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COVID-19 Lay-off Thread

2796
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.

Jun 10, 20 2:29 pm  · 
4  · 
zonker

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?

Jun 10, 20 2:48 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

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

Jun 10, 20 2:48 pm  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 10, 20 3:07 pm  · 
2  · 
tduds

"Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Jun 10, 20 3:27 pm  · 
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.

Jun 10, 20 4:01 pm  · 
1  · 
zonker

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.

Jun 10, 20 4:13 pm  · 
3  · 
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.

Jun 10, 20 4:23 pm  · 
5  · 

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.

Jun 10, 20 4:58 pm  · 
2  · 
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.

Jun 10, 20 5:53 pm  · 
3  · 
midlander

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

Jun 10, 20 6:40 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

^they are.

Jun 10, 20 6:57 pm  · 
5  · 
Bench

^ That explains so much.

Jun 10, 20 8:03 pm  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 8:55 am  · 
2  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 8:58 am  · 
3  · 
curtkram

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

Jun 11, 20 7:30 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

no it means cannibalism

Jun 11, 20 9:56 pm  · 
1  · 

just felt like sharing this. https://www.academia.edu/17750346/Prostitution_In_Architecture_

Oct 1, 20 5:47 am  · 
 · 
axonapoplectic

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

Jun 10, 20 5:20 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

AGAIN?

Jun 10, 20 5:22 pm  · 
 · 

They're 'uge - they can afford it.

Jun 10, 20 5:47 pm  · 
 · 
CodesareFUN

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

Jun 11, 20 7:18 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 9:59 am  · 
1  · 

They also tend to have a large amount of overhead.

Jun 11, 20 10:06 am  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 10:08 am  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 10:37 am  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 11, 20 10:55 am  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 2:05 pm  · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 8:10 pm  · 
 · 

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

Jun 18, 20 9:48 am  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

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

Jun 18, 20 2:12 pm  · 
 · 
zonker

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?

Jun 11, 20 5:15 pm  · 
 · 
zonker

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

Jun 11, 20 6:19 pm  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 11, 20 6:24 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 11, 20 7:39 pm  · 
 · 
zonker

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?

Jun 12, 20 9:22 am  · 
 · 

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?

Jun 12, 20 6:54 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Ghost kitchens make me sad at a foundational level.

Jun 12, 20 7:55 pm  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 12, 20 7:57 pm  · 
 · 
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?

Jun 18, 20 11:39 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 2:38 pm  · 
 · 
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

Jun 18, 20 2:55 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Arch, what % reduction are you seeing?

Jun 18, 20 3:01 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 3:29 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 3:35 pm  · 
 · 
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...

Jun 18, 20 3:38 pm  · 
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."

Jun 18, 20 3:48 pm  · 
1  · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 4:00 pm  · 
5  · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 5:29 pm  · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 5:30 pm  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 18, 20 3:56 pm  · 
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.

Jun 18, 20 4:57 pm  · 
 · 
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?

Jun 19, 20 8:46 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 19, 20 4:37 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 19, 20 5:40 pm  · 
2  · 
Juice

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

Jun 22, 20 12:56 pm  · 
 · 

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.

Jun 22, 20 4:28 pm  · 
3  · 

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

Jun 22, 20 7:34 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 22, 20 8:22 pm  · 
3  · 
thisisnotmyname

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

Jun 22, 20 8:52 pm  · 
 · 

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

Jun 22, 20 9:11 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 22, 20 9:49 pm  · 
6  · 
randomised

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

source: Flatten the Curve they said

Jun 23, 20 10:23 am  · 
2  · 

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

Jun 23, 20 4:59 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 23, 20 10:12 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 23, 20 10:13 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jun 25, 20 9:12 am  · 
 · 
sp429

threeohdoor - I am getting the pandemic assistance though there wasn't a "job loss due to covid" option. Since we were furloughed before, maybe it's already in the system for our cases.

Jul 9, 20 6:04 pm  · 
 · 
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  · 
1  · 

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.

Jun 25, 20 11:47 am  · 
1  · 

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

Jun 27, 20 8:07 am  · 
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curtkram

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

Jun 27, 20 11:04 am  · 
 · 
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  · 
8  · 
archi_dude

Apologies for all the typos....

Jun 23, 20 2:41 pm  · 
 · 
shellarchitect

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

We're rich!

Jun 24, 20 10:01 am  · 
5  · 

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

Jun 24, 20 10:29 am  · 
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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!

Jun 25, 20 10:44 am  · 
3  ·  1
liberty bell

FORTY HAIR TIES?!?!

Jun 28, 20 5:12 pm  · 
 · 
archiwutm8

How does a chihuahua even fit 3 socks and 40 hair ties in its stomach?

Jul 9, 20 5:43 pm  · 
 · 
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...

Jun 27, 20 1:03 am  · 
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.

Jun 28, 20 4:41 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

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

Jun 28, 20 4:55 pm  · 
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.

Jun 28, 20 5:15 pm  · 
3  · 
randomised

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

Jun 28, 20 5:17 pm  · 
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.

Jun 29, 20 11:24 am  · 
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.

Jun 29, 20 11:34 am  · 
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.

Jun 29, 20 12:14 pm  · 
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?

Jun 28, 20 9:41 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jul 3, 20 10:05 pm  · 
 · 

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

Jul 5, 20 8:50 am  · 
 · 
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.

Jul 3, 20 10:11 pm  · 
 · 
Flatfish

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.)

Jul 3, 20 10:20 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jul 3, 20 10:56 pm  · 
 · 
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.

Jul 3, 20 11:05 pm  · 
 · 
bklyntotfc

Definitely negotiate, but if they won't come up where you want them too, one option is to take the job, but to keep looking/interviewing for better opportunities/pay. In this environment, no one's going to hold it against you down the road if you have a couple of short stints at different office during COVID times.

Jul 6, 20 10:54 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

Yes, the OP could take this job and then return to their previous employer if/when things pick up. Accepting a low paying position now may not seem so bad in hindsight if economic things take a turn for the worse in the coming months. In a prolonged downturn, jobs will be very scarce and all salary offers are going to be lowered.

Jul 6, 20 11:22 am  · 
 · 
zonker

Right, this is what I had to do in 2010, for 3 years as a 1099 at small boutique firm in San Francisco. It was kind of thin for arch jobs then, and I had to take what I could get to stay in the game. big gaps in your resume trigger way too many questions and you are at a disadvantage when competing with someone with no gaps.

Jul 6, 20 11:53 am  · 
1  · 
thisisnotmyname

And the firm making the offer seems to be a viable business in the current situation while the OP's old firm has ceased operations and loads of others are laying people off.

Jul 6, 20 12:17 pm  · 
 · 
archi_dude

Find another career. 40k is pathetic, that's not a hit on you but the
. You can practice architecture on the sidem

Jul 7, 20 8:38 am  · 
1  · 
archi_dude

I wish there was an edit button....anyway was trying to say that's a hit on the profession, not you. Get out, is drafting really that amazing you are willing to slog a few years through a downturn making peanuts?

Jul 7, 20 8:39 am  · 
 · 
przemula

So I tried to negotiate, and they said they can do 46k, with bump after 30 days towards my desired pay (on application I requested 54k, I left my previous office at 50k). I think I'll take it, and remind them about that bump in a month... while still looking for another opportunities. I texted my ex-boss few days ago, no answer - weird, I only wanted clarification about future. Thank you for your advices.

Jul 7, 20 11:23 am  · 
 · 
przemula

@archi_dude - I actually tried getting out, before and during pandemic I've made a bunch of tutorials on how to become UI/UX designer, I started working on my portfolio, but ended up not applying anywhere, because... after pandemic hit there was literally no offers. Not even one, I mean there was one but it looked fake. I spoke with one of my friends who is UX designer and I didn't even know that, and he said there are very low chances of getting job like that now. Also, at the end of 2019/beginning 2020 I applied to any entry-level construction manager job offer that was available (better money, and I enjoyed my time on site) with very well written resume, but no luck...

Jul 7, 20 11:27 am  · 
 · 
archi_dude

Try, try again. I switched to CM, took a bit of effort. Totally worth it, and from what I'm hearing it's even more gang busters than before. Also starting salary for lowest entry position out of school in my area is like 65k definitely beats the 35k starting architecture salary. Keep trying.

