Moving Memories

May 28, 2013 — 32 Comments

My office is amazing and I can’t believe I am leaving it. I have not been looking forward to moving out of my office – there are a lot of memories in there …

Before I start boxing everything up and sending stuff off into storage, I thought I would walk down memory lane and take one final look at what once was – there are a lot of memories and inspiration to be found here.


Bob Borson's Bulletin Board

Let’s go through the what’s and the why’s:

A] Thermostat – don’t kid yourself, having control of the thermostat is huge. Am I cold? I’d turn it up… What about hot? I got this. Everybody wants the thermostat.

B] Employee Address List – Every time someone was hired, left the firm, got married, moved somewhere new, we got a new address list. I have a complete history of the firm’s employees pinned here.

C] Classic Miniature Chairs – I received these from my wife as a present, they are awesome

D] Old School Panorama – this is from the first trip I took to the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Perfect pristine beach and not a single other person [it was kind of creepy to be honest]

E] The original Robot Dad and Spider-Girl – one of my favorite pictures of my daughter Kate and myself from Halloween 5 years ago. This picture has been on my ‘About Me‘ page since day one.

F] Restaurant Tickets – this is my collection of tickets from a restaurant here in town. Not sure why I’ve kept them over the years but I did.

G] Panorama Pictures – these two panorama pictures are from my time spent going to school on Europe. One is the view room from my room in Lugano, Switzerland, and the other is Notre Dame du Haut (Ronchamp) by Swiss Architect Le Corbusier.

H] Thank You Notes: I have kept every ‘Thank You’ letter ever written to me – these are the ones I’ve received so far this year.

J] Thermometer – I’ve had this hanging in my work space for 10 1/2 of the last 11 years thanks to one of my co-workers at the time – Audrey. We made a deal of when I could (and could not) turn down the temperature when it got hot.


What's on Bob Borson's Desk?

Here’s another view of the sweet office I am leaving behind … [sigh]

K] The aforementioned bulletin board – call it what you want, it was basically where I pinned all the personal things that mean something to me

L] Comfortable Chair – I was lucky to have an office large enough to accommodate a dedicated sitting chair. There were really only two people who ever sat in this chair, one of the partners and me (and one of us has actually slept in this chair … but I’m not going to say which one of us)

M] Half-Size Drawing Sets – there are actually two piles of half size drawings in my office. I prefer them to full size even though this office could easily fit the full size 30″ x 42″ sheets

N] Binders – I am a big fan of 3-ring D type binders to store all the paperwork from my projects

O] Wall of Glory – I am not ashamed to admit that all the AIA awards, LEED certifications, my Architectural License all mean something to me and make me feel proud of my accomplishments. They remind me of why I work hard … recognition by my peers is one of my goals.

P] Seriously Sucky Chair – I had this crappy rolling desk chair since I started working here. You can’t move or shift your weight without it creaking and squealing. Possibly the worst thing about it is that the pneumatic piston slowly lowers the chair as you sit in it so every few hours, you realize that you are about 3″ lower than you should be. It sucks but even given the opportunity to replace it, I’m not interested.

Q] Big Ass Desk – its awesomeness can NOT be underestimated. 42″ deep and over 20′ in total length. I love you desk, you are my favorite.


What's on Bob Borson's Desk?

The rarely seen on the blog “window view” – let’s give it some love.

R] Glory Wall – already reviewed why I have all my awards on the wall, still love them and they motivate me every day.

S] Interior Designer’s Office – yes, if you were to look out my office window you would see the coming’s and going’s of one of the best interior designers in Dallas, possibly in the country. Do they have a bunch of cute Interior Designer’s and interns that work there? Puh-leeeease.

T] Dark Underside of the Desk – I’m not going to talk about this area … it’s dark and scary down there (but if someone wanted to sleep down there, they might appreciate the darkness).

