Saturday, August 24, 2013

Update on Lulu, the Duchess of Burnout

First off, thanks to everyone for the kind emails and comments; they're appreciated and I'm thankful that anyone is moved to comment or email at all. Many of my posts go uncommented except for the occasional Anonymous spam comment saying "i much like this and have made bookmarked it" or some other such nonsense. So, thanks again.

To address my burnout, I realized that while I do need some rest, I also do better when I have something to do. I created a project for myself that involved reviewing my office's processes for planning and staffing projects, and my two primary bosses agreed that this would be worth doing.  I'll be working only on this project until late September, at which point I'm going on a two-week trip out of the country for a nice, long vacation. When I return, my bosses and I will assess what I'll be doing next based on how much of my analysis/project I'll be able to finish by the time I leave. 

In the meantime, I've been pondering a variety of professional and personal topics, none of which I can discuss here with any coherency or brevity, but I'm working on it. I've broken a few of my own rules lately, including that I've actually told several of my colleagues and interns/architects about the nature of my burnout.  I've realized that the old "stiff upper lip" behavior in the guise of being "professional" only works to a point in the 21st-century workplace. This is just one of several big shifts I've had in my thinking lately, and it's taking some time to get used to the idea that the way I've worked, acted, and behaved in the past several years may not be serving me well anymore.

Having said all that, I should let you all know that I'm not able to redline any resumes right now. I have received a couple of questions about what to do with some ethical and professional workplace questions, which I'll get to in due time. Thanks again for hanging in there with me, and I hope to get back on track in the next few weeks.


(Note: someone asked recently about whether you can include work you've done at your present/previous firm into your own portfolio. I would advise against bringing a lot with you, but photos of the project along with a description of the project would be okay, especially if they're photos you can take yourself or get from an online source, like a web article about the project. Bring photos from your employer as a last resort.  Don't bring plans or details--if you have more than four years' experience, you're supposed to know how to detail stuff, so showing it would be redundant.)

1 comment:

  1. Find out where you want architecture to take you. Like most people I doubt at any moment you said I got into architecture for a decent wage, health insurance and a reliable business market. That approach will lead every job to burnout.
    Where is architecture taking you? or where WOULD you like architecture to take you?

    If you (like me) are afraid to answer this question because you might not have enough money or no health insurance or, or, or... then it might be time to get a new career asap. right? I know because I felt that way.

    The best (and worst) thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off for 9 months. During that time off I joined a non-profit looking to expand their facility and offered great architectural advice and now it may become a real project.
    It helped me get to my next position.
    I also did a lot of other things, like create some Android apps for architects. Just things y'know? Things on the back burner of creativity for so long were now open for ME to decide what to accomplish and what to avoid.

    Nothing leads to burnout faster than not working on the things you want to work on. It requires sacrifice. What is your time on this planet worth?

    It sounds to me like you need to start asking the BIG questions in life. Write down a plan of where architecture is going to take you next year and in 5 years! Embrace it, and execute! ;)


    ps. it worked for me!