Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Every inch counts

If I have learned anything in my three years in the "real world" -as they described it in college- of employment it is this: Every inch counts. Explanation: When I was in school we were not designing real ready-to-be-built plans thus little minute details and inches just didn't consume our thoughts. We were being taught design skills and what things were and how to do this or that; no one was focusing on the actual crazy little details of life in a real architectural job site. When you are designing a building or renovating an existing structure things get down to what I call the "nitty gritty". If I have a column drawn 2 inches off of where it should be - we have a problem and the scariest thing is that the partners at my firm can just look at the drawing and start marking these tiny things for me to fix and I being this intern who is fresh out of school just looks at them confused most often and takes the sheet back to my desk covered in more red ink than can possible exist in one single red BIC pen.
From then to now there is an enormous difference in how I approach everything. Everything is documented, everything is a Big Deal. Whenever I pick a color for something I now write it down, order a new sample to replace that one, start a file for the job...etc. What I use to do is this: Find the color, tell the person who needs it, put the sample up, move on with my life. What I quickly found out was that everything comes back up and is needed again and you need to be organized and quick to find it even if you havent thought of it or seen or done it in 2 years time. Example: One random Thursday I am sitting at my desk and one of my bosses walks by puts some plans on my desk and asks me to send them to so-in-so. I say okay, get the fed-ex ready, type a transmittal and send it out. 4 months later, my boss comes to my desk and says, "Leslie, can you print me a copy of that transmittal you did for the 0964 job a few weeks ago." PANIC! I didnt save it. I didnt make a copy and file it. No proof that it was ever sent. Bad Deal.
Example 2: This morning. My co-worker gets off the phone and says, "Leslie, do you remember that color selection rendering we did for that bank a while ago." I respond - "No." We spend 20 minutes trying to find the job number so we can locate the rendering. We need the colors that we had put together the one day I had worked on or heard of the job (about 2 hours of my life, 2 and a half years ago). Seriously.
I never throw things away at work. I file everything. Document everything in 3 places because you can be sure that if you dont do it - someone will need the information a ways down the road and you wont have it.
The example above is what got me standing outside a bank teller drive thru station with a color wand dodging cars as they went through staring at me wandering what in the world this blonde girl with a pink shirt and skirt (and yes it just had to be windy today) and green leather purse was doing taking pictures of the bank with her camera phone (no camera to be found this morning!) and holding paint swatches up against the wall. Even funnier was the look on the bank clerks face when I walked thru the drive thru and rang to talk to her explaining my purpose. What a day!
Did I confuse you? Well, it was on my mind!