U] Potted Plant – 5 years ago when we moved into these new offices, the two partners and myself all received a potted plant for our offices. Does it matter to me that one partner’s plant died within a few weeks and that of the surviving two plants, mine is waaaaayyyy bigger than the there partner’s plant? Puh-leeeeease.

V] Sherwin Williams 6431 ‘Leapfrog’ Green – I choose this color for the accent walls in the office and there was something quite soothing about this color.

W] Submittals – with as much floor space as I had, this was where I stuck all the product submittals that came in on my projects.


Bulletin Board - Empty

This is the carnage that was left behind once I pulled everything down. Pretty easy to tell that once things found a home on my bulletin board, they tended to stay there. I gotta say, I do like the mosaic UV pattern left behind on the board

Buh-bye bulletin board.


Bob Borson's Moving Boxes

So I started boxing stuff up on Memorial Day – I knew the office would be empty and I could take some time going through everything, thinking about if it was mine what role it has played and if it was something that would have value coming with me or if I should leave it behind for others.

It is funny how things have evolved as I’ve gotten older. Most of the stuff I’m leaving behind are things that I would have wanted to take previously. I don’t need copies of the work I’ve been doing. In fact, I didn’t even need to show my new partner what I’ve been doing. One of the nice things about getting older is that more people know you and what you’re capable of doing. The act of demonstrating your abilities, either through your resume, drawings, or portfolio, become less critical – making a lot of the work I’ve been doing not have the value outside of the office that it might have once had.

I imagine at one point I will show everyone the new office once I move in – unfortunately I am leaving my private office behind for a 36″ stretch of desk next to a handful of other employees. I don’t mind working in an open office, maybe they won’t like how often I am on the phone (I think that’s how I got my office in the first place).


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  • Jason K.

    After reading this and the 10 reasons to be an architect, it has def. reminded me why I’ve enjoyed arch. and design since the 8th grade. I am 2 years into my IDP and reading things like this where people are still having fun with architecture is always uplifting!

  • Andie

    I quite like your office, and if it was mine, I would be very sad to leave it after so long. It must feel like a second home, I would imagine.
    On a side note, what’s your bulletin board made of?

    • it’s a product called “Tac-Wall” from Walltalkers

  • Fazil

    you motivated me to open up my own firm..and now you leave your small brilliant space behind for a whole new experience..hope that’ll motivate me to grow bigger 🙂

  • ronel

    Bob, i feel so sad reading this .. awesome memories, and hard to leave behind, but you’ve got all of it in your heart. You will create memories at your new job from day 1!

    All the best on your new chapter in life!

  • ParadigmGallery

    bittersweet read written in the inimitable Bob Borson style….love the comment about the mosaic uv pattern…

  • Did you skip the letter I?

    • I always skip the letter “I” because it looks too much like the number “1”

      It’s a habit

      • ronel

        🙂 .. i just learnt that this week. And the letter O, because it looks like a zero. (i’m doing an architectural draughting course.)

  • Bill Reeves

    i notice that I stay longer in jobs. For a while I didn’t break 5 years, including my first job out of school. Then 7 years, now 15 years. Buying into a partnership helps.

    • Melanie Perry

      Bill, I sometimes worry that I’ve missed out by not moving around more. I’ve got 13 years in at the same place. While I definitely know I’ve grown a lot since I started, I still worry about the perspectives I might be missing out on.

      • Bill Reeves

        In this business, I found that moving is the way to earn more salary. I found some firms were happy to pay me what I was receiving and I had to fight to improve. Making a change brought a lot of opportunities. If you feel you are paid well (the recession skews that thinking) and you are moving vertically than I would stay where I am.

        • I agree with Bill. I changed jobs a lot when I was younger and looking back, I can see the value in staying put in one place (assuming that you value the work you’re doing). If you feel that you aren’t adequately compensated, that’s a simple conversation. If you have to hold the bosses feet to the fire to get them to acknowledge your value or importance, that would be a good reason to move on.

