What are the chances of rebuilding my architecture career?


Here’s a big one.

I have masters degree in architecture. After 4 years of working as a young professional architect, depression from my last relationship hit me hard and I got into a lot of trouble. My final job, a drafting job outside of the architecture field, was a mess. I ended up punching a coworker and left immediately after without going back. I was without a car that day, so frustrated, I couldn’t mentally control myself, so I got into a persons running car in an attempt to steal it and got arrested almost immediately for grand theft. I got arrested a second time for carrying pot and a third time for a dui. I’m on medication now but I can’t even think of ever finding a job again, especially with my criminal history. I would love to work again someday and would be willing to move to NYC or any city that would give me another chance as an architect since I’m sure that in my city, my reputation is ruined. I might be acquitted for all three charges but my record still shows arrest. I’ve never been a criminal but I have made some detrimental mistakes.

Jun 17, 19 3:30 pm

Being an adult is hard.  Owing your mistakes is in important part of that.  Assuming you see them as mistakes, begin to figure out how your life will be different moving forward.  What you've described above is part of your story--for better or worse.  

Our profession is riddled with folks that have unsavory pasts.  If you're still passionate about architecture, then don't let a few bad decisions ruin your career.  Do your best to manage the rumors and stories that are out there and have a good outlook on how you're not that person anymore.  

Nearly everyone deserves a second chance.  I've personally seen firms continue to invest in people that have ran into bad luck or made poor decisions.  Good luck.

Jun 17, 19 3:52 pm

I am, I love architecture, but passion only takes you so far especially when running a business. My concern is how to even address it in an interview especially if it shows up in my background check. Looking at me, I look pretty quiet and chill. Nothing like the person who committed those crimes. 



Truth is most small to medium firms are not at all sophisticated in how they handle HR they might do a background check after they make an initial offer. Bigger firms do much more screening.

Non Sequitur

Assault, attempted theft... fucking DUI?

Dude, seek help and get your shit together and don't look to online forums for it. Once that's take care of, take some self-reflection time and maybe assemble some design work in your downtime and hope that carries some passion forward once you're ready to get back into the working world.   

Jun 17, 19 4:11 pm

I am currently in rehab program. Everything happened in the span of a year. It’s not like this has been my lifestyle, I’ve always pretty quiet. But it was a bad year and until I’m done with absolutely everything related to my past crimes, I won’t plan to look for a job.

Non Sequitur

I got that, probably should have edited my reply with a line break following the first snark. The point I was trying to make is that last sentence.

Witty Banter

Depending on how your legal situation plays out you could have some trouble with licensure but that doesn't mean you definitely can't get licensed.  Getting employed in any field is going to be difficult if you have a record that shows up on background checks particularly when it's violence in the work place.  As gibbost mentioned owning your past goes a long way but you've certainly got your work cut out for you.

I think you have the right idea about moving to a new city where your reputation won't follow you.  It's good that you've addressed your situation and sought the treatment you need to get back on track.  Best of luck to you.

Jun 17, 19 4:11 pm

Luckily I wasn’t charged for the workplace violent, only the grand theft. Seems like I’ll be acquitted but that’s only because I proved that my depression was the cause of the erratic behavior. NYC is such a big place with so much employment, if I can save my career, I wouldn’t think twice to myself move there.


Is this for real?  It smells like one of that "power2engineer" dude's fictional characters - complete with the grammatical idiosyncracies.  If for real:  how can you say you've never been a criminal?  The things you're describing are crimes.  Fortunately for you (and unfortunately for the rest of us) most smaller architecture firms don't run a background check other than verifying your references.  Have you got anybody who you haven't punched or scared badly, to vouch for you?

Jun 17, 19 4:45 pm

Yeah not looking too good. I distant myself from anyone who could vouch for me because depression and anxiety. And I’m not gonna have them vouch for a criminal. No I’ve never been a criminal, but since last year, NOW I am. I’ve only punched one person and he didn’t press charges (it’s not like im a violent animal on roids). But as crazy as that story sounds, it is indeed real. The cops didn’t believe the story either but it was true. Now for what it is, the experience did humble me and at great cost.


you need to step back and evaluate why this happened and what is going to prevent it from happening again. was the stress of architecture or internal pressure to succeed a factor at all? you suggest this was a reaction to a relationship gone bad - but failed relationships are a normal part of life. Your reaction was extraordinary and harmful.

Your focus needs to shift from getting back on track with being an architect to getting back on track towards being a stable person with a satisfying life. In general architecture both causes a lot of stress and brings out a lot of internal drive/pressure.

