My professional life is filled with emotional extremes. While there is tremendous satisfaction from winning a new project, delivering on expectations, and seeing your design built, there is a dark side to our profession. I live in a world of rejection, constantly being judged by others for our designs. My ability is compared to a magazine that can be purchased at a cash register in most home improvement stores. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good year. We had the opportunity to design some incredible jobs for awesome clients. Those are the good stories that I love to share. However, for every project I have the opportunity to design, there are two more that I was not deemed the best design professional.
Perhaps this is what architecture schools are preparing us for through the jury process. For anyone that has experienced presenting your finished design after not sleeping for hours on end only to get ripped apart, you understand. For others that have not had the pleasure, let’s just say, going to get those cavities filled is like a walk in the park compared to such an event. While most potential client interviews only last for an hour or two and there is a lot less emotional investment – losing is never fun. The other outcome is to design a building, being emotionally invested along with your client, get the project built, and then open yourself up to public scrutiny. You have to have thick skin to design anything, but a built structure that will last for, hopefully, 100+ years; you need to be extraordinarily tough emotionally.
While this is an emotionally taxing profession, with support from your family and friends, you are able to keep it all in perspective. There is no way to make everyone happy with everything you do. We design everything from traditional to modern, house to bank, office building to warehouse. There is no possible way every design will be considered a success by everybody.
As we enter into the New Year, this is the time I need to thank those that give me support. This is the time I apologize for being grumpy and ill-tempered at times to those closest to me. I have my dream job. There is nothing I would rather do than build a better future through design. I will continue to need your support and understanding on days when things don’t go my way this coming year. My wish for you is that you have the best New Year possible. May it be prosperous and rewarding!
What are the most challenging aspects of your profession? How do you stay emotionally ready for the next obstacle? How are you getting ready for the coming year?