The Architect Virus. Professionalism, Career, Status, Narcissism & Entitlement

What’s with this “Architect” virus going around? Why does everyone want to be one? Is it because of status, narcissism, entitlement, money? No really, why?  I know some architects who work very hard and earn just as much or a little more than most other professionals. Their responsibilities and stress levels are a few notches higher than most however. What about status? That’s just bragging rights. Sure you can inflate you’re résumé or LinkedIn profile a bit with that but that’s about it. You don’t need to be an architect for that. Just call yourself “Senior Master Enterprise Technology Architect”, no need to do anything more than to type it in. Inflation, that’s what it is. Once you needed like 10 to 15 years to become senior at anything. Now 4 years out of school you’re a senior consultant with years of experience. So now we need some more titles to make the distinction I guess. Entitlement? Are you that good? If so how come no one sees it?

OK, so you have big dreams of being an architect. Do you have the skills to go with them? Prove it. Start working as an architect. Act like one, work like one and maybe one day you’ll even become one. Being an architect is not a title, it’s not about how many post grad training you receive or master classes & conferences you attend. It’s not a pay scale; it’s not a promotion or a status. None of these things define an architect, let alone make you one.  It’s all about what you do and achieve. It’s about results and value. Hell, you can have three PhD’s and two Post-doctoral Certified Guru certificates hanging on your wall. Those are all fine, but tell me what your value to the business is? How do you hold up in a passionate discussion with industry experts?

An architect is someone who is capable of designing, building, implementing and supporting medium to large, more of less complex systems in such a way that they function well and that are not or do not become a burden to the organization that uses them. In that respect, my mum used to be a great “domestic architect”. She had a very small budget, big needs for her family and like a true engineer she created very workable and productive solutions with very little money using the resources at her disposal. Al lot of people today couldn’t hack that effort. No way. Did she moan and complain? Occasionally, but most of the time she was working and making sure everyone was taken care of and got all they needed. She never got any status or money for that. No bragging rights, she found satisfaction in doing a great job. She also got some respect.

Why do some people act like spoiled brats? Frequently in direct contradiction with their ambitions. I see this in job applicants, and people on the job at the places I work. There is nothing wrong with ambition, earning your fair share, being rewarded. But all too often people expect this up front. Instead of earning they are into getting mode. That just doesn’t work. You don’t get a job, you don’t get a pay check, you don’t get respect, and you don’t get knowledge. These things are earned, not given. Now there are and will always be bad bosses, exploited employees, dysfunctional organizations and such but please don’t be a narcissistic entitled brat. Don’t complain about problems, help solve them.  Trust me, if you really work in a dysfunctional place beyond repair you need to leave. Run! But if you stay … that’s your decision. Perhaps that pay check and benefits are not that bad after. Or are you, contrary to your ego, not convinced that some other business will pay big bucks for you added value? Whatever the reason is, start doing your job. That is what earns you the paycheck & benefits. Moaning and groaning can be an outlet to vent some steam but it doesn’t solve anything in the end. Don’t give me “It’s not my job”, “That’s not my responsibility”, “My boss should do this and that”, “Someone ought to do that”, “This should be fixed”. Don’t moan when you’re constantly going on about being a great professional, too good to waste your time on the lowly work and are “working on becoming an architect”. It’s bad enough for someone who’s just doing enough to prevent being fired, we can really do without the gripes from someone who claims he’s going to lead. There’s an old army saying: “Shit flows down, gripes flow up”. Your team doesn’t care if you think you ought to be paid more and deserve more gratitude or demand more status.

You’re probably an engineer or a likewise highly educated professional with an above average wage. What do you expect? That they pay you that wage to whine about issues and that “someone” must fix them. Wake up sun shine. That is your job!  Do you really think that the high end wage and great benefits you’re being paid is just to show up and find that the company is running perfectly already? Nope, you’re there to take care of those problems and work towards a better organization. Are you doing that? Are you really sure about that sport? Why on earth do you expect to be patted on the back, made compliments and expect status promotions and raises for sitting around complaining? Take responsibility and build that better organization, that better infrastructure, that better team or that better application. It’s your job, your responsibility. When you’re always in the “what is in it for me” mode, taking care of number one, are you really doing your job?

Leading a team, being a go-to person also means thinking of the team. You need to look at the needs in function of the plans for achieving results, the desired out come and what the team needs to get the job done. If you don’t, you let everyone down. That’s why I am disappointed that the first time people are given the opportunity to put together a conference delegation based on the above mentioned specifications and they do the following: send your themselves. They didn’t make a plan for the team; they didn’t ask around or discuss the needs and plans. They just pocketed a conference or training. “Hey, I’m not being paid to take care of that. My boss should”. Perhaps your boss is drowning in work. Perhaps he could have used some help. Help you could have provided, proving you’re capable of helping the team, supporting your boss and take responsibility”.  If you can’t even get that right, how on earth do you think someone will ever listen to you, follow your lead or give you a promotion? It won’t happen, never, ever. They are just advertising their own short comings for the job they claim they aspire to do.

So do your job well and good. Your job satisfaction will increase, people will notice what you can achieve and will start working with you with greater confidence, enthusiasm & results. Working hard & smart generally leaves you a richer & experienced person. And perhaps, not guaranteed, you might get a raise for that. But even if you don’t your job life will be a much happier one. If that’s not enough for you … well there are plenty of organizations that will hire you and pay you the big bucks if you have such good and in demand skills that deliver outstanding results.

All of this can be summed up in one sentence. Instead of expecting to get things because you think you’re entitled to get them start earning them by working for it. In the long run, what do you think will work out better? Assume the role & responsibilities, do the job before the title and the raise. And no that does not mean you have to work yourself to death. But 9 to 5 coasting never made anyone an expert. Here ends the career lesson.

One thought on “The Architect Virus. Professionalism, Career, Status, Narcissism & Entitlement

  1. Pingback: Quality Of Life, Being Valued, Standby, On Watch, Over Time, Emergencies, Arrogance & Entitlement | Working Hard In IT

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