I would strongly discourage you from getting right back into arch even if that were easily possible. You really need to practice managing life problems for an extended period of time, because life problems will happen again no matter what. There are far more important things in life than architecture and it would probably be good for you to make them a bigger part of your focus.

you have my sympathies btw. someone close to me has gone through similar problems. it takes many years to sort out, and it's become a permanent part of his life to manage, not a one time lapse.

Jun 17, 19 7:00 pm

I come from a conservative home and was very sheltered growing up. I’ve always been reserve and naive. The erratic behavior came from the realization that my last relationship wasn’t what it seemed and a lot of the gritty world was exposed to me. That influenced my behavior a lot, but again, I’ve humbled myself and am now aware of pressures from the real world. I’m hoping I can go back to architecture once I’ve made sure I’m 100%. In my 26 years of life, I’ve never been one to cause trouble. The first 6 month of year 27 saw me derailing pretty badly. But I guess it does make sense to make this a permanent part of my life. It’s a burden I will be carrying forever.



Jun 17, 19 7:19 pm

I'm going to take a slightly different tact on this one. You mentioned that you're getting help, and that's great and necessary, so well done. 

You're 27. Go get a job. Don't volunteer information about the charges. It's not typical for a firm to run a background check unless you're working on projects that require it. Once you have the job, maybe it will come up later (unlikely) and by that point you can explain only as much as necessary. Hopefully you'll have proven your value to the firm by then.

One woman I work with isn't allowed in to the US because she was stopped at the border and the agents found pot. Nobody at our firm knew this until they tried to send her to a conference in the US. So they sent somebody else. Nobody cared. 

It sounds like you've learned a lot. Being a productive member of society is important. Go get that job. It might not be easy but you'll get the chance soon enough. 

Jun 17, 19 7:53 pm

This is also something I’ve thought about. Perhaps not mentioning it and if the subject matter comes up, prove that I’ve gotten most of the help I can get. If that fails, then I get fired. But it’s worse than not having a job. The only thing that worries me is that architecture is a close knit community where I’m from. Maybe nyc where jobs are plentiful
would make more sense.



Jun 18, 19 12:35 am

Most licensing boards only ask about convictions, not arrests.  If you are acquitted, you should be ok to get a license in most of the USA.

Most architecture firms tend be be smaller businesses and do not conduct criminal background checks or even have application forms where you would be asked about a prior arrest or conviction.   

Relocating is a very good idea, but go somewhere where there are resources to keep you on the right track.  The internet is something might trip you up.  Take steps to mitigate the ability for people to search your past history online.

Jun 18, 19 1:13 am

your designs r the worst they COULD b

Jun 18, 19 1:26 am

College designs don’t matter when you have work experience.


I’ve never been asked at job interviews if I punched a co-worker, tried to steal a car, had some pot on me or ever drove intoxicated. Don’t worry too much, just apply (yourself).

Jun 18, 19 6:24 am

But every license application asks about convictions and arrest (even if not convicted), and the followup when you answer 'yes' is a criminal record report. Now whether or not that affects eligibility depends on the State. Some, it's just white collar or practice type convictions; fraud, wrongful death, etc. Other's, its any felony.


They might ask but that doesn’t automatically mean no license if the answer is yes...wouldn’t want to practice in a state anyways where any kind of altercation with the law at any time in your life would mean being unable to never ever practice architecture there, would you?


Forget architecture.  Consider a career in creative writing, because you've nailed it.

Jun 18, 19 5:39 pm

i second that. we need more architecture fiction out there. i am really interested to know more of the lady girlfriend, was it a bad ass sports car that was stolen, and did you bribe the cop w/ the pot. 


Hi TheBus

We are a small firm called the Wolf Pack, we often deal with obnoxious clients and we like some strong attitude, highly motivated and ability to deal with unexpected problems. We work fast, nimble and possibly without living too much red lines on our clients. Most of our works are foundations and pillars, it's seem that there is not creativity or fantasy in the job but the fun come with the type of mix we use...

Jun 18, 19 11:09 pm

Hello ergo. I’m interested, please tell me more.


^ See the spec section for concrete foundations and pillars. Pay special attention to the item headed "After-hours addition of 'organic' aggregate material."

Non Sequitur

Ergo, a quick googling reveals this and this

Which one is?


citizen know how the deal


Anyway Thebus if you are serious you should consider to take a deep change of mind, if you can find a new balance try again with architecture like the other chaps said, if not get the hell out and find a job that can bring you peace.


I am very much still passionate about architecture. I will clean my act up and continue pursuing my career. Everyone has a redemption story, this will be mine.


I would take a hungry employee looking to prove their worth any day over one of these entitled Ivy league kids who just wants to design and gets all butt hurt about not being able to surf Facebook at work. 

Jun 19, 19 3:55 pm

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

Jun 19, 19 5:42 pm

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