Jealousy is a common emotion in architecture. Architects, by definition, and sometimes more so than doctors or actors, are egomaniacal whores seeking more and more attention and recognition. And, yes, I speak from personal experience. I used to think Architects were the first, last and only line of defense against evil contractors and ignorant owners who were only out to destroy the work of those select and elite few of us in the architectural profession……yeah, I was that guy.
And so, fueled by my bravado and entitled superiority, I ventured out into “the real world” of architectural practice. I was quickly stuffed into a cubicle that looked NOTHING like my college studio. I had no drafting table, no chip board, not even a friggin sharpie! I had a computer and a telephone with buttons I had never seen nor heard about and knew even less about what they did. But I held on to my ideals and my utopian view of the profession. I was “an elite”. This of course led to a deep jealousy for not just other architects in town (and all over the world for that matter) but even for other architects and interns in my own firm. Why were they working on the fun projects? Why were they talking to contractors and engineers and going out to the job site? Why am I stuck in this cubicle instead of in an office next to the partners?
This view didn’t last long. Luckily it didn’t last longer than my employment at that firm. One of the quickest lessons I learned was how dangerous jealousy and envy are when not properly directed in a constructive way. In the beginning I was jealous for my own recognition and reward. I thought that these were my projects and that my personal success was directly related to how many people clapped me on the back with an “at-a-boy” for the amazing work I had done. This attitude isn’t helpful. To anyone, anywhere, anytime. So just don’t do it.
Instead cultivate a healthy jealousy for your work as it serves your clients. Be passionate about their desires and wishes for their project. It may be your name on the drawings, but it’s their name on the property. When you put yourself in a proper frame of mind and channel your passion and your jealousy in a constructive manner, you’ll be amazed by how people around you will respond, especially clients.