Summer 2017

“10 things I wish I’d known” by Geoff Mules

Partner Geoff Mules retired from Churchill Hui in April after 30 years’ service and over 40 years as an Architect. Looking back, he outlines 10 things he would have liked to have been able to advise his younger self. An honest and insightful read.

1. A work/life balance is so important
I didn’t realise how quickly my children would grow up. One minute they’re small and dependent and the next they’re off doing their own thing. Make time to go to assemblies, plays, dance shows etc. no matter how busy you think you are. It means the world to them and you won’t get the chance once they’re older.

2. It’s more productive to delegate
It’s hard to ‘let go’ of jobs you enjoy but it’s more productive long-term to delegate your workload. People might surprise you with their capabilities given a chance, and helping them learn a skill will free up more of your own time.

3. Endeavour to go home on time
I definitely feel that productivity diminishes the longer you stay in the office. If possible, get away on time, sleep, rest and eat well for the sake of your health and work performance. On your return, you’ll have a fresh pair of eyes and be more alert - and less likely to send that email that was written in haste.

4. Try and switch off - literally
Aim to leave work at work. It’s harder now that mobiles offer 24/7 access to emails, news and your calendar, but looking at the screen all the time means you miss what’s happening in the real world. My wife gets very annoyed when I am constantly distracted by my phone (and she is always right - see point 10).

5. The necessity of computing skills
In the architect/construction industry, IT skills weren’t essential - we still drew by hand in the 1990s and the digital era didn’t impact us that much so I didn’t embrace it. However I do find IT systems quite difficult to navigate and it can be frustrating now that everything is online or computer-based.

6. Jumping straight in isn’t always the best approach
Being spontaneous is more my style but I’ve learned it pays to exercise a little caution at times. My advice is “think before you ink!”

7. A pension is a must
When I was younger, I thought I was invincible (we all do, probably). Looking back, I should have started saving for my pension earlier as you never know what’s around the corner… like my daughter’s wedding this year!

8. It’s worth learning a foreign language
Growing up in Wales, I didn’t know where France was for years. I stopped learning languages once I left school but now realise that being fluent in a foreign language opens many doors, particularly in the business world. By being fluent I mean really expressing how you think and feel, rather than just getting by.

9. Seize a travel opportunity
If it feels right, go! In 1977 I turned down an Architect job in Kuwait but regretted it. I ended up going a few years later. My advice is to trust your instincts and make the move. My son Nic lives in Australia – we miss him but I’m glad he has ventured to work where he wants.

10. My wife was/is/will always be right
We’ve been married for 35 years so something must be right, and I think it’s probably her!

Although retiring from his full time position at Churchill Hui, Geoff plans to continue working as a consultant Architect, mentor and tutor – perhaps focussing on his keen interest in historic buildings and churches. You can stay in touch with Geoff via LinkedIn.

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