Thirty-five & 5

A continuing journey

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    Being the Brick

    By TAB1006
    May 23, '17 9:17 AM EST

    Wow, over a month since my last post, setting out I said I'd report every week so I guess I need to try and keep up with it. Moving on.

    It's been a whirlwind of ups and downs as I get closer to my fourth month employed at my new firm. Part of me is elated, to finally be working in the field I studied so hard to get into. Other parts of me however are frightened because my role here so far has yet to come to fruition. I came here with a desire to learn all I could about the firm, its jobs, its people, architecture and its many aspects. Here however my "umbrella" approach has seemed to have gone unnoticed, despite my best efforts in becoming well liked and eager to help where ever I can, the "silo" approach the firm takes to jobs has me left me sitting idle many a time.

    The process here I assume is like most A&E firms, with separate studios handling each aspect of a job, Architectural, Engineering as you would expect; and those studios further divided into departments, Education, Retail, General, Electrical, Civil, Mechanical, Structural, the list goes on. Delving further you find each department divided into teams to handle specific jobs, Education divided up into Elementary and Higher Education, Retail divided by client with each team handling one particular retail client.

    That's what I was hired for, a new client had come on board and signed with the firm and they needed extra manpower to create a new team to handle it. I came on a few weeks before the start of the initial project, to train on the drafting software, learn the ins and outs so once the client pushed go, I could hit the ground running. However, clients being clients, things stalled and dragged, a month went by and no project for me to work on. Now I am not the type to sit idle while those around me are working straight out so I'd inquire to my supervisor if there were any other jobs I could help on, but he related that he wanted to keep me primed for the upcoming project.

    So I'd do what I could, stock the paper on the printers, clean up where I could, keep working with the software, trying to find ways to be more efficient with it and apply it to more projects in the firm along with drawing my own projects ( I must have redrawn all of my school projects!) and would inquire to the other studios if they needed any help. One coworker referred me to the principal of my studio and I was fortunate enough to get a side project they wanted drawn. So I did it, hit the ground running as it was and busted out a complete 3d model within a week on a two week deadline. The principal was grateful, provided feedback, redlines that I quickly turned around and with help of others, met the drawing standards of the firm.

    Then, much to my dismay, I was back to waiting, another two weeks passed and still nothing but still I kept on asking, talking with coworkers to see what they were working on and if there was anyway I could help. After every time I'd ask though it felt more and more like I was becoming an annoyance. So that in mind I withdrew, stuck to the idle chat around the lunchroom and Keurig, only responding to "what they you working on now" with "primed and ready for the client to pull the trigger" but felt awful inside because I didn't feel I was pulling my own weight.

    To their credit, everyone here has been amazing to work with, and understand my dilemma, but that can only go so far when the CEO looks at the books and wonders where to start trimming cost. Parts of me want to go over my studio's department head to the principal and lay it all out for him, that I'm hungry and very eager to learn and contribute but where I am is not giving me the chance to do that. The other part of me (mostly influenced by office politics, yaay :( ) warns me against going over their head, they're busy, heading up a very busy studio with multiple clients to meet with, sites to visit and still find time to design, draft, review and submit projects.

    So I ask of you, my readers and professionals in the realm, what can I do? I keep searching for ways to be useful, updating catalogs, converting tags and symbols from the former software to the current one but it's just busy work. I want to contribute, I want to learn and succeed here and see the firm grow so that my career in the architecture world can flourish, but it seems that hunger and eager attitude is wasted energy. However where I'm just starting out again and am so far behind my peers in my professional career, I don't have any time for any waste!

    As always, I welcome your input, thanks for reading!

    "Even a brick wants to be something" - Louis Kahn

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About this Blog

This is an account of my journey towards licensure, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. At 35, many people, including myself at times, doubt that completion of the journey I started nearly a decade ago can be obtained. But here I am, with 2 years of school and all of my internship ahead of me, finally working in a firm after escaping the world of retail. May these thoughts serve as inspiration for those in doubt, encourage supportive wisdom, and of course, an outlet for frustration!

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  • TAB1006

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