Message - Re: Disheartend mid career crisis...need someone to talk to...

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Posted by  Michael on December 08, 2003 at 08:49:52:

In Reply to:  Disheartend mid career crisis...need someone to talk to... posted by unhappy on December 07, 2003 at 20:13:03:

Welcome to the real world. Take a deep breath and here we go.

Architecture is 95% standard practice and design knowledge and 5% vision. The 5% is emotion driven and no two people see the vision in the same way. Although you created designs based on your vision your instructors may not have seen it, and given their position they can express their dislike with brutal frankness. Don't expect future clients to be any less frank or brutal. In the basic scheme of things your design vision can be no greater than that of your clients or their ability to see your vision.

Your success will most likely be founded based on your skills in the 95% area. Knowing building codes, design calculations, fundamental design concepts, project management, etc. Although this should be fairly cut and dry with regard to your educational projects it can still be subject to criticism.

If your disagreements are focused on the 5% then accept the criticism knowing that everyone has a different vision. As brutal and coarse as your instructors may be there may be some legitimate criticism somewhere between (“I am your instructor and god of architecture" and "Argue all you want, I am in control of your future")

Again I will point to you that you should build a very strong foundation on the basics of design and construction and glean what you can from your instructors. Also understand that although you are the expert you are not the one who decides what the final design will be, it will be the client.

Be confident in your efforts and your vision. Do not base success upon others but upon yourself. If you are happy with your designs and visions and they are compliable with building practices and codes then you have succeeded and can be proud of yourself. Never place your school or career happiness upon the acceptance of others. I say this after 20 years with Black & Veatch an A/E firm here in Kansas City. I gave up vacation time, holidays, family events, and a lot of time with my children to get that next big project out the door and to get the pat on the back and statement "Job well done". After 20 years of jobs well done and pats on the back I was called into a room and told they no longer needed my services. I was told that after 20 years ALL I WAS GETTING was ONE MONTH severance and some accrued vacation, to go back to my desk to pack and be escorted out of the building. The hard lesson I learned is that I measured and tied my success to the acceptance by my supervisor’s and Black & Veatch and not upon my own standard measure of success. I am now trying to recover from this and am beginning to realize that I could have achieved as much or a higher level of success if I had gauged success on my own standards and did not put my career in the hands of the company. Don’t expect CEO’s and management to be looking at anything other than their own bottom line. If you have an opportunity to go to another firm, make a better living, and you would enjoy it then do it. Feel no remorse for leaving any job; heck CEO’s and upper management are always looking for other jobs. The business world is not the same as our grand-fathers; it is every man for himself. You and I did not create this business environment, it is the CEO’s and management of the past ten years that have done so.

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