Jul 7, 20 2:55 pm  · 
1  · 

I want to push back on your description of taking Unemployment as being a "parasite". Unemployment Insurance is insurance you and the employer pay for, it comes out of your paycheck just like your health insurance. Unemployment insurance is something you have earned and so you should not feel any hangups in claiming those benefits if you qualify. Best of luck in the job search, I find while looking for work that it is important to keep office ours on that search so you don't drift into procrastinating behaviors while you are on the hunt for work. Over and OUT Peter N

Jul 9, 20 4:56 pm  · 
3  · 
ajuliano

Hi All, I'm new to Archinect. I've been reading all of the posts so far and it is scary. The hammer dropped in my office last week and most of the staff was let go, except for the partners and one guy. We were working from home and the projects have finally dried up. Admittedly, I found working from home actually good. Without disctractions I was getting a lot of work done. 

The difficulty will be the job hunt. I have been my office for 25 years. 

Jul 6, 20 12:23 pm  · 
 · 
ajuliano

Hi All, I'm new to Archinect. I have been reading all of the posts and it is scary about what is going on. The hammer dropped in my office last week and most of the staff was layed off, except for the partners, of course, and one other guy. Nobody is safe in this environment. I was with my office almost 25 years and thought I would be OK. Our office was working from home since March and it was OK. I was actually more efficient and getting more work done. Oh well. I've been trying to write a resume since I haven't done one in a while. It's difficult.

Jul 6, 20 12:32 pm  · 
 · 
archanonymous

Sorry to hear that. Welcome, though! Archinect has some great articles on writing resumes and assembling portfolios if it has been a while!

Jul 6, 20 1:02 pm  · 
1  · 
ajuliano

Thanks for the welcome. I'll check out the resume writing information. My portfolio at the moment is in decent shape. I had some friends who convinced me to put it online a couple of years ago. So at least that's done. I will definitely check on the resume info.

Jul 6, 20 2:18 pm  · 
2  · 
Susz

That's unfortunate, so sorry to hear that. Where abouts are you located ajuliano?

Jul 7, 20 12:50 pm  · 
 · 
ajuliano

Hi Susz. I'm located in Ulster County New York, but I have been working in Ridgewood, NJ in Bergen County for almost 25 years. I also worked in NYC for a while, after I finished with grad school.

Jul 7, 20 1:18 pm  · 
1  · 

Not layoff related, but I was on a site yesterday that mandates mask -wearing and probably 9 out of 10 of the contractors I aw had the mask below their nose.

Jul 9, 20 11:59 am  · 
 · 

We have a lot of that here. Contractors like to tease me for wearing a mask on job sites - even outdoors. Then I tell them I'm a type 1 diabetic and they shut up. A few even wear masks properly after that. ;)

Jul 9, 20 12:42 pm  · 
 · 
Bench

We seem to have pretty good compliance here on-site. We definitely take 'breather-breaks' when we are obviously away from other people, although now with new CDC guidelines pointing out that it is likely airborne, probably need to cut that out and mandate full mask use at all times, just like a hardhat.

Jul 9, 20 1:28 pm  · 
1  · 

When did the the CDC say that?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/non-us-settings/overview/index.html

Jul 9, 20 2:59 pm  · 
1  · 
Bench

Woops - meant WHO.

Jul 9, 20 3:09 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

my 4 jobs all finally got green lighted through permit and funding (funding took longer), so I theoretically have work for a year in CA without having to think about design.  Swamped with submittals because all the contractors have been waiting on hold technically not starting but clearly they've lined up their ducks... getting 20-40 submittals from each contractor in big lump drops is annoying.

In the meantime, Dwell (atlanta) and NOVA (atlanta, SE region) are both looking for employees, both offers sound like same ol' different boss... but the headhunters are offering base pay ranges with floors $15k above my current salary... I guess it's time to jub hunt again.  

Jul 9, 20 4:37 pm  · 
1  · 

Make them follow a submittal schedule! Check the agreement, it probably has a clause in there that they need to submit one to be approved by the architect.

Jul 9, 20 5:41 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

all the agreements require a submittal schedule, though one was adjusted from the typical language to not require it upfront. We've always had mixed results in getting those. How have you fared?

Jul 9, 20 5:58 pm  · 
 · 

We don't always get one, but I try to tell my people to keep bugging the contractor for it regardless ... especially if they are overwhelming you with submittals. Are you using a standard Agreement and General Conditions? If so, are you using Consensus Docs, AIA documents, or something else? 

Consensus Docs are less favorable in this regard than AIA documents, but still require submittals "in a manner consistent with the Schedule of the Work," so not all at once. 

AIA A201 has language that can help in indicating that without a submittal schedule the contractor has no claim for more money or an increase in time if it takes the architect longer to review submittals than the contractor wants. If you present this in a way that is less threatening, and more, "this helps both of us out in prioritizing our efforts," I find contractors are ok working with you on figuring out which submittals should be first. Once you have that, it's not that hard to get them to put together a quick schedule for the rest. It takes getting them to think and plan rather than just take whatever the subs give them and throw it in your lap. 

Another trick when getting overloaded with submittals is to spend a few minutes and quickly find which ones are incomplete and send them back without review. This gives you a little more time as they scramble to get it completed. 

Same thing if the contractor hasn't reviewed it. Even it it is stamped as having been reviewed, if you can find things the contractor should have caught in their review and didn't (multiple things, not just one or two mistakes) ... send it back indicating they need to review it again. 

Don't let their failure to do their job correctly become your issue.

Jul 9, 20 6:47 pm  · 
3  · 
joseffischer

We've got A201 on 2 of the 4, and yes we're keeping communication channels open and none of the contractors are barking and they're letting us know which would be needed first. It's more of a "o.O really guys?" moment. I've sent a good 1/4 back already based on interns reviewing the submittal against the spec submittal requirements and marking Incomplete per spec section ****. We've gotten better in the office about doing same day first glances to both help juniors get familiar with the necessity of specs and to set contractor expectations correctly early. It works pretty well.

Jul 9, 20 9:27 pm  · 
3  · 
ivorykeyboard

my office went from 330 to around 175 people. 

of those 175, around 1/3 are part time.

some how, i am still full time. for now

Jul 10, 20 1:29 pm  · 
2  · 
atelier nobody

Always an odd position to be in. On one hand, the fact that you're one of the people they are trying to keep means they value you, but on the other hand, the situation is inherently precarious for everyone.

Jul 10, 20 6:59 pm  · 
 ·  1
peterjones1

I also work at said office from poster above. Hang in there!

Jul 10, 20 4:16 pm  · 
2  · 

Firm does mostly government work and hospital work. We have the workload and they hired new people. Mostly they hired Upper tier people, which baffles me since we need more of the grunt workers. Office is pretty quite. Although they do not allow working from home, some PMS do let us stay home. So until principles say anything ill be staying home. Especially since job is in orange county, and mask are not mandatory.

Jul 18, 20 1:17 pm  · 
1  · 
insertnamehere

Hey there, 

So I've been working at this small firm that almost exclusively does hospitality projects. And given the current situation, things are pretty bad right now. Most of the projects are on hold and most employees have been furloughed without pay since April. I worked for two months when others were furloughed because I'm a recent graduate and it's cheaper labor. But now they're out of work for me too.

I know that things will eventually get back to normal and projects will come back since they are on hold and not cancelled. But since hospitality has been affected far worse than other typologies, there's no certainty as to when projects will be back. I happened to like this job and would like to work here for a little while longer. And I know I'll be one of the first few people to be back at work since, like I said, I'm a junior employee. But I'm being adviced by few people to look for other jobs so that I don't stagnate my career.

I'd like some other opinions on this. Thoughts?

Jul 20, 20 5:21 am  · 
 · 
joseffischer

Internet advice is just that... but I'd agree, don't stagnate, take different work, keep nimble.

Jul 20, 20 9:00 am  · 
1  · 
thisisnotmyname

You should look for another job. The outlook for your old position is too unclear and subject to forces beyond anyone's control. Meanwhile, some places appear to still be hiring.   Take one of those opportunities if you find one that looks good.  However, do keep in touch with your old bosses so that you can perhaps rejoin them at some point in the future.

Jul 20, 20 9:37 am  · 
2  · 
randomised

there will be so much work in hospitality though...every place will have to remodel and adjust to physical distancing practices one way or the other.

