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Is it pretentious to hang framed licenses, certificates, and/or degrees in your office?

JBeaumont

A few months ago I started a new job, in a senior position with a large firm.  Prior to this I was working on my own, and before that I came from firms with open studio layouts for everyone, so I've never had walls before, except in my own firm. One of my previous firms even had a rule against anyone hanging up anything - they really liked their uninterrupted white walls. Some of my new coworkers, including one of the owners and the HR person, have commented about me not having anything on my office walls. Some of the comments hint that maybe I'm not sure I want to stick around, since I haven't really "moved in".  So... I have to put stuff on the walls, even if just to quell those suspicions.

I could hang my framed licenses. I have 3, and right now I just have the little paper certificates tacked on my bulletin board, but the fancy wall certificates with the gold seals are in a box someplace.  In the same box are my degrees, NCARB certificate, LEED certicates, etc.  where do you think I should draw the line?  Licenses only? Terminal degree? All degrees? All everything? Or should I leave all of it in the box and decorate the wall with framed posters of famous chairs or something?

 
Mar 4, 18 1:35 pm

2 Featured Comments

All 23 Comments

accesskb

Blow them away and shut them all up with the quality of work do. 

Mar 4, 18 2:39 pm
thisisnotmyname

The safest solution would be for you to do whatever your boss(es) at this big firm do with their office walls.  Big firms usually love conformity.

Otherwise, consider buying the best piece of original artwork you can afford, just avoid anything remotely political, religious, or sexual.

Taxidermy makes a good conversation piece also.


Mar 4, 18 3:03 pm
Volunteer

Especially if your name is Norman Bates.

Before delving into real estate investment, I worked at a large law firm. It was very common to display your degrees. Of course, law is different than architecture, but it is professional to allow certifications to be observed on the wall.

Mar 4, 18 3:25 pm
valeria

That is what I was thinking .. but I can see company culture stepping on that. It is probably best to display the license when the work is a submitted using that license. But if it isn't then follow the culture. have know architects to put their state lic number on their email signatures

citizen

.

Mar 4, 18 4:47 pm
geezertect

Love it. Good way to find out if your firm has any sense of humor whatsoever. Probably not, if they are getting paranoid about you already.

citizen

^ It was this, or Velvet Elvis.

urbanity

velvet elvis is a personal favorite...

LITS4FormZ

Every office at my firm has a piece of art on the wall. If you ever want to add to the walls you have get approval and it can’t distract from the “art walk” path through the office. I never heard of someone being unable to hang their diplomas or certificates but the type of frame and location has been prescribed. 

Mar 4, 18 5:01 pm
JBeaumont

Pete it's the little paper renewal page or card that you get each year that's technically supposed to be hanging at work, and I do have those up on my bulletin board.  I meant should I hang up the big framed diploma-like license certificates with the gold seals. Usually when I see people hang those they tape the renewal card in the corner of the frame.

I worked in one firm where they hung all the framed licenses of all the staff up high on the wall in a ring around the reception/lobby space. Other than that one I've never had a wall to put anything on - at most I had a low partition between desks.  In this new office some of the other architects have licenses and diplomas, and some don't. My boss isn't an architect. His office has framed posters of a sport he follows, and some wood plaques with inspirational words and sayings - not really my kind of thing. It would probably be ok to fill up the walls with the licenses and such, it's just that I have a lot of credentials and don't want to seem like I'm trying to outdo anyone. Just trying to get a read on what's normal. 

Dogs playing poker might work.

Mar 4, 18 5:10 pm
Bloopox

I'd hang all your framed licenses, and the other career stuff - NCARB, LEED, PMI, all that type.  If that is a lot of certificates then maybe not the academic degrees. If you're going to end up with 12 framed things all about you then yes it is going to turn into the all about you room and that might be a little off-putting.

Mar 4, 18 6:01 pm
Volunteer

Here ya go, hang this.

Mar 4, 18 6:20 pm
McTaco

i never put anything in my office personally. If I ever get canned or laid off there is no brown box of shame. I remember I was working in a office and ten people got called into a meeting. 10 people came back with cardboard boxes gathering their belongings. 

Mar 4, 18 9:07 pm
Non Sequitur

I got my licensed custom-framed and hung it immediately on the wall in our open office.  All licensed professionals here do so.  If I had an enclosed office, I'd hang some of my large paintings.  School degrees can stay on the wall of my spare bedroom.


Mar 5, 18 9:03 am
kjdt

I used to keep a folded up banker box in my office just in case I ever wanted to quit on the spot, or got laid off.  I wouldn't have hung anything on the walls that was too large to fit in the box - so maybe that criteria could help you curate your collection. Stick with things that fit in the box, or that you're willing to leave behind?

Mar 5, 18 9:04 am
Non Sequitur

sad way to look at things. I think I'd fill a banker box just with my office (bottom file drawer) liquor cabinet stock.

It is not pretentious to display your licence and degrees. It will likely date you (the degrees) but not a big deal.  If you have one for every state and territory that might be a bit much. edit to 3-4 and that should be OK.

As for conversation pieces always choose plants over taxidermy, you can never tell what kinds of pets people might have had when growing up.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Mar 5, 18 9:11 am
thatsthat

This is interesting to me.  My office is on the smaller side - 20-ish people - and those who have an office pretty much go crazy with hanging whatever they like.  Almost no one has their degrees hanging up.  We have quite a few car guys here that have front ends of their favorite cars hung on their office walls, prints of their favorite historic buildings or buildings they've worked on.  It runs the gamut here as everyone is somewhat of a pack rat.  Honestly, I'm surprised our floor hasn't collapsed with the weight of everyone's "collections" of books and miscellaneous junk.

