Archinect
anchor

COVID-19 Lay-off Thread

1989
SneakyPete

I fully anticipate being put on limited hours in a week or so along with my colleagues.

Jun 10, 20 12:50 pm  · 
 ·  3

SP, for the record, that's a dislike of empathy.

4  · 
code

Actually, I was a 1099 temp from 2010 > 2015, couldn't take vacation. 1099s have no benefits, no IDP, nothing, except higher taxes and no time off, and even when I finally got a direct hire position in 2015, I didn't take a vacation until 2017, 8 years after the recession in 09'

Jun 10, 20 2:45 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

So you got used illegally (most likely you had no contractor benefits, just the drawbacks, which is illegal) and somehow that instilled in you the need to open yourself up for abuse at any opportunity lest, what, you lose a job that's immoral and perpetuates the system you obviously hate?

1  · 
SneakyPete

Im empathetic, but incredulous that you seem to have learned the lessons I would consider wrong.

 · 

Sounds like code has been somebody's 'bitch' for so long that he/she simply expects it to always happens and doesn't think there can be any other way for firms to function.

1  · 
tduds

"Thank you sir, may I have another?"

1  · 

The 1099 argument doesn't cut it for me in code's case. If it did, he's being exploited and incorrectly classified as an independent contractor. And if he's truly an independent contractor, he gets to control his own hours and when he takes vacations. There should be no boss or supervisor checking to make sure he's in the office or that he's put in 100 hour weeks or whatever he thinks should be normal during recessions. As long as he's getting the work done, he's fulfilled his contract. 

Now if he's taking on so much work so as to not be able to take some time here and there, that sounds like a problem with his ability to either manage his time efficiently, or negotiate contracts that pay enough for him to make ends meet without needing to take on so much work. Compare to tintt's statements here for context.

1  · 
code

09' > 12' were desperate times, I had to do what I had to do to survive, and here we are again, another recession

Jun 10, 20 4:04 pm  · 
 · 

I'm curious to hear how you define "survive" in this context. Also, for the record, I'm not trying to be argumentative here or discount any of the experiences you've had. They just don't mesh well with my own experiences and others' and I'm legitimately trying to point that out for your benefit and others' for future reference.

2  · 
tduds

Echoing EA - My contention with what you seem to be celebrating above is whether it's actually "what I had to do to survive." Given that I didn't do that, and I also survived, I question the wisdom of suggesting the next generation follows your seemingly masochistic lead.

4  · 

I really don't get what you mean by 'what I had to do to survive'. I was hit by the repossession in 2010. It took me nearly five years to get back into architecture full time. I took on contract work (9 mo, 6 mo, 1 mo), gig work, facilities management work, manual labor, and a bit of design build. Not all of the jobs paid the same obviously, nor where they consistent. In my contract jobs a couple of the bosses didn't treat me great but I was never taken advantage of or classified as a 1099 since I worked in their offices.

1  · 
archi_dude

Considering that sometimes "doing what you have to do to survive" means making less than grocery clerks while working 60+ hours a week. I'd prefer to just be a grocery clerk, living frugally, using the extra time to side hustle (within reason) and enjoying the simple pleasures in life than slogging along trying to make sure I've got recent DD/CD packages to show people. Because in the end we die, and the years I spent doing what I needed after 08/09 did not put me on a better career trajectory and earnings just helped me tread water in an area with slightly better architecture job prospects.

3  · 
midlander

where is xenakis, he and code would make a great pair. or maybe they're the same person...

1  · 
Non Sequitur

^they are.

5  · 
Bench

^ That explains so much.

3  · 
midlander

i actually worked less during 09-10 than any other point in my career. our office laid off 70% of staff; my salary cut 10%. clearly the situation didn't revolve around me so i took the opportunity to merely 'clock in' while enjoying life outside work. it's an especially malicious form of narcissism that leads one to believe all good or bad things that happen are due directly to your personal efforts. all of us are really just trying our best to float along in an unpredictable world - bosses and clients included. decent people will treat you well if they feel like you're with them, no need to martyr yourself over work.

