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I'm about to graduate from an M.Arch program and would love to hear some inspirational stories of recent grads finding jobs and living in places they enjoy. It would be great if you could say what region you went to school, how long it took you to find work, what type of firm, and the location. Also, commuting distance would be interesting. Can you go to the gym? Time for a little positivity.
I'll start. After taking the summer to kind of figure out where I wanted to go and letting my brain relax after a grueling thesis year, I decided on Chicago or New York, with Chicago being my first choice due to having everything I wanted (not having to move for an M.Arch II when I decide to go for it, being able to see the Reds play at Wrigley every now and then, being able to teach at some point, so on and so forth). It also had the pro of being familiar as I grew up 4 hours away and visited often. Once I narrowed it down, I had interviews within 2 weeks of beginning my search in Chicago (while still being in Indianapolis), and within a month and a half I was hired at a firm known for its community based design, largely affordable housing. Housing definitely wasn't what I imagined I would be doing if you would have asked me at this time last year, but with what I've been learning even at only two months on the job I wouldn't trade it for anything.
To answer your other questions, I went to school in New Orleans, I'm 15 minutes away from work by bike, bus, or car, and I have plenty of time to go to the gym (but haven't joined one yet).
It's nowhere near as bad as when I graduated with my BS Arch in 09. No one was hiring so I spent a year in China. I graduated this May with my MArch and an offer from the firm at the top of my list. However, I had to wait until September to start and I was assigned to a much smaller office (50 person) in Dallas. I had interned with them twice, once in 2008 and last summer 2011, in their main Florida office (400+).
Working for the smaller office has afforded me the opportunity to take on more responsibility. I'm doing less "architecture" and more project management which has been a rather eye-opening experience. I haven't opened revit in over a month (in the office) and I'm okay with that. To answer your question undergrad in the midwest, grad school in Texas, 2.5 years working experience. 10 minute drive in the insane heat, otherwise i'll bike it in 25-30. I work 7am-6pm(some Saturdays), but have a 90 minute lunch break and my gym is across the street. The company perks are unbelievable, I'm studying for exams and I couldn't be happier.
Congrats to both Josh and LITS4FormZ.
It's good to hear you guys both found work relatively soon, and that you're seeing the best of the new firm/lifestyle mix.
Josh, affordable housing is an awesome field to gain experience in. I know a lot of cities in the North East have new master plans requesting huge amounts of the stuff. Also as an architect, it's one of the fields where we can have the most impact, doing the most with as little as possible.
The fact that you have a gym across the street is awesome. I would definitely consider that a huge perk. Congrats on gaining experience in project management too.
I actually just got an offer from a place I interned at in the past. Not sure what the conditions are but it's definitely good to have that in my back pocket. I'm still thinking of taking at least a month of to decompress and get my ducks in a row.
It took me a little over a year to get everything in order and find a job. I went to school in north Idaho and live and work about 10 miles from there across the border in Washington. I graduated in 2011 and started with my current firm in July 2012. The firm is medium sized and gets mostly education facilities and other local projects throughout Idaho and Washington. Overall it's a good working environment with supervisors that care enough to take the time and teach me things I don't know and are working with me on IDP.
Best part about it is that my wife didn't have to quit her job and we live in an apartment we both love and is really close to work. My commute is about a block; I haven't timed how long it takes but between one and two minutes would be about right. In fact, those that drive have to park in a lot that is about twice as far away than my apartment is from the front door of the office.
I don't go to the gym but part of my benefits would pay up to a certain amount each month to reimburse me the cost of a membership. Instead I try to run and cycle outdoors when the weather cooperates. My wife and I are seriously considering getting a membership though.
More info on any other specifics of my job search can be found on my blog, http://archinect.com/finding-my-first-job or by asking.
Good luck 10