Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 177: Comparison
Jiang Hai: “How did she get in if she doesn’t have a Master’s degree in urban development and architectural research?”
Ren Mengyu: “Yes, that’s right. I remember the time when Su Yuan only had a Bachelors and applied to The Firm after she graduated, but was rejected.”
Feeling depressed, Su Yuan’s mood plummeted even further. She flatly stated: “A Master’s degree was one of the requirements needed to apply to the company. I simply took the chance and since I didn’t fulfill those requirements, I was naturally refused.”
Quickly, Ren Mengyu spoke up to comfort her: “Anyways, maybe she only used her embroidered pillow talk to get herself in the door. Who really knows what the current state of Yu Rui’s design abilities are? Maybe her shortcomings would be exposed and she would have to leave after the internship.
Jiang Hai also followed up: “Yes. That’s true. A prestigious place like The Firm wouldn’t retain someone who didn’t have real talent.”
Silently listening to the group’s conversation for a while, Bai Rui wondered: “Who is Yu Rui and why do you hate her so much?”
For a moment, Ren Mengyu was surprised at Bai Rui’s interest with their conversation. She immediately told the narrative of Yu Rui’s deeds in University throughout the years with her. And thus, she speculated the real reason why she had an internship at The Firm.
While Su Yuan and Jiang Hai occasionally echoed a few sentiments, Zhang Siyi remained silent and only listened.
Not only did Gu Yu dislike gossip, he also didn’t want Zhang Siyi talking about other people’s opinions in his presence. As a result of Gu Yu’s influence, Zhang Siyi stopped gossiping about others people’s business. Once he remained silent, he realized how good of a habit it truly was because his thoughts were quite clear from outside influence.
His ‘wake-up-call’ wasn’t because he was confused before, but rather, he was able to think about the situation clearly and was better able to determine whether or not a person was biased.
Zhang Siyi believed that Ren Mengyu’s remarks had malicious exaggerated elements. Perhaps she used her phrasing as a means to comfort Su Yuan.
Thinking about it in detail, Zhang Siyi didn’t have direct conflicts with Yu Rui. His prejudice against her was in fact due to his group of friends gossiping about Yu Rui’s poor behavior several times.
Of course, there were indeed bad behaviors that she exhibited. As far as he knew, Yu Rui’s undergraduate design thesis wasn’t entirely her own. She had used her boyfriend’s help to complete it. After Christmas last year, she came to find Zhang Siyi and tried to use him as a stepping-stone into Borderless. However, aside from Yu Rui’s style, one-point Zhang Siyi had to admit was that she was very ‘hard-working’.
Even though she used a variety of men to help her get ahead with her designs, written papers, and employment, she seized the opportunity at every chance to gain an advantage. This task is no less difficult and as a result, she probably didn’t have an easier time then her classmates had.
Thinking of his work experience this past year, Zhang Siyi realized that peer relationships in the industry are far more complex than architectural calculations.
The fact is, society can be cruel and dark and that lesson wasn’t taught in University. Since the environment at university was sterile and invigorating, Yu Rui actions seemed to taint their learning experience. Since Yu Rui seemed to be doing quite well, the others felt resentful.
“Anyway, I don’t like her attitude and her usual way of doing things. Anyone in contact with her would know she is such a bitch!” Ren Mengyu looked up at Bai Rui coyly and firmly stated: “Ah! I hope you never will meet that kind of women. By eating men whole and leaving nothing, those types of women are like evil cannibals that will stop at nothing to get what they want!”
Bai Rui smiled and didn’t seem to be so concerned: “I’m not that stupid.”
Ren Mengyu followed up: “How can you remain so calm after hearing the methods she used?”
Faintly, Bai Rui replied: “What’s so bad? She used her skills.”
Ren Mengyu raised her eyebrows in surprised and asked: “What skills? Do you think she did the right thing?”
Bai Rui smiled a little and said: “There is an absolute right and wrong in this world. One only needs to be yourself.”
Ren Mengyu: “…”
Listening to the slight sad, self-deprecating tone, Zhang Siyi glanced at Bai Rui subconsciously and noticed Bai Rui was looking down, squinting in thought. With his face hidden, his thoughts were also hidden.
Su Yuan’s warm nature seemed to be in total opposite of Yu Rui nature in multiple aspects. Unlike Yu Rui, who wasn’t fluent in English as a freshman, Su Yuan studied English for two years before going abroad. Su Yuan is a kind hearted person that is willing to help others. Although she put some distance between them once she learned of Yu Rui behaviors, she maintained her connection with her. She even extended a hand when Yu Rui needed a place to stay in Haicheng.
Along the way, she was supposed to be better than any of them, but at the moment she felt crushed by everyone else’s achievements. Jiang Hai’s good family background provided him a leg up with the start of his career. In addition to having help from family, Ren Mengyu also has a perfect boyfriend. Even the unremarkable Zhang Siyi has come from behind to be successful. Of course, the biggest blow to her psyche would be a person like Yu Rui who used questionable means to get ahead in life.
Su Yuan sighed. Feeling jealous and useless, she felt trapped in a dark abyss. It was suffocating. She was at her limit and the last straw was about to break her back.
Looking at Su Yuan’s despondent expression, Zhang Siyi thought of Lu Qiao when he was desperately crying under the tree in the garden of the inn in Kyoto.
Su yuan reached up to caress her forehead. She spoke to everyone revealing her quivering voice: “Although I know it isn’t something as simple as right or wrong, when I see how well her career is going, it has made me second guess my actions. I’m a little confused about whether or not it’s the way of the world or it’s something about myself…”
Zhang Siyi suddenly interrupted her and cut her off: “You are not wrong!”
