Why are we all so bitter?

Just sayin.
Sep 27, 13 7:17 pm
Because we care.
Sep 27, 13 7:20 pm

We're architects in this economy, that should be enough to explain it.

Sep 27, 13 7:26 pm

my co-worker is so pissed at this structural engineer and she is bitter at him for continuing to get in her way with the project crazy how you say this now.


hopefully she will calm down

Sep 27, 13 8:04 pm

The power of accurate observation is called cycnicism by those who do not possess it. 

Sep 27, 13 10:06 pm

I'm not bitter (anymore).

Sep 27, 13 10:16 pm

The power of accurate observation is called cycnicism by those who do not possess it.

I don't know about the others, but I'm observing that you spelled cynicism incorrectly.

When you have 2 or more people, you have politics.  This forum spans different ideologies, age groups, ethnic backgrounds, faiths or lack thereof, cultural points of view from across the world, not to mention very different views about the formation of, choices in, and style of practicing available to architects, or those aspiring to be architects.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  It's not about bitterness or cynicism.  It's about not agreeing to disagree.

Sep 27, 13 11:02 pm

i just saw this on my facebook and rather enjoyed it.  for what it's worth, i am not a millennial (it's about millennials)

also this

also, income inequality, lack of opportunity, erosion of the american dream, and that sort of thing that's happening in america right now (and by extension, but sometimes to a lesser extent, most other places). i'm pretty sure there aren't that many who would be considered "bitter" because of various definitions of "PC." 

Sep 27, 13 11:13 pm

Who's bitter?  Just listen to this and it will be an antidote to bitterness.  This lady (RIP Donna) owned a genre of music and probably brought more joy to more people around the world than any single architect's subjective masterpiece(s).  She's in great form and the audience is pumped.  And I'll even let a bohemian, granola, or hipster reach across the aisle if they concede that this is a "10!"

Sep 27, 13 11:47 pm

ob, glad to see you living up to your name. @#%^*+& iPhone with tiny zero-feedback virtual keyboard and dysfunctional spell check. 

Bitterness is its own reward. 

Sep 28, 13 12:51 am

Bitterness is its own reward.

This is cryptic and too brief.  Perhaps you can explain the etymology or underlying assumptions.

I think that anything cultish, like architecture, can create bitterness because one is saddled with a list of "shoulds."  Some view it as somewhere between a job and a career, and want to turn it off every now and then.  For some, it's 24/7, and it filters down to their wardrobe, which can be annoying.  Then add the lack of collegiality.  I already recounted of a starchitect coming to school to speak and then, upon being cornered by some students who wanted to talk to him, had this indignant "get away from me, you plebes" attitude, straight from "Bonfire of the Vanities."  Medicine may have its own cult, but I can almost assure you that if an expert who had pioneered something went to UCSF med school (one of the nation's best) to talk to students, he would not behave in such a manner when fielding questions.

Perhaps being observant of a lot of bullshit, and not filtering it, can make someone a little bitter and stressed.  We all need our antidotes to stress.  I have a list of hobbies and things I like to do for that purpose, and irreverence is one of them.  My mantra is "look for the absurd in life ... and laugh."  Have a great weekend, Miles.

Sep 28, 13 12:16 pm

behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist

Sep 28, 13 12:24 pm

^ Carlin, excellent.

“Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are not as they ought to be.”

― Ambrose Bierce

Sep 28, 13 12:50 pm

behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist

I think it has to do with baselines of what is acceptable decorum and respect.  If I'm being toted as a blackguard (for occasional crassness), I think steward is more accurate.  As for crassness, there are many posts on here exemplifying that, so let "whoever is without sin cast the first stone."  When you're sitting in a-school the first term and the history prof says 'Architecture is for those sketching on napkins on the cocktail party circuit and for the rest of you it will be busing drafting tables, and that's not a nice living,' that may be honest, but it's almost unprofessional. Couple that with an article in one of the arch. mags. (or should I say rags) by an Ivy League prof entitled "The Profession That Eats Its Young."  It's amazing how many people on architecture faculties bash the profession.  I've never seen anything like it and, while curtailing it would be censorship, the administration needs to slap those profs upside the head. That's not healthy for morale and sets a bad tone for kids in school.  So, it's not about idealism.  It's about baselines and normalcy among a body of professional peers.  It's not about fame or award-winning work, either.  Someone has to do the garden apartments, car parts stores, and strip malls, which many architects do, and enjoy doing.  Everyone in architecture has a different idea of normalcy.  That was President Wilson's slogan that won him favor at a turbulent time in our history:  "return to normalcy."  Again, what's normal to an architect?  Filling a cavity doesn't allow for much artistic interpretation, but designing any building or space does, and can be polarizing, especially if it is one that is up for intense public scrutiny.  The idealists in architecture are few and far between.  Idealism was weaned out of most of them during their formation and they entered the workforce without much idealism, but rather as a way to do something for which they had an aptitude and get a paycheck.