1  · 
midlander

my point is many things in a career will be out of your control. just keep level headed and confident, and when things don't meet your requirements move on. there are always better jobs out there if you keep open minded and get along with people.

3  · 
curtkram

"i had to do what i had to do to survive" means prostitution right?

 · 
midlander

no it means cannibalism

 · 
axonapoplectic

apparently Gensler just laid off a few hundred people, largely on the west coast.

Jun 10, 20 5:20 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

AGAIN?

 · 

They're 'uge - they can afford it.

 · 
CodesareFUN

The hell? I think that’s the 4th round of Gensler layoffs.

 · 
TED

Not a surprise. Big generic architecture practices generally only follow the money for their ambition so don't really build principles to follow - good people there but 'leadership' is an oxymoron.

1  · 

They also tend to have a large amount of overhead.

1  · 
square.

yes, also known as redundant/disposable labor. have no illusions that when you work for a firm that size, you're always potentially on the chopping block.

1  · 

Huge firms like that are not something I'd like. Several colleagues of mine work at them and they seem to function in a very adversarial environment with individual studios competing internally for projects and resources.

 · 

Tell me about it! That sums up the big G’s operations. I’m so much happier now that I don’t work there. It’s a fine company for some folks, but not for me.

1  · 
sameolddoctor

Also, a lot of their bread and butter work comes from offices and workplace architecture. A lot of that is on hold now, as companies have gotten used to low overheads with people working from home. Will be a few interesting years for the big firms as we come out of this recession.

1  · 
peterjones

Layoffs were like 3 weeks ago guys. The best part of this is all the smaller offices that hopefully will open up following.

 · 

Layoffs are still happening throughout the the industry. When a second wave hits this likely will get worse.

2  · 
SneakyPete

Firms are still cutting people. Being a Pollyanna doesn't make reality less bad, peterjones.

 · 
code

Many big companies here in the Bay Area have found that with WFH, they can reduce footprint with their expensive leases. Many architects from this sector are moving into residential, and making this sector, and were I work very crowded.

Jun 11, 20 4:42 pm  · 
1  · 

Sorry to hear that code How is the housing market in the Bay Area? Is there a good amount of new and renovations in the single family market?

 · 
code

But back to what I was referring to. Facebook, Google, Apple, Salesforce and many others have found am advantage to making people WFH, they can reduce their leasing expenses considerably. A big 900' tall skyscraper(designed by Foster) in downtown SF has gone on hold and the rebar is gathering rust. I expect that many tech firms are going to reduce footprint and cause a crash in office projects

 · 

Possibly however I don't think it would be for a decade.. The country doesn't currently have the data and security infrastructure to support a large WFH with the tech fields.

 · 
SneakyPete

The housing market in the Bay Area is always fucked, but there's a current covid caused trend where unreasonably and unjustifiably rich people are driving up prices in bastions of wealth just outside the city in a scramble to get away from the sick poors.

 · 
code

that's moving along, right behind my studio, is a small construction company and they are busy.

Jun 11, 20 5:19 pm  · 
 · 

It's getting busy and people are moving and rents going down for now,  but remember the fundamentals were good before this all happened...so I forsee some new building typologies developing and new markets emerging.   (NYC area, Phase 1 baby). 

Jun 11, 20 9:39 pm  · 
 · 

What types of building typologies?

 · 

one is a re-adaptation with risks of fines, but its appropriate given the pandemic....another I speculate will be Ghost Kitchens as an actual thing since some restaurant owners are actually making more just having a kitchen and delivering food...lastly, what we going to do with all those empty offices on the top floors of tall buildings?

1  · 
SneakyPete

Ghost kitchens make me sad at a foundational level.

 · 

I think Ghost Kitchens in a sense is the pinnacle of Urban Living in the Sharing Economy. I heard there is like an app or something in Israel where you find out who the cook is, where, and you just go eat. The issue is, this type of organization avoids all the control points for health and safety - to a degree.

 · 
archanonymous

welp, salary reductions announced today. Happy to still have a job though.

Jun 18, 20 11:16 am  · 
1  · 
square.

i hope that comes with a reduction of hours as well?

