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    Unpaid internships are so hot right now

    Design practitioners have many options. The diversity of small businesses in design fields allows employees to find work that truly matches their creative and financial goals. But do unpaid interns have choices too?

    I recently read an article in Spare Change News on the prevalence of unpaid internships. Although it does not discuss internships vis-à-vis architects, the article goes into great detail on the legalities of unpaid work in the United States. View it here:

    The Underground Intern Economy

    I should say that the author of the article is also currently dating me (whasup!) and suggested that I write this post to re-frame her topic for the design community. Here is a summary of the article's salient points:

    • An unpaid internship at a for-profit company is illegal if the intern's work is an “advantage” to the company, displaces paid staff, or is not similar to academic training.
    • Supply of entry-level workers is outgrowing demand, intensifying competition and driving the price of labor (i.e. wages) down to zero for some people.
    • Recent graduates frequently need experience to win an entry-level job (irony?), and unpaid internships are often the only way forward.
    • Unpaid internships are expensive for workers because of housing and transportation costs. These employees therefore pay to receive professional experience.
    • In the U.S., the word “intern” routinely connotes work without pay. It is becoming standard practice to deny wages to interns (although no formal statistical sources actively explore this trend).

    If you look at the infographic I made for this post, you'll see that the cost of an architecture degree is higher than that of a standard 4-year bachelor's. This is not only because of the extra tuition and housing expenses required for a 5-year architecture degree, but also because of a higher opportunity cost. College may be a great investment for the future (and as my notebooks always said, “College Ruled”), but full-time students lose out on potential wages while they earn degrees. Those lost wages are the cost of college: a missed financial opportunity.

    An unpaid internship after graduation raises the (opportunity) cost of attending school. Think of it like a tuition increase. But, unlike other disciplines, architecture holds a 13.9% unemployment rate for workers fresh out of college, not to mention twice the average student debt. Victory is ours. For young architects to then accept unpaid internships requires additional financial resources, attained either by working multiple jobs as baristas and babysitters, or by dipping into Mom and Dad's expense account. The result is decreased diversity in the workplace: affluent parents are able to finance their children's living expenses, allowing them to gain valuable experience and pull ahead of their peers.

    Isn't that gloriously ironic? Not having a salary... is a status symbol. But the fact is that many cash-strapped graduates are simply not able to work in their chosen field because the only job openings are unpaid. In historically prestigious professions, such as law or medicine, the high cost of education and prolonged training periods of minimal pay become barriers to individuals of lower socioeconomic status. Architecture is no different. And with the number of unpaid internships increasing for many other professions as well, it is tempting to see this as another form of unconscious class discrimination in the U.S.

    Why are interns falling over each other to work for free? It may be that design professionals simply champion self-sacrifice: think of repetitive all-nighters in college studios, or the overtime work required in fast-paced firms. In American culture, young people are made to pay their dues to prove that they can handle the pressure of an elite service industry. Unpaid internships fit well into this paradigm, as they illustrate an employee's work ethic and enthusiasm for creativity.

    Many interns enjoy the challenge, and they understand (rightly so) that unpaid jobs are temporary learning experiences that will produce stronger resumes. But for Gen Y, the practice of unpaid internships may soon become the contemporary equivalent of the entry-level job.

     

    Further Reading:

    A comic spin on statistical thinking:
    http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/2011/05/01/architecture-stats/

    Department of Labor Internship Laws:
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

    Good opinion blog of unpaid internships:
    http://unfairinternships.wordpress.com/faq/ 

     

     
    • 43 Comments

    • Donna SinkDonna Sink
      Aug 5, 12 8:46 pm

      I would love to see your graphic hanging in every architecture firm in the country.

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 5, 12 10:20 pm

      Great infographic. A year and a half ago I was disturbed to realize the extent of the unpaid internship problem, so I decided to do something about it and started a law firm to help spread awareness of the labor laws as they apply to unpaid interns and get illegally unpaid interns paid for their hard work. This problem can end once unpaid interns stand up for themselves. I know this is extremely difficult to do, but there are a few brave souls out there that will do it. It's only a matter of time. Check out my website at www.internlaw.com. Keep up the good work. 

      jla-x
      Aug 6, 12 3:57 am

      I love it!

      davvid
      Aug 6, 12 1:28 pm

      Y.Rubin, do you have any success stories to report? Has anyone ever sued Peter Eisenman about this?