Jul 20, 20 9:54 am  · 
 · 
joseffischer

PTAC in the wall, exterior "corridor" for entries... not sure how your typical Motel 6 needs to change really. If demand is lower (which it will be for quite a while) I just see a lot of empty rooms sitting and no reason to call in a design team for your typical 7-year lipstick.

Jul 20, 20 10:07 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

A lot of the changes for distancing so far have been pushing the furniture around and putting us plastic screens. Not seeing much work for design professionals in that. Most owners see COVID resolving somehow in the next 12-18 months.  With that outlook, owners are not going to invest in architect-designed heavy remodeling to address distancing & fresh air measures that most hope are temporary.


Jul 20, 20 10:33 am  · 
3  · 
insertnamehere

Exactly. There isn't much architectural scope/intervention in remodelling. Furthermore, with the losses the restaurant businesses are incurring already, they do not want to invest in design services for such changes. The reason I've been holding back from applying is because there aren't very good openings where I am located. So I'm trying to decide if I should settle for a worse job because something is better than nothing or set a deadline to see if things go back to normal with my current firm and then start applying. I agree that rejoining is always an option that I have but my superior
seems to have abandonment issues. I've heard rumours about them being very rude once people decide to leave.

Jul 20, 20 11:58 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

Well, your boss laying you off and then being angry when you find another job isn't terribly rational on their part. Unless they have a definite timeline and plan to bring you back, you haven't wronged them in any way.  How long you want to wait this thing out depends a lot on your personal financial situation.

Jul 20, 20 12:12 pm  · 
1  · 
insertnamehere

I agree. I think I might give it another month and get my portfolio ready in the mean time. Thank you for your insight.

Jul 20, 20 1:45 pm  · 
 · 
randomised

pushing furniture around and putting stickers and tape on the floor isn't very alluring for businesses, those are just temporary make-shift "hacks"...when people and businesses realise there is a permanent need for more distance and smarter routing from a design/architecture point of view, who they're going to call?

Jul 21, 20 3:47 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

Agree, but that change in outlook on the client side won't happen until some point in the future. In the meantime, many in hospitality design suffer from a lack of active projects.

Jul 21, 20 8:54 am  · 
 · 
randomised

Really? There's even a studio called [Team 1.5] here (our distancing is at 1.5m), that does redesign of hospitality, offices or retail specifically...judging from LinkedIn they're quite busy already...but maybe it's because you're still in the first wave or already surfing the second one that things are looking quite different. In that case no projects indeed...

Jul 21, 20 9:19 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

Yes, where I am the hotel and restaurant owners appear to be doing any reconfiguration themselves in a very DIY kind of way with handymen and movers. I am aware of only one project where an architect is being consulted.

Jul 21, 20 9:33 am  · 
2  · 

could be worse (recent site visit)


Jul 24, 20 9:49 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Do you really need an architect to fix broken plaster?

Jul 24, 20 10:09 pm  · 
 · 

I was there to arrange the furniture.

Jul 24, 20 10:10 pm  · 
3  · 

Reality of an Instagram Influencer

Jul 26, 20 12:15 pm  · 
6  ·  1
Non Sequitur

Needs a good fang shuay and I’m sure it’ll be a quick sell.

Jul 26, 20 12:48 pm  · 
2  ·  1
randomised

The mattress really ties the room together...

Jul 26, 20 1:35 pm  · 
7  · 

/\ is that a modified Big Lebowski reference?...This must be the home of a nihilist.

Jul 26, 20 2:45 pm  · 
2  · 

RCZ did a retaliatory thumbs down. Definitely Balkins. Dude needs laid off from. Archinect permanently.

Jul 27, 20 8:24 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

I prefer my spelling...but who cares, it's all nonsense anyways. What's missing in the pic is the hotplate c/w six extension cords.

Jul 27, 20 8:35 am  · 
1  · 
citizen

I admire the rakish diagonal of the mattress placement.

Jul 27, 20 8:31 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

what book was that on the bed?

Jul 28, 20 9:43 am  · 
 · 
x-jla

Hopefully a self help book

Jul 28, 20 3:15 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

Looks like "the art of the deal"

Jul 28, 20 4:23 pm  · 
3  · 

I didn't check, pretty sure whoever was there was still there...but in another room, after stepping over a needle...something about Timothy and Titus (biblical I think)

Jul 28, 20 5:33 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

I was actually missing the needles in your story

Jul 28, 20 6:35 pm  · 
 · 
zonker

And where's all the empty Old English 800 cans

Jul 27, 20 4:30 pm  · 
 · 

Everyone knows Mad Dog is better.

Jul 27, 20 4:42 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Labatt 50. The warmer, the better.

Jul 27, 20 4:49 pm  · 
1  · 

Silly Canadian.

Jul 27, 20 8:22 pm  · 
1  · 

can I get this with a billing index overlay?

Covid-19 new cases by State Animation

Jul 27, 20 10:36 pm  · 
1  · 
wurdan freo

Awesome! Even with cases rising in new places, it looks like that curve is pretty flat.

Jul 28, 20 10:04 am  · 
 · 
SlammingMiruvor

All these graphs should have healthcare capacity by state overlaid too.

Jul 28, 20 11:48 am  · 
 · 
natematt

Exponential increase on the y axis makes that pretty hard to say Wurdan...

Jul 28, 20 9:19 pm  · 
1  · 
wurdan freo

wow... totally missed that... way less exciting... that is some sneakiness going on there... this was way more fun around new years when people were circulating internet memes about mexican beers and Asia had another crazy virus on their hands from some dumbass who ate a bat...

Jul 29, 20 12:50 am  · 
1  · 
ArchiTravel

I was wondering if anyone saw this post from CookFox:

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1967530413/

A salary of 43K in NYC is even below the 2010 entry salary... this is really worrying, and we are in the beginning of this recession... 

Jul 30, 20 4:08 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

it's entry level.

Jul 30, 20 4:09 pm  · 
 ·  1
square.

that's a terrible salary for entry level, especially from a larger, successful firm like cookfox. i would expect 50k; $22/hr is embarrassingly close to the $15/hr min for NY (unskilled labor!), and graduates of professional programs should be paid better than this. it appears they are taking full advantage of the market downturn to hire cheap labor.

Jul 30, 20 4:47 pm  · 
5  · 
sp429

Agreed. When I started my first job in 2011, which is almost 10 years ago, my starting salary was 40k. Firms are taking advantage of the recession.

Jul 30, 20 5:03 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Perhaps it’s a shitty salary, but no one is forcing anyone to take it. Offices are businesses, not charities... but they get what they pay for.

Jul 30, 20 7:16 pm  · 
2  · 
archi_dude

Why *should a graduate of a professional program that doesnt train these graduates to be at all useful in any way for a career inundated with multiple of these graduates be paid more?

Jul 30, 20 8:35 pm  · 
2  ·  2
tduds

Race to the bottom!

Jul 30, 20 8:38 pm  · 
2  · 
sameolddoctor

43K for entry level is embarrassingly low, but also the standard. I started at 39K about 18 years ago, so you can see how pathethic the state of the profession is...

Jul 30, 20 10:43 pm  · 
5  · 
square.

right... i guess when high school graduates show up to work at a restaurant they don't deserve decent pay because they didn't take deep-fryer 101.

Jul 31, 20 9:54 am  · 
1  · 
JBeaumont

The people who accept crazy-low salaries are a bigger part of the problem than those who offer them. I've turned down lots of low offers in my career, and negotiated others into much better offers, sometimes more than twice what was originally on the table. But every time that I've walked away from a firm that wouldn't budge, someone else has come along and accepted their pathetic offer. And some of these firms have been downright rude and insulting when I've made these decisions, telling me that I would regret walking away because I'd end up selling my soul to some corporate firm where they don't know what "real design" is. No... I just found firms doing real design who also knew what real management, real marketing, and real money are. As long as there are people accepting 43k in NYC, it will stay "the standard" for some firms - and that's as much the fault of those accepting it. Just don't do it. Walk away.

