Studied architecture now don't know what to do with my life

Feb 20 '14 26 Last Comment
Feb 20, 14 1:59 pm

I am originally from Istanbul/Turkey, currently living in Los Angeles.

Ok, I have my bachelors degree from architecture and I graduated from university in 2010.

After my graduation I started working as an architect in an office in Istanbul. It was a 30 people office working on various types of projects. From the first days of my first real job I didnt enjoy it even a bit and I attributed this feeling to being a newbie, after all I was a rookie and this was the times I had to go through. I was applying revisions to existing drawings and cadding bunch of boring stuff, working with people that i couldnt really relate to.

After a while my boss realized my performance wasnt so high and decided to try me in the concept team thinking maybe I would be a better fit there, supposedly I could be more creative and enjoy the profession. At this section of the office I was trascribing the sketches coming from the head designer into Revit or AutoCAD and drawing, playing with 3D models and masses. I was excited about that and he was right, I started enjoying my job better. But that was not enough after a while the whole thing started to feel horrible, I lost all my enthusiasm in short time, started questioning if I have enough passion or interest to keep pursuing  architecture as a profession. Because as you guys know very well it takes almost all the time of and it becomes your life. You can not practise architecture from 9-5 and only week days.(at least its what i am led to believe) All these happened in a year and completing my first year in that office I quitted my job.

My personal life was getting a bit complicated too and I had no idea what to do with my life. Got quite depressed and took bunch of medication. Spent a couple of months in dark moods and recovered. Started on a soul search in my own terms. When depressed period was gone I did nothing for 3 months but partying and getting social, talking to people about how i feel towards architecture.

I signed up for a 9 month programme at UCLA extension called global sustainability and came to Los Angeles. It felt really good to get away from my city and I started to clear my head, making new friends and getting small jobs. And I made this a quest for me to discover what my passion is. My thought pattern was "if my job is gonna become my life it has to be something that I am really passionate of and shouldn't feel like work-at least should be bearable.
Oh btw I also worked in an architecture office in LA to see that if I can like it better, to see if the problem was my office. Nope it wasn't, I could only take it a month and had to quit. Each day, when i come home I was feeling horrible, let alone having any enthusiasm towards design I was hardly finding any towards life as long as I am locked in front of that computer.

When somebody asked me to describe my problem towards architecture I always said that I dont like being locked in an office, staring at the computer for hours and hours. I am not quite sure if this is my problem but I know for sure that i like doing more physical things but at the same time i like being creative, too. I am in love with skateboarding, have no intentions of making it a career but I think being creative and physical movements in me comes out as that.

I feel like i am waiting for a divine answer which is never gonna come. I think i might enjoy and be good at some field related to design, too.

I have been in LA for more than 2,5 years now and I tried many jobs from working in theatres to selling jewelery at flea markets to working at art galleries to bartending, making films, working with interior designers. Made bunch of friends from all walks of life and its been a crazy journey. But.. There is a huge but! It is getting really frustrating that I still have no clue about what I wanna do with my life.

After being in this whole phase of my life I am feeling a little bit more enthusiastic about architecture and design but it doesnt feel super right.

Anybody has any ideas or has been through the same path? I can really use some advice.




Marina CM
Feb 20, 14 3:02 pm

The more you stay stopped the more you are going to be behind... so take your time but not too much... are you sure this wouldn't happen in any other field? Sign up for boxing classes. People are going to hit you regardless of your inner state. It is the same with life. Maybe you are not appreciating enough what you have. Or maybe Architecture is not you passion. Or maybe it is but you need time to rearrange your personal life. 


"if my job is gonna become my life it has to be something that I am really passionate of and shouldn't feel like work-at least should be bearable" - Welcome to the real world!! Work feels like work. I love Architecture but many times I'd like to be in Bahamas instead of working on some proposal. Just like perfect love bliss relationships don't exist.


I could be wrong, too.

Feb 20, 14 3:05 pm

My advice? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get a job doing something (doesn't necessarily have to be architecture), and if you dislike the job, start looking for a new one but don't just quit your old job. It shouldn't be a revelation that you won't be 100% passionate about every aspect of an entry-level job. The work that you are describing at your old firm seems pretty typical to me for an entry-level designer.

Xenakis is correct, get your shit together.

Feb 20, 14 4:33 pm

I appreciate all the comments.

Even though I am a hardworking person I think i focus my energy on wrong aspects and dont set clear goals.

Marina CM
Feb 20, 14 4:46 pm

It is easier than that. Try to start enjoying your life. 

Feb 20, 14 5:02 pm

just be lucky you weren't born where I was(Bakersfield, Ca.). People w/o direction, were asked to join the Marines - usually meant a trip to Asscrackistan.

Feb 20, 14 5:08 pm

Xenakis, I wish I was born in Bakersfield CA, would probably have more opportunities.

I was born in middle east where being creative is far from you because people have way more serious issues to take care of such as their basic freedoms.

This is not the issue anywways =)

Feb 20, 14 7:53 pm

many of my co-workers are Persian and very good at what they do - move to U.S. we have many middle east communities here.

