Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A good question/quandary

WAD commenter Amy B (whom I think is an architect on the East Coast? Correct me if I'm wrong, sista) made the observation that Mikhail asking for just an interview and tour of a firm even if they're not hiring is good self-marketing. On the one hand, I'm there. It's good to learn about other firms, and it's good to give a firm a positive face and name that they can call on when things get popping again. Also, as Amy B observed, maybe Mikhail will be relaxed since the pressure's off, and he may make an even better impression, which will bode well when they need to hire again.

At the same time, I wonder: isn't that just one more person calling and bugging a firm in a shitty economy? Firms all over Denver and the Front Range are laying folks off, especially interns. Mikhail told me that lots of his friends from college are getting laid off. And I'm not surprised, really; interns are easy to replace, no offense. There's a lot of them coming out of school, and they don't all stay in the profession. Architecture schools start with a class of about 100 kids and whittle it down to about 40 or 50, if they're lucky. And the profession does the same thing. So, I wonder if Mikhail calls on a firm in this economy, will they see him as bugging them?

Maybe it's the woman in me that feels like any attempt at contacting others is "bothering" them. Just this week, I was trying to put together a few more outlines for my next few Intern 101 seminars on how we get business, and I forwarded them to our new head of marketing, Veronica, and our only woman partner at DA, Audrey. Both Veronica and Audrey gave me a lot of good advice on ideas and things to cover in the seminars and offered to help, but I guess I didn't fully understand what "help" meant. After I emailed my outlines, Veronica came by my desk and asked if I was planning to do the presentations myself.

I said, "Well, it'd be better if someone else spoke, like you or Alex or Howie or Audrey, but I'm willing to do it if no one's schedule allows." She finally got it out of me that I hadn't asked anyone else to help because a) I was trying to get my thoughts together, and b) I didn't want to add more to others' workload. Veronica's usually stern look softened a bit. "Pixie, I said I'd help you, perhaps I wasn't very clear. But I agreed to help you with this," she said. Just then, Audrey walked up and said, "Perfect! You two are here! Hey, why don't we all go to lunch this week and brainstorm how to do the next two or three Intern 101 seminars?"

Holy shitsky. Did a partner just ask me to lunch?

So, after a couple of morning meetings, we three women are off to lunch to discuss the path of the next few seminars. And I could have had this done and put together already if I'd gathered my courage to just ask people to help me. Alas, I was hesitant because I was afraid of being a burden. However, as Kellye said when I related the story to him, he said, "You know, you can't be responsible for other people's schedules. Just ask and let them be responsible for their schedule."

This is all stuff I know. I just forget sometimes and get all chickenshit.


Amy B said...

You're right, Pixie. I'm an archidork (artichoke?) on the East Coast. Somehow MA hasn't been hit as hard yet by the downturn. Or perhaps because I'm currently on a public project I don't feel it just yet. So while the State doesn't have a lot of money, they still have some to get projects built.

I understand about not wanting to bother people/firms/other entities. However, that's how Things Get Done. Like when you were an intern and didn't know how to make work for yourself, you had to learn to go bother your manager for more. We have some interns here who will sit until someone says something to them. I don't know it that's a generational thing or not, but I've had to prod them and if that didn't work, go speak to their manager for them.

But like you, my X chromosome occasionally takes over and I don't like to bother people either. So I guess don't have the right answer ... :D

Good luck withyour lunch and assistance on the intern program! That's great!

ms. kitty said...

By the way, I mentioned your name on the Roadshow today. Hope you don't mind.

LP said...

Hey Pix !

since your last post was a response to a REQUEST I thought, hey?, why can't i put a little bread in your jar and ask you to sing me a tune?

How do you (and I) get continuing education units to maintain the architect's license?

In the spirit of all your changed names to protect the innocent....I am currently using "Rouge Arrow" online and not fully satisfied.

Your site rocks...and I even hate cats!

Luv, LP (from the building that looks like a starship landing site)