I do not have an office; I work in the studio space.  We have lower partition walls that are about 6 feet high.  I don't have room for my degree or license.  Most of my space is artwork that my friends' produce and sell on the side, clippings of news articles about past projects I've completed, and funny site photos I like.

Mar 5, 18 9:36 am
RickB-Astoria

For me, I don't have a fancy office set up but I think the degrees can be stored away in a secure fashion (so they don't get damaged) but don't need to be displayed on the wall. As for the professional licenses/certificates, they are part of your 'credibility statement' without saying a word. If your "firm's office" has individual offices within it for principals of the firm, then I would say that the license or professional certification certificates be displayed there. Original in framed. The renewal ones, maybe just tacked on by brass tacks or something on the wall cleanly. The renewal certificates gets changed during each renewal so no need to go to the expense of framing it. It would probably sit just underneath the original certificate of licensure/certification that is framed. In the common 'big room' / lobby area of the firm office, display works of the firm and on a wall in a section display the State and local business license stuff grouped up in one location. The works of the firm should be on display to showcase what your firm does. Your office is a marketing tool for your for business. You may also have art pieces but arrange in manner that makes sense. I wouldn't intermingle general art piece of other artists with that of works your firm did. Usually rendering are what is showcased. Either way, let it tell a story and set the atmosphere and tone. 

To answer JBeaumont's question, be proud of your hard earned license certificate. You don't need to display all your degrees but only those that supports and tells a story that relates to what you are doing. Use discretion and judgment. You want to not look too cluttered. Just the right amount.

kjdt

I think JBeaumont is saying that he's a senior architect in a firm in which the principal is not an architect. It wouldn't make any sense for his licenses to be displayed in the office of his boss.

RickB-Astoria

If clients meets with him in the office, it may make sense. If not, I am in total agreement.

randomised

I have a beautiful view of the city as my backdrop and a scene from Tarkovsky's Stalker spanning my monitors and have no desire or need to put degrees or certificates on display. I used to have my swimming diploma's on the wall in my bedroom as a kid but haven't had that urge since.

Mar 5, 18 1:07 pm
Featured Comment
JBeaumont

It's my natural inclination too to not display stuff. I have two windows with a view of my region's most notable natural features. The reason that I feel compelled to decorate is that my boss and others have repeatedly made comments that I don't seem to have "moved in". They seem to be looking for reassurance that I'm physically and mentally putting down some roots. I do have some plants.

RickB-Astoria

make you a co-partner..... then.... damn it. LOL!

randomised

I never worked in an office where people felt the need to put up licenses and certificates, clients normally already know you're an architect before they come in. And to remind yourself all the time of your licensure or certification seems a bit superfluous... I did however work in an office once that used their walls as an art gallery to showcase the work of young artists...looked very refreshing.

Mar 5, 18 4:41 pm
b3tadine[sutures]

Put this up.

Mar 5, 18 8:16 pm
threadkilla

+++

but if you treat it like it was your bedroom when you were a teenager, go for the gold:


threadkilla

.

Mar 5, 18 10:47 pm

So, should I take down all my lunch-n-learn certificates?

Mar 6, 18 10:25 am
JBeaumont

I was thinking of hanging all of mine up. I could cover that whole blank wall...

bennyc

I have copies of all my incoming client checks on my wall. c.r.e.a.m.

Mar 6, 18 12:18 pm
tintt

If I had all my old grade school track and field ribbons I'd hang them up. Those were the days.

Mar 6, 18 12:44 pm
valeria

This thread was thoroughly entertaining.. :)


Mar 7, 18 7:43 pm
Featured Comment
Medusa

It makes me lol whenever I walk over to someone's desk and see their Elaborately Framed Ivy League M.Arch Diploma leaning against the little 12" high workstation divider, halfway tucked behind dual 22" monitors because our desks are only like 60" wide, especially if I'm walking over to find out why they did something stupid on a set of drawings.

Mar 11, 18 11:30 am
JBeaumont

Right, that's why I've never hung any diplomas or big framed licenses before: they'd look silly on low partitions in an open office. Also people like you holding them against me when I make mistakes. Where I ended up on this issue is that I'm going to hang my framed licenses - though undecided on whether to include the earliest one, because I might anyway because that's the one from which it can be determined how long I've been licensed, if anyone cares to try to determine that.

JBeaumont

Right, that's why I've never hung any diplomas or big framed licenses before: they'd look silly on low partitions in an open office. Also people like you holding them against me when I make mistakes. Where I ended up on this issue is that I'm going to hang my framed licenses - though undecided on whether to include the earliest one, because I might anyway because that's the one from which you

JBeaumont

Right, that's why I've never hung any diplomas or big framed licenses before: they'd look silly on low partitions in an open office. Also people like you holding them against me when I make mistakes. Where I ended up on this issue is that I'm going to hang my framed licenses - though undecided on whether to include the earliest one, because I might anyway because that's the one from which you

JBeaumont

Right, that's why I've never hung any diplomas or big framed licenses before: they'd look silly on low partitions in an open office. Also people like you holding them against me when I make mistakes. Where I ended up on this issue is that I'm going to hang my framed licenses - though undecided on whether to include the earliest one, because I might anyway because that's the one from which it can be determined how long I've been licensed, should anyone care to figure that out.

randomised

Don't forget to include your Quadruple Posting Certificate ;)

JBeaumont

Sorry! I tried to edit it once, and instead it seemed to develop a stutter, and wouldn't let me delete any of them.

Volunteer

You could post this as a reminder of what you have signed up for.

Mar 12, 18 8:08 am

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