pondering purpose and paradox

19 January 2012

would you rather…

work for a star-architect all of your days with no recognition or work towards having your name on the door?

work occasionally on non-glamorous projects that might develop good relationships or have no work at all?

work on a team on a global project that might impact a city overseas or work on small local project with a big impact on your community?

have diverse responsibilities that make each day different or sit at your desk every day doing the same thing?

have a project you worked on be published and be one of hundreds on a team or work for a small office and have a large feature in your local newspaper?

work for a company making a big paycheck doing dull work or work for a company with a small paycheck doing interesting work?

work for a firm that does only one building type or work for a firm that does a variety of project types?

teach someone in your office something new or learn something new on your own?

have a large notable commission with a very difficult client or have a small commission with a really appreciative client?

make a small impact in a big city or a large impact in a small city?

convince a client to finally think and build sustainably and never get any certification or have a client demand for their project to be certified merely because it brings them attention amongst their peers?

work for a global firm and get to travel frequently or work for a regional firm and be home for dinner every night?

work at a place where you’re paid well and hate it, or work somewhere you love where the rewards are other than your paycheck?

work at a place requiring a very early morning commute, or wake your son up every day, eat breakfast together and take him to school, then start your day?

Pardon the hyperbole. I’m not judging you or your answers, nor am I stating these are either-or situations. These are not the only questions, they are just questions I ask myself to keep things in focus.

 

photos are from grbenching photostream on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License)

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10 Responses to “pondering purpose and paradox”

  1. Aimee St.Germain Says:

    1. work towards having my name on the door.

    2. work occasionally on non-glamorous projects that might develop good relationships.

    3. work on small local project with a big impact on my community.

    4. have diverse responsibilities that make each day different.

    5. work for a small office and have a large feature in my local newspaper.

    6. right now i feel i have a good compromise. i feel i am paid well and am doing extremely interesting work. i do not think you have to choose between one or the other.

    7. work for a firm that does a variety of project types.

    8. teach someone in my office something new.

    9. have a small commission with a really appreciative client.

    10. make a large impact in a small city.

    11. i am for sustainability no matter the motive.

    12. work for a regional firm and be home for dinner every night. i love my husband.

    13. work somewhere i love where the rewards are other than my paycheck, although i will never settle for unfair compensation. i feel far to many architects work at “cool” design-oriented offices and do no insist on fair/competitive pay.

    14. although i do not have children (yet), i would prefer a work environment where i could have some valuable time with my child each day.

    • leecalisti Says:

      Thanks for being honest. I do believe there is fulfilment in this profession regardless of your answers. My bit of hyperbole was merely to make a point that we don’t need to define ourselves with anything other than the terms we choose for ourselves. If we don’t match up to someone else, that doesn’t make us any less successful. There are too many temptations that can easily distract us.

  2. Carolyn Hunter, AIA, LEED-AP Says:

    Here’s the good news with our profession and degrees:
    At this point, 30 years into my career, I’ve done ALL of the above,
    (at different times). That’s how I know I truly like where I am now the best – (small town, own business, appreciative clients) – although of course, like many of us, I wish to be a litle busier.

    These are great questions to ponder among former classmates.
    Thanks for starting the discussion!

  3. Jeremiah Says:

    Great post, Lee. Like Carolyn, I’ve been through several of the “either/or” scenarios above and while I’m still “in progress” I’m confident that eventually I’ll end up exactly where I want/need to be.
    Cheers.

    • leecalisti Says:

      No, it’s not an either or like I said. Just sharing my personal thoughts. I do think the profession and educational system needs an overall to focus on what’s important.

  4. Carolyn Hunter, AIA, LEED-AP Says:

    Lee, the other good news about your post is that
    during this recession, we can all look around us
    and see what the choices are, what exact services
    the current market is demanding most.

    Change is the only constant, so “generalists” like
    us architects can use this flexibility to our
    advantage . . . for example, I think we’re all
    part “inventors” and I’m intending to pursue a
    passive solar idea if my workload gets any lighter.

  5. Helena Bowman Says:

    Life is all about choices – usually where you start is where you end up.

    Always appreciate your thought provoking comments – I like the “and/both” scenarios better than the “either/or” ones.

    Thanks for sharing…


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