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Confused about career in architecture

Feedlydee

Hi,

I'm from a non-arch undergrad background and am currently in an architecture graduate program in the US. The last couple years have been tough because a lot of students in my program were cutthroat or mired in their own suffering, and I failed to form friendships with them. I don't think we are bad people but I think the culture is conducive to not caring about others.

I liked work places much better--at least the ones I've experienced through internships. There were some insecure people who were slightly hostile but most were nice. But the work-life balance was not so good and even higher ups didn't seem to have that much free time. And the pay... The pay is pretty abysmal as you know. I belive the median starting salary is 45K after grad school. 

Out of desperation, I started interacting with some developers and students studying real estate and, to my surprise, they were really nice. They didn't seem to take joy in my suffering and offered me genuine advice and help. I was confused because developers get a lot of bad rep in architecture. But here they were--way nicer than my classmates, professors, and professionals. When I contacted architects for career advice, no one responded. When I contacted real estate developers, a lot of them responded. This is a personal experience so it might not reflect the reality but you get my confusion. 

So I want to ask this question to practicing architects on this forum. Does it get better after school? Is the work culture better?

 
Nov 7, 19 5:35 pm
Non Sequitur

it gets much better and school gets exponentially more irrelevant every year after graduation... unless you get stuck working in a sweat shop firm. 


Interacting with others outside of architecture is always a good idea. 

Nov 7, 19 5:48 pm
Feedlydee

Good to know. Thanks Non Sequitur!

I wish I could "like" this Non Sequitur!

Non Sequitur

you just did!

sameolddoctor

It will get better if you choose the right type of firm. The farther away you stay from academic-type bullshitters, it will be better for you, as those people are usually a bit better to hang out with and much more grounded.

But that said, people in parallel professions like developers, exhibit designers etc are even better to hang out with...

Nov 7, 19 9:34 pm
Feedlydee

Thanks sameolddoctor. Do you have any recommendations for selecting firms that have good work culture?

joseffischer

Make sure they pay overtime... that'll strike out a lot of options right there

Feedlydee

Yes, that seems like a very important factor

whistler

I don't socialize with other architects..."misery loves company" ( this must have been written by an architect!). Develop a social life with people who aren't architects!

Nov 8, 19 1:06 pm
Feedlydee

Great advice. Will do so! I am already much comfortable around scientists because that is where I originally came from.

archi_dude

some questions to ask yourself. Do you really want to keep pursuing a career where you need to he actively on guard to avoid firms with egotistical toxic environments, long hours and low pay? Is that all you are really hoping to achieve in your career? A scenario where your pay is fine and hours okay and the culture isnt "as bad as school." Or would you rather pursue that environment you stumbled upon with your real estate contacts. Some people really do find the stress and sacrifices worth it to be able to do design its perfectly okay if you dont feel that way. 

Nov 8, 19 8:07 pm
flatroof

No one should tolerate toxic abusive narcissists and their workplaces in the name of "design." Worse when we attribute good design to an abusive environment. Just the way it is won't cut it or condone such behavior. I'll draw a million Starbucks elevations before I go back to such an environment.

archi_dude

And my point to the OP is, if you have to go to a firm where you'll be doing a million copy paste TI's to get a better culture and relatively okay pay. Why not choose a career where you can go to the coolest company's to get an awesome culture and great pay
.

Feedlydee

Yes both of you are right. Not awful is not good enough. It shouldn’t be for anyone. I want to find something better. I just don’t know what. But real estate development and construction seem to have better culture, pay, and balance in general so I’m leaning toward those two.

Feedlydee

Yes both of you are right. Not awful is not good enough. It shouldn’t be for anyone. I want to find something better. I just don’t know what. But real estate development and construction seem to have better culture, pay, and balance in general so I’m leaning toward those two.

Feedlydee

Question to you both—did you end up staying in architecture or did you move onto something else? If you stayed in architecture, do you wish you tried something else?

BulgarBlogger

The OP lacks passion. OP- I think you're a lost cause, still trying ti figure out life and you've enrolled into a masters program to feel legitimate. You'll never be a true master at this, so save your time, energy, and money.

Nov 9, 19 5:40 pm
Feedlydee

You are making a lot of assumptions about me... BulgarBlogger, what makes you react to other people’s suffering this way? Is it the anonymity that you get behind the computer screen that is emboldening you? Do you feel unloved? Frustrated? Angry with your life? Really curious.