Sep 28, 13 2:08 pm
Cynicism, one of the many services I offer.

Somedays I wonder if being upbeat would sell better.

But then, I'm cynical about that too.
Sep 28, 13 3:08 pm

I'm a cynical optimist.


My cup is half full of shit.

Sep 28, 13 3:57 pm

Bitter? No way there is a lot of laughter, joking and singing in legopiece's day.

Sep 28, 13 5:30 pm

This has a lot to do with it.

Sep 28, 13 5:52 pm


Sep 28, 13 6:10 pm
I didn't notice entitlement in my generation until I got to college. It seems sense of entitlement is especially pervasive amongst architects. Especially with the distinct rift between "liberals" and "conservatives" that seems to exist with architects. This is not a purple profession.

I can't really blame people going to expensive schools wanting to get to the top as fast as possible. I think the large majority of them understand to get there twice as fast means working 4x as hard and smart. Not to mention the incredible amount of luck and good fortune required. Of course, you have to work hard enough do that you can take advantage of that luck when it comes your way.

That being said, each prior generation has their own special group of people with an egregious sense of entitlement. To them I say GTFO of my face trying to group me because I was born in a certain place in time, something that I obviously had control over.
Sep 28, 13 9:44 pm

lol.  adam carolla thinks he's a victim and all the millennials are out to get him.

it's not about stealing form the 1% to give to the lower 55%.  that's overly simplified to cater to morons.  it's about monetary policy, of which taxation is a small part, that will keep people who are working 40 hours a week out of poverty.  pay them a reasonable wage.  it's about giving people the opportunity to succeed if they're good enough and if they work hard enough.

as an analogy, mitt romney's dad made a lot of money from hard work.  that's not the economy we have today.  mitt romney got rich because he was born into a privileged position. his income comes from other people's work. when he gets money from investment income, capital gains, inheritance etc., that money doesn't come from his hard work, it comes from other people's hard work.

the point is, the people doing the work should be getting a bigger cut.  the 1% are not out getting their hands dirty in a warehouses or framing buildings or doing anything that resembles 'work.'  they get their money when other people's work make their investments more profitable.

Sep 28, 13 9:51 pm
But at the same time, "win big, lose big". For those developers that aren't pulling strings and rigging odds, the enormous risks they take may put their spoils into perspective. Agreed that it's not "work" in the conventional sense.
Sep 28, 13 10:13 pm

Enormous risks made using other people's money.

The Donald Trump Rule: when you owe the bank a couple million you're in big trouble. When you owe the bank a couple hundred million the bank is in big trouble. 

And now the banks operate without risk because taxpayers bail them out (not by choice).

Sep 29, 13 1:15 am
Again, for those that aren't house hold names in the likeness of Trump and Siegel, there are actual, local and specific consequences. They aren't all Trumps like we aren't all [insert your choice of well known architect here].

Something that is worth being bitter about is the use of brackets to make titles seem clever, and the overuse of "as", like 'Architecture as Meme' and other stupid metaphors.
Sep 29, 13 1:37 am

Anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone. You are the one who gets burned.

Bitterness is like that, it is attachment to the negative and can have no positive effect. 

Sep 29, 13 10:35 am

Man, this thread is getting some responses, so bitterness sounds like something people want to get off their chests.  In my small life, I don't even compare myself to these people with silver spoons.  Politics don't interest me, and I abstain from voting if not sufficiently informed.  This last time, with ACA on the horizon and to keep "let them eat cake" Mitt and Ann out of the White House, I became passionate about the last election, and then slept easy that night watching the electoral votes add up.  Trump is another scion of the very same business his father was in, with a Wharton sheepskin to boot, so he is not relevant to the plight for most of us.

Here, happy Sunday morning for those not in church, like me.  Become less bitter.  Listen to this:

Sep 29, 13 12:21 pm

a lot of anger is usually due to not understanding something.  see:  anyone with an opinion about something they barely understand--- aka, pretty much every opinion on politics/economics.

my limited understanding of this whole ordeal:  banks aren't lending because they're getting more or less zero percent interest loans from the fed, and instead of taking risks with it they're just playing it safe.  usually nearly-free money is the fed's typical way of getting banks to invest in riskier things and jumpstart the economy, but since there's no foreseeable end to the low interest rates, nobody's taking on risk (and rightfully so).  from what i've heard from people in the financial world, this is the conundrum that we're in right now.  the fed could just just stay the course, or they could start raising interest rates.  but raising them could be a disaster, at least for the short term.  people can't get past the short term, and it would probably be political suicide.  things seem to be picking up though... slowly, but they are.  regulation = slower growth, but stability.  that is, until the next get rich quick financial instrument and future disaster is introduced (the new CMBS).

