That is weird, but when you know something — you think it is kind of obvious for everybody. That is why I didn’t really want to translate this article. To my mind, topics related to setting-up goals and self-motivation are discussed and described thousands of times and I will not tell anything new to people who is my age or older.

But when I communicate to graduates architects guys from my home town, I realize that most of them are really in a deep forest of frustration about what to do after final applauds of diploma comity and getting certificate. Because for people who kept their «background radar of opportunities» switched off for many years, any change of environment outside is very, very painful.

1. Background radar of opportunities

What is «Background radar of opportunities» to my mind. It is kind of ability to check what you can change or improve in your life (private, professional) automatically, backgroundly, permanently comparing your current situation to your very certain and very detailed done list of expectations.

In most cases you either have this ability, or don’t. If you don’t have (I call it strategical blindness) — make friendship with people having this radar, they can be useful. And which is important — listen to them.

But at first, before start checking your life, of course you should have this list itself.

2. List of goals

As required by my russian architect friends, I wrote next several posts about interviews. But I would like to start from some pre-work should be done before any interview will happen. Finding out of meanings and description of your personal dream job.

So, in general, this text gonna be a «motivation post».

As for me personally, I believe that it should be some additional course like «Vocational guidance», because 90% graduates are basically infected with the same virus — «life is pain, I don’t know what to do next, there is no work for me». Strategical blindness, yes?

Somehow I believe that it happens not only in Russia (but not sure). This way of thinking leads that people just leave profession, just because don’t know what they want. And, at least, which way to want to.

After a while, even if work comes, disappointment keeps collecting itself like a snowball. But I wouldn’t shame neither employer, no architecture job in general, because in most cases the reason was a wrong niche.

Therefore, I would always start from setting up a goal.

Three years ago, after second graduation, my friend and I wrote my first criterial list of «desired job». I already had «pretty-ok-nothing-to-complane-about» job, except maybe the fact I didn’t want to keep it for another year. But it was 2014, when crisis kept getting worse, and most of people tried not to change anything to keep a comfort zone. To be honest, I didn’t believe myself that my list is gonna change something (as well as my friend). But, as a result — I’ve got a job fitting the whole this list less then in 6 months. And it was a really big step.

In the middle of this year this feeling of deep depression and hellish disappointment came again. I was sitting and whining until my friend came with a paper and said «we are writing a list of your dream job».

You can imagine this feeling of being misery and jerky, because discrepancy in views with previous boss really dropped down my self-esteem. Anyway, after I stopped smearing snot on cheeks, we made this list. It contained every little point clearly described: 1) a team 2) leading person 3) way of designing, scale of works and business model, 4) atmosphere 5) even the way people dress; and 6) location.

That time I didn’t really believe myself. But this kind of exercise switches on your «radar of opportunities», which is working whatever you believe in something or not.

I’ve got 3 offers that week, one of them was completely fitting the list. Completely. Less then a week. That was a real result.

3. Conclusion

The core of the story is: everything starts happening really quickly, when you have a curtain picture in your head. First think — then do (strategy of technical task).

After you have it — you start subconsciously notice every detail that leads to your dream picture and use it. Useful contacts start appearing themselves.

What I suggested to graduates guys to do is to start with any, even random ideas about «the dream job». Just to imagine themselves in perfect conditions that make them happy. Including who colleagues are, what projects look like, what kind of role do they play, even some little details like «I want to have a river next to the office to have lunch there and a guy who is joking all the time». It all counts. What makes sense for only your professional happiness, not somebody’s else.

In general, a list «my dream job» or «my dream environment» or «my dream health condition» etc is not a 1 hour job. Probably you will need a help of opponent. But it is crazy important step, which is better to be done asap.

Instead of conclusion: when somebody says me «you know what you want», I take it as a compliment.




Check my another articles in english:

Creative class

Set up your own technical task

Beijing: architecture, people and city culture


Big volunteer project we organized in my home province to support and protect soviet heritage architecture (2015)

Part 01

Part 02

Part 03

Part 04

Interview with architecture photographer


Photo source:

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