Su Yuan: “…”
Startled at Zhang Siyi’s unexpected and sudden outburst, everyone turned to stare at him.
Immediately, Zhang Siyi followed Su Yuan: “If Yu Rui really relied on special means to get the job at The Firm, then she is not worthy of envy. She has a Master’s and a good job, but so what? How much of her effort was actually her own? Su Yuan, you are different. You are a hard-working down-to-earth person and from the beginning, you were our role model in University. Fame isn’t measured by your success of failure. You have true friends and by this fact, you are already better than her!”
The group remained silent at Zhang Siyi’s unexpected statement.
Knowing how cheerful Su Yuan normally was, Zhang Siyi was anxious to comfort her as he was afraid she would become depressed. He continued: “One of my seniors told me, impulsiveness mostly comes from being unconfident and the root of the cause is not having enough experience. I used to feel architecture was very hard and a difficult path to pursue in life. No matter how hard I tried, there was someone else who was always better. The fact is, I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else.”
Zhang Siyi learned his lesson while working with Tao Fei. After finishing his drawings, Zhang Siyi thought he was keeping up with him. When the project was presented as a whole, the difference between their abilities were clearly evident. Zhang Siyi’s sense of achievement was crushed in a heart-beat. It wasn’t until he changed his goal from peer-to-peer comparison to an overall goal of being as good as Gu Yu that his hasty decisions and outlook in life changed. Since then, his sense of impetuousness has gradually disappeared.
Zhang Siyi said: “We only need to compare ourselves with our past performance. It has nothing to do with others. As long as I am a better person them my past self, isn’t that all that matters? Su Yuan, I know you like architecture. I still remember a time when you were up late designing and you told me that you gave up two years of college in order to pursue your architectural dreams….. Have you forgotten?”
Under the stress of life, Zhang Siyi also forgot about his youthful dream. Gu Yu had reminded him and now, he has been standing in the distance with open arms, waiting for Zhang Siyi to catch up.
Not only was Gu Yu his favorite person and eternal goal, he was also like a beacon, constantly guiding him and leading him forward. No matter how many obstacles were around Zhang Siyi, Gu Yu didn’t let him retreat.
With determination, Zhang Siyi simply gritted teeth and exhausted all his energy to just struggle and move forward. He didn’t allow setbacks and distractions to get in his way. With such dedication and perseverance, he would achieve his goal. Then, when his youth was gone, Zhang Siyi wouldn’t need to complain about the injustice of the world and the cruelty of fate.
“I know that the domestic construction market is also very bad at the moment. We can’t change the world, but we can stick to our own path. Life will inevitably have some ups and downs. When you hit rock-bottom and feel tired, take a break, then move on. It is better than giving up. Su Yuan, you also mentioned the years spent learning architecture. How bitter would you feel if you tossed it aside? Remember the original reason you wanted to study architecture and focus on it to propel yourself forward.
Caught in the moment, Zhang Siyi’s serious lecture finally came to an end. When he looked around, everyone at the table was staring at him wide-eyed like they were noticing him for the first time.
Feeling a little embarrassed, Zhang Siyi shrunk back and said: “Um….”
Breaking the silence, Jiang Hai spoke first. He exclaimed: “Wow, Siyi! Look at you!”
With admiration, Tian Yujing looked at him and spoke up: “So philosophical!”
Ren Mengyu: “When did you become so wise about life?”
Even Bai Rui looked at him full of thought.
Feeling moved, Zhang Siyi’s words reached her heart. Su Yuan looked at Zhang Siyi for a long time and softly said: “Thank you, Siyi.”
Capturing the moment in a playful manner, Ren Mengyu started clapping: “Ah! He deserves a round of applause!”
Jiang Hai: “Ha-ha-ha” <clap><clap>
While they were applauding, Zhang Siyi felt embarrassed: “I, I just mentioned…..”
Now feeling a little better, Su Yuan raised her soda cup and touched Zhang Siyi’s glass: “I didn’t expect to be lectured by my little classmate.”
Zhang Siyi: “Well, I included some of my own feelings since working….”
Su Yuan drank from her cup and said with emotion: “As you said, I should really think about my reasons for being an architect. Right now, the situation is dragging me down and I feel like dying. Whether it is temporary or not, a job change might help me readjust my outlook and help me decide what I want.”
Zhang Siyi nodded. Knowing his own words seemed to help his friend, he was really happy. He couldn’t help himself: “My company’s working environment and wages are good. In fact, I can also ask my company about employment. With your abilities, I feel like it would be a good match.”
Su Yuan thought her experience at her company was common among the businesses in the domestic construction industry. Now listening to Zhang Siyi, she was curious and asked him for details.
Zhang Siyi: “Currently, my wage is almost nine thousand, before tax.”
Except for Bai Rui, in amazement, everyone else exclaimed: “Wow! It turns out, the richest man here is you!”
Su Yuan was both shocked and excited: “More than twice as much as I earn now!”
Scratching his head, Zhang Siyi said: “Well…. actually, the wages aren’t my main source of income. Project bonuses are.”
Jiang Hai joked: “Looks like you are treating tonight!”
When he heard Jiang Hai comment, Zhang Siyi quickly stopped bragging: “What! Why? I thought we were guests of Ren Mengyu’s boyfriend! I don’t believe he earns less than me!”
Raising his eyebrows, Bai Rui looked at Zhang Siyi with a smile and asked: “Who said that?”