Sep 29, 13 12:56 pm

While I don't necessarily think "we all" are bitter, I do believe that a sizeable portion of the younger population is unhappy with the situation in which they find themselves. I attribute this to a) generally high unemployment rates among that population, and b) a mismatch between the expectations set while at the academy and the realities of professional practice.

Architecture schools generally do not provide young graduates with an realistic perspective of what they will encounter after they leave the nest. Then -- after spending all that money for an education -- it's somewhat natural to feel embittered when you're unemployed (or underemployed) and unable to pursue your professional ambitions.

Sep 29, 13 1:17 pm

I think quizzical nailed it.

Sep 29, 13 2:12 pm
I think our generation has a huge responsibility informing the next, our children or whoever, that you can't know what to expect in the next phase. Embrace not knowing and figuring it out for your own damn self. Because as it stands, parents and guidance counselors have little idea what college is about, and professors have little idea what the workforce is about. That or, as I said, it's not their job to tell you, it's your personal responsibility to adapt.
Sep 29, 13 2:16 pm

Also, everyone thinks to themselves that if they are laid off for a year or two they become obsolete to the industry. But once you're in the industry for 8 years it is hard to translate that to another career field other than the building industry. I'm just trying to get out of the industry before I'm in it too long, and become too old to know better. Got know when to hold'em and when to fold'em... and I'm folding.

Sep 29, 13 2:24 pm


Interesting.  I've seen quite a bit of attrition, or even not going into architecture and related fields, from 4 year BA/BS grads.

Sometimes, it's a great thing to study at the 4 year program level, taking up a minor or elective classes, and then moving on to something else.  I know a woman who was doing architecture, but also doing pre-med prerequisites.  She's an overachiever.  She's a doctor now.  She never went into architecture and doesn't regret it.

I think that education gives you your general education for breadth and also allows you to design buildings enough times, together with a knowledge of history, basic construction, and structures/technology that you can x-ray buildings to your heart's content, and even more so if a person worked for a year or two in an architectural office.  I think that the people who figure out this strategy early on, if not fully committed to architecture, seem to be the happiest or, should I say, least bitter.

Sep 29, 13 6:09 pm

backbay, I think the problem is not that the banks are not lending but that they concentrated in the most lucrative markets. Think Ford plants in China, the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, unregulated derivatives, high-frequency trading, etc., all financed by what is essentially negative-interest money printed by their lap dogs in DC and underwritten by the US taxpayer.

The housing bubble was created by banks speculating in construction and the mortgage bubble was created by banks to get themselves out of the overbuilt and rapidly collapsing housing market. Best that someone else is holding that mortgage when it goes belly up.

All of which has had absolutely dire effects on our segment of the economy.

Sep 29, 13 6:28 pm

miles, honestly i've never even heard what you're talking about, but it's a minor reason at best.   there's no "one" reason, but I'm pretty sure the fact that the fed is giving away money at such a low interest rate that is causing stagnation.

the mortgage crisis was a result of investment bankers packaging up mortgages and selling them at a risk level significantly lower than they actually were.  couple that with other economical problems, and all of a sudden people can't pay their mortgage, and half the securities in the system aren't worth what they're supposed to be worth.  the problem was that the people buying and selling these things were so far removed from the actual asset.  

not everything has to be a conspiracy theory.

Sep 29, 13 7:10 pm

"the fed is giving away money at such a low interest rate that is causing stagnation"

Actually, I think the Fed's actions are preventing stagnation. Without the limited stimulus being provided by the Fed, the economy would be a LOT worse off than it is today.

In another day-and-age, the Congress also would be engaged in providing stimulus to the economy, but those guys are so dysfunctional they can't agree on anything.

Sep 29, 13 7:27 pm

it usually does, but for some reason its not.  you can't put them any lower.  even some kind of notification from the fed that "they'll be going up next year" would spur some kind of movement, but instead they jus said they're keeping them there

Sep 29, 13 7:59 pm

Why would "raising interest rates" spur some kind of [positive] movement ?  The stock market is on 'pins and needles' preparing for a major downward correction as soon as the Fed indicates that it really is ready to taper.

The Fed usually raises interest rates to slow things down, since the increased cost of borrowing (to both businesses and individuals) makes it harder for economic activity to continue at the same pace.