Jul 31, 20 10:40 am  · 
3  · 
square.

yes, but one can't accept a low offer unless there is one offering it. i agree that these low offers should be avoided, but the power dynamic, especially during a recession like this, is far skewed towards the employer. aka the employee is in more need of a salary in order to provide for their basic needs, whereas the employer can squeeze out lower costs for cheap labor. i'm glad things have worked out for you, but you can't blame someone who's been looking for a job for 6 months taking a salary that pays too low. an extra 5k won't break the firm, but could make all the difference for an individual.

Jul 31, 20 10:47 am  · 
1  · 
JBeaumont

It's only skewed toward the employer if the applicant is not willing to look to other fields for a job. During the last recession I walked away from a few insanely low offers from architecture firms, and found that a local engineering firm that does consulting for utilities was paying nearly twice what those firms were offering, for simple CAD work identifying and locating power lines on maps, from drone photography. I found that by actually picking up the phone and calling people in my network. I did that for a few months, until a better paying architecture opportunity arose. Unless the architecture firm is truly your one and only option, in any field, for putting bread on the table and avoiding eviction, accepting peanuts is inexcusable.  It perpetuates the whole cycle. If you really care about the profession the responsible thing to do is walk. Firms will continue to offer what people will accept. Stop being the one who sets that low bar.

Jul 31, 20 11:07 am  · 
4  · 
square.

i agree, for those that have the means and ability to walk away.

Jul 31, 20 11:13 am  · 
1  · 
archi_dude

Well if you can get out of the self pity party. Alot of other industries and career paths pay entry salaries higher than that 50k mentioned so the whole means to walk away isnt really a good argument. I walked away at 7 years with a license and took an entry level position and still got a raise. The best thing to raise wages for oneself is to research what skills are actually in demand, add those to your resume and take off. Or you can sulk and say capitalism sucks.

Jul 31, 20 12:28 pm  · 
 ·  1
square.

2 questions dudeski: 1) if you walked away, why is does your name begin with "archi" and 2) why are you still commenting on an architecture website?

some of us can think critically about things without resorting to dumb binaries like "capitalism sucks." others are knuckle draggers.

leave and cleave man.

Jul 31, 20 1:12 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

If it's radical to suggest that a professional job requiring one or more professional degrees should pay enough to secure a spot in the professional middle class, then I guess you can call me Comrade.

Jul 31, 20 1:18 pm  · 
5  · 
archi_dude

It is if you just know how to photoshop some sketchup models. Just saying your future is in your hands. Research what's in demand and pursue. That could still be within the industry.

Jul 31, 20 2:16 pm  · 
 ·  1
square.

you must have went to a negligent institution. i picked up many more skills in one semester of undergrad alone.

Jul 31, 20 2:18 pm  · 
1  · 
Nevah-Wen

Yikes. I graduated in 2005, and my offers from Vinoly and Fox & Fowle were for $38K and $45K respectively. Inflation adjusted, that would be $50,000 and $59,500 in today's dollars.

Even then, I decided that was too low for me to survive in NYC, and I took a job in another city.  I don't know how you live on $40k in New York right now, unless you have other sources of income (i.e. wealthy parents).

Jul 31, 20 2:24 pm  · 
5  · 
tduds

"It is if you just know how to photoshop some sketchup models." 

Are you suggesting this is all the average entry level grad can do? My experience with entry level grads (including my own experience as an entry level grad) doesn't agree with that. Maybe your firm is just recruiting poor talent ;)

Jul 31, 20 2:37 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

I'd compare a fresh-out-of-school Architecture Intern to a fresh-out-of-school Paralegal. A quick google search shows Paralegal starting salaries in the mid 50s on average (ranges between 40k-72k). If law offices can afford to pay their bottom rung a decent wage, what's wrong with our profession that we not only aren't paying well, but insisting that we don't deserve it?

Jul 31, 20 2:40 pm  · 
5  · 
square.

no tduds, those law graduates should be able to argue in a trial day one. what are they even teaching them in school? too much legal theory and history

Jul 31, 20 2:43 pm  · 
2  · 

Shameless plug of relevant blog posts: Parasitic Interns and On Internships and Mowing the Lawn.

Jul 31, 20 2:46 pm  · 
1  · 
archi_dude

Just saying. Whose forcing these people to stay in NYC? and if you want more find what's in demand and go after it. Yes these shiny degrees should get you paid but unfortunately universities are cranking out these degrees way more than what is needed

Jul 31, 20 3:41 pm  · 
1  · 
archi_dude

I forget the name of them but a past poster got me thinking when he had said the issue was that back before say the 80's you'd have vocational drafters and a few architects and some junior architects. Then with so many degrees it turned into a scenario of "hey let's hire graduates instead there are so many" but these graduates were now doing lower paid tasks such as drafting so the pay fell as well. It sucks but you can in fact do something about it or push to have your firm start providing more than just document delivery.

Jul 31, 20 3:45 pm  · 
2  · 
tduds

I suspect you may be onto something with that last point. I'd love to see some numbers to go with the hypothesis.

Jul 31, 20 4:02 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

yes, very different than saying "these kids suck don't pay them"

Jul 31, 20 4:18 pm  · 
1  · 

I've often thought similarly re: drafters vs. architects. It's part of the reason I wrote the "Want to be an Architect: Don't Learn Revit" blog post. As an architectural intern aspiring to be an architect, you shouldn't be simply drafting in Revit all day. 

Using the paralegal/lawyer thing as a separate comparison: you can go to school to become a paralegal. You can also go to school to become a lawyer. Those schools and curricula aren't necessarily the same. It seems like the architectural career equivalent of a paralegal is no longer a drafter, it's an intern or an architect whose career is in production. Maybe it should go back to being a drafter.

I'd be all in favor of vocational training for more drafters to do the production work in offices rather than the interns and other architects. I think this also starts to address the complaint that architecture school doesn't prepare you for practice. When "practice" for recent grads equals Revit details all day long, it's correct that they typically don't teach that stuff in your B.Arch or M.Arch program ... but maybe it would be taught in a vocational drafting curriculum.

Jul 31, 20 4:19 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

EA, we have those here. We call them arch technologists and it's a very popular 2year (or maybe 3) college level course. They have their own recognition under our architect's association and even-though it's no prof title, they still get a few extra letters after their names on their biz cards. The problem is that fresh M.arch grads know just as much (at best) as these college kids so they get equal starting salary. The license and years of prof exp is what separates them $ wise... not the name of the their degree (although the ceiling is much lower for arch-tech).

Jul 31, 20 5:02 pm  · 
 · 

NS, does your post imply that M.Arch grads and arch technologists are doing the same entry-level work? If not, why is their knowledge being compared to the other's? My thought process is that M.Arch grads and the technologists wouldn't be competing for the same entry level jobs just like recently-minted lawyers aren't competing for the same jobs as paralegals.

Jul 31, 20 5:12 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

EA, they do at first. No fresh March grad gets tossed into architect stuff at first here. Most March education is in the office anyways.

Jul 31, 20 5:15 pm  · 
 ·  1

Understandable, but not my ideal scenario. Ideally, there would be separate positions, doing separate work, with separate career expectations, and likely separate salary expectations both starting out and as you progress through your career and gain more experience and responsibility. Of course, that would probably also need to be reflected in the educational models. You mention that most M.Arch education is in the office. I'm not disagreeing with that as fact, but I do think it is a problem of the educational system.

How long before their career trajectory starts to really diverge?

Jul 31, 20 5:20 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

The career will diverge once they get face time with clients, site & CA, and city officials.

Jul 31, 20 6:02 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

This was a good back and forth. I especially like Everyday Architect's position on the matter. I think we all know that the lion-share of examples for architects career trajectory diverging is when someone higher up than you finally is in a pinch and has to give you a shot. Mine was relatively early, when someone 3 years my senior who had way more design sense than me was scrambling with some projects in CA... and then got sick for a week and a half. The Principal in charge was too busy and I was the only one left on the totem pole. Turned out I'm fantastic at it, got all the projects caught up, and when he returned he went back to some projects in SD. My opportunity to do CA and the skills I already had and continued to develop in that area really meant little. The big deal was my face/name recognition at the OAC meetings.

Aug 3, 20 8:32 am  · 
2  · 
Dangermouse

43K in NYC is not just low, its illegal. Seriously. It is below the legal minimum wage for salaried employees (58.5K)

Aug 16, 20 7:58 pm  · 
2  · 
zonker

This downturn is shaping up to be another long one like in 09'>11' - I had to 1099 it at $20.00/hr for 3 long years. but that was 10 years ago. $22.00/hr now is like $10.00/hr then

Jul 30, 20 4:57 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

I gauge the state of the economy by the number of people who ask me to work on spec.  We are at 2 this week.  3 a week means full collapse is soon.  

