Episode 8

full
Published on:

21st Dec 2023

Christmas Tales Of Architecture Past, Present and Future | 008

In this festive edition of Architecture Business Club, host Jon takes listeners on a journey revisiting the Christmases of his past, present, and future as a practitioner in the field of architecture. He shares amusing anecdotes of the wild office Christmas parties from the late '90s and early 2000s, contrasts them against his current quieter festivities as a sole practitioner, and outlines his hopeful aspirations for the future. The podcast aims to build a community of solo and small firm architecture practitioners, offering them support, cheerleading, and opportunities to share their experiences. Jon also teases what listeners can expect from the podcast in 2024.

Episode Highlights...

00:00 Introduction and Podcast Overview

01:34 Christmas Parties in the Past

03:17 Christmas Gifts and Secret Santa

04:13 Christmas Party Gossips

06:45 Christmas Party Memories

11:30 Christmas Celebrations in 2023

14:12 Christmas Plans for the Future

16:10 Conclusion and Farewell

Key Takeaways...

👉 Christmas parties and socialising with colleagues can be important. It builds relationships and fosters a sense of community in the industry.

👉 Giving a Christmas bonus, even a small one, can help staff feel valued and appreciated. This reinforces the idea that small gestures can have a significant impact on employee morale and satisfaction.

👉 Christmas celebrations have changed over the years and can be very different depending on whether you are a sole practitioner or work with a team. If you’ve recently become a sole practitioner try to adapt and find new ways to celebrate.

What To Do Next...

📐Get Jon’s free weekly email newsletter (so you never miss an episode).

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc

📐Leave a positive review to support the show.

https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/architecture-business-club-5485140

📐Connect with Jon on LinkedIn (with a personalized connection request).

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mrjonclayton/

📐Find Jon on other social media platforms by searching for…

@mrjonclayton

📐Subscribe to Jon’s YouTube channel here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZOAac4salmSX0wWRT7JUg

📐Visit Jon’s website here.

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/

In The Next Episode...

Next time Jon reflects on the past year and shares his thoughts on planning the year ahead to set yourself up for success. He also teases what’s coming up in 2024.

Transcript
Jon Clayton:

It's nearly Christmas.

Jon Clayton:

So in the style of a Christmas Carol, or if you're an eighties movie nerd like me

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back to the future, I thought it would be fun to take you on a nostalgic trip down

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memory lane and share a few tales from my Christmas past, present and future.

Jon Clayton:

In this week's episode of architecture business club, the weekly podcast

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for solo and small firm architecture practice owners, just like you.

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He wants to build a profitable future proof architecture business

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that fits around their life.

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I'm the host, John Clayton.

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If you want to get notified, when I release a new episode and

Jon Clayton:

get access to free resources and exclusive offers, then go to Mr.

Jon Clayton:

John Clayton.

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Dot co.uk forward slash ABC.

Jon Clayton:

And sign up to my free weekly email newsletter.

Jon Clayton:

We're about to travel back in time to the crazy Christmas parties.

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Of the late 1990s.

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And then take a quick stop in 2023.

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To reflect on Christmas as a sole practitioner.

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Before finally traveling into the future.

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One year into the future to be precise.

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So pack the plutonium and booklet tight, because we're about to hit 88 miles per

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hour and go back to the architecture practices of the past, present and future.

Jon Clayton:

Welcome to this special festive episode of architecture business club.

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What was the Christmas period like, um, when you worked.

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In other practices.

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For me, it's quite a while.

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Since I worked in another practice, I've been a sole

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practitioner now for over 10 years.

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Um, so.

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I've been thinking about this, about what it was like before

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and about the differences from.

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The Christmas period, what that's like when you're working

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in an architectural practice.

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As part of a team, when you have colleagues around you

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versus what things are like now.

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And I thought it'd be interesting to just take a, a bit of a nostalgic

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look back at, um, the differences and how things have changed for me.

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And, um, maybe some of this will, will resonate with you

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or, or maybe make you smile.

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So, uh, yeah, let's go back to the late 1990s and the early noughties.

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I go back to that period in time I was working in, um, or a couple

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of different practices, I guess, depending on which year we go back to.

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But some of the memories that I have of that.

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Festive period.

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Uh, in those offices.

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One of the things was the.

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The rather.

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Pathetic Christmas decks around the office often.

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It would it wasn't how can we say it was a bit lackluster?

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I think the Christmas decks, the tensile have been recycled many years over.

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There was always at least one member of the team or member of staff

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there that was a bit more overly enthusiastic about Christmas and maybe

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had gone the extra mile and had 10.

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So hanging off their a.

