How Will We Emerge?

I recently observed a horrible display of ego and lack of professionalism by an older architect in a leadership role.  Maybe they were having a bad day, nevertheless the experience was eye-opening.  It made me wonder, will my generation rise above this behavior?

The generation I’m referring to is those who probably got one year of work before the recession hit to those about to graduate from school. We are a unique group because the recession has hit us while we are young in our careers.  We’ve had to face hard, hard times early on and because of this timeline our ‘survival tactics’ are bound to become ingrained in our work ethic and professional memory.  The determination, creativity, and faith we exercise now to stay in the industry and fulfill our architectural dreams will define us.

But will all of us emerge as open-minded, collaborative professionals? I don’t think so. Some people will grow into being close-minded, tight-fisted persons, if they aren’t already.  I have met a few of these types.

  • An architect so bitter about being laid-off she would speak badly about her former firm any chance she got.
  • Another young architect got a job at an engineering firm then he griped about it not being ideal to his roommate, an architectural intern desperately looking for work.
  •  And I could go on and on.  I’m sure you could too.

Do these people think they only are going to survive by being negative and cut-throat? By being insensitive and backstabbing?  Keep on squeezing that rock, I’m sure you’ll get water out of it eventually!

At last year’s AIA Colorado Practice & Design Conference, I attended a workshop by Kevin Knebl.  He’s a Social Media Whiz and was giving a talk on the powers of the social media of Twitter and LinkedIn.  His presentation was particularly tuned to how to use these tools to build one’s professional network. One thing he said that stands out in my mind was “All things being equal, people hire people they like.  All things not being equal, people still hire people they like.” A Dale Carnegie disciple, Kevin’s optimism and kindness were infectious.

It’s not an “okay let me just get through this then I’ll be able to focus on it” sort of thing.  The young professionals standing out in our community are those that are committing themselves to positive professionalism now and are emerging as the bright future of the profession.

I have had the fortune of finding great young collaborators as my fellow contributors to this blog.  They work hard, no doubt, and they have a personal drive to give back through writing.  With our common passions we have developed into a team that is respectful and collaborative. Through my AIA and Women In Design groups I have also met brilliant professionals who maintain composure, fairness, and constantly advocate the value of each person’s opinion.

So with the obstacles we have overcome and the blessings we have been provided, how will we emerge? Paying forward the obstacles or the blessings?

6 thoughts on “How Will We Emerge?

  1. I like the thought…
    I do hope that current and young architects realize the the construction sector is going to be a flip-side of the building boom. Banks not giving money….will slow the new building. And for that matter, the building boom was ridiculous. Alot of shabby design and construction went up and is now being torn down due to inefficiencies and ill repair…

  2. When drumming up biz I use that Kneble quote more than any other, although I remember it as “all things being equal”. great post Meg!

  3. Thanks for your kind post, Megan! Here’s the original quote: “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to people who they know, like, and trust.” And yes, I did modify it as you mentioned.

    The originator of that quote is Bob Burg (, who is my friend and the best networking teacher and mentor in the world. Yeah….he’s that good.

    We become like the people we associate with and you’re smart to associate with folks who are caring, compassionate professionals. Isn’t it amazing that some folks lose the quality of caring and kindness that they had when they were younger? I believe that caring and becoming successful in business are not mutually exclusive. They actually go together beautifully.

    You’re a blessing to folks in your work and personal life. As Billy Joel says, “Don’t go changing…..” 🙂

  4. Great article, Megan! And, Kevin, thank you so much for the credit of the full quote. You are a shining example of a person whom everyone knows, likes and trusts. You bring value to every relationship and transaction in which you are involved. Thanks again, Megan and Kevin!

  5. Thanks Kevin & Bob for your comments! I’m so glad you like the post. And thank you both for doing what you do, inspiring the good in others.

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