Jul 30, 20 9:26 pm  · 
1  · 

so you spend your career setting up an office in a major metropolitan city as a sign you made it and then realize, yeah don't need the office space anymore - Apparently.  I figured I pay about $100 an hour now for using my office, haha

Jul 31, 20 10:06 am  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

indeed. Usually once one acquires any "sign you made it" you realize how hollow it is, and that the only person determining if you've made it or not is yourself.

Jul 31, 20 10:23 am  · 
2  · 

I was really being more practical about it. After all this effort and now its like, whatever, offices will be obsolete in the future... if it's up to me, I'll never "make it" - I'll do something like this when I get an award...damn they took it down, that Eddie Vedder acceptance speech...

Jul 31, 20 7:03 pm  · 
 · 

I just heard a medium-sized but well-known firm in Chicago is implementing a 15% paycut across the firm through the end of the year. Yikes.

Jul 31, 20 10:57 am  · 
2  · 
@work

Decent-sized firm in Chicago, caught up in the second round of furloughs. Entered in the last recession, now another one, oy

Jul 31, 20 11:19 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

aye, the pay has been cut.

Jul 31, 20 12:14 pm  · 
 · 
molten

Mid-sized but well known firm here in Philly (peer's firm, not my own) implementing sliding scale reduction. 5% - 13% cut based on salary - higher salary, higher pay cut.

Jul 31, 20 12:34 pm  · 
 · 
molten

Also,I was chatting with a colleague (Senior Associate) at my firm who had a 20% pay cut starting in April. Full pay to restart in August. I'm assuming management took pay cuts (unbeknownst to staff).

Jul 31, 20 12:38 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

"Full pay to restart in August." ...Betting that's not going to happen.

Jul 31, 20 1:16 pm  · 
3  · 
Lululala

Ditto. There would be more layoffs and furloughs rather than going back to normal operation and normal job market.

Jul 31, 20 1:57 pm  · 
 · 
molten

Certainly possible. Though I *think* our firm is doing better. They laid off/furloughed 10% of the firm in May, but started bringing some of that staff back. I've been very busy but the situation could change quickly....everything is still very uncertain.

Jul 31, 20 2:03 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Perhaps now is the time to revisit the "anti-trust" issue?

Aug 2, 20 2:11 pm  · 
1  · 
coopercooperco

Posted months ago, but my NYC firm (around 70ish people) had cut salaries on a supposed sliding scale starting at 15% back in April. End of July they told us we'd be headed back into the office the next Wednesday. It's a new office space, however, as we were supposed to move right before the pandemic hit, so no one was really sure what "being in the office" was going to be like. Shortly after that, rumors started going around that they furloughed a group of people but no confirmations from management. No word or meeting on the move-in, though they had admittedly given us a design presentation on it in June.

Last Tuesday morning, the day before the return, they sent out a seating chart that showed us all in an open office plan sitting at 5' foot desks for 25' runs, with the middle desk empty (the furloughed group), and the same thing mirrored in front of you, making 8 people per "group." I guess HR got a lot of emails about it because then we finally had a meeting about the move back that afternoon where management complained we were waiting until the last minute to be worried and that we shouldn't scale off plans because in real life we're basically 6' apart. They also said that people didn't have to return if they could submit their own return plan that used scientific metrics to provide a more safe return date. They then admitted they furloughed a group of people (the empty middle desks on the plan), and others had submitted medical paperwork to confirm they were high risk.

Weird being back in an office, especially with the no mask rule while seated aspect. Our office manager told me there are about 40 of us in there. First day we already had a principal walking up to people with his mask off and jokingly asking if it was required he pulled it up. You have to eat lunch at your desk which seems strange with people sitting next to you. The office space still isn't technically finished either, so there are construction workers in there finishing up the conference rooms. Still no word or timetable on when our salaries are returning to normal, though, and the furloughed people are "supposedly" out for 60 days. I'm guessing their return will be contingent on both work and reopening guidelines here in NY.

Is anyone else's office requiring them to go back in now?

Aug 2, 20 11:26 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

we've been back 100% since beginning of july but had some working back in june. No masks required unless in meetings greater than 4. No salary cuts either and all staff $ were paid out even if some could not commit to a full 37.5hr week while WFH.

Aug 2, 20 12:20 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

I know you don't intend it as such, NS, but quit taunting us with how much better Canada is!

Aug 2, 20 1:17 pm  · 
10  · 
Non Sequitur

^not my intent, at least not with this post. Cheers

Aug 2, 20 1:46 pm  · 
2  · 
thisisnotmyname

Has your office leadership disclosed what the game plan is for when an employee tests positive? With the office setup you describe, it's not a matter of if, but when.

Aug 2, 20 1:46 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

In the Q&A they said a person who tests positive would be required to stay home and be put in touch with a contact tracing program, which the office would work with to notify who else in the office should get tested based on seating/who they interacted with. Though, in my opinion, that could easily end up being most of the office.

Aug 2, 20 1:58 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

I'm also Canadian like NS and echo his current office situation (high five). Haven't lost any staff, no reduced hours, no pay cuts. In fact we hired a senior technologist in the first week of shut down. We've been back since early July. No meetings larger than 6 at our office, period. No masks (yet) as my part of the world has very, very low numbers.

Aug 2, 20 2:04 pm  · 
4  · 
chris-chitect

Canadian here as well, although I'm in government and doing more construction/contract management. Still working from home since mid march. In early June we tried to roll out a phased return to the office, but we can only have 6 people working in there when we've got some 15 employees, have hired 3 since the pandemic and probably will hire more. Our rule since the beginning of the pandemic is only to go into the office if you have to, and to notify your supervisor in advance. So far, I've spent just 2 or 3 hours in the office one afternoon a while back.

Aug 2, 20 2:28 pm  · 
1  · 
chris-chitect

would also add, some co-workers discovered a nearby park has wifi, so we've done some work in the sunshine on picnic benches.

Aug 2, 20 2:29 pm  · 
3  · 

Still no requirement to get back in the office for my firm. With most, if not all, schools announcing that they'll be starting fully remote this fall, I'd be surprised if we get back in the office before the new year. We've had no furloughs, no lay offs, and no pay cuts (... knocking on wood and crossing my fingers this doesn't change). 

Yes delays on typical cost of living salary increases or raises that would have gone into effect at this point, but also yes on some extra money in our paychecks to help pay for increased expenses due to working from home (not a lot, but enough to be helpful for anyone that needed to upgrade their internet or cell phone plan in order to WFH). 

From all indications, we've been doing well as a firm overall. Still winning new work and not a lot of projects that got put on hold. We've hired some new people for key positions and even kept our summer internships that had been offered before everything shut down. I offer it not as a brag, but as a point of reference that firms in the US can have nice things too ... it's not just Canada.

Aug 2, 20 3:01 pm  · 
4  · 
curtkram

EA, how do you do summer internships from home? That seems like the sort of thing where contact, so the new people can ask questions and see what's happening in person, would be necessary.

Aug 2, 20 7:40 pm  · 
 · 

NS and Archanonymous - how much better is Canada than US -

See that huge dip, World War I and a Pandemic...Canada also participated in WW II...

Aug 2, 20 8:03 pm  · 
 · 

The line from 1900 to 1920 seems a little too straight for Canada. Like maybe they didn't have all the data to fill out the graph so they did the best they could.

Aug 2, 20 11:22 pm  · 
1  · 

curtkram, I couldn't tell you exactly as I don't really work with them. My assumption is that we do what we can with the tools we have available. I know there was some talk at one point about having working hours with a zoom meeting going on in the background so you could unmute, share screens, and ask questions as needed. I think we've also been having some scheduled check-ins with supervisors. It's probably more work for the supervisors this way, but apparently we thought it was important to give the interns this opportunity. I know a few of the interns are ones that we've had in years past so that probably makes things a little easier.

Aug 2, 20 11:27 pm  · 
 · 

SOM?

Aug 4, 20 4:44 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

Nope. From what I heard, SOM is still largely remote, though I don't know how accurate that is anymore.

