“Transitions” is one of those words that I think architects use substantially more than other professions. – at least I know I use it a lot. There are material transitions, transitions between spaces, and you can go even more esoteric and say that there are experiential transitions … but I’m not talking about any of those sorts of transitions today. It’s much simpler than that and today’s post falls more into the “Life” category in the “Life” of an Architect.
I’ve been in my new job for 3 weeks now and it has been just about every sort of descriptor you can imagine – fun, exciting, frustrating, challenging, etc. etc. and on and on. I have “worked” more hours during this time period than I have in quite a while because I essentially have three jobs at the moment. My new job – which is definitely the priority as I look to my future – but I still have jobs from my last office that I am finishing out and which require a fair amount of my time and attention. Then, of course, there is this blog and the accompanying podcast1 that I still maintain (which of course you already know because you are currently reading it). And then there are the deadlines in my new job which command my attention, and because I am slower using the software, I’ve had to put in a bunch of extra time just to keep up. I’ve had a couple 80-hour weeks and I’m just going to come out and say it … that’s getting old, real quick.
As I move from one job and into my new one, there are all the sorts of things that are different between the two that you can probably imagine, but since I’ve received dozens of emails from people who suggested that I brace myself for the shock of moving from an 11-person firm to one that is 100+ people, I felt that I should at least acknowledge it here. Most of what is currently shocking my system has nothing to do with the work and everything to do with simply learning where things are and what the current status quo looks like. For example, at my last office, we had one server and finding documents (at times) could still be difficult but generally speaking, you were always in the vicinity. At BOKA Powell … I think we have a billion servers (I haven’t actually counted, but it’s a lot). I can’t even explain what the role of each server is because:
a) I know I’ll get it wrong, and
b) you probably don’t care
I am still marveling over the little things. Last week I sat in a meeting that had 17 people in it. 17 PEOPLE!! As I was sitting there, literally counting people, I thought “I should write a post on how meetings with 17 people aren’t very effective”. This was also the same meeting where I think I will get blamed for breaking a 55″ TV that decided to stop working after I drove it over to this meeting in the back of my car. As we set it up (which required 2 of those 17 people) and then watched it literally die before our eyes, the partner looked at me and asked me exactly how had I drove over to the meeting? – I suppose wondering if I decided to take my jeep 4-wheeling on the way and as a result, I was tossing this boxed-up TV around so vigorously that I killed it.
So now I am “The TV Killer” … but I suppose there are worse things I could be called, like alcoholic hobo clown lover.
However, the thing that I found some amusement in was the day after the TV was killed, I walked by it (still boxed up) in one of the hallways and there was already a shiny new 55″ boxed up TV stacked up right next to it.
I had a lot of stuff at my old office and it is all currently residing in my dining room … on the floor, covering the table, on the credenza – everywhere – and I don’t know where to put it all. In contrast, my workspace up at work has nothing on it other than the stuff that was left behind by the last guy who sat there previously (mostly dust). My wife graciously asked me when I was going to clean everything up …
For the rest of 2019, I have a feeling that this is just what it’s going to be. I’ll get better at navigating which servers I need to find the files I want, as well as learning just how much I can brush up against the status quo. One of the best conversations I had while contemplating this move was the acknowledgment that both sides will be taking the next few months to feel our way through this transition and for me, that is the light at the end of the tunnel …
… that and the snacks in the break room are still pretty awesome.
ps – In the meantime, brace yourself for next week’s podcast “Episode 33: Taking the ARE”, our first take on the architectural registration exam which, according to some people, is a topic I should have already covered. In mid-September, I will be heading to Munich, Germany for work as I visit the Liebherr Appliances World Headquarters where I will become a master in all things “Kühlung.” And in October, my podcast co-host Andrew Hawkins and I will be at CONSTRUCT recording a live podcast, on stage, for all the world – or at least the people who are geographically convenient to the “Coffee Talk Lounge” on Thursday, October 10th from 1:45 till 2:45 – to hear. Come and say hello and afterward, we can all go get a drink.
1 Didn’t want to make too big a deal about it but the Life of an Architect podcast passed the 100,000 download mark last week after 32 episodes. If you haven’t checked it out yet this would be an excellent time to start!