      Kevin MacNicholKevin MacNichol
      Aug 6, 12 1:30 pm

      Y. Rubin, love your blog as well - the "prisoner's dilemma" post is a great way of thinking about this issue. Keep up the good work!

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 6, 12 1:48 pm

      @davvid - I have settled cases for a bunch of unpaid interns from a variety of fields. Employers tend to get scared and want to settle. I even got an unpaid intern for a big law firm in NY a large settlement. Find me an unpaid intern who worked for Mr. Eisenman and I'll go after him. It only takes one person to bring about big changes.

      @Kevin MacNichol - Thanks for the compliment. I'm trying to do what I can to stop the exploitation. But I can't do it without unpaid interns who are willing to let me try to get them paid.

      Leanne.OB
      Aug 6, 12 8:23 pm

      @Y.Rubin - Do you mostly go after big fish? What about smaller companies that are exploiting interns? 

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 6, 12 9:13 pm

      @Leanne.OB - I definitely go after smaller companies. I have seen small companies that have replaced many employees with a revolving door of unpaid interns.

      b3tadine[sutures]
      Aug 6, 12 9:47 pm

      nice. but, um, if we really want to show we care, show we have what it takes, then what grad students need to do is call for a general strike, boycott petey's class - and every other ass-wipe - then, and only then, maybe, they will hear you, but short of that, nice info-graphic?

      Priyanka KarpePriyanka Karpe
      Aug 7, 12 1:41 am

      I can totally relate to your poster ! I graduated from USC with a masters degree and all I got offered were unpaid internships !

      aphorismal
      Aug 7, 12 2:38 am

      Certain classes of people, in business and society in general, get marginalized because an overwhelming alliance of powerful interests is arrayed against them.  The infographic hit it right on the head: interns have no power.  Every other group in the architecture community has a vested interest against paying them:

      1) Clients want cheaper bills

      2) Firm owners want cheaper labor

      3) "Experienced" architectural employees, who support an exclusionary "vetting" process to keep wage competition down, and oppose punitive action against employers, as legal penalties = layoffs

       

      Again, I HATE that it has to be this way, but in an industry with X amount of income and, as of now, no real way to grow that income, the question comes down to how you split the pie.  Paying interns more means someone else, somewhere, is getting screwed, be it an "experienced" architect out of a job, an employee who takes a pay cut, or a previously unpaid intern who now has no internship at all.  The law might say one thing, but the market says another.

      davvid
      Aug 7, 12 12:23 pm

      @Y.Rubin - That's awesome. Keep up the good work. 

      royc
      Aug 7, 12 2:28 pm

      #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; } Great infographic, great article. It's a hell of a problem...

      For reference, check out the work that Tom Fisher (dean of the University of Minnesota's architecture school) has done -- he's written a lot about ethics and architecture more generally, and has done a lot of research specifically on the issue of unpaid interns.

       
      Gregory WalkerGregory Walker
      Aug 7, 12 5:07 pm

      y.rubin - good article. you posed the question: "Why are interns falling over each other to work for free? It may be that design professionals simply champion self-sacrifice: think of repetitive all-nighters in college studios, or the overtime work required in fast-paced firms. In American culture, young people are made to pay their dues to prove that they can handle the pressure of an elite service industry. Unpaid internships fit well into this paradigm, as they illustrate an employee's work ethic and enthusiasm for creativity."

       

      personally, i don't think these are really it: if you boil down who are the biggest offenders, it's firms which are smaller to mid size 'starchitects' (involuntary retching break). now, that's a really broad brush, but i don't see perkins + will, som or hok asking for unpaid interships. so, why is this? i think the iterative processes and sheer magnitude that many of these firms will engage in and the need to produce volumes of 'collateral' for publications, clients, etc. simply (and probably can't) be attained within a normal fee structure. it's why most firms don't work this way. because we have a perverse insecurity with the artistic production of our profession, lauding it above and beyond all, the game is about who can scale the heights to get the kinds of commissions that put them into the 'historic' territory. upaid interns are a means to that end. unfortunately, the publicity machine that architecture feeds also has a long history of paying more attention to the progeny of the starchitects before them. the allure of having that credit on your resume is a high one. and, sadly, we'd all have to admit it works in many cases. so, while i completely agree with your position, i understand why people do it in those cases. and, yeah, it perpetuates a lot of of the positions you describe but the world we live in, for the most part, isn't truly that egalitarian.

