So you wanna be an architect?

Aspiring designers learn the not-so-glamorous side

At least once a year, some bright-eyed young student calls me up and, either out of academic compulsion or actual interest, asks to interview me about the architectural profession.

I can never say no to these requests, because I had to do the same thing when I was in school. But as much as I try to put a happy face on my profession, when our little chat is over, these kids always seem to leave a bit discombobulated, their image of the architect suddenly not so much Fountainhead as Mr. Potato Head.