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How far can an introvert make it into architecture practice?

gebr

I would like to know from your experience in firms what is the typical path for an employee who isn't an extrovert.

Are these people usually stuck in technical delivery/production and how can one make it out of there and into front end design work?

 
Jan 14, 18 4:28 pm
zonker

I have long since resigned myself to the technical architecture/production/BIM side of architecture

You have to have the extroverted  personality - how else do you expect to get your ideas across?

Jan 14, 18 5:17 pm  · 
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gebr

I have a colleague who is 35-40 is an introvert but only does front end work. He mainly works on feasibility studies, doing design and he sketches a lot, does visuals etc. He doesn't do Revit or production work. So I don't think being an extrovert is absolutely necessary. My question is how do you make the transition into front end work like this guy if you are stuck in production?

Jan 14, 18 6:26 pm  · 
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tintt

To do front end work, be good at front end work. Can you design and sketch?

Jan 15, 18 10:08 am  · 
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bowling_ball

gebr - I fit that description very well. I'm a shy introvert but my competence has been recognized and I've been put in a front end position doing schematics, client meetings, leading IDP, dealing with the city administration, etc. I don't do any drawing (I'm about 6.5 years out of school and licenced) but lead the largest projects in our office. It can be done, but it is exhausting.

Jan 15, 18 10:19 am  · 
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sparrow6223

I'm in architecture student and I am highly introverted. I was wondering, do you still feel contempt with your work even if you're exhausted or do you ever feel like you wished you had done something else? I love the discipline and everything it encompasses and love challenging myself, but I also wanna stay true to my temperament and I have a slight worry I will burn myself out of doing what I like because of the demands.

May 6, 21 2:02 pm  · 
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x-jla

that's ridiculous.  There are many very successful introverts.  Abe Lincoln was an introvert.  Plenty more.  Most creatives are introverts.  Just don't be a push over.  Not the same thing.  

Jan 14, 18 5:52 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur
An introvert who knows their shit is a reliable team member. An incompetent introvert is a giant liability. Aim for the former if you want to survive.
Jan 14, 18 5:52 pm  · 
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gebr

In my opinion, an introvert who knows their shit is only a reliable team member until they are replaced by an extrovert who knows their shit.

Jan 14, 18 7:19 pm  · 
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randomised

I don't want to be rude here Rick, and excuse me if I come across like that, but are you "on the spectrum"?

Jan 15, 18 7:43 am  · 
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kjdt

I'm not sure what "real world cerebral science" you're referring to Richard, but in fact there have been well-respected, long-term, large-scale scientific studies that indicate that introversion/extroversion are at least partially hardwired, and can be pretty accurately predicted in infants, long before they're even verbal, based on their reactions to new stimuli. The more reactive infants pretty consistently grow up to be introverted adults, regardless of their varied upbringing and experiences. Environment has been found to have a great impact on the successes and failures of both introverts and extroverts, but does not seem to have much impact on determining extroversion or introversion.

Jan 15, 18 1:57 pm  · 
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kjdt

Shyness and introversion are not at all the same thing.

Jan 15, 18 2:33 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

SO.MANY.EMAIL.NOTIFICATIONS.

Jan 15, 18 3:24 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Why do I keep getting these notifications when I purposely uncheck that useless box? Pretty annoying.

Jan 16, 18 10:49 am  · 
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Great posting history:

How far can an introvert make it into architecture practice?

What happens to the architects that don't get promoted?

How to tell if you are about to get fired?

I for one am anxiously awaiting your next thread.

Jan 14, 18 6:45 pm  · 
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x-jla

Why are architects mean
Jan 14, 18 6:54 pm  · 
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x-jla

I'll guess miles...

Jan 14, 18 6:54 pm  · 
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x-jla

Miles, I'll guess "Why are architects mean" will be title of his
next thread...

Jan 14, 18 6:56 pm  · 
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gebr

Miles, I am not waiting for your next post either, so feelings are mutual. Either answer the question or go.

Jan 14, 18 7:17 pm  · 
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Read it again - I can't wait to see what you come out with next!

Jan 14, 18 9:03 pm  · 
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randomised

There's no typical path.

Jan 15, 18 2:13 am  · 
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bowling_ball

I suggest reading the book "Quiet." I'm reading it now and it's pretty good. 



Jan 15, 18 10:22 am  · 
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Bloopox

Yes, good book. It covers a lot of the debates in this thread: differences between shyness & introversion; studies on nature vs. nurture; differences in achieving & expressing creativity; differences in achieving success.

Jan 15, 18 5:05 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

I'll third your recommendation!

Jan 15, 18 7:09 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

labels labels labels... why so obsessed with degrading everything into simple little boxes? Maybe that's why the OP is having a hard time.

Jan 15, 18 10:26 am  · 
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JLC-1

exactly! people these days (just an euphemism to not call him a millennial) need validation in fucking everything they do, must be exhausting...