       

      on the other end, if it's a truly crappy firm that does shopping mall revamps and they're trying to get free labor... well...that's just pathetic. 

      Kevin MacNicholKevin MacNichol
      Aug 7, 12 5:39 pm

      @Gregory Walker - Your argument makes a lot of sense: the desire for publicity and other non-financial endeavors encourages architectural firms to cut corners with employees' wages so the firms can afford riskier, more competative commissions.

      However, because unpaid internships are also ubiquitous in many other industries that don't value publicity and artistic pride (as much), I would have to disagree with you. I think this is about money, not glamour or press, and plenty of mediocre firms don't pay interns.

      If only we had some statistics on what kinds of firms actually do this, we could truly see what size/style firms are stingy with salaries. Until then, anecdotal evidence is the best we have!

      Gregory WalkerGregory Walker
      Aug 9, 12 8:59 am

      kevin - where i'd counter is that  (1) i don't see the evidence that it's as widespread in other white collar professions. does it exist? yes, but not so much in accounting (for example). 

      so, yes, money plays a part, especially in the past few years when everything's collapsed. but in boom times? i don't think the mediocre firms would have been able to do that. and, yes, it would be great to see stats on what's truly happening, but unpaid interns are a little like fight club. rule number one is...

      davvid
      Aug 9, 12 10:12 am

      I'm very much in favor of shaming these firms, the clients that hire them and the organizations that give them awards. If the AIA hands an award to a firm known to be participating in sketchy unpaid intern fight club, it should be challenged. Perhaps there should be a grading system similar to what the NRA uses to lobby politicians. 

      arthurliu82
      Aug 9, 12 11:21 am

      The White House Internship is unpaid.

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 9, 12 11:31 am

      @arturliue82 - The government exempted themselves from the law. http://www.workplace-weekly.com/2011/12/ten-categories-of-totally-exempt-workers-under-flsa/

      pdigi
      Aug 9, 12 1:00 pm

      @Y. Rubin Do you also deal with the independent contractor issue?

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 9, 12 1:28 pm

      @pdigi - I handle independent contractor issues. Is there a specific independent contractor issue you are referring to?

      jeffry_136
      Aug 9, 12 2:04 pm

      After seeing these statistics about unemployment bouncing around the web for the past year... does anyone know with certainty whether the unemployment numbers for architecture graduates are referring to undergraduate degrees or professional graduate degrees?  Obviously this distinction has significant bearing on the meaning of this data.  Thanks for any insight.

      Gregory WalkerGregory Walker
      Aug 9, 12 2:12 pm

      davvid - to the aia's credit, they have actually refused to award the gold medal to anyone who is known to be using unpaid labor. hence, peter eisenman won't have to worry about getting an award any time soon. 

       

      that said, i don't know if it extends to anyone who has ever (in their history) used unpaid labor or who is currently using unpaid labor. 

       

      for the yearly awards, you actually do have to sign a form in which you declare you do not use unpaid labor (or at least you used to - i haven't seen the forms for the past few years). 

       

      it's a start...

      pdigi
      Aug 9, 12 2:19 pm

      @Y. Rubin - I'm referring to misclassification.  Have you dealt with firms who have hired young workers as independent contractors?  Generally from what I've seen, recent graduates don't know the different between an independent contractor and an employee.

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 9, 12 2:28 pm

      @pdigi - I haven't dealt with this issue, though it definitely is a real problem. My firm has focused on unpaid interns, however, we would definitely help misclassified independent contractor if we were contacted for help.

      there is no there
      Aug 9, 12 2:57 pm

      Wondering how the stats for unemployment considers those "working" for free...

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 9, 12 3:08 pm

      @there is no there - unpaid interns are not counted in the unemployment figures released by the government. They are not considered to be actively looking for work. Imagine what the unemployment rate would be if they were counted.

      jack003
      Aug 9, 12 5:09 pm

      Good article and I have to start by saying I agree with all your points and outrage at the employers who practice this. However, it is unfair to not equally blame the interns. Nobody has to take an unpaid job and everyone refused they would not exist. As an architect you are a college educated adult, have the good sense to know that while architecture is a great pursuit and we all are passionate about it, once you have graduated it is a job and you should be paid for it. If you want to do it for free, that is your decision, but then you cannot complain about it. There are plenty of firms, large and small, that do not use unpaid labor. I do not mean to take any blame away from the architects, but it needs to be spread to all involved.

      chigurh
      Aug 9, 12 6:34 pm

      amen!

      architects feeding on the young like vampires!

      y.rubin, i like what you are saying you represent, but the reality is that lawsuits and fear of litigation are part of the reason why it is so difficult to make a lucrative career in architecture.  Interns should get paid no doubt, but all the lawyers on the construction side of things need to back the f up off the profession. 

