Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 7: Task
Repeating a mantra, Zhang Siyi thought to himself patience and perseverance. He tried to convince himself that 500 wasn’t really all that much. It wasn’t even enough to buy himself a pair of jeans. He didn’t want to be so stingy, but he couldn’t help but feel wronged by the deductions in his salary. In this early stage, he had to keep in mind that it was about learning and getting experience and not about the number. Zhang Siyi continued to convince himself: 4,500 wasn’t an issue… the salary is not the focus…not the key…
Zhu Hongzhen saw Zhang Siyi and wanted to ask him where he went and what he had for lunch, but hesitated for a moment then called out: “Are you called Zhang Wei? I forgot.”
Zhu Hongzhen: “Your name isn’t very easy to remember. Do you have a nickname?”
Zhang Siyi: “English name? They called me Dannis while I was in the UK.”
Zhu Hongzhen read it over and said: “That’s worse than your Chinese name.”
Sitting across from them, Bi Lele said: “Since your name is the homophone yisi, how about Aunt Four?”
Zhu Hongzhen: “Poof!”
Zhang Siyi broke down and asked: “Why should I be called an Aunt? I’m a man.”
Bi Lele turned a blind-eye: “We have a man nicknamed Joe sister.”
Zhu Hongzhen: “There’s a woman in Child Labor’s group nicknamed Cool Brother. Ah, don’t worry about these details. I think the nickname, Aunt Four, suits you just fine.”
Zhang Siyi: “……”
“And as you can see in this department, you happen to be the fourth to come. Therefore, it is appropriate to call you the Fourth Aunt.”
Yuan Zhicheng, who was diagonally opposite, looked up and said quietly: “Aunt Four is good.”
Zhang Siyi couldn’t stop it. Several people on the side chanted “Aunt Four, Aunt Four”. He was a little annoyed. He didn’t want the nickname Aunt Four. It was the first day of work and, just like that, his name was changed. Once they set up his computer station, the chance to protest was mercilessly stripped from him.
The office computer has an internal LAN. In order to prevent the outflow of resources, communication and file transfer between colleagues needed to be through internal communication software. The format was somewhat similar to QQ, and all employees’ address books were visible, making it clear at a glance where the information flowed.
Curious about it, Zhang Siyi looked at it for a while and noticed, as was told, the three groups that the architectural design departments were subdivided into. Namely, the Gu Yu group (a), the Child Labor Group (b) and the Choi Group (c). His name was in Group A.
“Piggy, who is this Choi?” The first two Zhang Siyi knew, but the last one he hadn’t heard of.
Zhu Hongzhen: “Oh, you mean Mr. Choi in Group C?” He’s a professor at the J University School of Architecture on the other side of town. His specialty is in ancient Chinese architecture and Boundless department C is essentially his personal studio.
Zhang Siyi knew, indeed there were well-known professors in China who had their own personal studios and many of them would choose to cooperate with larger Design Institutes and design companies.
Zhang Siyi carefully looked at the names listed in his company email. When he saw the words “Gu Yu”, he was reminded of the 500 deduction in his salary and felt depressed. Unconsciously, he double clicked his name to open a dialog box. Before Zhang Siyi had the chance to type anything to Gu Yu, a sentence popped up in the box: “Come to my office.”
Zhang Siyi practically jumped out of his seat. He froze for several seconds and double checked the time stamp to confirm it was a coincidence and not something he neglected to see. He didn’t dare delay and replied with “ok”. With apprehension, he stood up and went to Gu Yu’s office.
He lightly knocked on the frosted glass door, and after hearing ‘please enter’ from within, Zhang Siyi pushed the door open and walked inside.
Even though the room was less than ten square feet there was a large design table in the middle with an iMac, laptop, printer, and stack of materials neatly stacked in the corner of the table. Next to it was a pen holder filled with all kinds of markers, color lead, architectural pens and a measurement scale.
Director Gu sat facing him while behind him was a full bookshelf. The shelves were not only full of professional books, but there were large and small models in the empty spaces as well.
Before he came in, he was thinking that maybe, he would voice his complaints about his salary deductions so he felt a little anxious. The stress of university and job hunting previously made him doubt himself, however, all the negative feeling dissipated when facing the director in his work space. Zhang Siyi didn’t know how to describe his reaction. His inner anxiety transformed into excitement. When looking at everything in the office related to architecture, his past heartfelt yearning had awakened and become like an instinct, rekindling his obsession with architecture that wouldn’t be forgotten.
Gu Yu pointed to the chair opposite his desk and let him sit down.
Zhang Siyi took a deep breath. At first glance, there was a block of calligraphy works on the blank wall to the left. After seeing the words “Zhuge Liang” on the book, he involuntarily calmed down.
“How is it going? Have you gotten more familiar with the environment yet?” Gu Yu asked.
“Almost.” Well, don’t think about salary anymore. The most urgent task is to get through the trial period! Zhang Siyi made up his mind.
Gu Yu handed a piece of printing paper to him: “This is an office building in D-city. Take a look. There are three people in the group who are doing this project. The styling and external details have been decided on. Pointing to another plan illustration, this is the functional partition and outline of the building.”