BulgarBlogger

You can't handle the truth! You're right- making a bunch if assumptions, which from experience turn out to be true. You didn't really know what you wanted to do, so you went to some undergrad liberal arts college. Now you got into a graduate program and are hung up on the fact that people "arn't as nice as they can be". LOL- You're a lost princess. Talented designers don't give a shit about things like that. Seems like you're going through the motions in a field that is not really something you're really interested in, because you heart was never in it and are now trying to find yet another false excuse to do something else.

BulgarBlogger

You can't handle the truth! You're right- making a bunch if assumptions, which from experience turn out to be true. You didn't really know what you wanted to do, so you went to some undergrad liberal arts college. Now you got into a graduate program and are hung up on the fact that people "arn't as nice as they can be". LOL- You're a lost princess. Talented designers don't give a shit about things like that. Seems like you're going through the motions in a field that is not really something you're really interested in, because you heart was never in it and are now trying to find yet another false excuse to do something else.

BulgarBlogger

Also- who cares about "being nice". So immature. You think developers are nice? LOL Donald Trump is a developer....

Nov 9, 19 5:45 pm
curtkram

same with contractors. You're not going to get a good building if your personality is too nice

sameolddoctor
“Talented designers don't give a shit about things like that” said someone who had no idea that architecture is actually teamwork, and yes to get the best out of people you have to be nice but stern. Let’s see how you get along in your “career”.
Nov 9, 19 8:48 pm
BulgarBlogger

Huh? of course its teamwork; but it also involves leadership. Getting a project done isn't about running a dictatorship, but it aint a free for all either. someone has to make decisions and with so many primadonnas and divas around them thinking that they are the undiscovered zaha

BulgarBlogger

zahas, being a successfu team leader is also being comfotable with the fact that mot only will you have to direct people, but also be comfortable that doing so might not make you likeable to everyone.

RickB-Astoria

What you can't be is a pansy. Leading employees means directing other people to do things including things some of them do not like doing. This and that some individuals simply don't like taking orders from anyone so being under someone else just doesn't work. This is why some people will not like you but they won't like anyone over them so those people have issues with being under the authority of someone else. It should be noted that good leadership is not oppressive. It is one where you give respect but also respect is to be returned. Instead of calling an employee whose idea is not the best, just some dumb shit... maybe the approach is to educate and teach why the idea doesn't work well and why another solution is better and more effective and why. Opportunity to teach and for them to learn. You won't please everyone but you also be courteous to listen and they shall do the same. Leading by example. Leading by showing respect and they would be expected to reciprocate the respect to you and to each other. The key is to be conducive by putting ego at the door at coming to work. You are doing your job and they are expected to do likewise. You maybe the PM of the project leading the team but remember there is no "I" in team. The point is while you maybe the firm owner, you are nothing without the team. You won't be able to do some of these projects or procure them and do it all on your own and meet the demands of the client. They are working for you for compensation and they too are to be respected as people. So keeping a lid on the ego is conducive for long term retention of good employees.

RickB-Astoria

All in all, there is a duality of exercising direction and control and necessary balance and need to control and keep ego in check and under control.

Happy Anarchy

if this isn't Quandam this is a bullshit post.

No one explains this and then goes to archinect to get a second opinion.

sell your soul for money or wrap you mouth around a long steel shaft and play some russian roullette, this post isn't serious.

Nov 9, 19 10:23 pm
Non Sequitur

Russian roulette with a shotgun is not really a challenge tho...

Happy Anarchy

lol....I was thinking

Image result for magnum 357

eastcoast

Wow here's a post to bring out my Architect Hibernation. I also saw similar examples of this personality in my grad school as well. The work was significantly lacking compared to my undergrad and I was so confused since I had come from a lower tier school to a higher ranked school (which truly means nothing by the way)(It was simply based on location for me). They were alllll drunk on the kool-aid as were the professors. There are some people that go through these programs and actually pursue the misery. Like they want to go to these big ass staritecture firms and work long hours with no overtime and shitty pay to say that they did. Because they think they need to to be successful. Its a fallacy, architecture doesn't have to be that way. and Ive worked under tons of architects that are really great at teaching while still giving structured advice or critiques. There are so many options, just remember that. no two architecture offices are the same. Hey there may even be others that have similar interests as yourself and do both real estate/development and architecture. i've worked in firms like that. I feel you on the people that suck the joy out of it but for what gets me through is knowing its temporary. 

Nov 11, 19 12:53 pm

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