Jan 15, 18 11:15 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Am - fucking - en

Jan 15, 18 11:18 am  · 
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Le Courvoisier

As an introvert, I've gotten pretty far. Dealing with clients, going to events and all of that extroverted stuff exhausts the hell out of me though. I always need time to recover after. Develop the extrovert switch and turn it on when needed. Day to day it's ok to be introverted as long as people know it is how you are and you're not being cold/standoffish. 

Jan 15, 18 11:04 am  · 
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JLC-1

Your "introverted" personality has nothing to do with your professional performance, you will never have to introduce yourself to a vendor or a client, they know who you are, no need to pour your soul in a mep coordination meeting, and if you have something really valuable to say, you will be heard, don't worry, get over it.

Jan 15, 18 11:19 am  · 
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JLC-1

on the other hand,I've seen may "talkers" fade into oblivion because they usually open their mouth before having anything in their brains just to be the first to raise their hands.

Jan 15, 18 11:20 am  · 
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mantaray

Agreed on both of these. I've actually worked hard to cultivate my more introverted side.

Jan 15, 18 2:57 pm  · 
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whistler

Somebody has to "run" the office while the extrovert partner makes it "rain".

Jan 15, 18 12:20 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

This. So much. As I exercise being more extroverted, more and more of my time is being eaten up with "unproductive" activities. I used to be able to get a lot of shit done when I put my head down and pounded things out. Nowadays there's less and less time for that, and in feel projects slipping because I have to go to my 12th meeting of the week, before I go to a sporting event at night with clients, etc. It's just different.

Jan 15, 18 2:36 pm  · 
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natematt

to OP 

My general observation is that it's much easier to get to a higher place if you are extroverted, or force yourself to be. Particularly in the "design" side of architecture. If you want to be technical or managerial it's a bit easier, but still normally advantageous to be outgoing and at least a bit boisterous. 

That said. I have met a few good counter examples. I know some people in power in design who are introverted, including the head of design at a very large firm. 

Jan 15, 18 12:37 pm  · 
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zonker

Everywhere I worked, and 3 different professions, its always the extroverts - introverts have a high lay-off rate, and with a recession coming up?

Jan 15, 18 1:03 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Nope, it's just you. As always. You're worse than any millennial.

Jan 15, 18 2:37 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Rick, I'm not taking the time to read through your unnecessarily long and meandering posts, but one thing I noticed from what I did read is that you don't seem to understand that there's a difference between being shy, and being introverted. They're not the same thing.

Jan 15, 18 2:38 pm  · 
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mantaray

I am an extrovert and let me tell you, in the 9 firms I've worked at in my career, extroverts have always been by far the minority.  I'm not sure what you're worried about.  Generally architects are introverts.

Jan 15, 18 2:56 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

I'm doing a mental headcount myself and yeah, I'd say 60%+ are introverts. I used to work at an office that was 9 introverts and one extrovert (the owner). That sucked. I say this as an introvert.

Jan 15, 18 5:06 pm  · 
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zonker

bowling_ball

I have my own "alternative" view - I don't adhere to traditional practice rules anyway


Jan 15, 18 3:17 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

That's good. I'm glad you've figured out what works for you. Though I believe you still do work in a traditional practice, no? I'm sorry if I was a little mean spirited. You seem to have PTSD from your time in the industry, and I mean that respectfully.

Jan 15, 18 4:55 pm  · 
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hellion

In my experience working for a 200-staffed office, most of the extroverts were in production / doing construction drawings (like me) while the introverts were in design / coming up with the concepts and the visuals. The main partners were introverts themselves but when they had to present something or talk to clients, suppliers, etc. you wouldn't think they're introverts. 

Jan 15, 18 7:10 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

I'm a strong introvert, as well as a stutterer, but I'm not shy--I love meeting new people and experiencing new things, so I'm reasonably successful at the front-end work of my design business. I'm actually not great at the back-end, which is why I work with someone who is. Introverts simply recharge with "alone time;" interacting with others takes extra energy. Extroverts get charged up being around others, and alone time gets them down. At least that's how I understand it. So OP, you can do whatever your skills and luck allow you to.

Jan 15, 18 7:12 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Nobody's saying that we don't all fall within a spectrum of behaviours. Just like our mutual Asperger's, Rick. It's a spectrum.

Jan 15, 18 8:47 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

ZING!

Jan 15, 18 10:26 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Dude, you clearly have issues. I know I do, but one of them isn't writing several uneducated, condescending paragraphs about stupid shit on the internet.

Jan 15, 18 10:29 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

I've studied the subject quite a bit, Rick, and talked with many professionals about it. I am a textbook introvert--social situations leave me exhausted, and I recharge with long solo walks in the woods. I can easily go days without talking to anyone, and love it. But I also love the thrill of new experiences, and have spent over 20 years learning how to be a successful client-facing business owner. That's how introversion works. If you haven't read the book Quiet you really should.

Jan 16, 18 9:51 am  · 
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Wood Guy

The Myers-Briggs test is a good indicator of your introvert vs. extrovert nature. Not the quick versions; it has to be a full-blown version.

