relationships that require nuturing], i love my clients.

Apr 27, 06 12:44 am
guiggster

So what needs to change in the profession to reduce the long hours?

Apr 27, 06 1:37 am

odd as this may seem i am quite happy to put in long hours. long as the work is rewarding. if it wasn't i think i might not do it.

the remuneration ain't that good, but i think i make more than you folks in NA, so perhaps i am lucky...and i am working on earning more...who knows if that will work or not, but i suspect the traditional route isn't the way to go for that sort of thing...

i do the same as LB, and take a few hours off to spend time with my kids, so end up working late into the night after they sleep. I am teaching the oldest to read in English now, which is quite fun, and impt as it isn't something the kids learn in japanese schools (in spite of the admirable efforts of m. le guiggster). This too is something i could not do if i had stayed in an office. the nice thing about our profession though is that it is possible to have a career as an architect and still make choices that don't put the family on hold. not so easy to do that in other jobs...

so yeh, architecture is a great career. so many opportunities.

Apr 27, 06 3:18 am
digger

What are we really talking about here ? Do we hate our "jobs" or do we hate the "work" that we do"

Over the course of my career, there have been times when I hated my "job" -- which is very firm-specific and is a reaction to many other elements, such as wages, benefits, hours, working conditions, colleagues, building type, city, etc.

Rarely have I hated my "work" ... I love being an architect and I love being engaged in architectural work with other architects.

For those of you who hate your "job" but who love your "work" I suggest you start looking for a new stage on which to act.

For those of you who hate your "job" and your "work" and don't see a realistic way to change either, I recommend you head back to school to prepare for a different career.

As for me, right now I love both my "job" and my "work".

Apr 27, 06 11:27 am
Ms Beary

I would like it a little bit better if someone would pick up my redlines.

Apr 27, 06 5:21 pm
whistler

I think the thing that I do enjoy about running the show here is exactly what LB retiterated. The hours are long but when you work them takes a whole new perspective when you work them on your terms. Everyone who works for me has flex hours which means that they show up and work whenever they want, but just put in the 40 hours a week. Eveyone works four 10 hour days and then they switch off for days off. The work gets done for me but everyone feels happy because their routine is set by themselves not me "the boss".

Apr 27, 06 5:34 pm
myownpath

whistler, that sounds ideal!!

Apr 27, 06 5:41 pm
wood_

I'd go for a three day weekend.

Apr 27, 06 6:03 pm
dml955i

Whistler - what happens if all your employees are off on Friday and one of your high-maintence clients calls you on Thursday night demanding an emergency Friday afternoon meeting for you to present three different schemes...

Having your employees each work at their own schedule sounds like it would be hard to keep track of and manage...

Sounds like a great idea, but just throwing in my .02

Apr 27, 06 6:32 pm
sameolddoctor

dml, in that case one just has to learn to say 'no'....if all bosses learnt to use that word, most of us here would be happier souls and be able to spend more time doing other things.

Apr 27, 06 6:49 pm
e

indeed doctor. i have no problem saying no to my clients when i need to do so. it's all about setting rules and boundaries. one of the reasons i still don't own a cell phone [that's right] is that i don't need people getting a hold of me when ever and where ever. they expect you to be there. i've done fine without it this long. i'll be okay without it in the future.

Apr 27, 06 7:03 pm
dml955i

Yeah, saying "no" to a client is always a good idea... My guess is that you wouldn't have clients for very long with that approach, and I would think that your employees would rather work and get paid for 4 days a week than not at all...

Apr 27, 06 7:07 pm
whistler

Bottom line is they all have a set day off and no two have the same day off so it works. ( a couple people take a day off mid week too) try and avoid high maintenance clients as a rule. But good planning in the office helps with deadlines and I always have two people per project so there is always ( at least theoretically ) a cover person who could address short term demands, and if all else fails I get to respond ( I hate when that happens ). Although eveyone knows who' in or out of the office it is flexible and so are my staff so they work a sunday but then take another day off in the future. Knowing deadlines well inadvance is critical and the balance of deadlines ie no two projects have the same parrallel schedule so that we can pull people off one job to assist with another. That's one of important lessons to office management.

What we do is not magic and not some complicated matrix just common sense and communication, its also not a big office and some days its just me.
Those are the really good days, its quiet and I don't even get the phone sometimes. Last week I had staff travelling in China, Backcountry Skiing, One surfing on Vancouver Island and one doing some other work at home while I was in the office myself. It was quiet, contemplative and thoroughly enjoyable.

Apr 27, 06 7:10 pm
dml955i

Sounds like a pretty sweet set up Whistler! We try to avoid high-maintenance clients as well, but sometimes we've found that easy going dream clients morph into nit-pickers that require lots of hand holding...

And to clarify, we say "no" to our clients all the time in regards to their often hair-brained design ideas... but sometimes clients want you to ask "how high?" when they say "jump" - makes them feel like they're actually in control of the project :)

Apr 27, 06 7:17 pm
e

dml, i think you are being naive about saying no. of course you do not say no all of the time, and you must make your clients happy. i have more clients that i know what to do with right now. many of my clients are repeat clients and most of my work comes through client referral. i love my clients, but it is important to carve out time for yourself.

Apr 27, 06 7:36 pm
Becker

better not to say "no" and instead use "That wouldn't be my first choice"

Jun 6, 06 9:24 pm

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