Aside from work/life balance, there were quite a few recurring themes when we asked what frustrated you at the office. There were specifiers complaining about architects failing to appreciate construction documentation, consultants criticizing penny-pinching owners, engineers exasperated with installers, and a technical services manager decrying “anal-retentive building officials too procedurally bound by the code to see a path to flexibility on approval.”
Millennials and baby boomers alike were targeted, most often for being “argumentative” and “poor leaders,” respectively.
“It has been difficult to gain senior mentorship in order to grow my career and knowledge,” wrote an Albertan architect. “Five years ago, I had more active mentors compared to now. Many senior positions are retiring and companies are working them hard until the very end. This does not allow for proper time to pass down knowledge. I don’t feel like there are succession plans in place as baby boomers retire.”
Other frequent complaints involved working far more for less or a lack of respect.
“We are treated as commodities rather than as professionals—we ‘bid’ for work, rather than provide quality-based proposals,” said one Ontario architect.
A B.C. counterpart agreed—“The longer I stay in this business, the more I realize how undervalued we are as architects. It bothers me immensely that other professionals such as real estate agents—who bear none of the professional liabilities that we do—are more highly rewarded for selling a product we design.”
A consultant offered another concern:
“The ongoing mess with the financial sectors turns managers into nervous mice who sit and dither while all around them all the support and subcontractor companies wither,” he wrote. “It is a disease of indecision, and comes from politicians downward. Few are forward-looking—they are all too busy looking at the short term and share values.”