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Does anyone enjoy their Architecture job?

dhummel
I'm starting a B.Arch program in fall and reading through several posts on here it seems like not too many people enjoy what they do as an architect. Is this not the case for anyone?
 
May 5, 16 11:06 pm
awaiting_deletion

happy people vent less and practically never.

May 5, 16 11:16 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur
Wankers like to complain. I'm happy and can walk people through my resume by opening doors instead of showing snotty sketch up models.
May 6, 16 1:38 am  · 
2  · 
joseffischer

I found this juxtaposition hilarious. Most architects can't show off their resume with built work, and only have snotty sketch up models... so they're unhappy. I'm not saying I think that, just that I took your sentence to its conclusion.

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Non Sequitur

Not sure I follow your conclusion but neat to dig up this excellent 4y old post of mine. I can point to friends and family many buildings, some prominent, in my city in which I've had a heavy hand in their realization. That makes me happy. I can't imagine someone feeling happy if the fruits of their labour is relegated to unbuilt ideas.

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RJ87

Back in the day my dad would always stress that you should market with photos of built projects, because every bum on the street could have a sketch or a rendering. There's so much to architecture beyond design & a large portion of the profession never gets to that point or is "too good" for it.

2  · 
joseffischer

Non... Yeah, I try to remind myself to look at the year... you say dredge up but it was on the first page and I started reading like it was fresh, responded to you, and then went "oh crap, 2016... now I'm gonna get the why are you commenting on this comment"... anyway, you read me loud and clear. There seems to be at least a few of the complainers whose complaint surmounts to "I haven't got to see my work built yet" which is valid... but the response is "patience grasshopper"

1  · 
midlander

I like my job. I have no exceptional talent or support behind me, just focus and patience. If you have realistic plans for your career and reasonably good judgment you can live a happy life as an architect.

But I also like to complain, and read archinect in part for the occasional dose of schadenfreude that puts things in perspective when I'm cranky.

May 6, 16 2:02 am  · 
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arch76

The pleasure to pain ratio is higher than for a prison guard career, but only slightly- on the plus side, you get to stay in college longer.

May 6, 16 2:47 am  · 
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archiwutm8

People that are happy don't complain or leave reviews, they just get on with their lives.

May 6, 16 4:02 am  · 
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awaiting_deletion

and fuck you, I am happy ;)

May 6, 16 6:43 am  · 
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cipyboy

The sweet ain't sweet without the sour.... there should be a certain of discomfort to be able to be happy.

May 6, 16 8:58 am  · 
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It's tedious, it's hard, you have to know a lot and apply a lot of diverse skills. It takes years and years for a lot of people to get to a position where the good outweighs the bad. Most everything worth anything is hard to get and not always pleasant. Ever climb a mountain? The views are great but the company is a little lonely. Architects work harder than most everyone realizes. This is a place where they vent and blow off steam. 

May 6, 16 9:28 am  · 
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Weltschmerz, German for “world pain,” was also coined during the Romantic Era and is in many ways the German version of ennui. It describes a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is. In German philosophy it was distinguished from pessimism, the idea that there is more bad than good in the world, because while pessimism was the logical conclusion of cool, rational philosophical pondering, weltschmerz was an emotional response. Though weltschmerz and ennui are pretty close synonyms, ennui foregrounds the listlessness brought on by world weariness (it can also be a term for more simple boredom), and weltschmerz foregrounds the pain or sadness. There is perhaps a greater sense of yearning in weltschmerz (part of the pain is that the sufferer really wants the world to be otherwise). Also, as an English word, weltschmerz is not as common as ennui, so there are fewer connotations about the type of person that comes down with it. Its very German sound (that “schm”!) makes it seem more serious and grim than ennui.

Do you have sadness in your heart for the world that can never be and sensible shoes? You’ve got weltschmerz. (copied from here)

May 6, 16 9:39 am  · 
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senjohnblutarsky

Architecture is not the job you think it is.  As a high school student and college student, you will have an idea about the work.  That idea is about 70% wrong. 

I like my job.  The drawbacks have nothing to do with the creation of buildings.  It's the people who we create them for, the people who facilitate (funding), and the people who review who can make the job irritating. 

May 6, 16 9:51 am  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

^^^ Agree 100%.

May 6, 16 9:55 am  · 
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nicholass817

Side note...this is a pet peeve that was instilled in me by an undergrad professors...crudely put  "Cows create, we compose".  I agree with what you're saying just not the term, and after the difference was pointed out to me in this way I looked at what we do with a slightly different light.  

