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Are you satisfied? Are you where you want to be?

Jan 21 '14 13 Last Comment
ArchEngDes
Jan 21, 14 10:38 pm

A quick poll and opinion:

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm? How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm? Are you satisfied with both aspects? Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally. Do you feel that you're compensated fairly? Does one preference outweigh the other for you?

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to? Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters? Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)? Do you feel that want to keep moving on? 

 

oneLOSTarchitect
Jan 21, 14 11:53 pm

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm? Sort of. We design great stuff, wish I was part of the entire picture rather than  just 'parts and pieces'

How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm?

Very Satisfied.

Are you satisfied with both aspects? Money is great, there are things I wish that could be better at the firm, but I cannot complain overall. 

Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally.

No... this is one of my complaints. 

Do you feel that you're compensated fairly?

Yes.

Does one preference outweigh the other for you?

Money talks. 

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to?

Apply to as many of them till you get a interview in this economy. 

Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) There are certain values that I care for, but right now beggars cannot be choosers. 

What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? I will not want to be a CAD Monkey anymore pumping bathroom details and specifying vacuum breakers. Been there done that. I want the entire pie. 

Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters? If the pay was right and the work environment was cool... why not. Would I do it permentaly? Prob not... but if I was desperate and during tough times I would. 

Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)?

No I have not settled. Always looking for positive change. 

Do you feel that want to keep moving on?

Yes. 

ArchEngDes
Jan 22, 14 12:12 am

"There are certain values that I care for, but right now beggars cannot be choosers."

I have not come across that idiom for such a long time. Interesting.

But would you say that you have a hierarchy when you apply? i.e. "Ok, if I do not get any response from the firms I am very interested in, I will start applying to these kinds of firms." We kind of do that with a lot of things (Undergrad, Grad School, Jobs) even if our current state of mind is different. 

You come out of school (maybe) realizing, "huh, I guess it's really was based on my efforts, the school name / program really didn't matter." But then I feel like we still have the same mentality when it comes to applying to jobs? 

mightyaa
Jan 22, 14 11:51 am

As you get older in the profession, you'll discover the irony.  The dollar is found in the management positions.  The management positions remove you a few steps from the creative.  And all positions are challenging, just in different ways. 

So, a younger PA might be challenged with a complicated program and site... design challenges.  He looks longingly at the PM who's making more bank and just gets to critique his work in a hit and run fashion. His PM, just gets to look on wistfully at that creative process, but has to get back to RFI's, putting out some fire, and updating the staffing report.  Both envy each other for what the other has without appreciating what they themselves are doing. 

So the real question is "Are you happy?"  If you are, then the money isn't as big of a deal as long as it's enough.

Xenakis
Jan 22, 14 12:02 pm

after 5 years, I am still a BIM modeler - I now moved up in pay to where I was 5 years ago - I get to do a lot of creative stuff - but it's work anyone in the 0 - 2 year exp. range can do. 

Stephanie
Jan 22, 14 5:19 pm

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm? My firm is a great mix of people with varied experiences - we are about half landscape architects and half architects who work on public realm projects. It's normal for a European firm, but kinda new and exciting for Toronto. It's a perfect fit, design-wise. 

How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm?

Satisfied. 

Are you satisfied with both aspects? Very satisfied, especially considering the alternatives in my field. 

Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally.

Yes. I am "leading" my first project (preparing all drawings, going to meetings, and doing the daily coordination) with close input from one partner and an experienced mentor. It's a much more involved role than I would have expected (I'm 2 years out of uni), but we're a small firm and everyone is expected to step up. 

Do you feel that you're compensated fairly?

Yes.

Does one preference outweigh the other for you?

Both are equally important to me. Paid overtime would be wonderful, though.

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to?

Yes. I applied only to firms I could see myself working at for 3+ years and that would help me learn what I want to learn. That ended up being about 7 offices in Toronto and 1 in Montreal. I was lucky to get responses from 5 of those places, and I like to think it was because my applications were presented very carefully and I didn't just beat the pavement with generalized email applications.

Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) Yes. I didn't apply anywhere I felt wasn't fundamentally aligned with my ideals. 

What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? I am only interested in public realm work (at the moment.) This eliminates most of the architecture/landscape architecture in Canada because I am not interested in condos or private homes.

Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters? I would rather drive heavy equipment for a year in Fort McMurray. And  having lived in Fort Mac for 7 years, I fully understand what this would entail.

Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)?

Nope - I feel fortunate!

Do you feel that want to keep moving on?

Probably within the next 5 years, but mostly because I will never be able to afford a home in Toronto and I have itchy feet for travelling.

Stephanie BraconnierStephanie Braconnier
Jan 22, 14 5:33 pm

And I meant to post that under my real name. Whoops.

thunderclap
Jan 22, 14 7:14 pm

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm? Very satisfied.

How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm? It could  be better, but I'm not starving.

