Thursday, July 17, 2008

In case of emergency, break glass...then wait

I've been doing so much fire-fighting lately, I should have my own calendar. I spent yesterday and today helping out Mickey on a 95% CD deadline. Evidently, his youthful intern had been working til midnight for several days in a row, and there were still some things that needed to be done that required the eyes of a licensed architect--things like what products are required in a wall section made of stucco or are the equipment pieces being shown in the interior elevations. Then this afternoon, I whipped up a ceiling plan for Prudence so she could have a plan to take to a 9am meeting tomorrow. Last week I helped the interiors gals whip out some drawings for a pricing set deadline as well. Deadlines make my day go faster, but then there's the inevitable slowdown afterwards. I wanted to work through lunch today to make up for having to take an extra long lunch yesterday to go run some errands and make some appointments, but I simply didn't have the work to do to make it possible. Instead, I went to lunch with Norman and Elliot, which I haven't done in a while. Norman and Elliot are a lot like Statler and Waldorf, except they're both in their late-30s and Elliot's probably a foot taller than Norman. Either way, I get a lift from their smartassiveness and banter--it's like they give each other verbal wedgies:

Elliot: Are we going to the Morning Diner again? Shouldn't be too crowded on a Thursday with Pixie in our group.
Norman: Sounds good. Pix, you ready?
Me: Jesus God, I can't get this sheet file to work right.
Norman: [puts on glasses and peers at my screen] Looks like some of Elliot's handiwork.

Elliot: Why, 'cuz it kicks ass?!
Norman: No, because it's fucked up beyond repair.
Elliot: How'z about you kiss my ass, Norm?
Norman: Is that a come-on?

Elliot: I'm not your type; I'm not inflatable. Pixie, would you stop laughing in the floor and come on? You're our ticket into Morning Diner.

Evidently, the guy who runs Tha Diner, as we at Design Associates call it, recognizes me best out of all the DA employees who frequent the place, and when I come along we get seated really quickly, sometimes ahead of people who were a little ahead of us. Norman commented that I'm like a $20 bill to the maitre d', except that you don't have to actually give me away. I retorted that I also don't have to be passed under the table, which made Elliot do a spit-take on his soda.

While at lunch, we chatted about the tiresome nature of not being busy enough. I lamented about the scattered nature of my daily tasks these days, and Norman chortled. "That's been the past year for me," he replied. "I mean, I've had work to do, but it's been a one-room radiology equipment project here, a two room renovation there, nothing huge. I've been doing the kind of work that, if I had staff working for me, they'd be doing it. But if I handed this stuff off, what the hell would I do?"

"And I feel so exhausted at the end of the day!" I remarked, "And I know I haven't really done anything!" Norman and Elliot seconded that emotion. Being underemployed is exhausting, just in a different way than being overemployed. I felt bad for the young intern working on that project with Mickey today. He's been bored out of his mind for the past month while the project has been VE'd into oblivion, and now suddenly he's working 16 hours a day.

Really though, that's the nature of architecture. It's something of a feast-or-famine business. In fall of 2005 and the first half of 2006, I worked no less than 56 hours a week every week. While Wheatlands was getting built, I then worked a good 40-44 hours a week, and as it wrapped up in late spring of 2007, I transitioned to working on MHRC for Jann and was still a steady-but-intense 40 or so. As MHRC has wrapped up for now, I'm scrambling to stay occupied. While it makes me crazy not to be steadily busy, other managers get to exhale when they find out that a competent employee is completely available to help them with any task, large or small.

I guess I don't mind overall. It's better than being unemployed.

1 comment:

Wildermess Gina said...

You don't HAVE to be passed under the table, BUT you CAN be passed under the table... it's looking OVER the table that is the problem. Still and yet another revenge for the 'strained carrots' comment of 1993... Mom's not only look like elephants, they have memories like them.