Personally I love my job.  I primarily work on departmental hospital renovations and expansions.  While it isn't the most glamorous work, and has made me a little afraid to go to the hospital, it is very fulfilling knowing the work I do will be used to help save many, many lives.

May 6, 16 11:06 am  · 
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JLC-1

I do, it's a job, you have to work to get things done, and it's easier on your body and more rewarding than other jobs. Most of the rants you see here come from a glamorized expectation of being a media star, (and then a frustrating reality check),  like a musician or an actor, which some of our over exposed peers have become, but it's not the norm.

May 6, 16 11:14 am  · 
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JLC-1

“You’re not born with craftsmanship …you have to learn the hard way”

May 6, 16 12:03 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Depends on the day / week / month / year...

As has been said before, many of us go to school thinking that architects will be drawing, making models, etc. That's somewhat true, but only a small part.  We meet with clients, contractors, sales reps, city authorities... we have to research and apply constantly-changing building codes... deal with problems that pop up on construction sites.  If you like to jump around from task to task, it's an exciting job.

The bad part as far as I see it, is that we're paid peanuts for the level of effort and expertise we put in, on a daily basis. For the first 5 years of your career, you will earn as much as a union drywaller, but you will be expected to maneuver extremely complex tasks that change on a daily basis.  That can be stressful.

Archinect is not a good judge of the profession. We come here to vent to eachother and sometimes discuss other issues (but mainly just complain). I'm not sure where you live, but there may be a local architectural organization that puts on outreach programs to people who are interested in the profession. 

May 6, 16 12:26 pm  · 
1  · 
no_form

not sure where people stand on the following opinion.

entry level: 0-2 years - fully proficient in Revit, coordinating consultant drawings, producing construction documents, knowledge of sketchup, rhino, 3d max, adobe creative suite, auto cad, highly organized, attention to detail, excellent communication skills.

reality: renders 3d models in sketchup, does basic drafting in autcoad.

2-5 years: fully proficient in auto cad and sketchup, more consultant coordination, some CA, some client experience, basic project management and GC coordination 

reality: mostly accurate

5 years +:  know auto cad, CA, lead a team, some design work, excellent knowledge of materials and methods (detailing), project management, bidding, client interaction is more direct and frequent.

reality: again mostly accurate

the one worrying thing i see is that people get stuck very easily as a sketchup/drafter and never move up into more rewarding or complex parts of the profession.  also the higher up you go the more you become specialized in one building type.  also, the expectation to know how to use software goes down.  

May 6, 16 1:40 pm  · 
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joseffischer

autocad? any PM, senior arch, PA, etc job posting I've been looking at requires revit. Seems like 7-15 years experience boils down to "can you do this job for us without help so we can make the broad strokes in the beginning and move on to getting the next job?" I know of plenty PMs who don't really use any software and their drafting work gets piled on the rest of us... I just don't imagine they'd find it easy to get another job if they were let go.

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bowling_ball

That's fairly accurate as far as my experience goes.

May 6, 16 3:35 pm  · 
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quizzical

dhummel: While you ask a very important question, you may want to expand your perspective a bit.

EVERY profession / career has its ups and downs. Over the years, I've known many people who earned their living doing many different jobs. Everyone I've known has tended to like parts of their jobs and hated parts of their jobs. I've never known anybody who was wholly happy with their career.

"Job satisfaction" is an elusive concept, no matter what vocation you pursue. For me, the real question is whether any particularly individual is psychologically well-suited for the work they choose to do. If you bring unrealistic expectations to your career -- fueled by misinformation or naiveté or the lack of self-awareness -- you're not likely to find the work very satisfying, no matter what career you pursue. 

For myself, I'm now retired. However, I loved being a practicing architect, but I never aspired to being what the profession today calls a 'starchitect'. I loved serving our clients, providing top quality service and getting things built. The vast majority of our clients were well satisfied with the buildings we delivered and we managed to make a bit of money along the way. I enjoyed -- and now miss -- my professional colleagues who were, by-and large, decent, talented and hard-working people .

I would do it again, even though the profession today barely resembles the one I entered in the early-1970s.

Good luck.

