where do we go from here?
I am not asking you to start a revolution or to leave the industry. I want you to merely start thinking about your body, your needs, and your personal values in life. Start questioning the way you and your firm practices. Talk to your colleagues, open up about your struggles. Take care of your mental health and your physical well being. Not remembering the last time you ate and when you last had a good night of sleep is not cool. Show support to those who are struggling.
If you are a junior designer know that your value to the firm is immense: you are the production powerhouse and you need rest and a life as well.
If you are a manager keep your teams healthy and sane. It is ok to sometimes push back at the client and educate them on good practice and values. Take responsibility for the workflow and time management of the team you direct. Take care of yourself and them.
If you are a principal share with your team what you are driven by, celebrate the team’s accomplishments. Listen to the young team members, they are the ones carrying the firm forward. Don’t make them stay later than you, rather ask their managers why they have to. Don't underbid on projects and then force the team to work uncompensated over time, to actually deliver the project.
I believe that only designers who take care of their bodies and their soles can bring the necessary change to our industry and become accountable to the communities we serve and the oncoming climate catastrophe that we are directly responsible for. Hey, this is great and all Karina, but how do you survive/profit in the market economy? How do you stay competitive and client-oriented if you are spending so much time and energy internally? I don’t have the answer, but I want us to try. We don’t need to continue the toxic habits of previous generations. Technology helps us work faster, but our mental capacity still needs time to process and rest. We need to be present in our own lives, our families and our cities. We need to love ourselves and provide architectural services in a way that makes the world better.
At See Arch we are working on how to break the loop of toxicity and practice our services according to our values. Stay tuned for more detailed unpacking of the topics mentioned above and tips from us on how to get there. If this resonates with you feel free to drop me a line!