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The large monitor.

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And maybe had one of those little light up USB Christmas trees, but

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generally there was a little bit of an effort with the decorations,

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but it was a little bit enough.

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Want to do the things, which was nice was when we'd get gifts from

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suppliers, contractors, you know, the companies that we worked with,

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I recall sometimes we'd get, um, Contractor would turn up and they'd

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have some bottles of wine for the team.

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Maybe if you're lucky you might get a bottle of whiskey, something like that.

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Talking a gifts.

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Often we do a secret center in the office.

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And, um, usually the budget in those days would have been a Fiverr.

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Not sure you can really get much for a fiver these days.

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I'm sure the secret center budget's gone up a bit since

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the days when we used to do it.

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And often those guests would be generally be a bit naff.

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Um, I think I recall one year I got one of my colleagues, a cliff Richard calendar.

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Which may be if she was, you know, in her seventies at the time she

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might've appreciated, but, um, you know, So it's kind of just a bit of,

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bit of office fundraising, I guess.

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There was also a lot of gossip.

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That time of year.

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There was a lot of gossip about the Christmas party in the office.

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When was the Christmas party going to be.

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Where was it going to be held this year?

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Would it be the, you know, the same venue that they had the previous year?

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Would it be somewhere better?

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Would the boss be trying to do it on a shoestring this time.

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So there was a lot of speculation about that.

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And also wondering about.

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Well specifically when it would be held, would it be held on what

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we used to call black Friday?

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I don't know if anyone else has heard that name, but that was the last.

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Kind of usually rowdy the last Friday before Christmas, that kind of rowdy day.

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When everyone would be out in the pubs.

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And having too much to drink cause they'd been out on the Christmas,

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do all afternoon and often, it would result in trouble later on

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in the evenings for some people.

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Um, I'm sure.

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Think times have moved on a little bit now with a Christmas do.

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Um, but that's certainly how it was back in the late nineties.

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We'd also wonder, you know, what's the, what's the boss going to put

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some money behind the bar this year?

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Was it going to be a free bar?

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We were going to get some free drinks.

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Again, this is very typical night in nineties office environment.

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At least my experience of it, that it was kind of work hard, party hard.

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So we'd be wondering about, are we going to get some free booze this year?

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There would always be at least one member of the team, one member of staff that

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would choose the day of the Christmas due to have a rant at the boss after

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half, perhaps having one too many drinks.

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And then often regret that afterwards and be thinking of.

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Crikey.

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What's the boss going to say to me in the new year, when I get back to work.

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And then often the end of the night.

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One or two of us would end up in, um, one of the usual fast food establishments.

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Having only had like the one meal during that day, maybe the Christmas lunch

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mid-afternoon and then not getting under the meal and then finding ourselves

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in the golden arches at midnight.

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Um, after that Christmas lunch, many hours earlier.

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And you're the big part of it then was, was the post-Christmas do

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hang over the next day because in those days, It was essentially a

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big, it was a big social gathering, but it was a big drinking event.

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As I say, this is going back to the late nineties and early

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noughties when, um, I think that's what a lot of people used to do.

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I'm sure some people still do, but, um, uh, certainly from my point of

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view, it's not like that these days.

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There's a few specific memories I have as well.

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There was the year when the practice that I worked at.

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They went.

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Off paced, shall we say with the choice of restaurant for the Christmas meal now?

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We usually went somewhere where there was always a traditional

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Christmas roast on the menu.

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You can get your roast Turkey dinner if that's what you wanted.

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And then there'd be a field of things to choose from.

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But this particular year, the practice had recently done some

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work for a local pizzeria, and we ended up going there from Miele.

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And to everybody's shock when we got there, the closest thing that

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they had on the menu, the closest thing to a traditional Christmas

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meal was a Christmas themed pizza.

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And yes, you've guessed it.

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It was basically a margarita with some thin slice Turkey stuck on the top.

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So, you know, maybe that would have been okay.

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You know, at the end of the night, The takeaway joy, but for our main

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Christmas meal, Yeah, it was very content controversial that year.

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There was another year that I recall, again, this was in my early career.

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When I wasn't particularly earning a lot of money.

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I was like a trainee architectural technician at the time.

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And this was the year that I got a cash Christmas bonus.

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And this was like, Totally amazing for me.

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I was probably only earning around 50 or 60 pounds a week at the time.

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And when it came to Christmas, just before we went out for our

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Christmas meal, the boss came round with a little brown envelope.

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And he gave me a little cash bonus and I think it was probably about 50 quid.

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So it wasn't a lot of money, but for me at the time, it was like a week's wages.

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It meant so much to me.

