>> Wednesday, May 6, 2015
So, I could not leave everyone thinking that I have spent the past 10 years crying, like my last post may have indicated. Things DID get better. It was a rough year. But by the beginning of the second, I was wiser, tougher, and [the game changer]...less emotional. I credit the last to an architect who worked in my department, her name was Anna. She was well respected and confident, and didn't accomplish that by tearing others down. She was also married with three kids and went home at 5 pm. If you've worked in the corporate architecture world, you know that's a big deal. But one day Anna pulled me aside and plainly said "You cannot let them see you cry. If you need to cry, go to the bathroom. But this is a man's world and crying is not going to help your cause." And honestly, it wasn't men who were making me cry (ladies, why are we so hard on each other!?) But it WAS men that were mostly calling the shots around there. And it was as if no one had ever told me that before. I just stopped, that day. And as far as I can remember, I never cried at work again.
The following year Bryan and I got married and I moved to Memphis. In Memphis I took a job with another large firm and there was another game changer, my boss liked me. It was the first time in my career I didn't feel like I was just producing something, or trying to be relevant, or dying to be creative. This guy hired me to be creative, asked me what I thought about things, and appreciated when I worked Saturdays. It was a change of pace I so desperately needed and one major factor in why I am still in this industry today (because I really have tried to bail a million times:)
That all being said, the new job was still, and probably more so, a man's world. And ladies, it's not right, but it just is. My approach to dealing with that was just to consume knowledge. I learned how to put a set of construction drawings together front to back by myself, I could detail a load bearing wall, I became LEED accredited, and NCIDQ certified. I needed to prove I could do more than pick paint and fabrics and that interior design was not an afterthought and most importantly, not a "girl's job".
Three years later I headed to Boston with a full portfolio, feeling very empowered (maybe a little too empowered!)...and then the 2009 recession happened. More on that to come...