Monday, November 5, 2012

I could do my work if it wasn't for my job

My suspicions were recently confirmed about my workload as an associate: it includes lots of meetings and lots of things that barely have anything to do with architecture. I spent my first two weeks trying to get caught up on St. Ermahgerd while scheduling and sitting through employee reviews. Over the course of those reviews, it came to light that there were some serious issues still with Prudence's management of the interior designers. There were some meltdowns and hissy fits, (several of which were justified, in my mind), and several folks made counteroffers to their proposed raises.  Meanwhile, the associates kept not meeting for their weekly get-together with the partners because we were trying to get reviews done.  By the time we had an associates' meeting again, I missed it for being in an actual project meeting. 

Longtime readers of WAD know how much I hate meetings.  I. Fucking. HATE. Meetings.  Meetings are events where people take minutes and waste hours.  Things don't really get done in meetings, and I base the quality of my day on how much useful activity and tasks I've actually accomplished, not talked about.  To me, an ideal meeting is 20 minutes long, decisions are made, and everyone leaves with one or more tasks to complete.  The meetings I've been getting pulled into over and over lately are 30-60 minutes long, and I'm not sure everyone's leaving with a clear direction of what we're all supposed to do. Many of the meetings I've ended up in don't have a focus or start ping-ponging around in terms of topics--it's just a recitation of the latest brain droppings or panic from the latest shitstorm that has brewed.

The sad truth about white-collar work is that the better you get at your job, the higher you rise in the ranks, and the more meetings you attend.  The sad truth about architecture as a profession is that, more often than not, the better you are at it, the less you actually get to do it. So now, instead of working on planning and programming and healthcare and life safety codes for 42 hours a week and healthcare studio development 1-3 hours a week, I work on planning for 36 hours a week and sitting through exhausting-ass meetings 6 hours a week.  And I can't daydream off in these meetings at least for a few minutes at a time, like in a project meeting when the engineers start talking about VAV boxes--these are meetings where I have to focus and listen to stuff I don't care about, just in case someone says something that I care like hell about.  So at the end of 90 minutes, I'm exhausted and irritated, which is not a good combination.

I suppose my next challenge is to figure out how to steward my energy better. I'm just getting 6-6.5 hrs of sleep a night right now, which clearly isn't good for me and isn't allowing me to rest properly.  It's interesting that my next challenge/goal/achievement actually has to do not with doing something but with not doing something--just resting.

1 comment:

Miz Scarlett said...

Word Sister. Preach it.

When I have meetings, I have an agenda and we take action items. I try to avoid conversational "cul de sacs" by point them out when they occur.

When I am in a meeting, if it has digressed, even if it isn't mine, I make a point (and not subtlely) to ask what the agenda was, how are we progressing with respect to it, and my favorite phrase, usually said with sweetness and sarcasm, "Come on folks. Lets stay on task."

But yes, we have managers who love to go to meetings just so they can pontificate. Our VP, whom I adore, has a tendancy to make his point, and then continue to make it for an additional 10 minutes. Depending on my mood and workload, I have been known to say, "Yes, boss. We get it. You can stop now." Sometimes it goes over OK, sometimes it gets me an additional 15 minutes. Sigh.

sleep is critical. get some.