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And it meant that, I felt like I was valued.

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And I can still remember it now.

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And this is going back I over 20 years and I can still remember

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that particular Christmas.

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And I just think, you know, I think that was probably the only

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year that that ever happened.

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And I think how, how much Goodwill that would create with the team and the staff.

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If that happened a little bit more often, even if it was just a small amount of

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money, even just 50 quid now, and a few.

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You know, your staff member to go out and, you know, take the partner out

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for a nice meal, something like that.

Jon Clayton:

Remember, don't forget to subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter.

Jon Clayton:

You can do that at mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc.

Jon Clayton:

And if you are enjoying this episode then please visit podchaser.com,

Jon Clayton:

search for Architecture Business Club and leave a five star review.

Jon Clayton:

Now, back to the show.

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One of my earliest office, Christmas memories now.

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Um, and I'm actually a little bit embarrassed to share this, but you know,

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we're, we're friends here on the podcast, so I'm going to share it with you.

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It was, I think it was probably the very first Christmas due that I had with work.

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And I started at this practice when I was 16, straight out of school.

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So I was really young.

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I was under the drinking age.

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So, um, we went out on this Christmas meal.

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And I think I drank wine for the first time in the daytime,

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the daytime Christmas meal.

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And then we went on to drink several pints of beer afterwards, and I

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was trying to keep up with the.

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The older people in the team.

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And I, and shamefully, I can say that on the way home, I was sat on

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the top deck of a double Decker bus.

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I was sick on the bus.

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It's not my finest moment.

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I can still remember the look of horror on the face of, um, a nearby passenger.

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There was a girl who has sat a few seats along from me.

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She saw what happened.

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She ran away from me down the aisle of that bus.

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Like her life depended on it.

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I've never seen somebody run so fast.

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And when I got home, I remember.

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Quickly saying hello to my mum and my dad.

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And then I was like, oh, I'm just so tired.

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It's been a busy day.

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I'm going to go straight to bed.

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But really it was because I was pretty plastered and I didn't want them to know

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that I'd been out drinking because they really, I would have been in the doghouse.

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So that's some of the fond memories, I guess, looking back at it, that,

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that particular one wasn't so full at the time, but, but that's

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kind of my memories of those.

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Um, Wilder days of the Christmas parties from the sort of late

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nineties and early two thousands.

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Actually, there is one of the memory that I should share.

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I did used to work in an office that a big office building that was shared

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with a local planning authority.

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The planners.

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You know, The quiet ones.

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You got to watch out for them.

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They used to have some absolutely wild Christmas parties.

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I went to one or two of their Christmas parties around the turn of the millennium.

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Those guys are absolutely nuts.

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So what's happening now.

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Let's let's bring ourselves back to 2020 free.

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I would ask how, how are you celebrating Christmas this year?

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Because the lead up to Christmas.

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It can feel lonely, particularly if you're a sole practitioner.

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And it's something that it's one of those things until you make that leap and you

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actually become a sole practitioner, you start working on your own.

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You don't realize.

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Um, how much are those social gatherings mean to you over the course of the year?

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And in particular for me, the, the Christmas party was something

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that I really used to enjoy.

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And I didn't realize how much I'd miss it until I didn't have it.

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So.

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What can you do?

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If you want to kind of celebrate the festive season as a sole practitioner.

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Coupla things I usually try and do, I usually try and arrange to go out for a

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nice Christmas lunch with my, my wife.

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We usually go somewhere nice that we wouldn't normally go with on kids.

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And I try and arrange this and book this in, and it's just a little

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bit of an extra treat for us.

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Um, we, you know, we don't go out and eat out that often these days.

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So it's really nice.

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Put it through the business.

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We go out for a nice meal.

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That's that's one thing that you can do.

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The other thing that I try and do and, and encourage you to do

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also is I always try and book a Christmas catch-up with at least one.

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Architecture business buddy.

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So I have some friends in the industry that are also in the same

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position as me running their own.

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Uh, small architecture practice or working as sole practitioners.

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We'll try and meet out.

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pre-Christmas.

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We'll try and go out for maybe a meal or a drink or two and just.

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I have a catch up and talk shop for a few hours and have a few drinks.

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Occasionally I've been invited to join or the practices for that office Christmas

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meal, which is always greatly appreciated.

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Hint hint for next year, everybody.

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Likewise, if you have a, a close working relationship, maybe you're doing some

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contract work or, or you, you know, work closely with another practice, then

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maybe you can tag along or maybe even ask them, say, look, I have happy to

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pay for my own meal, but it would be great to just join you guys rather than

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sitting on my own in my home office.