      1970 on was the downfall of any professional practice in this country because of the influx of lawyers at that time looking for somebody to sue.
       

      Y. Rubin
      Aug 9, 12 7:02 pm

      @chigurh - Hear what your saying. There is no doubt that there are too many lawyers and many of them make everyones life more difficult, but there are good lawyers and bad lawyers.

      In every field there will always be those who will do anything that gets themselves more money. With regards to the unpaid internship problem, the fact is that putting everything else aside, businesses are trying to save themselves minimum wage (around $15k for a year of full-time minimum wage). Sadly, I have learned that as the economy went down the tubes, like George Costanza trying to get out of a house on fire, everyone looks out for themselves and kicks the young and old to the side.

      Leanne.OB
      Aug 9, 12 9:12 pm

      Not sure if this was mentioned yet; there is a great blog devoted to shaming architecture firms that don't pay their interns, it is called (rather fittingly): Architects Who Eat Their Young.

       

      http://pimpingarchitects.blogspot.com

      OBO Olaf Design Ninja
      Aug 12, 12 4:37 pm

      the point about "shitty business" hits the nail on the head.

      the starving artists approach is not a business model, it's a religious devotion to ideals that can rarely be justified by any actual form of socially acceptable means that define value, like money..

      architects who offer unpaid internships really aren't out of line given the general approach of academia to the eduction of an architect.

      You spend 5-7 years to earn a professional degree with most your time concentrating on nothing professional or useful (skills like putting together a construction drawings set and know how to write documents and emails to avoid a lawsuit).  after 5-7 years of dropping thousands of dollars on how to develop your design sense while often battling with peoples suffering from delusions of granduer (professors who have built one project but are expert "Designers") you enter the field with a "strong opinion on design" but really nothing of any use to a firms that makes a living (firms offering value to the construction and real estate industry).  of course working for a strip mall producing firm is not ethical (design wise) so you shoot for firms who have "strong opinions on design" and since you still think "Design" is the truth about architecture and not - acquiring any professional skills or intent on doing something of value to the society you ultimately deny (money is evil, etc...) the right fit for you is a firm that offers you nothing other than the ability  to further brain wash you with regard to their "strong opion on design".

       

      think of it this way, a free internship is step up from paying $300K for college to learn nothing of any use to anyone in society.  ok maybe a good floor plan and some good color choices matters sometimes, but you can learn that watching HGTV.

      Steven WardSteven Ward
      Aug 13, 12 7:15 am

      i support everything this blog post and graphic are attempting to do but will just suggest that the graphic needs to be clarified and copy-edited. 

      Maureen Rahman
      Aug 13, 12 5:30 pm

      agree

      iamus
      Aug 14, 12 10:16 am

      I have several solutions and none come with sugar coating either. These are issues I've been thinking, talking and facing since I got my first low-paid internship right out of school in 1996 when I took a 50% pay cut working for the city's recreation department to be an architectural intern. Imagine trying to pay rent on $4.50 / hr and consistently getting paid late. I took that shit for 8 months (4 months too long in my opinion) until I got my next "real" internship at $6.50/hr. Man I was living large.

      --------

      1. Maybe start by encouraging "interns" to stop working at the starchitect and small boutique firms that won't hire you directly and bring you on as an "independent contractor" so they don't have to be responsible for payroll taxes, unemployment benefits, vacation and health care insurance, but then require you to adhere to their office policies like you are a normal employee. This type of practice by some architecture firms I know of from friends having worked directly for them (NYC firms seems especially bad) think this is an acceptable way to do business. But really all it does is pass their cost of employment off on the intern and benefits them enormously by having an endless stream of "interns" willing to work 60+ hours a week on unpaid competition projects whereby they get paid late or not at all. 

      If architecture firms start valuing their employees as something more than a unit of labor measurement, then perhaps society at large will start respecting architects more as well. And I'm talking about remunerative respect not perceived respect. Even Rodney Dangerfield got respect.