May 6, 16 4:17 pm  · 
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code

no_form

 Revit modeler and sketchup modeler have become careers in them selves - this is where most arch grads now end up - at my office when people get tired of it they go elsewhere to advance their career in architecture - inow they just end up doing the same thing elsewhwere

May 6, 16 5:24 pm  · 
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no_form
Isnt that going to cause a deficit in knowledge? How much rendering needs to be done? Revit I get because you're producing the documents, but even then, it's limiting.

Quizzical- what were the most challenging parts of your career in daily practice?

Thanks.
May 6, 16 5:31 pm  · 
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accesskb

yeah... most arch grads get pigeonholed as a revit or sketchup modeler because that is all they know.. render and twiddle around with software buttons.  Ask them to detail a connection  and they go blank.

May 6, 16 5:40 pm  · 
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no_form

also, in my experience (in a very large coastal city) their is no mentoring at all for interns or people new to the professional world.  it's just produce and if you do ask questions someone may give a quick explanation or others may just make you feel stupid for asking.  in my own experience the only way to move up is to move on.  which sucks because who likes job hunting every year or two just get more responsibility (and pay not to mention).  

May 6, 16 6:01 pm  · 
1  · 
code

also, in my experience (in a very large coastal city) their is no mentoring at all for interns or people new to the professional world.  it's just produce and if you do ask questions someone may give a quick explanation or others may just make you feel stupid for asking.  in my own experience the only way to move up is to move on.  which sucks because who likes job hunting every year or two just get more responsibility (and pay not to mention).  

 

(in a very large coastal city) - let me guess - San Francisco?

I was told to:Make your own goddamn breaks

May 6, 16 6:49 pm  · 
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no_form

not SF.  agreed.  i'm making my own breaks.  it's just not the "fun" part of this career.  

May 6, 16 7:29 pm  · 
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YourYoureYore

You will work more than most (I am using the word most intentionally) people that make twice as much as you in other fields. If you can handle that and don't get bogged down in a crappy firm or pigeon holed, it's nice.

May 6, 16 8:43 pm  · 
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YourYoureYore

I wish I made as much as a union drywaller out of school. Hell, I'm registered and I'd have to check prevailing wage before I can say that I do now. Even unskilled union labor makes bank. Frustrating to go out on a site and know that the guy sweeping up doesn't make that much less than you, when considering fringes, while you're making decisions that have potentially huge liability and cost consequences. But I still like my job.

May 6, 16 8:54 pm  · 
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accesskb

Xenakis - Yes, which is why you always stay in good terms and contacts with those few mentors you find during internships who have a genuine wish to teach and educate juniors.  I feel majority of the principals have a good desire to do that.  Its usually those junior associates and architects who are still trying to work up the ladder that will make you work and even throw you under the bus when they have to make themselves look good.

Tip from my prof during graduation - Move around firms every three years or so.  It will allow you to learn more.

May 6, 16 10:50 pm  · 
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no_form
Access one of my profs told me something very similar. Have to agree it's wise words.
May 7, 16 1:59 am  · 
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MinimalCrazy
I love my job. Exciting work, long ass hours but whatever its worth it. Just left the office and got home but I wouldnt trade my current job for any other office/profession
May 7, 16 3:16 am  · 
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situationist

I like where I work.  The projects are interesting, my coworkers are nice and supportive, the clients are generally good, they have decent perks, and I get to ride my bike to work.

 

I'd say the most important thing about this field is working with people who aren't assholes.  The behavior of people around you really affects how much enjoyment you can get out of this field.

May 7, 16 10:34 am  · 
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accesskb

Key is to take time off, travel, or do something to recharge and get inspired.  Don't let yourself burn out from working too much.

May 7, 16 11:52 pm  · 
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AdrianFGA

...It describes a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is...

^

In other words, when you are in college you are led to believe that architecture is a 2017 Bugatti Chiron, and after you start working in the real world, you see that it's more like a 1992 Ford Tempo.

May 9, 16 9:01 am  · 
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geezertect

If you bring unrealistic expectations to your career -- fueled by misinformation or naiveté or the lack of self-awareness -- you're not likely to find the work very satisfying, no matter what career you pursue.

Well said, quizzical.  This is where the schools are failing their students when they portray the architect as this heroic Howard Roark figure.  That can be very intoxicating stuff for an eighteen year old kid, and I've known too many who didn't get over it until well into mid-career, when it was too late to change careers.

If I was designing an architecture school curriculum, the first course the kiddies would take would be an Introduction to Architecture type thing, describing what an architect does (in the real world) and what you can reasonably expect when you get out.  Guest speakers, etc.  The good, the bad, and the ugly of it.  It would help the profession and student alike.