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Do the thing I'm doing is I'm taking two weeks off.

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I didn't always do this, but.

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The last year or two, it has to be really important to take

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some time off with family.

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I usually spend the Christmas periods, at home generally now with, with my family.

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And this year out of my parents coming to visit from lung Kisha.

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So that's going to be nice to catch up with them.

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And it it's a good time to reflect on what's gone well this year.

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And what could go better this, uh, well, what could go better in the coming year?

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So, what are you hoping for, for the future?

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So let's fast forward to.

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2024.

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Let's go one year ahead.

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In the future, how would you like life to be.

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Next year.

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Well, for me, One of the things that I'd love to be able to do is to take my

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family away on a winter break next year.

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In order to do that, I need to have a prosperous 20, 24 so

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that I can make that happen.

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I want to have 50 plus episodes of the podcast.

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Um, recorded and released by this time next year, we're aiming for at

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least one episode a week consistently.

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I'm determined that I'm not going to fall off the wagon.

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I'm enjoying doing this.

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I hope you guys are enjoying listening to it too.

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So I want to make sure that there's plenty of content for you.

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Over the coming year.

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And I want more people to discover the show so that I can help more.

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So practitioners and small practice owners enjoy what they do more and feel like

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they're supported and that you're not alone on this journey, whatever stage that

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you're at in the growth of your practice.

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I think as well on that.

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That.

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I'd like next year to find a walk, to get more feedback from you as

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the listeners to find out if there's other ways that I can help you.

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Ideally, it would be great to be able to build.

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Build a community rarely, um, of like-minded architecture professionals.

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That uh, looking for maybe a little bit more support and

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cheerleading in what they do.

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That will be a really great thing to come off the back of the show.

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So I hope that's something that we can try and craft it together next year.

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So with that in mind next week, I'm going to be focusing on 2024.

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And I'm just going to share a few thoughts on how you can set up your year for

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success and also tease what's coming up on upcoming episodes of the show in 2024.

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So until then have an amazing Christmas.

Jon Clayton:

And I'll catch it with you saying bye for now.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Architecture Business Club.

Jon Clayton:

If you liked this episode, think other people might enjoy it.

Jon Clayton:

Or just want to show your support, then please visit podchaser.com.

Jon Clayton:

Search for Architecture Business Club and leave a glowing five-star review.

Jon Clayton:

It would mean so much to me and makes it easier for new

Jon Clayton:

listeners to discover the show.

Jon Clayton:

If you just want to connect with me, you can do that on most social media

Jon Clayton:

platforms, just search for @mrjonclayton.

Jon Clayton:

The best place to connect with me online though is on LinkedIn.

Jon Clayton:

You can find a link to my profile in the show notes.

Jon Clayton:

Remember running your architecture business doesn't have to be hard.

Jon Clayton:

And you don't need to do it alone.

Jon Clayton:

This is Architecture Business Club.

Show artwork for Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers

About the Podcast

Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers
Helping busy architecture professionals build a better business with actionable tips and tactics.
Architecture Business Club is the weekly podcast to help solo and small firm architecture business owners build a profitable, future-proof architecture practice that both you and your clients love! It’s an inclusive place (for ALL architecture business owners). So whether you’re an Architect, Architectural Technologist, or Architectural Designer…If you sell architectural services and want to improve the way you do things…This is THE podcast for you.

I’m Jon Clayton, your show host, and a Chartered Architectural Technologist based in the UK. I’ve been in architecture for over two decades and running my own (solo) practice for 10 years+.

Each week you’ll hear from inspiring people from the world of architecture and business who share actionable tips to help you improve how you work, save time, or make more money. I’ll also share my own experiences running an architecture business in occasional solo episodes. We cover everything from mindset, money, business strategy, sales & marketing, productivity, systems & workflows, client experience, outsourcing, software, technology, and much more.

Episodes are kept as short as possible by cutting out the fluff and getting straight to the point. So expect interview episodes of around 30 minutes or less, and solo episodes of 5 to 15 minutes.

New episodes are released every Thursday at 6am GMT / 2am EST.

Welcome to the Club!

About your host

Profile picture for Jon Clayton

Jon Clayton

I’m Jon. A Chartered Architectural Technologist and the founder of Architecture Business Club. I've been working in architecture for over two decades and running my own architectural design business for over ten of those years. My mission is to help you build a better architecture business on your terms. So if you're a sole practitioner (or small practice) architect, architectural technologist, or architectural designer, I want to help YOU. I'm a Northerner but now live with my family in Norfolk, UK. Outside of work, I'm a guitar tottin', kayaking, movie trivia buff.