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?