Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner

I came home Friday with the good news that Design Associates was one of five firms shortlisted to interview for a job on the edge of town.  Even more exciting is that I had been specifically asked by one of the partners to help with and be part of the presentation to get the job.  As someone who has long been interested in how we get jobs and has been dying to be part of one of these gigs, this was quite the thrill.  

"You mean the __________ project?" Guy asked.
"Yeah," I replied.
"We're going after that one too," he said as he refilled his glass from a pitcher in the fridge.  "We did some work down there last year, and we're hoping to do more."
"We did some work there recently," I said, dropping ice cubes into my own glass, "and we're hoping to do more."
"Do you have a fork?" asked Guy.  "I think the enchiladas are ready."
I opened the silverware drawer.  "I do now.  What movie did we get from Netflix?"
"Sweeney Todd," Guy replied.  "Did you want to watch it tonight or tomorrow?"

And that's how it goes in our house.  I sometimes talk to spouses of architects and crack jokes a little with them, and the spouse almost inevitably says, "Oh, he/she doesn't really talk about work at home."  And this, my people, is Complete and Utter Bullshit.  No one in Da Biz doesn't talk about architecture or construction at home.  I'm convinced that in order to be a decent architect or contractor, you have to enjoy what you do enough that you will bore people you don't even know with stories of bubbling sheet vinyl flooring, allowable height and deflection tables for steel studs, and trying to locate the dressing rooms in the right place to the department's entrance.  It's in our blood.  So, when a non-Biz spouse says that their architect or contractor spouse "doesn't talk about work at home," then one of three things is happening:
  1. The non-Biz spouse doesn't want to talk about what their partner does for a living or potentially divulge some specific information;
  2. The Biz spouse is a crappy partner and doesn't engage their non-Biz spouse in any discussion about "what I did today" (or vice-versa, the non-Biz spouse never asks or doesn't care); or
  3. The Biz spouse is pretty crappy at what they do and isn't enthusiastic enough to talk about it anywhere else (corollary: the Biz spouse's job is so unbelievably frustrating and soul-killing that talking about it has to happen within the safe confines of a therapy session, but even then I think they'd occasionally have to wake up screaming and sweating, which would prompt some kind of discussion with the non-Biz spouse).
I suppose I can let #1 slide, but still, I think there's better ways to be avoid the discussion without outright lying.  Everyone talks about their day with their spouse, roommate, dog, cellmate, whatever.

Which brings me back to my original point.  I've been really unbusy for about a month now, and working on this presentation has given me something to do.  Naturally, suddenly becoming useful in such an exciting and challenging way made me go home and blurt it out first thing to my naturally-interested spouse.  And then alas, my spouse's company, Acme Architects, is going after the work as well.  This means that, while we both know we're going after the work, I can't tell him all the cool ideas I'm coming up with and how well the partner involved is receiving these ideas because then I'm telling the competition what DA's strategy is for winning this work.

But this also brings me to another uncharted desert isle: I have a 20% chance of getting this job (since our office is one of the five going after it), but I have a 40% chance of benefitting from it.  If DA gets it, I have work to do and it puts cash back in our coffers and I keep my job (if not help keep others' jobs).  If Acme gets it, then that keeps cash in my husband's company.  Either way, one of us keeps our job and we're not homeless.  This is good, because I find that I don't do my best work when I'm Hail Marying it.  You gotta be hungry, not starving.

Henry Kissinger once said, "There will never be a winner in the battle of the sexes--too much fraternizing with the enemy."  I suppose the same could be said for architecture.


MizFluffy said...

Great post, Dear.
I have had similar conversations with guys I dated - if they don't get it, then they don't get ME, ya know? We spend so much of our lives doing that crap, its just impossible to disengage.

But wow - hard to keep quiet. good luck!
- Suz

p.s. moved blog AGAIN due to KEG. sigh. Will tell you later.

faded said...

There is something odd about spouses who work for different architecture firms and end competing for the same project. I hope you don't wind up like the couple in the movie The Jones. The couple are professional assasins who work for competing organizations. They are then assigned the job of killing each other.

It seems odd that the two of you settle down to watch Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber Fleet Street after that discussion about work.

Mile High Pixie said...

Faded, we did have a little laugh about the Mr. & Mrs. Smith nature of the situation, for sure. I think watching Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter hack their way through late 19th-century London's elite and baking them into pies cut the tension. :-)

Wilderness Gina said...

Even my Big Trucker main-squeeze talks about his work. "These F***ers hate me! They want us to starve! I ain't had a decent load in WEEKS!" And tales of hitting low bridges... etc. When I was married to a construction worker and worked with same (NEVER DO THAT!) we drove home after being on the same crew yet, "Do you believe that dumb ass? He's gonna kill hisself or some body." Now that I'm at home the conversation goes like this. El Seebeno "Sooo um hows the dress comming?" Me "AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! I'M GONNA KILL THAT CHILD!!!!! i'VE RESET THESE @@##$% SLEEVES THREE TIMES!!!"