Saturday, April 24, 2004

Channeling Della Street.

It's take a lot of work to be an assistant, I find. Sometimes I think my number one duty at work is to be amenable and agreeable, even at eight o'clock in the morning. Sometimes I also think I should be more ambitious, that I should aspire to be the architect instead of the drafthorse, but really, the only consistent piece of my career development has been my desire to be someone's assistant. When I was in high school, I figured I'd be an administrative assistant. In college, I thought maybe a personal assistant to an author. In graduate school, I decided I'd just as soon be a research assistant as anything else. So, design assistant isn't really too far off the path I've so far tread.

Anyway, I spent 90% of my week trying to figure out how old buildings are put together. Monday and Tuesday were really stressful because Louis wanted me to do a section of the existing storefront, and I no idea what I was supposed to be drawing. It's very difficult to draw something hidden from view behind drywall and a tin ceiling, and even after Louis sketched out what he thought might be holding up the brick facade, I had to take two trips down to the building to puzzle through what he was trying to show me. And I took another trip down the street after I started drawing elevations, because I couldn't envision the coved ceiling by myself. I'm to the point where I know now what I'm supposed to be drawing, but I can't imagine what comes next after I finish the elevations and enlarged floor plans on Monday. I guess that's what the architect is for, he has a greater vision of the project.

I actually look forward to the other 10% of my job, all the odd administrative tasks that need to be done. It gets me away from the computer screen and away from thinking about the design. Louis does all the books, of course, and all the project planning. I'm slightly better at getting paperwork put away than he is, so I find myself scooping stuff off his desk and clipping into folders every now and then. I do a lot of last minute printing and running bluelines, and I do most of the running between our office, the blueprint shop, and the FedEx office. I seem to be doing all the FedEx labeling and transmittal printing. It did occur to us this week that I could sign transmittals my self, but there's something very satisfying about fanning a stack of papers across Louis' desk and telling him to "Sign this, this, and this and here's a pen." It makes me feel immediately useful, and that's not a bad way to feel.

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