 · 
sp429

They say reduction of hours but I feel like it just means we have to fit 40 hrs within the reduced time. End of the PPP loan is fast approaching and I am stressed as hell. Unemployed neighbors having party w friends downstairs is not helping. Need to just keep my head down and keep moving forward. Fuck it is tough though.

 · 
square.

well i would encourage to work the number of hours you are being paid to work. it's a tough market, but there are many firms hiring.. the last thing you want to do is sacrifice your mental health only to be thrown on the curb anyway

2  · 
Non Sequitur

Arch, what % reduction are you seeing?

 · 
archanonymous

haha, no reduction in hours. We are chronically understaffed/ don't bill enough to support our design process so throughout the year I average 58-62 hours/ week. Reduction was a flat 15% across all levels.

 · 
square.

ouch. i hope one of your priorities is finding another job soon.. i average 40-45 hours a week (excluding deadlines). and yes, we are a design forward office in nyc.

 · 
sp429

Yea I learned from the last recession... Even if you're doing the best you can, if the firm needs to cut staff it will do just that. I know there have been some job postings in the city but I'm skeptical firms are actually hiring . Thankfully state projects came back with the phase 1 opening so there is some work...

1  · 
archanonymous

We'll see. Not alot of places hiring right now. I don't know anyone who works at a top-level firm who works 40, or even 50 hour weeks. I think it's actually a Gregory Walker \/ (that guy down there) quote, but "Great architecture takes a lot of time. Specifically, a lot of your time."

 · 
square.

depends on your definition of "top-level," but we are well known in our sector (fairly large projects), and one of the go-to design-based firms, though we are certainly not an exploitative starchitecture firm, thank god. we also happen to be doing very well through this recession: no lay-offs or pay reduction of any kind, in fact the opposite. and we continue to get work.

i don't say this to boast, but there is an alternative to your reality. i know plenty of others in nyc others at "top-level" firms who also have much more reasonable schedules than yours. if you're consistently working 50 hours+ a week, your project/office isn't being managed well. typical buildings some how get built in a normal work week, architects just prefer to be martyrs and work for free. makes for bad business, as you said earlier.

4  · 
archanonymous

agreed, and I know there's an alternative - i've lived it! It's more of a philosophical question for me though - what firms have a lasting impact on the direction of the profession and the architectural canon, education, academia, and thinking? I see lots of good buildings going up from firms similar to how you describe yours, most of them are architecture, but very few are Architecture.

1  · 
archanonymous

.... and as exploitative as "starchitect" firms can be, that's who leaves the lasting mark (or scar, as it were) on the profession.

 · 

Something we've all been speculating on here is whether or not we'll see another widespread shelter-in-place mandate for either individual cities or states in the coming months. 

From the chatter we've heard from our officials here, short of an apocalyptic spike in cases, it's not going to happen again. There may be temporary shut downs for a specific industry if they figure out it's becoming a ground for 'super breeding' cases, but otherwise.... not a chance. States literally can't afford another round unless the feds fully bail them out financially and with this group in charge... hasn't seemed like that option will be there for sure. 

I'm not sure what that means for our projects that were put on hold. I don't get the sense that anyone's fundamental calculations have changed on the ground - companies and industries that can afford to WFH are continuing to do so. There seems to be no rush to bring them back. We don't see donors eager to start committing again and this seems likely to be compounded by the election in november. Meaning, they'll stay on the sidelines until that result is known. 

So... I'm curious if anyone has seen shelved projects - large projects - coming back yet. Double curious if any donor-driven projects are being started up again. 

Jun 18, 20 2:45 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Nope. No changes yet. If things were going on hold, they are staying there. If cancelled, they are now dead. If running on skeleton crews, still doing that.

2  · 
JLC-1

We thought we could see a downturn, but being in a resort community, the trend now is people buying anything and remodeling - we do have 2 ground-up houses to start construction next month and about 6 big remodels just coming in for SD. People want out of big cities for the time being. We only do residential though.

