FIRST JOB BLUES, is this really what being an architect is like? (plz help!)


Sameolddoctor- I've worked for over 15 years in design. And yes, have traveled to Europe to look at furniture and tile for projects. We only had to spend $150,000 - $300,000 on each project to do so. I recently turned down a trip offer to Spain because of a project deadline.

My firm is in a big city and has large scale projects so my experience may not be the same as other architects and designers.

From my observations, being on the ID side definitely has more job perks. We still work crazy hours, but we "advance" faster in the career cycle because our projects tend to be shorter. My first 3 years, I pulled 60-80+hour weeks but I learned a great deal though. This field is an apprenticeship style industry. You can't learn without doing.

OP- you can definitely have a great, fulfilling experience in design. If base building architecture isn't your groove, check out interiors . You just started working so give your current gig a chance (12 months at least).

Take on and own every design opportunity that is given to you. Shadow the person in your firm that you most admire. Make sure that you get experience in every phase of the design process in years 1-6. Don't get relegated to the graphics dungeon. Renderings look great, but they aren't a design. Make sure you get some field experience.

As a person who hires architects and designer, if I see that a person hasn't stayed for 1-2 years in a job in their first 5 years out of school (save for the recession type /contract only type situation) signifies that they may have some design ability or work ethic deficiencies.

Sep 22, 15 10:27 pm

Hey Guys, 

Sorry for the late response, I have to say I'm new to archinect  and I expected to be notified when my thread was actually posted. 

I haven't made it through all of the comments yet but I am really thrilled to hear from so many of you. I REALLY APPRECIATE all of this input! It's amazing. 

I think I should clarify rather quickly that I have been working either part or full time since I was 14. 

bussing tables, waitressing, cashiering, life guarding, grocery stores, etc. etc. etc. 

My point being that I am not afraid of hard work, I embrace it. One of the reasons I'm pursuing architecture is so that I can hopefully never have to waitress again (it's not fun to mop a dirty restaurant at 2 am.) 

I'd like to think that I'm definitely not an entitled millennial as I often held down two jobs and an internship (some paid, some unpaid) while still attending undergraduate full time. 

not at all to toot my own horn, but I'd like it if we could get that out of the way so that people can focus their responses on how their own experiences have been instead of making assumptions about mine. 

thanks again!

Sep 23, 15 4:04 pm

so you went into a 5 yr relationship and now that the honeymoon is over, you’re ready to bail ship; is what I’m hearing. while some get lucky and marry a hot trophy wife, some hit the lotto and marry a sugar mama and others marry for love. you sampled the marriage life and didn’t like what she had to offer in those 6 weeks and you were ready to file for those papers.  We can tell you to find that spark that drove you to fall in love but that will only drive you to go back to school. you can be miserable, stay married and see a few grins here and there.  if it were me, I’d follow the white rabbit and hope it offers me a red and a blue pill. You can take the blue pill and the story ends. Take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and you’ll see how deep that rabbit holes goes.   

Sep 23, 15 4:22 pm

I don't know that I was ever in a honey moon phase. I'd just really like to know how people cope with the constant computer use and/or manage their time in a way that's meaningful. 

you lost me with the matrix metaphor. 

Sep 23, 15 4:47 pm

Check shop drawings and submittals.  There's nothing quite like bleeding all over a submittal.

Then there's also nothing quite like having to erase it all because you checked everything and didn't have all the addenda...

Sep 23, 15 5:03 pm

everything you do is meaningful, a computer is a tool to communicate what your intention is regarding the design, if it's not drawn it can't be built. the more you know about design and construction, the less time you'll need using the computer or the pencil, but as in everything else in life, you won't learn unless you make mistakes and repeat, many times. 

Sep 23, 15 5:04 pm

Hi JLC-1, you're right. I think I just needed to hear that from people in the field who had been at it for a while. 

senjohn, are you talking about manual or digital submittals? 

Sep 23, 15 5:23 pm

The way architecture school teach you and the real world practice are two different things. However, Architecture business has many transferable skills, meaning you can use them in other types of occupation, this is why it is a good career to dive in because it offers so many skills. But you have to have the right attitude towards the real world buusness of architecture to be successful in this career. There is a good article written about what it take to be successful architect, it might answer some of your questions!

Feb 8, 19 4:55 pm

nice job digging up a 4 year old post, I wonder if OP is still complaining about the industry her decent sounding job.

Non Sequitur

I know this is back up because of a spam bot necrolosting, but damn, look at me giving real advice as the first response. Pat on shoulder for me 3 years ago. 

Feb 8, 19 5:34 pm

Yeah, what happened?

Non Sequitur

Maybe I was on vacation.


Some valid points made previously by Null. One of the more constructive comments in the thread. 

Endless weeks of CAD can be demoralizing, so learn to optimize your time in the program. I don't particularly mind the program, but learning all the short cuts to minimize the tedious tasks will go a long way. Learn them now.

There are contacts specifically geared towards computer use/helping your eyes. Glasses too.

I wonder if you can get involved in as-built documentation or similar assignments at your firm? At my first job within the first year I learned to go to project sites independently and then draft as-built documentation (2D-3D) for a number of clients. A mentor showed me the first time, then I went alone to each site after. I was good to the point where they hired me to go out of state as well. It was a great way to: 1. Get out of the office/get fresh air/see different cities. 2. Learn to analyze/document/sketch buildings on-site within a quick amount of time 3. Get better at drawing/sketching buildings both by hand and digitally. In hind-sight the experience was extremely rewarding and educational. Definitely a welcome break to the monotony.

Feb 9, 19 8:15 pm

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