Today’s post is both near and dear to me as well as incredibly timely in my own professional and personal life. You may remember from my recent “year in review” post that I am eye ball deep in projects right now. Nearly all of them are in construction which means my days are mostly spent on the phone answering calls from owner’s and contractors, hunched over my work table reviewing shop drawings and submittals, or at my desk sending email responses to RFI’s. Somewhere in there I manage to study for the last 3 exams I have to take to get my license.
And on the personal side, I work essentially two jobs, have two small ones in school and my wife is in the process of going to back to work full time on top of having her own hand made business. Oh, and we’re looking for a house. Yeah, we’ve been stressed.
BUT there is one thing I pride myself on and it’s the one single thing that I know without a shadow of a doubt that will keep me, and you, from jumping out the window as an architect.
You have to have the right attitude in this profession, otherwise you will get jaded, cynical, angry, depressed and eventually burned out and looking for a new profession. And it’s much easier than you think to get caught in that cycle.
As an example, we have a current project that is under construction. It’s a small project with an even smaller fee (which is more than gone already). The contractor is a small outfit not local to the project, which is in North East Arkansas. This would be complicated enough, but is made worse by the fact that the contractor seems either inexperienced or simply not used to the general standards of a commercial project. Just for good measure we’ll add to this that the contract only allows 60 days to complete construction.
Now is the time to take that deep breath.
This is now the 6th week of construction. It took the first 4 to get all of the submittals needed to actually perform the work and it’s taken the last 2 to get a proper change order request to submit to the owner for the carpet they’ve chosen. From top to bottom this has been a stressful CA process (Construction Administration for those not in the know).
And, while I can’t necessarily control how the contractor does their job, even though I would REALLY like to, what I can control is my ATTITUDE. That’s right. I can effectively control the outcome of this project (to a certain extent) by how I choose to react to the situations I’m placed in. I could get angry and yell and even at some point very soon remind everyone of the liquidated damages clause. But none of that is helpful and it certainly won’t reduce the stress of the project either.
If instead I take a deep breath and come at this with a good attitude, with a positive outlook and even, dare I say, LAUGH at the problems that arise and work through them calmly….well, lets just say it makes the job much easier and this attitude will serve me much better on the other 4 projects I am currently overseeing in construction right now as well.
How you react is what will ultimately determine the outcome of a situation. You can’t control other people. But you can influence them and help things to run more smoothly simply by taking a deep breath, smiling, laughing and just moving through whatever it is.