tacos at dawn

travels and work around the world



May '13 - Feb '14

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    Things to do while looking for work

    Alec Perkins Feb 19 '14 3

    The last I posted to this blog, about five months ago, I was living in Mexico City and wrapping up my experiences working at Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao's office. I was beginning to look for work in Europe, in order to gain a wider experience and to be closer to my girlfriend.

    This morning, reading emails in my mom's kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona, I received a contract for full-time employment from an architecture firm in Stuttgart, Germany, with a start date of April 1st. I'm still a bit in shock and disbelief that I actually have a contract.

    Five months is a long time to have no income. Idiotically long. I tend to be overly optimistic, but if I was going to do it over again and realized that it was going to take five months to get a job, I'd have done something, anything to defray the steady student loan repayments.

    I would have even worked retail.

    So what did I do with my time?

    • I tried to find part-time architecture work in Phoenix and posted signs all over the architecture school advertising Revit tutoring services. I sold items for commissions on eBay and Craigslist.
    • I applied to over thirty firms in Europe. I worked my network of friends, classmates, coworkers, former employers, and professors. I mailed hardbound portfolios to Germany and built a website to host a portfolio.
    • I learned German. I studied on my own via DuoLingo and took a Speedy German community college class to get to a A1 German proficiency.
    • I responded to an RFP with a proposal for a doughnut shop using mostly hand-drawn cartoons.
    • I joined a small team of entrepreneurs going through an urban infill development incubator in downtown Phoenix. In small workshops I learned the outlines of pro formas, traditional and creative financing, form-based code, and pitching to cities and investors.
    • I learned to cook some rather complicated and involved Mexican dishes. A 2-day chile relleno dish to top all chile rellenos. Top three best guacamole. I invented a margarita.
    • I took up painting, mostly the abnormal number of cats in my mom's house, although for Dia de Los Muertos, I made a pair of papier-mache calaveras.

    In short, it was the life of an austere but active retiree. Actually, when I'm sixty-five and still working sixty hours a week, I'll think back and remember that I was able to enjoy my retirement while young.

    But now, work awaits! In Germany!



    • Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Feb 24, 14 10:10 pm


      and i'd like to hear more about the margarita recipe...

      Alec PerkinsAlec Perkins
      Feb 28, 14 7:38 pm

      Margarita recipe: into one cocktail shaker squeeze 4.5 key limes, 2 shots of top shelf reposado tequila,  1/2 shot cherry brandy (kirschwasser), 4-5 tablespoons simple syrup to taste. Shake with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass.

      The tartness of the key limes is balanced by the hint of cherry. I'm still hunting for a good name. Prost!

      Mar 2, 14 7:50 am

      Sounds yummy. 

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This is a blog which focuses on my observations of an urban and architectural nature of the cities which I live in, work in, and visit.

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