Long story short, “I H_D _ BL_ST.” The audition was based largely on simulated game play, in groups that kept getting increasingly smaller as the day wore on. Between two rounds of play, I solved two puzzles — “WHITE COTTON BATHROBE” and “CHOCOLATE LABRADOR RETRIEVER” are now two of my favorite phrases — before advancing to the last round of the tryouts. Just like the show, we were divided into groups of three, in order to play the game against each other… and just like on the show, each candidate had to introduce themselves to the panel (and to the rest of the group). (I was prepared for this — I swore to myself that I wouldn’t use the word “wonderful” to describe my wife, since there are so many more adjectives that I could use. Failed miserably. You’d be surprised how easily the words “wonderful wife” just slip right out. Must be the alliteration. Anyhoo…) Of course, I mentioned that I’m an architect. Why wouldn’t I?
Later, on a bathroom break, I made casual conversation with two of the other auditioners; both commented on my profession. The first said that architecture was something he had considered, but when he saw how much work went into it, and how relatively little money architects make, he decided against it. The other guy, hearing this, offered this pearl of wisdom: “yeah, a buddy of mine went to Drexel, got his degree in architecture… he runs a nightclub now. Makes a LOT more money!” Yeah… thanks. This officially became the second-most awkward conversation I’ve ever had in a public bathroom.
The bottom line is, no, we dont make a lot of money as architects, certainly nowhere near what doctors or lawyers (or, apparently, nightclub managers) are bringing home (and I suppose the fine print, below the bottom line, is that I don’t need to be reminded of that by complete strangers, thankyouverymuch). I’m not going to lie — the thought of making tens of thousands of dollars, in less than half an hour, didn’t hurt… but quite frankly, there’s more to life than money. I have the good fortune of doing what I love for a living, working in a career that uniquely suits my skill set (so much so that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else)… and allows me enough of an opportunity for a balanced lifestyle. I have a great deal of responsibility and often too much work to do in too little time, but in a job setting that allows me a certain degree of flexibility (I could be wrong, but I don’t think a doctor or lawyer could necessarily drop everything mid-week and audition for a syndicated game show). When I have a deadline, I may work through lunch and stay late for a week straight… but if my family needs me, I can usually make arrangements to be there. And if an oddball opportunity pops up, one that might make for a good story later, I might just be able to take advantage of it. And that, I feel, makes me a very fortunate person… even if I didn’t get to meet Pat Sajak. (That’s okay — I’m holding out for Jeopardy!, anyway…)