      2. When you have architects willing to cut their fees so low or work for free to simply "have work" does everyone in the business a disservice because all it does is further the downward spiral of under-compensated architects everywhere and makes fair compensation and undervalues the seriousness of our profession. How is it that a trash collector in Seattle can make more than a mid-level architect practicing in most major cities? What does that tell you?

      3. We need to start having NCARB reduce the number of graduating architects. Why do doctors get paid so well? Because the med school boards limit the number of medical students every year which means the demand outstrips supply. We also need to make it so that we're not constantly undercutting ourselves by low pay and our historically failures at being business people as well as architects. 

      4. We need to hold the AIA's feet to the fire and demand they ramp up their awfully pathetic lobbying capabilities at the State and National levels. Pushing for State laws that make it harder for every Tom, Dick or Sally who calls themselves "designers" to legitimately be allowed to creep into architecture. I'm sick and tired of seeing interior designers and decorators pretend they can design a house, cafe or office space when they can barely pick out appropriate fabrics and finishes for the application at hand. 

      We also need the AIA to really push for legislature that requires an architect or engineer for every type of structure except tool sheds. Maybe if we make it so that people understand why architects are important - that we do more and offer more than simply drawing the "outside" of a building and make it "pretty" then maybe we can recapture the ground we've lost over the last 50 years.

      iamus
      Aug 14, 12 10:38 am

      I would add that there are several white-collar professions that take advantage and exploit the unpaid internship. Washington D.C. is a hotbed for this. 

      I have friends in journalism and law that have worked months to a year plus as unpaid interns so they can get the experience for that first low-paying entry level job. I have a friend that interned at the Huffington Post for over 8 months for free until she was giving a 'monthly stipend' which amounted to a few hundred dollars a month. That lasted another 6 months until she was hired on as a staff poster.  Needless to say, without her wealthy parents monthly support for that period, she would't have been able to afford her internship.

      Another friend in law faced similar issues with his first internship doing unpaid clerking.

      I mean--how is it that medical students during a residency (mind you) make more than some architects? It's because we've bought into the notion that we have earn it somehow by suffering for our art. I used to think that way but really? Why, as a licensed professional with years of education, experience and the on-going expense of licensing fees and continuing education should I have to live just above poverty level to practice?

      I'm not talking about making millions or 200K a year, but a decent enough living that I'm not living paycheck to paycheck, I can pay off my debts and take a vacation without guilt and not stress out about whether I have to pay for groceries with a credit this month or cash.

      Architects do a really good job of equivocating why we're not paying ourselves or employees a decent salary commensurate with our experience and skills and this is coupled by the fact that we, as a profession will undercut each other to get a job which leads to clients shopping for services where firms (even on public projects make little to no profit).

      We've done such a poor job of education clients and the public at large about what we do and the value we provide that people don't understand why it costs so much money or takes so much time to design and produce drawings that enable a contractor to build their project without issues, not collapse or leak and somehow manage to imbue the project with intangible qualities that bring delight and pleasure to the inhabitants of our buildings.

      pdigi
      Aug 14, 12 10:54 am

      @iamus

      "1. Maybe start by encouraging "interns" to stop working at the starchitect and small boutique firms that won't hire you directly and bring you on as an "independent contractor" so they don't have to be responsible for payroll taxes, unemployment benefits, vacation and health care insurance, but then require you to adhere to their office policies like you are a normal employee. This type of practice by some architecture firms I know of from friends having worked directly for them (NYC firms seems especially bad) think this is an acceptable way to do business. But really all it does is pass their cost of employment off on the intern and benefits them enormously by having an endless stream of "interns" willing to work 60+ hours a week on unpaid competition projects whereby they get paid late or not at all. "

      That is misclassification and it's illegal.  Not to mention a whole separate issue that does a disservice to the profession.

      iamus
      Aug 14, 12 11:24 am

      @ pdigi,

      Oh I agree that it's illegal but my dear friend in NYC has had this happen to her twice by two different firms. She was hired on but not informed that they were paying her as an independent contractor. They then basically set up a desk and workstation for her where she went to work everyday that their office like a normal employee would. 

      Then when they laid her off (err terminated the contract) she tried to file for unemployment benefits and was informed by NYC that she didn't qualify because she was an independent contractor. She also had the pleasure of discovering all of the taxes she now owed at the end of the year.

      Sadly...this seems to happen elsewhere where neither the employee or employer fully understand the legal issues of using independent contractors and blurring the line by treating them / requiring them to keep normal business hours like a salaried employee.