 · 
s-a-m-a-n-t-h-a

My heart breaks for all the people experiencing this horrible situation.

Jun 19, 20 4:27 am  · 
 · 
curtkram

how are you doing samantha? business as usual, or are you seeing a downturn? are you back in the office or working from home?

 · 
Meatball2000

As a young professional and an unemployed: I am curious about how the reopening and possibility of second wave will affect the job market? Are you guys seeing any changes going on or in the future?

Jun 19, 20 3:28 pm  · 
1  · 
thisisnotmyname

In our deep south USA locations, construction never really closed. Architects around here were at full employment pre-covid, and it looks like firms are using PPP money to keep things that way. I suspect that the government will keep the free money coming until after the election in November. Where I practice, the real extent of whatever damage has occurred to the architectural services market won't really be known for a while.

 · 
Susz

I would bet my last dollar on smaller cities away from coastlines are going to be more even-keeled through the end of 2020...Some parts of the south are seeing spikes again as the reopening continues....Unfortunately, the states with Republican governors are gaslighting full speed ahead so I'm not sure what is in store for those states. Interiors took a hit within our firm for a few months but overall the office has a broad revenue stream so the work continues in the south.

2  · 
ds1

Depends on region. There's cautious momentum coming back in my city in socal.

 · 

meatball - a second wave of closings - especially if restaurants are in there, along with gyms, etc. - would be devastating to those businesses. so, two ways to look at that: what rises up in their place and how can you get in on it? or, how does this affect a project i currently have in development?

projects already in construction keep going (at least that's been our experience). projects that are self funded keep going. a new restaurant... if they have money backing it, it keeps going. 

long story short: who knows. probably it impacts design and construction less than what does an independent gym do. in all cases, don't let clients string you out on payment - keep every very current. that's what killed people in 2008 - let their receivables keep piling up while still continuing to do work for delusional developers that thought their project would survive.

3  · 

2nd wave is coming Aug/Sep. of closings - FYI

 · 
curtkram

i'm going to say july 1 when mars goes home to aries. also, on june 30 saturn is conjuct with pluto and jupiter.

3  · 
thisisnotmyname

I expect we will see PPP v.2.0 in August or September.

 · 

curt, I was actually citing a government agency...to a degree.

 · 
curtkram

i was citing astrologers because they have a far better handle on this than the president.   also, i don't think we can have a second wave if we can't get past the first wave.

6  · 
randomised

The 2nd wave is already gaining momentum, by the looks of it:

source: Flatten the Curve they said

2  · 

What if Covid-19 was an AI virus? (artificial intelligence or real intelligence, just a different kind) hahaha ;)

 · 
sp429

So it happened. I had been working at less than 100% billable until the PPP ran out. Back to unemployment. Has anyone in NY found a new job during this time, in the past few months? 

Jun 22, 20 8:14 pm  · 
 · 
threeohdoor

Not yet! I got canned immediately after the PPP money "ran out". There are some jobs posted here and there but nothing sticking as of yet. If and when I do get I job, the on-boarding process will be strange methinks. It's one thing for an established team or office to move to WFH, but to add people and integrate them into the workflow effectively is sure to be more difficult.

 · 
threeohdoor

Also, have you applied again for NYS Unemployment? There wasn't an option for "Job Loss Due to Covid" so I'm wondering if the federal $600 is still in the works.

 · 
sp429

Agreed... even if we started phase 2 most of the offices are still working remotely... sorry to hear that threeohdoor. I'm just glad to have someone to be able to commiserate with. We'll get through this. I was on unemployment during the time of furlough, I think I can just log in again since that had been recent? That's strange though - the additional $600 should still be there until end of next month... I'll look into this as well.

 · 
liberty bell

Two younger staff left our office voluntarily this week, one to go out on his own. I know of one other local architect who was laid off but opened his own shop immediately and is keeping busy with residential remodels. 

Jun 23, 20 12:11 pm  · 
 · 

I've seen some similar moves in town, but wonder if they'll stay with their own firms or if this is a temporary necessity.

 · 

based one of my lead generator apps the market for residential remodels is doing as well if not better than pre-covid.

