chasing windmills


Change the things that matter most to you, or at least give it your best try – right?

A few things came up this week that got me worked up – as usual. I admit I vented. I have to be evasive about the details for the sake of propriety, but that doesn’t dilute my point as I share my story. Despite what you may think, my thoughts are solely on architectural matters. I stay out of other news stories.

I admit, I’m a stupid idealist. I wrote about idealism is an attitude before too.

I’m a rather easy going person, but a personal pet peeve is hearing others complaining regularly to everyone but the one who has the power to make a change or reconcile the relationship. This is the purpose of Facebook by the way. There is a professional, intelligent way to influence change; there is a whiny, entitled way to try and it will backfire.

I’m not looking for false enemies in my illusory perception of those around me, but I might be chasing after a system that won’t change on account of me. I am dissatisfied with several aspects that affect the architectural community in my world. They won’t be changing any time soon – if at all. I’m quite aware of that. However, as opposed to some that I talked with this week, I’m not content to throw my hands up and say ‘oh well, that’s too bad.’

I’m also not going to leave.

Things are changing in the larger architectural community. We’re seeing changes in equity, journey to licensure, and perception of our profession. I might not advocate for your cause, but if you are working appropriately to influence changes in the things that matter to you, then I applaud your efforts. There’s nothing worse than quitting and you’re entitled to nothing.


Change can happen, and there are effective ways to accomplish it. Whining won’t get it done but I can empathize with your bad day or week or month. Turn that frustration into energy and motivation. Make your voice heard.

In 1997, several other young professionals (including me) were dissatisfied with the local AIA’s representation of our place in the profession in Pittsburgh. We weren’t being ignored, but the focus was elsewhere. We may have expressed some emotion, but we channeled it into a Young Architect’s Forum and were embraced by our local chapter. I went on to be the co-chair until 2003 and it was quite successful. (I continued from 2003-05 as Pennsylvania’s State Liaison to YAF National). All of these years later, it has evolved into a thriving YAF that has gone farther than I could have imagined it and farther than I could have taken it. Most of them probably have no idea who I am. Either way, I’m proud of how they’ve carried it forward.

Where does that leave me?

The two situations of my week that need to change may never change. I will try to effect change with one it’s important (it’s local). The other I can honestly ignore, but if they invite my observation and opinion, I will share it professionally but honestly. I can’t stand to sit back and watch traditions, policies and processes in place overshadow people.

Tilt at those windmills; some of those battles actually can be won.


photo 1 credit: Bembridge Windmill via photopin (license)
photo 2 credit: The Mill and the Sea via photopin (license)
photo 3 credit: Windmill via photopin (license)

chasing windmills

2 thoughts on “chasing windmills

  1. Paul Plueddeman says:

    This was a great read because we’ve all wanted to change the world. We all want to make that change. The problem is that you feel that it was a to be on a global scale. Real change starts at the grassroots level. The change has to go into a global movement.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Well I don’t want to change the world like Miss Universe, but sometimes the idealist in me gets a bit carried away. My focus is to change things in my city and the process to develop buildings there. Every building that is built, renovated, or updated builds a better community that we can all enjoy.

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