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The coach: ‘My boss works 9 to 5 while I stay late to finish the work’


Careers expert Matthew Turner advises an architect upset about having to work late when management go home early

My bosses leave early, and leave us in the office to complete incredibly time consuming design tasks. I think this is so unfair, how can I change it?

Matthew turner

Sure, some bosses can be unreasonable, but are you sure this is the case here? I say this, as your email has the tone of a victim. Part of the solution might be to avoid that position. If you are confident you are being given unreasonable timeframes for tasks, you may need to be more assertive.

Consider talking to your bosses about your workload, in a calm and professional way.

However, your workload may not be the issue. Presenteeism is rife in architecture – are you sure you are tackling tasks as efficiently as you can?

Finally, be aware of reducing work to clockwatching – your bosses take the responsibility for the practice, and perhaps have to handle considerable financial and professional relationship pressures you are not aware of. Sitting at a desk next to you might not be the time that work is done.

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. To contact him with your questions, tweet @TheAJcoach or email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com


Readers' comments (2)

  • Dont forget, your boss will have put in those hours in plenty, getting the business to a position where you can have a secure job and regular salary. Undoubtedly your boss will also take work concerns home, and probably does a lot of work that you are not aware of in evenings and weekends.

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  • What a typical, lazy response. When survey after survey is showing that architects are over-worked and stressed, and that the industry is extremely unequal in the UK, Mr. Turner's advice is - hey, you sound like a victim. Are you working hard enough? Just be more assertive.

    What brilliant advice. It's not an industry-wide problem of low pay and long hours and a culture of suffering. You sound like a victim, make sure you're working harder.

    @ Elizabeth Adams: your argument is that this person should suffer because the boss may or may not have put in plenty of hours at one point himself. So a culture of suffering for your art begets more suffering. The boss also grew up in a stronger economy with better access to loans, less competition for jobs, and no student debt.

    And sure, the boss takes responsibilities home. He also takes home a salary many orders of magnitude larger than the young architects. Even the US architecture industry is now more equal than the UK. Soon we'll have zero hour contracts for young architects to come in and do some photoshopping.

    My advice: join a union and start walking out at 5. The union brings the power of collective bargaining.

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