Friday, January 26, 2018

The straw that broke the camel’s back! The final post for (the first incarnation of) debunkthebim!

Being unemployed is nothing to be ashamed of, one would think. Especially, when one considers it as a short interlude between two highly rewarding positions. After all, one has not spent over 3 decades of one’s own life to hone one’s skills  and then be thrown out as a piece of garbage at the time one is probably best able to fully commit to one’s career without feeling the guilt of underplaying the role of parenthood.

But, of course it is. Being unemployed is to be ashamed of, society dictates.
It is a stigma that one carries, and it becomes heavier as time goes on.
One does not like talking about it and I don’t (to the surprise of many) like to chew over it publicly either.
Even beyond the uncomfortable first couple of weeks when the boot was so strongly edged in one’s backside that is physically hurt, it is hard to accept not to be wanted, let alone stating it openly.
But as so often in the past, I have this (possibly misguided feeling) that sharing one of my stories of the unemployment experiences, may help someone feel a bit better about themselves.

Actually, it is not the fact that one’s skills are no longer valued or wanted, that bothers me so much. These can be rationalized (even by the bitterest of souls) as the workings of the market economy.
Nor is the financial hit that hurts the most.

It is the apparent lack of motivation by others, to treat one as a person any more, the apparent ease, those that have the power to change the ‘unemployed’s’ status one way or other – to seemingly parade this power by …. wait for it… using the strongest of weapons: silence…
That is the real killer.

So, let me share a short, personal story!
For the good fortune of this blog, it is very much a BIM story too, so very fitting to have it published here.
Because it is a real story with real, international and powerful companies involved, I will attach references to relevant communications embedded within a slideshow, with a link added to the end of this post.
A couple of names are blanked out, these are the people that offered their hep out of the goodness of their heart and I do not wish to put them up for any unpleasant exposure.

So, here we go.
I am a BIM person, most people that know me, know that.
(If they don’t know that, they don’t know me).
I have had various titles in my past, starting as an architect, registered architect, project and design - to innovation and BIM implementation managers, but, put simply, I am an ‘old fashioned’ architect trained professional with quite a bit of global, large project delivery experience and in-depth, practical (hands-on) knowledge of BIM use. (call me modest too 😊).

When the opportunity to become a BIM manager for BAM (I know, BIM /BAM) for their freshy awarded, 5 star, YAS, Stadium project in Abu Dhabi, UAE (ref 1) happened, about a month or so in my unemployment, I got very excited.
It came about from a personal referral (ref 2) and soon enough, I got a call from a very pleasantly sounding (I guessed, HR assistant) lady to indicate the company’s intention to have a Skype interview with me.
The lady was upfront enough to say, that she had little insight of the role or project itself, but indicated that both my CV and salary expectations would be passed on straight to the regional BIM Manager of BAM.
(I know, sounds silly too, but this is not an appropriate place to make jokes about the acronyms).
I would be soon (I read: within hours) be contacted about the Skype interview, the lovely lady chirped.

It did not happen.

I would be dishonest to state, that I was not hopping for it to happen, with all my heart, even though I knew the moment the lady said the decision for the person hired to be this particular BIM manager (for BAM) will be made by the (I guessed) general/regional BIM manager (for BAM) as opposed to a clued up and capable Project Director, I knew my chances to get the job were ZERO.

Still, for a further self-torturing exercise, I did a research on who this possible person might be, and all directions pointed to a Mr. Derek Bourke. (Ref 3).

Now, Mr. Burke is possibly an extremely likable chap with a hefty 4.5 years long BIM career under his belt (hmmmm, Ref 4), fortified with a short burst of CAD technician-ship, but no one in their right minds would have expected him to recommend me join the company in any capacity.

OK, my husband did, but he really wanted me to get this job and be happy again.

Moving on.
Nothing happened.
Having past another milestone of applying for yet another 100 or so positions with little or (mostly absolutely) NO feedback, and feeling pretty miserable for it, I retreated back to my trusting old blog and set down to write down the BIM-BAM experience.

However, this event NOT being just another ‘give us a break, we get zillions of applications and who the hell you think you are, to expect special treatment’ case, I though, let’s give the guys a fair go (Ref 5), the opportunity to opt out on a ‘budget for the role is low’, ‘lack of stadia experience by me!’ or whatever other PR statement they’d wish to throw into my direction, yet… surprise, surprise….
Why bother? – A blank, crude and rude ‘silence’ would suffice just the same.

So, here we are.
I did not get the job. Did not even get that blimming Skype interview.

Hey, I can always say, I never wanted it anyway…
Which would be so untrue, as oh, I so did want it.
But will anyone care? of course not…

Yet, (again) I hope, that this little writeup may make someone feel a bit less miserable about being treated like an invisible, yet persistent annoyance, and trust me, most of you are sooooo much more employable, anyway – if you are a man for a start….
Not really keen to get into the big gender debate, but I have still both of my ears buzzing from my past job’s cocky construction managers saying how they come to work to GET away from their blimming, winging wives not to listen to another nag them on. (like me) . Oh, did I say CMs? One was a glorified carpenter with a lot of self esteem problems.

And, while many may think that this writing is pure ‘sour grapes’ – let me instead, call it the turning point.

As indicated in the title, this IS the last of these posts in the debunkthebim.
The squeaky wheel of my self-mockery will no longer need to be oiled, it is to be terminated with this post.
From now on, I intend to dedicate what remaining professional career I have, to something ‘fundamentally positive’.
The naivety of this last statement might make you cringe, but, just for the off chance that I actually get this one right, watch this space.

Some, or most of the past content of the debunkthebim blog will go – so, this could be the time to copy the juicy bits you liked from it or just enjoyed for the guilty pleasure of me taking someone to task you thought deserved it too.

The platform will remain in one form or other, so do stick around.

And again, here is one for all you poor, non-volunteered, unemployed buddies out there! And another for those of you that read this blog over the last 7 or so years.



  1. Your blog has furnished much food for thought over the years, thank you for all the grapes, be they sour or sweet.

    I hope you well, please share your thoughts on whatever, they will be welcome

  2. Dear Cliff,
    Thank you for your encouraging words – these years have been hard, going against the wind most of the time, yet even with sometime being hit by a lot of loud ridicule the numbers in readership have been growing.
    I wish you best in your own endeavors and hope to add some positive vibes to your daily work with my new undertakings. Regards, Zolna

  3. Zolna, I've been reading your blog pretty much since you started it, I may not have agreed with you on all the points, but that is the point, finding a contrary view to one's own to balance our opinions. I will miss your missives and wish you all the very best (and "ya-boo sucks" to BAM.

    1. Thank you too for your comment - I do get positive and negative feedback but that does not worry me as (just like you said) there should be discussions from various angles. And this is sorely missed within this industry almost in all areas (not just BIM).Feeling as a lone soldier has been draining at times but the numbers behind the readership of the blog talk for themselves.

  4. Hi Zolna, one suggestion: why instead of fighting with the powers that be and waste yourself in mega projects that will be irrelevant the minute the ribbon is cut, you share what you have learned along the way in your carreer with young architects all over the world. Im sure a lot of us would be glad to pay you to have you as an advisor/tutor/teacher.

  5. Thank You for sharing wonderful article.BIM is truly the new era construction methodolgy.

  6. Zolna, I've been reading your blog pretty much since you started it, I may not have agreed with you on all the points, but that is the point, finding a contrary view to one's own to balance our opinions. I will miss your missives and wish you all the very best (and "ya-boo sucks" to BAM.
    Thank You for sharing wonderful article.BIM is truly the new era construction methodolgy.
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