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    Things to do while looking for work

    Alec Perkins
    Feb 19, '14 1:01 AM EST

    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!


    • congrats!

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

      Feb 24, 14 10:10 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!

      Feb 28, 14 7:38 pm  · 
      Wilma Buttfit

      Sounds yummy. 

      Mar 2, 14 7:50 am  · 

      Hi Alec, 

      I really enjoyed reading your blog and travel experiences in MX.  I was wondering how one would go about getting an internship or job at Tatiana's office or other firms in Mx like Rojkind arquitectos.  I plan on pursuing my M.Arch somewhere this year but am interested in applying for internships next year or the following years.  What is the office culture like, and or what programs do they use. 



      Feb 1, 15 4:14 pm  · 

      Can I get that breakdown in emoticons please ;)

      Feb 2, 15 5:37 pm  · 

      Fuck, sounds awesome. Unfortunately you will never have this amount of fun in a real job in Stuttgart.

      Feb 3, 15 1:13 pm  · 

      ^ No shit. Abandon architecture - it clearly doesn't want you - and have a great life. 

      Feb 4, 15 9:18 am  · 

      Funny i found you here alec, i hope everything is going great over there.

      I am cooking my way back to somewhere in the world, youll know in the upcoming months.

      Say hi to saori!

      May 4, 15 1:35 pm  · 

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Urban and architectural explorations from Mexico City to Stuttgart Germany through the eyes of a iterant architectural designer

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