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The Architect’s Assistant: 6 Reasons to be a Perfectionist


Thanks to the crazy deadlines there’s an unspoken rule at this architecture company of ‘all hands on deck’. Our working days are currently even more hectic than usual as, alongside the standard work of the practice, we all do our bit in preparation for The Competition 2014 at the Creative Architects: Talks + Exhibition event at the University of Lagos next week (please forgive me for elbowing you in the ribs as I once again implore you to book here).

The sheer amount of planning and hard work involved in staging such an event has led me to one significant discovery.

Secret No. 6 from the Architect’s Assistant

Architects truly are the ultimate perfectionists.

In my view, they are the industry equivalent of the late, great Michael Jackson. He was the master of the perfect pitch, the perfect dance routine, the perfect performance. Such was his persona as the best of the best that few would have questioned his gravity defying move in the Smooth Criminal music video (seen above). It didn’t matter that it was helped along by hidden wires and a hitching device patented by Jackson himself. The fact is the move was perfect. And perfection is what we always expected and received every time the ‘King of Pop’ appeared on stage.

I won’t hazard a guess as to where I would rate on this scale, but I fear it would probably be further left than right.

Perfectionism is a worthy and essential attribute of any professional, especially an architect. After all, none of us wants to enter let alone reside in a building overseen by someone who really isn’t fussed if that wooden beam is hanging 45 degrees in the wrong direction!

However, for lesser mortals such as myself, trying to keep up with a perfectionist can be taxing. Of course, those perfectionists I work with probably find me equally taxing, not least due to my inability to always remember to Justify the text in blog posts (oh, that reminds me….).


Secret No. 7 from the Architect’s Assistant

I’ve come to like this perfectionist nature of my Architect colleagues. It means we all, as individuals or as a collective team, always produce our very best work.

It’s ironic, though, that I should view this trait with such positivity. Search for “perfectionist” online and you will be inundated with results documenting the negative aspects – usually under the general heading of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

I’m obviously no psychologist and so I would always bow down to their expertise. However, it got me thinking what a shame it is that a personality trait which sees a person going that extra mile to achieve success should be surrounded by such cynicism and negativity.

So please allow me a few moments to celebrate rather than condemn the perfectionists amongst us.


#1 You always hit your target

Your perfectionist characteristics result in you rarely, if ever, failing to meet the expectations of others. Thanks to your consistently high standards it is second nature to guarantee and deliver a top-notch product or performance long before any deadline.

#2 You go above and beyond the call of duty

This is especially important in the business of architecture as it means your work includes extra elements which set it apart from that of your competitors.

#3 You are ultra tidy

Neatness and a sense of order in everything you do results in a welcoming environment in which to find inspiration for your next project. It also avoids any danger of the mind being too cluttered, a trait no architect can afford to suffer.

#4 You are rarely sent into a panic

The reason? Because you have already polished, double-polished, and triple polished any work long before the point of delivery it is already at the very highest standard it can be.

#5 You manage your time well

This is a welcome fallout from bulletin points three and four. Because you are naturally tidy, you can immediately and consistently focus on your work rather than be sidetracked by the need to clear your workspace of the previous day’s clutter. When you do finally leave the office, you can be assured that this time is truly your own as there won’t be a last minute call from a client demanding that standards be raised.

#6 You can always be relied on

This trait is welcome not only to your clients but to your friends, family, and colleagues too. There is no better person to have at your side and on your side than you, the perfectionist. This is especially valuable if, for some legitimate reason, a colleague is performing below par as they can be reassured that you will offer critical help and support.

Definitely a female architect in the making, don’t you agree?

So there you go. Although life has taught me that everything should be done in moderation – commitment to achieve is good, obsession is bad – maybe if we all do our very best at all times we too will see great results, either in our personal or professional life (or, hopefully, both).

And if you are going to meet up with us at Creative Architects: Talks + Exhibition at the University of Lagos on Tuesday, 13th May, be sure to thank my colleagues for their eye for detail as it’s thanks solely to them that I reckon the day will be an awesome one for all involved.

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Comments (5)

Excellent Write Up….now i want to deliberately take more time to pay attention to details in my work. To achieve perfection, i do not only have to think out of the box, but completely leave the box behind.

Oh.. really impressive. I could remember trying to do things over and over again just to get it right. Sometimes, my school assignments always got in late.But thats no way due to perfectionism that was due to procrastination. paying attention pays. i love getting things right.

Thanks for this; I have been called a perfectionist for years. When I was a kid I thought it was positive. As I grew and entered the professional world I was surprised to see how few people have tolerance for the perfectionist process. People seem to be more annoyed by it, even when the final product always shines!

Thanks very much, Makeda. We’re glad you appreciated our feature. Look forward to the day you leave others behind and enjoy even more success thanks to your excellent work! We hope you continue to enjoy our blog.

Oh yes @ Makeda.. It is funny people are not patient to see all t’s crossed and i’s dotted but then, they totally love the perfect piece of product or service..

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