Aug 4, 20 5:16 pm  · 
 · 
thatsthat

I'm in upstate NY and we've been back in the office full-time for a few weeks. From what I understand, all firms in NYS have to file a form that lays out the protocol they are having their employees follow and any consequences if that employee refuses. We had an email circulate from HR with all of these protocols and consequences explained.

It is weird being back in the office.  We have a nice setup so even during normal times we are spaced probably 10 feet and each have our own station. Half our office is empty stations, which people like to commandeer when checking full size sets.

Aug 4, 20 5:38 pm  · 
1  · 
It_is_I

Pretty sure I know what firm you are talking about.....terrible management

Aug 12, 20 1:56 pm  · 
1  · 
coopercooperco

If you're talking about my firm, I hope it's not because you work with me.

Aug 12, 20 2:30 pm  · 
1  · 
It_is_I

I guess you will never know [¬º-°]¬

Aug 14, 20 12:29 pm  · 
2  · 
newguy

Had an in-person interview recently at a firm in a major US city that is still working on-site where it was implied that the chosen candidate would be needed to start immediately (with no discussion of salary/benefits/etc or even which projects they had on the boards that the new hire would be working on).  Definitely a buyers market right now and plenty of firms are going to use this opportunity to low-ball and hire staff at a discount.  If one can afford it, I think it's better to wait things out until the picture becomes a little more clear instead of panic jumping into a bad long-term situation.  Unfortunately, who knows how long this period of uncertainty may be, and eventually everyone runs out of the runway to weather the storm.  This fuckin' country, man.

Aug 11, 20 9:15 pm  · 
3  · 
Jay1122

I feel you man. Just saw a job post on archinect, NYC job looking for recent grads offering 30K starting salary. Apparently someone thought 30K in NYC is an acceptable number for recent grad.

Aug 12, 20 9:49 am  · 
 · 

Erp! In Grand Junction CO we pay our starting interns around $38K. In NYC $30K is ridiculously below the poverty line. Was this a part time job under 20 hours a week?

Aug 12, 20 10:27 am  · 
 · 
square.

43Hundred Design, i see.

https://archinect.com/jobs/ent...

MuSt Be MoTiVaTeD!!!

pathetic. 30k is less than min wage full time in ny. this says contract, which is also most likely illegal. i would love architect to either flag or remove offices that post conditions with illegal labor practices

Aug 12, 20 10:47 am  · 
1  · 
Bench

I was also going to call out this posting. The pay is ridiculous, especially for the UWS (in what looks like a basement office). Further, it's unclear if anyone at the office is licensed.

Aug 12, 20 10:56 am  · 
 · 
square.

it's pretty pathetic, and sad that they would even post that. i worked in a similar set up in nyc a few years ago and made almost twice that.

Aug 12, 20 11:05 am  · 
 · 
Bench

An initial search for registered licenses indicates that their claims of being "Architects" in NY/NJ is not substantiated...

Aug 12, 20 12:41 pm  · 
3  · 
Lululala

How's anyone doing in terms of finding a job in NYC? Especially people with many experience and a license? I am slowly submitting my job applications to firms and I got one call from some retail company for an interview.  They didn't mind my desired salary though (definitely high number), however, my job as an architect there sounded pretty shitty.  So I didn't take the chance.  Just wanted to know the status of people who are in the same boat as me. 

Aug 12, 20 11:46 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Anyone in NYC region should be glad to have a job in architecture right now. The firm i work at laid off 1/3 already and is still slow.I just feel there will be another wave of people leaving the field due to the lack of opportunity. Good thing you can still afford to pick and choose.

Aug 12, 20 12:37 pm  · 
 · 
Lululala

oh, I am currently unemployed since May... I should have said I am actively looking for a job.

Aug 12, 20 12:44 pm  · 
 · 
It_is_I

Currently furloughed, looking for jobs in NJ.....its like a lonely desert out here.....

Aug 12, 20 1:58 pm  · 
 · 
Bench

I can't help but notice that there does seem to be quite a few job ads coming up on the Archinect Jobs Boards ...

but almost all specifically at the 10+ years Intermediate-to-Senior PA/PM level - which seems to be clearly where so many of our colleagues would be right now to fill those roles if they hadn't been pushed out in the last recession.

Aug 12, 20 12:35 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

They look for those senior level not because they really need it. Now is a good time to find the best experienced people cheap while they got laid off/ feeling insecure in current position during this crisis.

Aug 12, 20 12:41 pm  · 
3  · 
zonker

I now get e-mail from PMs at 8 -9pm to make changes in the model. " please make the following revisions:.....Client needs it at 9am. It's not a request, "thats an order, lieutenant"

Aug 12, 20 12:36 pm  · 
 ·  3
square.

this is why i left firms that operate like this while the times were good. lesson learned- when the market is good go to a firm that respects you, though it seems like you're sort of into this kind of treatment based on previous posts

Aug 12, 20 12:49 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

aw man,I don't even look at emails past regular work hour. I guess you work for one of those firms doing fancy designs so they hold you hostage by making you think you are part of the legacy doing extraordinary work.

Aug 12, 20 12:53 pm  · 
2  · 

Yeah, that type of email doesn't get seen until 8am at the earliest. If I don't think I can get the changes done in an hour and back to them ... I write an email and tell them they're going to have to wait. A good PM should know better than to promise something like this.

Aug 12, 20 12:59 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Nothing is ever so important that it can't wait a day, or two.

Aug 12, 20 1:03 pm  · 
6  · 
atelier nobody

Especially not in the time of pestilence, when time is becoming increasingly meaningless...

Aug 12, 20 2:03 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

code, you always seem to end up with the worst project teams

Aug 12, 20 2:10 pm  · 
 · 
molten

The problem with looking at/responding to 9PM e-mails, is the client/GC keeps sending you e-mails at 9PM asking for something the next morning. I've never regretting not seeing an "urgent" evening e-mail. I've ALWAYS regretted looking at e-mail after work hours.

Aug 12, 20 2:30 pm  · 
4  · 
square.

yes, interesting how one might always seem to end up in bad situations.... i'm typically one to acknowledge problems outside of the realm of individual solutions, but much of this has to do with one's ability to set boundaries, which no one will do for you. if you don't, they'll smell blood in the water and exploit the shit out of you. in other words, if you don't respect your own time, why would your boss?

Aug 12, 20 2:40 pm  · 
3  · 
archi_dude

I've noticed that most emails at 9PM are actually bosses just cleaning out their inbox and responding actually makes it worse becuase they just wanted an empty inbox and didnt expect anything until the next morning anyway. Maybe they finally got kids to bed? But work on this, this evening, I've only had that once and I quit very shortly
afterwards.

Aug 12, 20 3:04 pm  · 
2  · 

+1000 square.

archi_dude, It doesn't sound like the email in code's situation is the PM simply cleaning out their inbox if they are saying it needs to be done by 9 am. But aside from that, you're probably correct. Note we were here at the bottom of page 1 in this thread. 

code, tell your PMs to read my advice ... and have realistic timelines for when work gets done.

Aug 12, 20 3:30 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

Code, stand up for yourself, no one will do it for you! They’re not going to fire you because you don’t respond to such emails that late, they’re going to eventually fire you because you don’t ever take any initiative and only follow orders like a mindless and easily replaceable drone...

Aug 12, 20 3:54 pm  · 
1  · 
zonker

Good point, I will set Slack to "Inactive" at 6pm

Aug 12, 20 4:37 pm  · 
1  · 
G4tor

Then they blow up your personal phone with work related calls. Good strategy :D

Aug 12, 20 6:10 pm  · 
 ·  1
Dangermouse

one of the reasons i got laid off was because i refused to lift my 10PM "silent mode" on my phone which blocks out work related emails, texts, and calls...you know, so I can be in bed by 11PM. Apparently this was extremely unreasonable, made me a bad communicator, and unable to continue with the offices remote work "vision".

Aug 14, 20 12:14 pm  · 
 ·  4
archanonymous

Dangermouse, that's ridiculous. I'd like to see a public place (better than Glassdoor and not subject to pressure from employers) where people can catalog how firms treated their employees during the pandemic. Thumbs down out of sympathy.


Aug 14, 20 12:45 pm  · 
3  · 

likewise out of sympathy. Probably not much, but I offer this as consolation ... you're better off not working for those types of bosses.

