Become irreplaceable

If you are just another cog in the machine, nobody will ever take any notice of you. Good luck getting that promotion when you are invisible! You have to become completely essential to your workplace. The best way to achieve this in any reasonable span of time is to pick one area that you are keenly interested in.

Do you have a passion for sustainable building? Maybe pillars and gravity distribution are your jive? Pick one big interest and then commit to it with maniac energy. Learn as much as you can about as much as you can, delve deep into the minutia of that single area of architecture.

While generalists get on fairly well in any scenario, especially in early stages of work, it is the quirky specialists that are in highest demand. That saying “Jack of all trades, Master of none” does have roots in reality. You can read more about that eternal debate in this article.

Never stick with just one mentor

Remember, people are your single greatest resource, more so than libraries and online databases. One mentor is just not practical anymore. Look for everyone who has the skills you want to develop or holds positions you aspire to reach. Whose role do you want to take over?

Take that person out for a drink of choice, ask for their advice and experience with the professional world, and then listen attentively. These friendly meetups can boost your professional development by leaps and bounds, not to mention that you have high chances of the person willingly taking you on and training you as a figurative heir.

Remember to be a teacher

This is actually a direct continuation of the previous tip we listed. The teacher-student relationship is a highway that goes both ways at one. If there is something you are skillful in, something you are very knowledgeable about, get it out there! You can find some awesome advice on how to give a good lecture on any topic at this web page:

Hold in-house conferences, make study session groups for your team or the entire company (yes, seriously). Spread what you know and reach as far as you can with it. This is a great way to stand out as a leader while also building a reputation for being a great team player.

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Directly request the things you want

This cannot be said enough. Forget hints, go make (polite) requests. Ask for that raise, that project, etc. Proactiveness is always a bonus to your reputation. Plus, it spares you the agony of playing Chinese Whispers and missing out on your due rewards.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The comfort zone is a zone, not a world. You have to leave it sometimes. Whether you need to give a speech, propose a new design, whatever, get a grip on your discomfort and face the challenges head on. Most professional architecture entities, like Superdraft and other companies, pride themselves on innovation. Ride that train and emulate the successful daredevils.

Leaving your comfort zone, even just temporarily, helps you overcome anxiety, improves your ability to think on your feet, and builds up resilience that will keep you safe in future stressed situations. So let it rip, and then come back to the comfy corner for just a little break.

Failure is your friend

Do you know that anecdote about Thomas Edison and the lightbulb? After it burned out or exploded a hundred times, his apprentice asked why is he not giving up after a hundred failures. Edison replied: “What do you mean ‘failures’? I found one hundred things that don’t work!” This is the kind of mindset that you need to have.

Keep in mind that everybody messes up something at some point, and more than once. If you never failed, you never tried, right? The point is to use those hurdles as launch pads instead of letting them become tripping stones. After all, a failure is a perfect example of things that are weak and that you can improve. So chin up, make the best of it, and never make a mistake that you do not learn from.