Sep 29, 13 8:51 pm

backbay, a little history would warm your soul.

After 2001, banks invested heavily in speculative real estate development, flooding the market and creating a huge bubble of unsold property. Since the banks stood to lose big on the loans they made to developers, they started giving away mortgages to people who couldn't afford them (on terms too good to be true: > 100% appraised value, no income verification!, no down payment, extreme low interest on balloons, etc.). Then they sold the mortgages as AAA rated investments, taking profits while relieving themselves of financial liability. 

Since then they've been busy foreclosing on everyone from active duty military personnel stationed overseas to people who don't even have mortgages. And the consequences? No prosecutions, an occasional fine that amounts to maybe 10% of annual profits if that.

quizz, I'm not sure any of the old ideas about economics apply any more. Seems to me the whole thing is one vast manipulation with the purpose of further concentration of wealth and power. The markets looks to be getting pumped for the next cyclic dump.

Here on the East End speculative real estate is at an all time high with $10m spec houses popping up like dog turds in Central Park. When they're partying like it's 1999 you know the end is near ...

Sep 29, 13 10:05 pm

I'm not bitter.

Sep 29, 13 10:07 pm

Spec houses in Central Park? I must've read that wrong.


Sep 30, 13 8:31 am

Because we didn't make the risky choices in our 20s that would have paid off in our 40s.


Be bold, young architects! Take chances and make mistakes while you're still young and unencumbered enough to recover from it!

Sep 30, 13 11:28 am

The fact that architecture is a far more personal endeavor makes it difficult to deal with the rejection by clients/peers than many other lines of work.  Teaching detachment from one's work is not easy (and somewhat discouraged?).  It's great to be passionate, take risks, etc, but getting back on your feet and dusting yourself off after someone kicks you down is rough.  As a few practitioner/professors used to say that the first real test of a talented student is having a brilliant design completely rejected by a client who may have no understanding of architecture. 

Sep 30, 13 12:00 pm

3TK - I don't mind that - happens every week here - what I don't like is when my freelance clients lead me on and then never pay - " it will only take an hour or two" after I do what ever it is they want - "that's not what In had in mind, or can you make this change - then I make that change " Now can you do this change too" -

Sep 30, 13 12:14 pm

had a friend who decided to draw up a basement plan/sections via word doc.; not only was it a slap in the face, but why bother when everyone thinks they have what it takes to be an architect.

Sep 30, 13 1:26 pm

It is the responsibility of any service provider, in any industry, to demonstrate to potential clients the value of their services -- yet, many in architecture invariably assume that others just "automatically" understand why they should embrace -- and pay generously for -- what we do.

It's easy to despise those we serve -- but, when we do, we also should be looking in the mirror and asking ourselves where the fault truly lies.

Sep 30, 13 1:43 pm

- people who think it's just a bunch of lines, but for some reason think that their doctors, lawyers, and accountants are the ones with expertise and worth paying

- rich housewives who want to play architect and think they know as much as you do

- clients (mostly male, to balance it out) who want free revisions to the drawings upon changing their minds

Sep 30, 13 1:49 pm

Take chances and make mistakes while you're still young and unencumbered enough to recover from it!

Like studying architecture?

the first real test of a talented student is having a brilliant design completely rejected

Who says it's brilliant or that (s)he's talented? The first real test of a student's wet dream is IF can actually be built, on a budget, and provide real world functions.

Sep 30, 13 2:13 pm

quizzical:  i know that's how it works.  that's what the federal reserve is there for.  and while i believe it's helped up till now, we're still kind of in a recession.  so one of the things i've also heard/read that maybe the best way to get things going faster is to say they're going to increase rates... simply because the rates have been so low for so long that banks are comfortable with the way they are lending.  one of my finance professors had offered this as reasoning, among other things.  i'm not saying its right, but its just an idea... there could be a lot of other things.  if the answer could be found on an architecture forum the problem would already be solved by now.

Sep 30, 13 6:14 pm

Money As Debt

A video on the creation of money and how the fractional reserve banking system works (for some people, anyway).

Sep 30, 13 6:56 pm

observant nice Donna Summer link...

Sep 30, 13 9:38 pm


Thanks, sir.

Not a disco duck, and not a fan of all of her stuff, but about 5 pieces stand out and that is her creme de la creme.  I regret that I never went to one of her concerts or appearances, and I had thought about it.  Then, she slipped out of sight.  Then, we learn that she passed away last year at age 63 in Naples, FL from cancer, which she mostly kept away from the media.  I remember feeling kind of blue that day.

Sep 30, 13 9:53 pm

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