March 26, 2016


James started a new job this week, and the decision to leave his previous company was one of the toughest that we've made as a couple. It's much harder to leave a position you love, and that was the best job he'd ever had, far and away. Frankly, it changed our lives for the better in so many respects, I actually marvel to realize that it only lasted a few years.

There's the expression that 'every baby is born with a loaf of bread under each arm', and I often think of how true that was with our little Roo. I vividly remember James fielding calls while we were in the hospital giving birth to her, fiercely negotiating his next move, after years of struggling to leave the architecture firm where he'd worked (slaved!) for nearly a decade. Caught on the losing end of office politics, and working 80 hour weeks with little compensation, and less appreciation, we knew a second baby meant that he had to make a move. He weighed offers from half a dozen architecture firms before finally deciding to take a plunge into the unknown (enemy!) world of construction. It was scary, but we were comforted in following a 'good guy' and former colleague, and ultimately we found that the payoff was about so much more than money. 

Finally afforded the respect and responsibility that he'd long deserved, James has matured so much in just a few short years, both professionally and personally. It is a beautiful thing to watch someone you love get all that credit you always knew they were owed, and to see the impact it has on every aspect of their being. And so, it was yet another leap for him to leave the comfort of that position, and again follow his mentor to a new and exciting project. I'm so proud of him, how hard he works, how he makes time to get home so that I can go out and work too... it's a lot of pressure and balance and responsibility, and I never take that for granted. 

We're looking forward to this next chapter, a big new building in the works, and another transition for our family. Any change is nerve wracking for this creature of habit, but mostly I am just feeling very grateful for it all. Cheers! (and happy belated St. Patrick's Day ;)


  1. Transitions are exciting and terrifying. And I'm convinced that you've really got to love the work and love the people you work with and for to make the practice of architecture worth it. It's not an easy career path for sure. Congrats to new things.

    1. Kristen, it's funny because I originally did have a huge rant/ baring of the soul about the profession of architecture in here, that I ended up editing out. I have so many conflicting thoughts, as I continue to try to work in this industry, and also instruct future architects... And yet I find the business of it so abusive, at least typically and at least in this region. It seems as though (and again, in this area) those who are able to sustain a reasonable quality of life on an architect's salary and schedule either have family money, a spouse who works in another field, or chose not to have children (and all the time and financial sacrifices that come with them). I'm sure this differs in other parts of the country, and world, where the cost of living isn't so nuts... But it's nearly impossible here. And that's heartbreaking and confusing. I also have a lot of other issues (non money/ time related!)... But then ultimately, a genuine passion and belief in the power of well designed space to have a positive impact on our lives. I can't imagine being pulled to do anything else. I just wish it didn't have to be so painful. Anyway, thanks for your comment. Clearly the topic is something I wrestle with often :)

    2. I hear you.

      I feel like we have a pretty reasonable cost of living here, and even though we are also a two-architect household, we did manage to ride the recession out fairly well. (I was at 80% pay for 3.5 years, but we didn't lose our jobs.) We've definitely seen things picking up here in the last couple of years, so that's helpful. But sometimes the stress level seems way out of whack for the kind of work we do. My husband has a dual masters - architecture and construction management, so that really helped him ride that wave. He's director of architecture for a mid-size firm here (with four other offices around the midwest), so he travels a lot, but usually it's just down and back in a single day. He'd be the first to tell you that he's never ever caught up. Ever. And I'm heading into the office early tomorrow morning (on a Sunday), so yeah. I hear you.

      Hope this new chapter is a good one for you. Enjoying your blog (found it through Lauren's).