Zhang Siyi took a glance at the plan, dumbfounded…… it’s huge!
“What kind of drawing software do you usually use? Is the computer set up? Is the software installed for you?” Gu Yu asked.
The atmosphere suddenly became tense with the rhythm of Gu Yu’s dialogue. Zhang Siyi quickly said: “I mainly used ArchiCAD, but I know some AutoCAD too.”
Gu Yu nodded: “ArchiCAD plug-in causes problems sometimes when transferring files. Lu Qiao was having issues when he was working on portions of the plan. You will have to learn the other software we use in the office.”
Zhang Siyi: “Oh…”
Zhang Siyi wasn’t familiar with the other software, so he was unsure how long it would take to render a picture.
Gu Yu: “Draw a draft of this section here. Show it to me before the work day is over.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Holding the reference materials, he returned to his seat. Zhang Siyi has been living in such a relaxed state that he hadn’t wrapped his mind around his work yet. Not only did he need to learn new software in the afternoon, but also, he has to a make a rendering of such a big building. Oh My God! Just shoot me now!
“Did Boss give you a task?” Zhu Hongzhen asked with a smirk.
“Well…” The task was huge. Zhang Siyi didn’t dare to delay. He quickly opened the address book and looked for Lu Qiao. “Little pig, who is Lu Qiao?”
“It’s him,” Zhu Hongzhen pointed to the thin and small figure not far away. “The one in blue clothes, do you see him?”
As Zhang Siyi was asking about Lu Qiao, a message box appeared on his screen: “Is this Aunt Four?”
Zhang Siyi： “……”
Zhang Siyi: “How do you know my nickname already?”
Lu Qiao: “You are the newcomer, right? Someone in the department inquired and Bi Lele has already publicized it.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Lu Qiao: “There are three big rotten girls in the group. Handsome boys won’t escape their claws.”
Zhang Siyi: “[Cry]”
Lu Qiao: “Brother, let’s accept it. I understand your pain ~~ “
…. But why did he read the smell of schadenfreude instead?
After a few pleasantries, Lu Qiao quickly brought the topic back to the task on hand: “The boss asked me to send you information of D-City office building. Did you receive it?”
Zhang Siyi received a large package of project materials and confirmed their delivery. He asked: “By the way, what about the software? Is it true I have to use this?”
Lu Qiao: “Hey, you didn’t know? This software was developed domestically based on AutoCAD platform. Most of the domestic construction projects use this.”
Zhang Siyi: “OK. Is it hard to learn?”
Lu Qiao: “It’s easy to learn! Super simple! As long as you know some AutoCAD, you can learn it in ten minutes!”
Zhang Siyi was relieved and thanked him. With the help of Zhu Hongzhen , he started up the Windows OS and located the icon for the legendary super-simple software, than launched it. Little did he know, “super-simple” was not super simple at all! He struggled for two hours and repeatedly harassed Lu Qiao several times before figuring it out.
When he introduced the electronic map into the design, at five o’clock, it was already close to the days out. …….. super simple my ass!
The cell phone in his trouser pocket buzzed. Zhang Siyi reached for it and saw that Fu Xinhui sent him a message.
Thinking that the draft of the toilet and staircase will be finished soon, Zhang Siyi quickly replied with “good”.
But not long after, Zhang Siyi realized that he overestimated himself.
During his undergraduate studies, he was exposed to small buildings of several hundred square meters. The largest one was the student activity center that was designed when he graduated. The total area was no more than 3,000. Now that Gu Yu gave him a ten-story office building, he was so overwhelmed that he didn’t know where to start.
Seeing that it was almost time to get off work, his had a sinking feeling in his stomach. He hadn’t made much progress on the assigned task.
“Little pig, I was handed a drafting assignment and needed to hand it in before I go, but what if it’s not finished by the end of the work hours?”
As it was the obvious, Zhu Hongzhen said: “Overtime.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Just then, a familiar voice suddenly sounded from behind: “How is the drawing going?”
Zhang Siyi stunned, turned around to see Gu Yu, who was quietly standing there. Gu Yu looked at Zhang Siyi’s computer screen, only to see a few toilets arranged in a mess with a few irregular stairs. He asked: “What is this?”
Zhang Siyi’s cold sweat ran down, and he said: “I, I’m getting used to the software.”
Gu Yu stood in silence in thought. A little while later he spoke and said, “Continue”, then left.
Zhang Siyi saw Gu Yu’s back disappear through the doors at the entrance of the firm, and dared to ask, “Did he just leave for the day?”
Zhu Hongzhen: “Ah? No way. Didn’t he tell you to show him the picture?”
Zhang Siyi: “I just watched him go out. He’s not leaving work?”
He also thought he was fortunate if Gu Yu left work already. He wanted to slip away for a while to have dinner with his friends. He could finish the work at home and bring the completed task back.
But Zhu Hongzhen gave him a fatal blow: “Maybe he went to the restroom. The boss will definitely be back.”
Zhang Siyi: “Why?”
Zhu Hongzhen looked happy: “He is the only boss I have ever seen to accompany his subordinates to work overtime. If you have tasks in your hands, he will stay with you until you finish.”
Zhang Siyi: “………” Help!