          • Melanie Perry

            I’m not concerned about compensation. I’ve had my pay range adjusted three times since I’ve been here and I’m paid well for what I do (I know, I run a salary survey to prove it lol). While I feel I continue to add a bit of value, I haven’t been able to move vertically. We’re a very small department and I started out a little up on the ladder anyway, so there’s not really anywhere for me to go up.

            But, the job security and freedom to innovate has been a value to me.

  • Mark Mc Swain

    One of the more poignant moments will be when you discover what the other employees miss in your soon-to-be-former office. We attach meanings to things bby way of expereience and familiarity–other do too, just not always the same things.

    That desk wil lbe hard to replace.

    • I think you’re right – most of the stuff here is relevant because it is also connected to some other person and without that person around, the shared experience might not be as valuable to me in the new space. The good news is that I’ll start making new experiences in that office.

      Hopefully they won’t suck.

  • Thanks for giving us a fly-on-the-wall view of your office. Congrats on the new job.

    • Thank you – be prepared for the next installment once I move. Maybe I should call it “Fly-on-the-wall at an architect’s office”

      Okay, it’s a working title

  • clarisa

    Don’t leave the concrete test cylinder!!! it’s always good when you go to a new place to have a piece of your past with you, I moved my office from Argentina to Florida in 2001, I still miss the copper roof nails that I saved from a historic project renovation long ago…

    • That concrete cylinder was laying on the ground when I fell (look at the 3rd picture and accompanying tale) and I almost busted my head on it. As I was laying there wondering if anybody saw me fall, I saw the cylinder and thought “hey, that’s a pretty cool cylinder”.

      So I took it.

      Okay, maybe it might make the cut.

  • Melanie Perry

    Wow, Bob, what a fun trip back in time!

    I recently moved offices (this is only my 3rd one in 13 years, but, all for the same company) and have enjoyed the time to look back at each move. It’s a good way to reflect.

    At any rate, congrats on your new adventure.

    • Hi Melanie –

      I was fun to sort through this stuff, everything has a story. Deciding what makes the cut and what finds the trash has taken me longer to decide than I anticipated.

      3 moves in 13 years is a pretty good stretch, I’m sure you were able to go through some of the same things I was.


  • Wishing you all the best in your new (ad)venture, Bob! And now a question triggered by your ‘stuff’. If half-size drawings are legible (which they need to be) then why do we need the big ones? I now determine the smallest size possible and use that — sometimes determined by permit submittals. Just curious!

    • Thanks Judith!

      I use the half size sets because I am very familiar with the project and can go into the digital version of the drawings should I need to explore something further. In the field, I like to have the contractors working off the largest possible drawings because they are having to piece things together and despite the fact we write that the drawings should not be scaled, I know they do it anyways.

  • Cormac Phalen

    I bet it has to be hard saying goodbye, or better yet, hard to think you have to lug all that stuff to your car – LOL. Best of luck brother, I know (as we all do) you will have much success in the next adventure.

    • Thanks Cormac – I am ready for the next adventure to begin. The end of this current one is killing me.

  • lancotf

    I bet it was a difficult day packing up but bittersweet too. It makes my eye linger across my desk to see the different little things I’ve brought or amassed over the almost 12 years of being here. Cheers!

    • I only made it through 4 boxes before I had had enough. Probably 8 more to go before it’s all complete. I am looking at a concrete test cylinder sitting on my desk and now I have to determine if it makes the cut to be relocated (it won’t). It represents a story that I won’t tell anymore since no one will see it and ask what it is. That’s the sad part. 5 weeks is a long time to know you are leaving a place without actually leaving.

      It’s a slow band-aid pull

      • lancotf

        I can only imagine. The concrete cylinder sounds like the hubby’s sample urinal that was on his desk 🙂 He keeps it in his office at home now, but doesn’t get to answer why he has a mini urinal any more.

        • Awwww, I want a mini-urinal!

        • Melanie Perry

          LOL, that’s a shame, because that’s awesome.