 · 
curtkram

people staying at home has made people think about fixing up their houses and yards more.

 · 
archi_dude

Visited a fabricators shop today. Same trades employer story. Shortage of bodies, older techs are retiring with no new young bodies to take their spots. 6 figure incomes Looks really awesome, literally reminded me of studio, everyone had their own workstation with all their tools, welding equipment and wood grab tickets to work on jobs. Looked creative, well paid and without a helicopter manager in site. Essentially there are jobs out there, you just need to reevaluate if a desk job is really where it's at for security, compensation and benefits.

Jun 23, 20 2:34 pm  · 
7  · 
archi_dude

Apologies for all the typos....

 · 
shellarchitect

8 weeks of the wife's unemployment just showed up in our bank account,

We're rich!

Jun 24, 20 10:01 am  · 
4  · 

Care to sent me some $$$$. :P

 · 
shellarchitect

damn, turns out it's already half gone. 3K vet bill a couple weeks ago. Chihuahua had 3 socks and 40 hair ties in his stomach!

3  · 
liberty bell

FORTY HAIR TIES?!?!

 · 
sameolddoctor
Just heard of layoffs at RTKL/Callison. Guess China didn’t help them at all.
Jun 27, 20 12:36 am  · 
 · 
midlander

i think it's more likely the help from china and domestic healthcare wasn't enough to make up for the inexplicable and poorly timed acquisition of a firm focused on shopping centers and department stores. Then followed by a poorly timed and bungled effort to sell the combined business. the ownership structure of the firm was not favorable to strategic management...

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Currently sitting at my real desk to get things cleaned and ready to come back full time on first week of July.  Negotiated a 3-1/2day workweek for the foreseeable future.

Jun 27, 20 11:07 am  · 
 · 
RBM215

Has everyone been wearing masks as close to 100% of the time as possible in situations where returning to the office is mandated? I’d like to think so, but have been hearing otherwise in US.
Be well.

Jun 28, 20 3:46 pm  · 
 · 
curtkram

our desks should be more than 6' apart. they've asked us to wear masks whenever we get up from our desk, but can remain maskless while sitting at our computers. most meetings i haven't been wearing a mask because i've discovered it's difficult to drink coffee with the mask on. we've mostly allowed people to stay at their desks instead going to a conference room for meetings as well.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

Masks required only in meetings of more than 3. Otherwise, just respecting distance guidelines.

1  · 
liberty bell

Same as curtkram, but last week I wore a mask the entire time I was in the office (I’d open it, sip coffee while not exhaling, put it back) because I was on vacation the week before and exposed to a ton more people than I had been the previous 8 weeks. I don’t want to be the one who infects my coworkers.

3  · 
randomised

In NL only masks required when in public transport, in meetings no masks but keeping 1.5m distance.

1  · 
thisisnotmyname

Unless someone is in the office alone, our policy is masks at all times in the office. Staff are also allowed to WFH whenever they want.

2  · 
Non Sequitur

As of yesterday, there are only 44 known active cases of C19 in my city of 1million people. Masks in public places and transit but walking around office and at desk is fine without. Coffee station (and other shared areas) are still off limits tho.

1  · 

^ Canadian healthcare looking pretty good. There were almost twice that many new positive tests where I live yesterday. Yes, it is covering more population than the 1 million in your city, but these are also just the new cases in one day, not even all the active ones. So apples and oranges, but still not looking good at the moment for us/US.

1  · 
RBM215

This pretty much describes what I’m hearing too, I prefer 100% mask or wfh, because of the low percentage of masking in closed environments. 

Jun 28, 20 5:19 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Masks have been all but abandoned except for the odd oldster at the grocery store where I live. I think we have about 10 active cases and nobody in the hospital (population of 1.3M). 


We are back in the office and generally keeping distance. No masks to be seen, but plenty of wipes and sanitizer on hand.


Feeling thankful for my naturally isolated city, but not loving being back in the office.

Jun 28, 20 9:12 pm  · 
2  · 
citizen

Which city, bb?