Are you satisfied with both aspects? Yes, to summarize, I am satisfied.

Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally? yes.

Do you feel that you're compensated fairly?

Yes.

Does one preference outweigh the other for you?

Yes, being able to play a significant role in a great design office outweighs the money.

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to?

I'm not looking for work. But if you are, you shouldn't--I don't see why one would set an arbitrary number if one is looking for any job.

Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) Yes, but I've only worked for starchitects (so take that answer with a grain of salt)

What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? If I like the work, I apply. If they pay enough, I accept. If I'm treated well, I stay.

Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters? Never.

Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)? Never settle.

Do you feel that want to keep moving on? Always.

ArchEngDes
Jan 24, 14 1:28 am

Have you ever immediately applied to a Job posting to a firm that you know your design  is completely out of line with the design approach of the firm? I understand that there may be complete aesthetic difference which is quite common, but I have had moments where I have applied to firms for internship postings on the same day and would never hear from them? That being said, some of these firms were places that were building extremely conventional buildings. I would obviously show them technical ability (plans, sections, details, etc), not just flashy renderings. Is it safe to assume that SOMETIMES firms can be intimidated by your work, not because of quality, but it's out of the employers comfort zone when it comes to design? 

Aristotle
Feb 4, 14 5:56 pm

A big no.

Non Sequitur
Feb 4, 14 7:43 pm

Aristotle, 18 comments in one day, we know you're not where you want to be.

bowling_ball
Feb 4, 14 9:22 pm

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm?

Depends on the day and project.  So... Somewhat.

How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm?

Again, somewhat. I'm not starving, but after paying down school loans, I'm not saving anything at the end of the month.

Are you satisfied with both aspects?

Again, somewhat but not entirely. However I'm a relatively new grad (2011) with a long road ahead and the foresight to see a long term relationship if I want to stick around. 

Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally.

Not sure what this means. Architecture is an amazingly broad profession with an even wider scope of duties. Contract  Admin is challenging, but that doesn't make it enjoyable.

Does one preference outweigh the other for you?

I'm in a learning stage right now. Just when I think I'm being underpaid, karma bitchslaps me a reminder that I have a lot to learn, and holding out for a little more cash isn't always justified. The money will come.

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to?

Not if I was unemployed and needed a job. I was unemployed for about 2 months last year and without any savings to speak of, I would have taken a job at a gas station to make ends meet. I'm not too good for that, nor is any grad.

Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) 

i started out this way, scored interviews but no offer. I then applied to a more corporate firm because I had run out of boutique firms, and I scored a job with amazing people, that I look forward to going to work for just about every day. You never know.

What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? 

I won't ever again work for bratty, entitled design snobs. Life is too short to take oneself too seriously.

Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters?

Unless I was an owner or partner, no, not in the long term. But for the foreseeable future, I don't see anything wrong with that so long as there are other benefits.

Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)?

If I'm honest, yes, a tiny bit. But once you finish school and realize that there's more to architecture than pretty pictures, and no, you really don't know it all, you figure out other ways to be satisfied. I learn a ton every day and I live for that.

Do you feel that want to keep moving on?

Moning? Yes.  But I'm not moving on any time soon (been there, done that....)

Benjamin_
Feb 5, 14 11:45 am

How many of you are architecturally (design) satisfied with your current firm? Most of the time - depends on the client/project, but I would assume that's the same for everyone.

How many of you are financially satisfied with your firm? No, but I'm not licensed and I have a long way to go with my building science knowledge so I'm not upset about it. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Are you satisfied with both aspects? Yes.

Do you feel that you're being challenged architecturally? Yes. 

Do you feel that you're compensated fairly? I think so. 

Does one preference outweigh the other for you? I'm not making a ton of money, however I am gaining a lot of valuable experience and making headway on my IDP. That is compensation in a way for me. 

Do you have a limit for how many firms you apply to? I'm not looking for work, but when I was looking I sent out as many as I could. If you take this approach, do your homework and make sure you learn about the firms that show interest. It's like dating :)

Do you only apply to firms that align with your design "ideals" and "aesthetic?" (I am not talking about applying to starchitects, but your local firms.) Not always. I have worked at firms that work for me at the time. I am very happy with where I am now, however, I may switch firms when my career evolves. 

What draws the line for you, as in, "No, I will not apply to this kind of firm." There has to be some kind of limit? Right? I think it's all the vibe you get from the firm. As an intern, I looked for a firm that showed a commitment to developing my skills. If they don't follow through, move on. 

Or would you be okay working for someone who does cookie cutters? No.

Do you feel that you have settled (positive or negative, depending on your standards.)? No. I will quit the world of architecture if this ever happens. 

Do you feel that want to keep moving on? Never stop.

Xenakis
Feb 5, 14 12:07 pm

There is too much competition where I work - all the DAAP pukes run the show and unless you graduated from DAAP you are just a tool for them

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