      Gregory WalkerGregory Walker
      Aug 14, 12 2:10 pm

      iamus - but you're hitting one of the reasons that both the "ind. contractor" and upaid interships exist: the fact that our current labor laws are quite broken. 

       

      i'd argue (and have before) that what we need is some way to hire people for short terms, without incurring the potentially massive backside costs if/when that term ends. for example: i've won an interior office buildout that's going to run 3 months, but don't have anyone else in the office who can pick up the work (it would be full time for that period). if i hire someone as a full employee for that term and can't keep them employed after that ends...well, if they file for unemployment, i could end up paying far more than my short term profits in an increased payroll tax the following year. so, it's a tough call - do i pass on the work? ideally not. but should someone get 99 weeks of unemployement benefits for a 3 month job? no as well. (and let's not even touch healthcare.) so, that's just one example that happens a lot and causes a lot of employers to look to the independent contractor rule as a way to reasonably avoid a deeply punitive law. (and yes, one could go through a temp agency, but that could be just a prohibitively expensive and still doesn't get the employee long term benefits)

       

      the reality is most of our labor laws were crafted in a time and place where you could theoretically spend your entire career in one firm. those days are gone but we haven't developed the answer yet.

       

      and, yes, this happens in many service/white collar positions. part of it, clearly, is also the desire not to pay the benefits costs, but i'd argue that's both a function of the broad flattening of the job market from a global perspective, as well as firms who are operating on razor thin margins.  

      pdigi
      Aug 14, 12 2:58 pm

      @Gregory Walker

      Although I do not run my own practice, I understand where you're coming from and why many business owners are considering independent contractors. 

      However, as someone who has been misclassified, I have a problem with those business owners who deceive younger architects and designers, particularly new grads, into thinking they are long term employees.  Rather than making it clear what they want from their new hires, they hold the promise of benefits and healthcare in front of the them like a carrot and stick.

      If business owners want to give someone applying for employment a job, then they need to make their intentions clear and not disguise the work as an opportunity for gainful employment.  There are plenty of people who are out of work or underemployed  who would love to do some drawings or renderings for quick cash.

      iamus
      Aug 14, 12 3:23 pm

      @ Gregory, 

      I have no issues with the "independent contractor" way of hiring but employers need to be upfront to a young employee what that means. It means they are responsible for paying their own payroll and unemployment benefits and that they are, indeed, independent. Which means you aren't requiring them to sit at your office and use your equipment and adhere to your office policies. That isn't "independent contract" labor. 

      Now, my wife's firm takes a different approach and hires people on for a limited contract basis which means they come on for a specific job that might last 3 months or 6 months, but the firm pays them hourly with no benefits but does pay the payroll taxes. The person doesn't have vacation or earned privileges that a salaried employee does but the person has no illusion that they're "independent" or permanent. At the end of the contract period, the firm may hire them on as salary or let them go depending on the work demand and performance. 

      I think that is a fair way to do it. Some firms hire young grads as "independent contractors" but base the pay like they're paying someone a small salary. So that person may conceivable get a rate of $30K a year but that's without any taxes taken out. The grad is left believing that monthly check might be after taxes and if not, then suddenly their now only early $20K because they're responsible for the taxes.

      I definitely think there has to be some flexibility in being able to hire when you need to and being able to pay accordingly. I think some professions game it to reduce their legal obligations.

      I have a friend that worked as a "ind contractor" for a design/build firm here in NO and was underpaid for several years. It wasn't until he left for better opportunities that he realized he could have given himself a raise at anytime by simply raising his hourly rate instead of waiting for the firm to give him a raise. As an independent contractor, the firm had no obligation to recognize his contribution to the firm.

      It's sad because my brother-in-law acts as a environmental consultant to oil companies in Calgary and sets an hourly rate of $100/hr which cover all of his taxes and gives him a comfortable living. He signs fixed contracts with firms of two years and then moves on.

      I can't imagine the architecture industry accepting such a deal when they can get cheap domestic labor pratically willing to pay for the right to work there.

      Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Aug 14, 12 5:08 pm

      @gregory walker isn't that what temp services like Kelly Services or consultants/contractors are for?

      The irony of course begin that often consultants make (depending on field) significantly more in short term than the people employing them...

      Sonia MoranSonia Moran
      Sep 7, 12 10:46 pm

      Well done!

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We live in uncertain times. Let's use the uncertainty to redefine the way we are valued and the way we measure ourselves, to create the context for the change we want to make.

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