Feb 20, 14 7:54 pm

My steel structures professor was Turkish and she was very good 

Feb 20, 14 11:36 pm

sounds like you just can't handle a full-time job and the real world.  sorry buddy but that's how its going to be basically forever.  you're an adult!  yay!  time to grow up!

in my life personally, when i felt depressed for an extended period of time (social and love life went to hell, didn't like my career path anymore), with a lot of "i don't know where i'm going i life" on my mind, i committed to whatever is in front of me and did it as best i could-- whether it be school, personal hobbies, or work.  3 years later, i have a great education with multiple degrees, a job where i'm learning new things every day (although work feels like work obviously), a great design skill set, a number of personal non-career creative goals achieved, and a future that is, in fact, WIDE OPEN.

still don't know what i'm doing, but if i quit what i was doing when i felt lost where would i be?  nowhere, and most likely depressed about it.  don't stop.  if you don't know what you're doing, at least DO SOMETHING.


ps adjusting from college to work life is really hard for the first half a year, but then you start to get into the groove of things and each day doesn't seem like a mountain.  you're probably used to 2 hours of classes, 4 hours of free time, 2 hours of classes, and then the bar.  your body and mind will eventually adjust to the extra workload.

Feb 21, 14 3:08 am

If you find architecture boring, my bet is that you would find about 90% of other jobs even more boring. At least we do something remotely creative. If you like the outdoors and not want to be stuck behind the computer, go get a gig with a construction crew. You will either love it or start appreciating the white collar life more. Or flip burgers.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Feb 21, 14 11:17 am

Quite a few advanced degree holding cebtral and eastern Europeans drive cabs in New York City. Not too strenuous, and you get to meet lots of people.  

Saint in the City
Feb 21, 14 11:27 am

It appears that you had 8 jobs in 30 months.  So the work equivalent of speed-dating.

Feb 21, 14 12:16 pm
Feb 21, 14 12:39 pm

sounds like a manic depressive to me

Feb 21, 14 4:51 pm

You should watch this video

Feb 24, 14 5:15 am

Thanks everyone for comments!

I like how harsh some of them are =)

caitlincopeland ! That video really gave me some perspective, thank you!!

Feb 24, 14 7:07 pm

Maybe you like building things rather than being in an office stuck in front of a computer.

Feb 24, 14 7:41 pm

crimson, yes! but in todays job market its almost impossible to find a field that you are not stuck in front of the computer.

Feb 24, 14 9:04 pm

no, that's not true at all actually.

Jun 12, 14 6:08 pm

This is a rather belated comment but reading your post especially about the frustration, the desire to meld together something creative and physical, and the need to feel like you've found your place doing what you love (rather than the constant feeling that 'it just doesn't feel quite right') chimed so much that I had to comment!

I studied Architecture and finished back in 2007 without any idea what to do. I spent a while thinking I'd paint and travel, wait tables to pay rent, have fun and 'figure it out' track to now, I'm a Business Analyst, read my fair share of materials about passion, finding fulfilling careers, start ups, personality tests etc and I'm still figuring it out. However, I've found a great work place with opportunities for personal development and a manager who is keen to support this journey (I've been up front about this to them, which gives me room to figure it out while also paying the rent.

The video by Caitlincopeland was interesting and I think that's key. I also agree with the harsher comments here about just Doing something - just keep moving even though you have no clear sight of where you're going. Try not to feel like there's a huge rush to figure it out, Enjoy the Ride. It sounds like you have a lot of broad interests and probably skill in lots of areas, but if that video has any truth to it, it'd be worth picking one or two of your interests and committing to them (could take years) and see where they take you. Another post I'd read was about how your skill (which takes years to craft), whatever it may be, becomes your passion so if you're in your mid 20s -30s, there's still quite some time to go yet!

Good luck and please let me know if you ever figure out a short cut to this issue!

Jun 12, 14 8:50 pm

I don't think the profession of architecture is the problem.  It is YOU.  You seem to not like doing any type of work for too long.  Perhaps you need to work on yourself.  Truth is there is grunt work involved in most professions.  It is up to you to make it feel like a hobby and enjoy it.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 12, 14 11:59 pm

Post a picture and I'll ... Oh, sorry, I thought you said 'wife'.

Jun 13, 14 2:29 am

Dude watch into the wild movie ..... I hope you will love it. :P

Another thing,

You atleast have option to do something else in your life. I have seen eperienced many people who can't even quit job and think of doing something else, bacause they are struct economicaly, socially etc. You have whole life ahead... think... take time ... do what you like... its not at all compulsory to do a boring job in architecture if u have education in that. 

If you ask me I will suggest go for a vacation without thinking anything for some months.... 

Jun 13, 14 4:22 am

I would recommend you should look for the various alternatives of your field in your city only as you are a fresher now and need to know about the field better first before actually serving for a multinational company. You are suppose to start your career from a small background so that your mistakes doesn't leads you to the vast and fatal results.

Jun 13, 14 3:48 pm

go fishing and ask the wind.

"where thy should I go." 3 times with your left leg up, spin counter clockwise, and clap 4 times with the meditation palm 5 inches apart.

then that night, the mystic answer will come to you your dreams ...

just make sure you go to bed exactly at 12am. no more no less.

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