Friday, June 30, 2006


It takes ages to become an Architect. That's all well and good but once you start working in a proper job, you realise that all those years at university don't really prepare you for reality.

After completing 2 degrees in making models and pretty drawings, you feel like you don't know much about getting real buildings built. In fact you won't know ANYTHING about getting buildings built. You have to start from the very beginning, despite being 7 years down the line already.

Personally I found all this a bit scary. I have worked in various architectural practices now for 5 years and practically every day of those 5 years I have felt a complete fraud. I have bluffed my way through all sorts of situations. I have smiled confidently, gritted my teeth, wiped away the perspiration of fear and pretended I knew what I was doing.

Miraculously it has worked. I have only been threatened with litigation once, and none of my buildings have collapsed yet.

Now, here's the amazing thing. It suddenly dawned on me yesterday (while I was presenting a new scheme to a Client,) that I wasn't bluffing anymore. I wasn't pretending to do a job I was inadequately prepared to do - I was actually being quite competent. I was answering his questions without crossing my fingers behind my back, and he seemed convinced by my answers. Indeed he was actively seeking my opinions and telling me my ideas were good.

It may not seem much to you but I feel great. This must be what a Tesco checkout girl feels when she masters the art of using the till without have to put on her flashing light to call a supervisor.


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