Jan 16, 18 1:31 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

NOBODY. IS. SAYING. THAT. IT'S. EITHER. ONE. OR. THE. OTHER. This isn't the argument. Please try to keep up.

Jan 16, 18 3:56 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

.

Jan 16, 18 5:06 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

I deleted my comment because I'm tired of beating my head against a wall.

Jan 16, 18 5:50 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Why quit now? My forehead callus is coming in nicely.

Jan 16, 18 5:55 pm  · 
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zonker
I'm an introvert and all my team members treat me like I'm some kind of moron - I do all their Revit stuff, and they get pissed if something takes 2 minutes longer - I'm tired of people in this profession treating me like some flunky - these punks from all these Ivy League and other schools - I deserve to be an architect and will force the issue
Jan 16, 18 12:16 am  · 
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s=r*(theta)

Xenakis, why haven't you got your license? :-( , and im not an ivy school grad! :D

Jan 16, 18 9:41 am  · 
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zonker
Rick - Aspergers? We all have that to some variant - Frank Lloyd Wright had it - it's no biggie
Jan 16, 18 12:35 am  · 
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zonker
Rick - Aspergers? We all have that to some variant - Frank Lloyd Wright had it - it's no biggie

And in fact Aspergers is some made up syndrome written by some shrink who needed to turn in a thesis topic, so he/she invented some bogus syndrome and pulled 3 all all nighters writing it - almost like what architecture students do -
Jan 16, 18 1:14 am  · 
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proto

do you ever look back at the walls of text and wonder why you're compelled to create them?

Jan 16, 18 1:44 pm  · 
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3tk

I think a lot depends on the firm ownership/management and your team.  Some firms are more aware of their employees abilities and mentor their staff (train them so that they can leave, treat them well so they want to stay), others not so much.  Taking some initiative to make sure that the decision makers in the office are aware of your skills and your goals is smart.

Jan 16, 18 1:11 pm  · 
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wurdan freo

The culture in the US is generally geared towards extroversion. Just think of the labels that accompany each definition.


E - Outgoing, friendly, social butterfly, approachable, jovial, communicative, warm


I - Quiet, shy, withdrawn, poor communicator, reserved, cold, weird, timid


Supposedly there are other places where introversion is more acceptable... Japan, Switzerland...or so I hear.. 


The good news is scientists have been working long and hard to find a cure to the horrible affliction of introversion. Their recommendation... copious amounts of alcohol.. unfortunately.. . significant side effects can occur... dehydration... head ache... cold sweats... and possibly running through the office naked. Use at your own risk. 

Jan 16, 18 3:27 pm  · 
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JLC-1

weed works better, no hangover.

Jan 16, 18 3:32 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Why not both?

Jan 16, 18 3:58 pm  · 
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JLC-1

No,no,no, no....never mix weed and alcohol, little beer maybe, but nothing harder. But hey, I'm only speaking of my experience, feel free to try.

Jan 16, 18 3:59 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

That's how I'm managing to keep the alcohol consumption in check. Life is all about balance.

Jan 16, 18 5:09 pm  · 
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tintt

Imagine if the definitions were written by introverts... E's are those annoying people who think it's a good idea to chat up strangers about the weather.

Jan 16, 18 7:56 pm  · 
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I only drink if I'm alone or with someone.

Jan 16, 18 8:18 pm  · 
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tintt

Just wait till all the type A's die in their 40's, then introverts and type B's get to take over. 

Jan 16, 18 5:14 pm  · 
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OneLostArchitect

I haven’t made far at all as an introvert architect. I should Apply to the post office.

Jan 16, 18 6:04 pm  · 
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tintt

I've always wanted to be a postal worker.

Jan 17, 18 9:36 am  · 
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curtkram

intj


the architect

Jan 16, 18 8:36 pm  · 
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tintt

I am only one off from that. If only I were more judgmental....

Jan 17, 18 9:35 am  · 
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curtkram

That's probably the important one

Jan 17, 18 10:42 am  · 
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tintt

I know.

Jan 17, 18 11:19 am  · 
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tintt

oh duh, I'm two off. The two most important ones. I'm the "mediator" or the "healer".

Jan 17, 18 1:26 pm  · 
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zonker
Extroverts like Bjarke Ingels - corner the market in architecture because if any of you have seen his videos, he is able to lay out the grand vision with lots of hooks -
On the other hand there is this one Design partner at Skidmore, who is an introvert and yet his mentor, Walter Netsch an extrovert

Either way -
Jan 17, 18 1:14 am  · 
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randomised

A simple scroll through any recent/decent architecture blog shows that Bjarke only represents a small fraction of what's going on in architecture. Even students have moved on already.

Jan 17, 18 4:47 am  · 
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randomised

Didn't mean Bjarke or BIG as such but the kind of architecture they represent.

Jan 17, 18 9:00 am  · 
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razdaz

Introverts get energy from being away from people.. its doesn't mean they can't stand people all the time or don't like performing when it's appropriate. 

Jan 18, 18 3:11 am  · 
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