Aug 14, 20 12:57 pm  · 
1  · 

Also, if they were able to articulate their WFH "vision" ... please post it here. Pretty please

Aug 14, 20 1:05 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

Dangermouse, be glad you’re gone from that toxic environment, screw them and their vision!

Aug 14, 20 3:56 pm  · 
 · 
Dangermouse

Everyday, it is something along the lines of: "you are staff and do whatever it is I want no questions asked at any time I desire because times are tough and you do want to keep your job right??" it didn't help that the office had two late paychecks and a bunch of software licenses were lapsing. the people running that office were just totally over-matched in every sense of the word. glad to have gotten out of there.

Aug 16, 20 12:55 pm  · 
3  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Danger, there's a word for that, it's on the tip of my tongue; starts with a c and ends with t, but I'd really love to know who they were.

Aug 16, 20 3:52 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

^cat? I hate cats too.

Aug 16, 20 7:04 pm  · 
1  · 
zonker

two of my former PMs would get bombarded with a steady stream of Procore RFIs, and it fell on us., my Job captain had it the worst, 7 days/week

Aug 12, 20 6:41 pm  · 
 · 

Half of all RFIs are frivolous ...

Aug 12, 20 6:49 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

The other half are also frivolous.

Aug 12, 20 6:56 pm  · 
1  · 
curtkram

i would like to remind you that i design buildings. i don't build them. let's all just stay in our lanes here.

Aug 12, 20 8:55 pm  · 
 · 
thatsthat

semi-related: do you ever put a specific number of RFIs expected in your documents? We have a bureaucratic client who requires us to include a max number of RFIs in the front end. The max number they allow is ridiculously low for a project of this size in our experience, but are hoping this will cut down on the frivolous ones. I'm skeptical that it will work. Just curious if anyone else has experience with this.

Aug 14, 20 12:23 pm  · 
 · 

I've never done it before ... not sure how that would even be enforceable. Do they have some type of data that helps them determine what an appropriate number of RFIs is? I'd be interested to see how they made up that number ... sorry pulled that number out of thin air ... sorry determined that number. 

I did see a paragraph in someone's Div 01 saying that the architect expected numerous RFIs due to the complex nature of the project. No idea why anyone thought that was a good idea. That's just asking for trouble. Basically the opposite of what your question is.

Aug 14, 20 1:03 pm  · 
1  · 
thatsthat

I have no idea how they determine. The max is 250 allowed so we went with that. We were guessing the owner can use it to substantiate the quality of the docs in case things go awry. Ideally, they'd pay us additional services if the contractor goes over, but I doubt that is the case. In general, this client is overzealous about making sure every single thing in the documents can has a dollar value assigned; they've asked us to include routing and details for temporary utility hookups for the contractor's temporary facilities.

Aug 14, 20 3:31 pm  · 
 · 

I've also seen contractors promise owners no RFIs on a project. It was really easy for them to achieve. They called any sort of communication requesting information or interpretation of the documents something else. I don't recall exactly, but I think it was whatever their project management software called that type of thing ... CM Comms or something like that. So while they may have had hundreds of CM Comms, they had zero RFIs. They made sure everyone knew about the zero RFIs part too. Though they always failed to mention how many CM Comms were issued ... hmmm

Aug 14, 20 3:45 pm  · 
2  · 
curtkram

a lot of rfis come from something like the elevator people saying sure, we can build that and it's designed to the specs we publish, but can you change it an inch? that does not reflect poorly on the drawings

Aug 14, 20 3:50 pm  · 
3  · 
joseffischer

we had to track RFIs due to some govt max requirement. We didn't call the frivolous ones frivolous... can't recall. We also had categories for Owner requested changes/PCO related, unforeseen conditions, and actual missing info/errors and omissions (though we didn't call it that either). Contractor tracked it as well and of course the two counts didn't agree. It ultimately didn't get litigious but for a while the owner was basically using it as an excuse to get money back from the contractor and the architect... was annoying

Aug 20, 20 11:15 am  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

I think I have an interesting question that's arisen at my office, and I'd like to hear some takes on what you'd do.

One of our younger staff took a few days off this week for holidays. Last night on social media i saw that she has traveled from our province, with one of the lowest rates, to another with one of the highest rates. As far as we can tell, she never informed anybody and will have to self isolate for 14 days upon her return. I honestly don't trust that she had the intelligence to even know any of this, nor the maturity to take it seriously. 

I haven't looked into the labour laws around this, but I'm leaning toward having them take an unpaid two week holiday and warn her that she's on thin ice. She's easily replaceable and I expect more of my staff (although I wasn't the one who hired her). 

Thoughts? 

Aug 14, 20 8:53 am  · 
1  · 
square.

though i'm not excusing her behavior, surveilling your employees and making decisions about their employment based on private knowledge seems both unethical and possibly illegal. why can't they just work from home for 10 days (btw 14 days is overkill).

Aug 14, 20 9:23 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

14 days is the amount required by the gov. We initiated a 2 week q to anyone travelling outside of the country back in early March (prior to border closure). One of the partners was in Cali at the time.

Aug 14, 20 9:26 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Are you all WFH or working in the office? Is there any latitude with that?

Aug 14, 20 9:43 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

If the 14 days quarantine is a government mandate, then it must be done. You need to research and find out what your obligations are regarding paying them. Even if you are allowed not to pay the person, I think making them work from home is more humane and appropriate to the situation.

Aug 14, 20 9:44 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Unlikely necessity to q if it’s just a change of province. New cases are a dozen per day per province. It’s not like we’re the USA at 10s of thousand new cases.

Aug 14, 20 9:48 am  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

My office especially sent an email to warn people not to travel to high rate areas during vacation. If you did, you have to either spend PTO or unpaid leave for the quarantine, or termination worst case. if it is travel due to work, they would let you WFH for 2 weeks. We are all back in the office now BTW.

Aug 14, 20 9:50 am  · 
2  ·  1
square.

fair if it was a predetermined policy, but it sounds like it wasn't in this case?

Aug 14, 20 9:52 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

Jay, I don't even know if that is legal (at least in US). I'd be very surprised is your firm's legal counsel would go along with this - they tend to be very conservative in approach. I would expect that we will start seeing lawsuits related to people being terminated for such things.

Aug 14, 20 10:30 am  · 
1  · 
mightyaa

@archanonymous; not so sure about that. Hawaii for instance quarantines anyone arriving. They've also arrested violators. But that isn't a company. So, I'd think the employer could require a clean COVID-19 test before they are allowed to return to the office. Otherwise, telework accommodations for a 2w quarantine. Basically being able to prove they tried to work with her blantant disregard to government policies on the spread of COVID-19. There's a reason Canada is doing a lot better than the US at slowing the spread.

Aug 14, 20 11:06 am  · 
 · 

For those wondering about the US legality ... recall that the government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) with provisions for additional paid leave if you are unable to work because of quarantine pursuant to government order or advice of health care provider. There are a lot of details and fine print so make sure you understand it all as it might apply to your particular situation ... https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

Provisions apply through end of the year.

Aug 14, 20 11:37 am  · 
2  · 
Bench

Is there any specific reason she can't work from home?

Aug 14, 20 11:43 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

I just decided to suck it up and pay full wages to anyone that has had to quarantine. Maybe I'll get a "tax credit" someday but I bet I'll spend more time than its worth trying to collect it.

Aug 14, 20 11:45 am  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Since I got so many great responses:

Aug 14, 20 3:23 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Fucking archinect posting bullshit. I can't press enter without posting. In any case, we're in Canada. My province, despite having low numbers, is still in a state of emergency and there is a mandatory 14 day quarantine for those coming from some other parts of the country, including where this staff member decided to vacation. It's the law. Can we fire them over this? I don't know and don't care to do that, but they aren't setting foot in my office until they period is over. I don't trust that this person will adhere to any of this, unfortunately. We are a small firm with no internal legal counsel and this was unexpected as we didn't think that anybody would do something so stupid without telling us first. To be clear - I have no interest in monitoring what others do outside of work hours, but they posted publicly and I saw it. If she'd arranged this with us prior, nobody would have really cared. We are all able to work from home, though they are very junior and do need more monitoring than more experienced staff. We've all been back working from the office for nearly two months now, with all prevention measures in place. This feels like a slap in the face by an entitled brat who apparently doesn't pay any attention to the world around them. It's very frustrating because they've now made this our problem.

