Why is Work Making Us Miserable?

FT Podcast Feed – Editor’s note: The feed is behind a paywall now.

Lucy Kellaway‘s podcast episode Why is Work Making Us Miserable? made me wax nostalgic for my working days of yore.

I had (still have) a love of architecture, a desire to understand a process and to make it work seamlessly. This made drawing architecture doubly or triply interesting. Generally I was dealing with at least two processes; how to use the tools I had effectively and quickly, and how to draw so as to produce the most insight into the finished design the leadership of the design team wanted. On the best projects I was also learning about the process the architecture would enable. Public speaking or sales or manufacturing. Even parking garages had unique traffic flows.

But all of that doesn’t add up to loving drawing, which is ultimately what my job was. I haven’t drawn a thing since struck with the epiphany that I really hated producing illustration. That I am unapologetically bad at drawing by hand, and that I really wanted to be doing anything else.

I learned to crib graphics as a method of timesaving. I would type or have someone else type notes and affix those transparencies to my drawings. I would draw details in such a way that I could duplicate them easily using a Xerox machine, or wholesale duplication of sheets of work. The whole industry of architecture was undergoing a change as I underwent these changes, but it was the echos of “you’re slow, Anthony” in my own head that made it imperative that I cut every corner I could in order to turn drawings out as quickly as possible.

Coping With Dysgraphia

Is it weird then that I would still go back to architectural drawing in a heartbeat? I would. I would loathe drawing elevations and stairs again. Details and plans. But I would be a part of that process again. I would feel that my existence was  meaningful again, contributing to something larger than I am.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. I loved Lucy Kellaway‘s podcast for the Financial Times. She always made me laugh with her dry wit. I hope she is enjoying her new teaching job.


NPR – Happiness at Work: A Myth to Be Punctured?

Damnable Meniere’s

I’m finally getting a chance at some paying work again and the Meniere’s attacks are resurfacing along with the work. Yeah, it’s the stress, I know. I’m trying to take that knowledge in stride. Still, sitting and spinning at lunch and then all through the evening doesn’t lessen the stress levels if you know what I mean.

Postscript

This turned out to be the last time I was hired to do piecework for a project that just needed some extra draftsmen thrown at it. I failed at even being able to do the simple task of cranking out the corrections at a fast enough rate to satisfy the customer, and they never came looking to hire me again.

Looking back on this entry from 2020 I feel an overwhelming desire to scream at that guy. Hey you! Treasure this moment, even though you feel like a failure! You will look back on even this depressing moment with longing. I would and sometimes even do volunteer to do the same kinds of work to this day. I design renovations for family, give advice on projects, just for the feeling of being useful once again. I just don’t get paid to do the work anymore. Being the breadwinner was nice while it lasted.