Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's resolutions for yourselves and the profession

I hope everyone's holidays have been going well so far and that you're able to take time to enjoy the season.  As we have just passed the winter solstice, with its least amount of daylight all year, it's a good time to reflect and think about what we want to do with our lives, especially in the coming year.

On the professional front, I will gather all the necessary info and documentation needed to apply for my ACHA accreditation.  I've finally gotten the years of healthcare architecture experience needed to apply, so it's time to add that hard-won honor to my roster of professional achievements. (Since I've confessed this here to all of you, you're my witnesses.  If I don't get this done by 12/31/12, Armageddon notwithstanding, then you all get to heckle me soundly.)  Personally, I also want to start working on a book for interns based on this blog.  I've been asked about it a time or two, and I'm starting to wonder if it might be useful. 

On the personal front, I have to start rationing my energy better.  I'm getting older, and I'm running out of steam faster with my new management responsibilities at my firm, so Shorty needs to find a way to get things done without doing everything herself.  This was also my goal for 2011, by the way--I think I mastered it sometimes and failed miserably other times.

I also would like to see our profession have a goal or resolution of its own: be a Profession.  So often lately, it seems like my beloved profession is more like a cult than a Profession.  It seems sometimes like architecture fails to value itself and its services the way other professions (medicine, law, dentistry, etc.) has done, and it forces its members to live in noble poverty.  It tells its members that we all have to sacrifice to survive and just be grateful that you have a job, and when pressed for specifics on why things are being run the way they are the questioner is thumped (or even smacked) for daring to ask.  Those running the profession seem to lean more and more in the past few years on secrecy and avoidance: secrecy with regard to what it takes to achieve or with what's going on with the firm or profession, and avoidance of big issues like poor performance or why every job seems to be losing money.

I don't imagine that running a business is easy--far from it.  There's a lot to do every day, and it seems like most of it has little to do with Design.  But more and more it seems that our profession is losing its viability and its relevance, from not really valuing and defining the importance of licensure to not really explaining to the public why the world needs architects and why HGTV and Ty Pennington are not the answer (and aren't reality). 

I hope that even if this profession won't embrace this resolution, you will.  I want us all to pull through this dark economic time and bring back our profession in all its relevant, awesome glory.  I want us to show the world that design, codes, and profitability aren't mutually exclusive.  That, my friends, would be an even better gift than a few more letters and credentials after my name.

So what are your goals or resolutions in the coming year?  And what do you hope for architecture?

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