May 9, 16 9:30 am  · 
1  · 
tintt

Perhaps the failing is not in the curriculum but the intensely insular environment that students experience with so much schooling. Maybe we could just spend less time in school in general. The geezertects give students crap for not knowing about the real world but students spend 20 or more straight years seeing not much more than a classroom and not experiencing much more than ideologies. What do you expect? If you grow up in an environment like that how would you be any other way? It is not the university's job to prepare workers, it is their job to create informed passionate knowledgeable future leaders. School is not everything. 

May 9, 16 9:51 am  · 
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geezertect

NO, I don't blame the students for not knowing about the real world!  I was one of them once myself.  I am blaming the schools for the attitude they impart that the real world can just be assumed away.  I do blame the early career archies when, after five years or so after graduation, they continue to cling to the myth long after they have experienced enough reality to know better.

By all means encourage their creativity and idealism.  Let their spirits run a little wild in studio.  But, also have a few little doses of reality to gently remind them of the harshness of real life.

May 9, 16 10:17 am  · 
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tintt

I think reality should give doses of reality. :)

May 9, 16 10:24 am  · 
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geezertect

Is there something wrong with a little truth in packaging?

May 9, 16 10:43 am  · 
1  · 
tintt

No. What I'm saying is that if students were not in school so much they might have a better idea of life outside of school, "reality". School is insular, therefore should not be all of a student's life for 20+ years straight. 

May 9, 16 10:52 am  · 
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geezertect

^   Agreed.

May 9, 16 11:01 am  · 
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gwharton

I love what I do and the people I do it with.

May 9, 16 11:44 am  · 
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DeTwan

^ Is that the famous quote from Dirk Diggler?


 

May 9, 16 11:55 am  · 
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x-jla

I love what I do.  

May 9, 16 12:42 pm  · 
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There are always things that will get under your skin in any profession, but I love designing and making buildings real. There is something in it that really does it for me. The most challenging part for me is managing teams/relying on teams because I'm very much a take it all on and do it myself person.

May 9, 16 1:08 pm  · 
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file

tintt: "It is not the university's job to prepare workers...."

I disagree - as does, apparently, the faculties in most schools of engineering, medicine, law, accounting, etc. -- you know, those schools where their graduates actually are able to earn a living wage upon receiving their degree.

tintt: " ... it is their job to create informed passionate knowledgeable future leaders."

There does not seem to be any shortage of such leaders in any of the professions mentioned in my comment immediately above.

May 9, 16 1:37 pm  · 
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AdrianFGA

^

architecture is special, dontcha know

May 9, 16 1:43 pm  · 
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There is a general disillusionment with the profession by emerging professionals. I can't help but think schools can adequately teach students to be critical, design-minded, future leaders without giving them unrealistic expectations of the future.

think the first step is admitting there is a problem.

To the OP's question, I enjoy my job. I get frustrated here and there, but for the most part, I love what I do, I can support my family, I can pay my bills, and I can save some money for later. I could always ask for more from my job, but I'm not sure it would be any sort of drastic change for the better; I'm happy with what it is right now.

May 9, 16 2:27 pm  · 
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tintt

file, I don't disagree with you. I didn't design the system but if I could I say we spend less time in school in general (master's degrees should be for masters level study only, not the basis for entry) and half of the time in school should be practice based. In other words, a 4 year BArch with 2 years of theory and design followed by 2 years of applying that to reality, then get rid of DIP or r-u-x-perienced or whatever they call it now. Master's level can be for those who want it, but the same time period of experience could be worth just as much if not more. 

May 9, 16 3:32 pm  · 
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tintt

file, I was just thinking, doctors, accountants, and engineers all have a culture of training in the profession. We are special. 

May 9, 16 3:41 pm  · 
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no_form

tintt, i agree, there is not much hand holding in this profession.  the working world expects much but the beginner is given little in terms of training or mentoring.    

it seems like IDP isn't an internship.  there are not interns being led by a principal or experienced architect who guides you through until you've completed IDP.  the reality is you go to work, push to try and fulfill the requirements, study for the exams, and hope that if you pass you know wtf you're doing finally.

May 9, 16 3:57 pm  · 
1  · 
archeyarch

You have to look out for yourself, the profession doesn't care to much about you, and succeeding at a firm could be setting you back and limiting depending upon the role you have

Jun 2, 16 11:34 pm  · 
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