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I actually have a lot of questions related to this topic, but I will try to be concise: what steps can I, a young architectural professional, take to move upward in the architectural food chain? Is it typical to really struggle financially and professionally until one is registered? And, if registration is my ticket to the career I've always hoped for, why does it seem that offices I have worked in are full of underpaid, overworked, bitter, kind of pathetic Registered Architects? And, if that's when my career will just BEGIN to take off, why do firms seem so reluctant to help me take on more CA and management responsibilities to complete IDP; and, insist that I work 60 or more hours per week for a salary that barely covers basic living expenses? When exactly am I supposed to have time for supplementary experiences and studying for exams? I have done extremely well academically, always been employed even throughout the recession, and get consistently high praise from my employers, but I am basically a drone and I'm quite sick of it.
It all comes with the game - and that's the way it is
Look - If you enjoy the work and do what it takes - then maybe the rewards might follow - there are good times -" enjoy them while you can" and then there are bad times "when you will be on your own" and have to start over again as I have on two occasions - yes prove yourself all over again - It's the work that's the payoff - not the expectation of a payoff.
but I am basically a drone and I'm quite sick of it. - Here is the problem - you said it - you affirmed it - want different results then say different things.
"The joy is in the doing". Don't expect to change an office you are employed at. For most people, Architecture is a marathon, not a sprint. If that office isn't fulfilling your wants and needs, you can try another. But...that office will most likely be just as disfunctional as the other. As far as the office experience, it takes time, luck, and ability to take advantage of situations when they arise.
I'm curious as to what your expectations were or are. Perhaps your expectations of this industry are unrealistic.