 · 
SpontaneousCombustion

I've been seeing more masks here than a month or so ago.  Back then in some grocery stores and such I'd see about a quarter of everyone not wearing them.  The non-wearers were mostly 30 to 60 year old men.  But now most stores here have mandatory mask policies, with big signs when you come in and they'll chase people out if they don't cooperate. I'm in a US location with comparatively low virus numbers - I feel like it's pretty safe to go to places like stores and I even went to a restaurant this past weekend for the first time since February - I saw some out of state license plates in the parking lot from one of the more hard-hit states and it made me second guess myself a little but I went in.
  Our office made it optional to return as of 2 weeks ago.  If you do you have to wear a mask everywhere but while sitting at your own workstation.  The seating has been reworked to keep everyone more than 6 feet apart.  So far there's not really an issue of people being anywhere near that close together, because less than half of everyone has chosen to return to the office.  Most others have childcare issues or health conditions preventing them from coming back right now, and the firm seems not to be pushing it until at least the fall when school starts again (probably).

Jun 29, 20 10:59 am  · 
2  · 

stressful week, felt like the usual pre-holiday week, anyone else get the same vibes?  You know like, everyone wants there stuff done so they can review over 3 day weekend...in a State that is going down in cases.

Jul 3, 20 4:13 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

America is fucking stupid. Review over a 3 day weekend, cuz most people have nothing else going on but work.

 · 

sometimes I think it's just anxiety, so they can have a great 3 day weekend.

 · 
przemula

I need a bit of advice here.

So I've been furloughed without pay on April 14th, and ever since, I haven't heard anything from my employer. My friend (there was only 4 of us in the office) has told me, that he emailed our boss, but didn't get an answer. I emailed her too when riots started in my city, asking if they need help with boarding up our office, she responded regarding riots, but not about coming back to work. 

Even though I qualified for unemployment benefits and was (actually, still am) making more money than in work, I've decided to give it a chance and send my resume to few places, in search of new job. There were only few offers and one office responded, then after a "test" day, they offered me work, but... with the same salary that I got when I started working in the field ~3 years ago. 

40k yearly felt like a slap in the face, but what other choices do I have? They're talking about possible raise after 60 days, but probably some fucking peanuts... Federal unemployment is still till the end of July, and even after that I'll have normal benefits, but I just wanted to be back in workforce. I don't want to be parasite anymore.

Should I take that job? Can I be picky considering what circumstances are we under right now? You would think that maybe they pay less because of Covid-19, but they're overwhelmed with work, and that's why they're hiring more people. Als,o am I right by being afraid, that later might be even harder to land a job?

If you're reading this and you think you can give some thoughts, please respond quickly, since I have to give my possible future boss a response. 

Stay safe everyone and happy 4th of July.

Jul 3, 20 9:15 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

is it somewhere that does work you admire and do you think the boss is a good person? if no, then don't consider it keep looking. your attitude is good so find a job you deserve that can let you grow.

 · 
5839

You don't mention whether you pushed back at all on this offer. Most firms expect you to try to negotiate, so whatever they initially state is likely to be lower than they're expecting and willing to eventually offer. Tell them that you're very interested in working for their firm, and think you'd be a great fit, but that you are a little surprised by their offer, as you were expecting something in the $[fill in the blank with something a little high] range. This usually gets them to come back with at least a bit better offer. If they don't want to budge then consider how much you need this particular job right now, or not, and your own comfort level with potentially having a long gap in your resume (given the time frame, future employers will understand the likely causes, but it's still something you'll probably be asked about for years to come, if it happens to end up stretching past the end of this year.)

 · 
thisisnotmyname

Most firm owners are faced with so much uncertainty about the long term economic outlook that they want to run as financially lean as possible. That means low wages for any new hires and maybe pay cuts for the present staff. That said, I suggest you attempt to negotiate your current salary offer. You may or may not be able to get it to the level of your former position, however.

 · 
przemula

Thanks for an answers so far, and yeah - I forgot to mentioned that, I'll definitely try to negotiate. I got an email today (Friday), and was suppose to answer ASAP, so I can start work on Monday.

 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: