Why do you work?

March 7, 2013 — 32 Comments

I am blissfully happy to admit that I will be in Hawaii all of next week … not thinking about work. I have been killing myself this last 7-10 days to clear the decks so that the opportunity for disaster is limited. As I was driving into work yesterday (arrival at 6:00am), I was thinking about just how badly I am ready to not be driving in to work at 6:00am. This wasn’t because I don’t like my job or even that I hate driving into work so early in the morning. I am just ready to go enjoy my time with my family, sticking my toes in the sand, and maybe drinking a beer at 11:00 in the morning (don’t judge me – 11:00am in Hawaii is 3:00pm in Dallas). The ability to do all of these things is why I go to work. I work so that I can enjoy my time when I’m not working.

Don’t get me wrong, if I won the lottery I wouldn’t stop being an architect, I would just have a drastically different workload.

… and I might be my only client.

Kate and Bob Borson

Okay, I would probably work for my daughter and wife if they wanted something – I am powerless to say no to either of them. This picture above is one of my most favorite pictures AND it just happens to be from our last family trip to Hawaii. It has graced my About Me page since I started Life of an Architect. I have told this story before to some but I was doing everything in my power to not throw up when this picture was taken. I was feeling poorly and my daughter Kate was trying to make me feel better. Her empathy has always been remarkable – even as a 4-year-old she was checking up on her Dad.

All the pictures today are from our last trip to Hawaii 4 years ago.

Hawaii 2009

Kate and Bob Borson

Iao Valley, Hawaii

Kate and Bob Borson

Kate and Bob Borson

Kate and Bob Borson

Exploring Tide pools with your children is one of life’s most rewarding treasures. Exciting, educational, maybe even a bit dangerous. I never explored a tide pool prior to our last trip to Hawaii and now it is one of my most favorite things to do.

Hawaii Sunset

Michelle, Kate and Bob Borson

This picture above is why I actually work … so we can continue to go on adventures together.


Why do you work?



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  • Martin

    Hey Bob, I’m an architecture student at the Northern virginia community college, hoping to transfer to a four year university soon. Your blog on why you work, just remind me that life is how you live it. Thanks allot for the blogs and keep them coming.

    New Reader,

  • Piyumi

    Why do you work? Nice topic Bob. This made me to think a while ‘Why do I study?’ & all the answers came along. (I’m an undergraduate- BA in Interior architecture) Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jennifer

    “We don’t read and write poetry because its cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Business, engineering, medicine, law: these are all noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But beauty, poetry, romance, love: these are what we live life for!”

  • Frank

    There’s an old European saying (well, so I’m told it’s from there): “Don’t live to work, work to live”. It was the first thing that came to mind after reading this article.

  • Matthew

    I work to support my family, enjoy my time off, sports cars, and for continual personal and business (architecture) growth.

  • Marie

    I work because I love being an architect.

  • ronel

    Just a quick note to say thank you! We (people in general) don’t often say thank you and we appreciate someone, so I would take this time to say thank you, Bob! Your blog is always amazing and you are a true inspiration!

    ronel from south africa

    • Thank you for taking the time to say thanks. I really, really appreciate it.

  • craig young

    Have a blessed and blissful time with your beautiful family, Bob!

    • Thanks Craig. We had a great time and it simply reinforced the idea that I work so I can do other things when I’m not working (other than just more work)


  • njmanang

    Hmmm that question got me thinking. When I was in my early 30’s and we tried to get a family started the doctor said I was too stressed at work and needed to maybe take off for 6 mos and relax. I asked him how am I suppose to afford the baby without a job and insurance. Needless to say after a couple of years of trying while employed we gave up. I don’t blame the work, another doctor said it was my biological makeup that was the issue. I work because I love designing even if not all jobs creatively fulfilling. I just love solving puzzles and problems that most projects are. I think I will be working until I cannot anymore. Have a great vacation!!

  • Alistair

    Bob, I’m off to Paris in two weeks with my beautiful wife – that’s why I work!

    • I loved Paris – that as our family trip 2 years ago and it was fantastic. I don’t know if you have any children but even if you don’t spend some time in the parks, they are wonderful. Always a lot of activity and very interesting people watching. We would grab some picnic type food and eat in the park at least once a day on our trip.

      Have a great time!

  • Bob, I live for my family vacations, and I too work in order to go on those vacations. Last week in May and first week of June, my wife allong with my 4 and 7 y.o. sons are going to Japan and China.

    • I am trying to get my wife to sign up for japan – she thinks it might be too much for our 8 year old but I think it’s because they are both picky eaters whereas I will try anything
      I hope you have a fantastic trip!

      • Thanks Bob! I’m a very picky eather too, but there is always the American fast food that does not escapes us anywhere on the globe.

  • Marcia Kellogg

    Just having come back to snowy CT from a week in FL, this post struck me on a lot of levels. I believe in working hard so that I can play hard. But in answer to your initial question: I work because I get a lot of gratification out of my job in our industry and helping people every day. That’s why i work.

    • hopefully for most of us, that’s two sides of the same coin.

      Hope you enjoyed Florida!

  • Mikheil

    Thanks, Bob for this great blog. You are really good man!

  • silvia

    Bob, I am off to Florida next week with my 7 and 5 year old so this blog is timely as I sit here and freak out trying to get it all done today. Thank you- I can relate. I like you more and more every time I read one of your blogs!

    • Thanks. I try and keep the “Life” part of the Life of an Architect to a minimum since not everyone wants to be kept abreast of my personal life.

      Have fun in Florida, you only have to make it through today!

  • Steve Miller

    I work for the same reasons.

    • not bad reasons huh? I fully expected to get responses like “I work to pay my mortgage and feed my family” which is true for 99% of us. This is really about what motivates you to work that way you work, how you approach your business.

      This attitude is why our small office doesn’t ever (hardly ever) work any overtime. Work when your in the office but move on to enjoy the benefits of working at the end of the day.


  • I love that picture too. I hope you have a lot of fun. Drink beer at 10 if you want. Wear sunblock. I hope Kate gives you lots more kisses.

    • me too. Wrestling is okay too, she’s growing up and as long as she is still interested in my attention, I will gladly take it.

  • Son

    Life’s great cause we have someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to. I’m an architect, i’m jobless now but your blog have me a lot. It show me why do i work, why do i keep moving on. May God bless you and your family. Sorry for my bad english, i’m a Vietnamese.

    • Your English is fine – I understood your point perfectly. Nicely put and the sentiment isn’t lost on me.

      Best of luck

  • mike

    can’t you go on adventures if you did something other than architecture? 🙂

    • of course – this wasn’t an “architecture” post, it was a “Life” post.

      • Dod- a mans best friend

        I think working is just now starting to make since to me. My previous jobs was only jobs with nothing to work towards. Before i was giving an amazing career opprutunity, i always just took it one day at a time, never thinking about the big picture. Just tring to pay bills and not get fired. As of this week I am finally starting to see my role in the overall scheme. I have always been a selfish think’er. Since i am starting a new chapter in life and think thats one of my many personality changes thats got to be left in my past. Hopefully my coworkers are still beside me.