Aug 14, 20 3:32 pm  · 
4  · 
eeayeeayo

If you're all able to work from home, why are you working in your office? I'm in the US, in a state with a relatively low incidence of Covid, but even in this state the rules are still that people in office jobs can only return to their offices it there's some justifiable reason that they can't continue to work from home. It seems like it would be more responsible for you as a company to be enforcing work from home for everybody.

Aug 14, 20 4:01 pm  · 
 · 
Bench

BB -

I think you're correct in being peeved, and I also don't think there's any 'big brother' aspect to it - i'm social media friends with most of my coworkers, both current and previous, and when things are posted publicly I'm going to see it, whether I intended to or not. I think your objections are completely reasonable across the board, and I don't think the individual should be allowed back into the office without the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

That being said - if you're able to request someone WFH, that might just be the only real solution to this. I think its very important to stress your dislike of their travelling when public health officials are saying not to across the board.

At my office, we have been required to notify management/HR about travel plans beyond our immediate city/region, and they reserve the right to require WFH after travel. I don't know of anyone having issues with this, or if anyone has resisted the policy. Its very common-sense to me, but then I'm supportive of public health policy in general.

Hard to say much else. Its a stupid move on their part, plain and simple. I haven't left more than about 30 miles from my home since late January, and no plans to do so in the near future.

Aug 14, 20 4:12 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

Have her work from home for 10 days, with a warning on not doing this again.

Aug 14, 20 5:11 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Thanks for the reply. As I said, we all worked from home for a couple months, and it was fine (not great) in terms of productivity. It's only 2 weeks, and this person will definitely be doing that. My issue is that it wasn't discussed first. Now we have to make sure they're set up again to work from home, and if it affects any deadlines, we have a problem. In reality, it'll be totally fine because we're a small, busy, flexible office, but now my previous doubts about this person's maturity have been confirmed, and they'll be on thin ice for the immediate future.

Aug 14, 20 5:12 pm  · 
1  · 

I tend to agree that this was stupid on their part. They should have discussed it with the firm first. Had they done so and said, "I know it will mean a 2-week quarantine, I'm hoping it will be ok for me to work from home during that time," I wouldn't think it would be that big of a deal. Because they didn't, either out of ignorance or not, it makes you question their judgement. I'm not a huge fan of having to give personal details about my personal time off to my employer, but during a pandemic, you have to understand that your individual actions are not affecting you alone.

Aug 14, 20 6:17 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Do you actually have a req q period for out of province people? I can literally see Quebec, the worst province in many ways, from my office and we don’t have restrictions to non Ontario travel.

Aug 14, 20 8:23 pm  · 
 · 
archanonymous

BB - I think in this case it's just a mark against them for when it does come time to winnow staff/ promote/ give raises. But throughout the pandemic I've been trying to be lenient with people. I feel the constant stress is bringing out everyone's bad qualities and neuroses

Aug 14, 20 8:58 pm  · 
2  · 
bowling_ball

NS (and others) yes there's a mandatory quarantine period for anybody coming to my province from anywhere East of Northern Ontario. I'm ok with it. My father (lives in Ontario) and wants to visit but I had to tell him today that he can't. Our government has declared a state of emergency.

Aug 14, 20 10:23 pm  · 
1  · 
Gloominati

There are risks with not paying the employee for the 2 weeks. It may constitute wrongful dismissal if you don't pay them for that time, or if you count the mandated quarantine period against them in any future decisions about layoffs or termination. The legal advice I've seen is that the employer should regularly distribute a written request that employees disclose any reasons that they need to quarantine or isolate. It is also ok to distribute a written policy requiring that travel plans be disclosed in advance, and it is even ok to have a policy prohibiting travel. But, if you don't distribute these policies in writing, then the employee may claim that they were never made aware of the firm's policies. 

The employment/HR lawyers recommend that a mandated quarantine or isolation period be treated in the same way that a firm would be required to treat a disability or medical condition - so where possible the firm should allow a quarantining or isolating employee to work from home with regular pay and benefits. If working from home is impossible then check with the firm's benefits provider (if any) as to whether a government-mandated quarantine is a situation that is eligible for short-term disability, and/or the firm should consider extending paid sick leave. If all of those are impossible, and the employer chooses to risk treating this as unpaid leave, then that policy must be the same for all other employees who have reason to quarantine or isolate.

Aug 14, 20 11:25 pm  · 
1  · 
Gloominati

Rick what I wrote above was specific to Canada. In the US the current advice is to treat someone who is subject to a government-mandated quarantine/isolation requirement in the same way that you would treat an employee who is a member of any protected class. Essentially the safest route (in the sense of warding off costly legal battles, regardless of in whose favor they would ultimately resolve) is to pretend that for purposes of applying company policies, "quarantine" is a protected medical condition.

Aug 14, 20 11:42 pm  · 
 · 
archi_dude

Wait I thought Canada was all magically better and could be open with confidence becuase it locked down longer. Sounds like its actually worse than the US.

Aug 15, 20 1:27 am  · 
 ·  3
Bench

"Sounds like its actually worse than the US."

Its not. This is what good health policy looks like.

Aug 15, 20 7:50 am  · 
7  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

BB, you're a leader, lead. You're right to be pissed, right in all things actually, but where you are off, unless I missed it, is that you need to have that conversation with her, and spell it all out, in a respectful way. She's young, we've all been there, but there needs to be some urgency and plain speak with this future professional.

Aug 15, 20 2:26 pm  · 
6  · 
bowling_ball

Betadine (and Rick for that matter) that all sounds reasonable. Great advice, thank you

Aug 15, 20 6:41 pm  · 
3  · 
sameolddoctor

Did anyone see that the Big G has been on a hiring spree again, after laying off about 20% of its workforce a couple of months ago? Seems like a lot of these mega shit firms merely used the pandemic as an excuse to cut the fat and hire cheaper labor.

Aug 17, 20 10:44 pm  · 
4  · 
coopercooperco

Didn't know they were hiring again, but from what I had heard it was even more than 20% (two rounds of 10% and then a third round of about two per studio). Knew some people who had been there decades and got let go. Would wager you're right on hiring labor at a lower cost.

Aug 18, 20 9:33 am  · 
 · 
square.

yes, this is literally how capitalism works.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Aug 18, 20 9:49 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Believed you for a sec and went to check it out. Merely a few posts and mostly to pick up good senior people laid off at other firm. No way any large firm is hiring now. The earliest comeback is at least until next year i would say. Unless your big G is not my big G.

Aug 18, 20 9:53 am  · 
1  · 
Lululala

coopercooperco - when did the third round of layoff happen at the big G? I spoke to my colleague 2 weeks ago and she didn't say anything about it, at least in nyc office. Just curious...

Aug 18, 20 1:58 pm  · 
 · 
Lululala

Also, Knotel had massive layoffs early this year and I just saw a job posting for the project manager position .

Aug 18, 20 2:01 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

@Lululala it's been a little bit, I believe. I know my friend who is there survived two rounds of them in April, and then several more people from their studio were let go later in the summer.

Aug 18, 20 2:47 pm  · 
 · 
sameolddoctor

On Glassdoor, the big G(ensler) has about 40 new job postings, mostly for senior positions.

Aug 18, 20 10:54 pm  · 
 · 
Fancy1118

I see that too, $60k for a project architect with 10 years experience???

Aug 19, 20 11:10 am  · 
 · 

Pffft, I make way more than that in a community of 120,000 people.

Aug 19, 20 1:40 pm  · 
4  · 

That is so pitifully low for a 10-year experienced professional. I was over $60k at maybe 3-4 years in the profession (unlicensed). I'd have to check to be sure.

Aug 19, 20 3:08 pm  · 
2  · 
Fancy1118

It's awful! I was over that at 2 years experience (NYC)!! I wonder if it's messed up on Glassdoor.

Aug 19, 20 10:12 pm  · 
1  · 
sameolddoctor

The numbers on glassdoor are merely estimates (i think), but i would be surprised if they do hardcore low-balling in this economy

Aug 19, 20 10:23 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

@Fancy1118 You made over 60k with 2 years experience? is it a large firm? i can never get an accurate number for architect salary NYC. There are some firms asking recent grads with 30-40k salary. What should someone with 4 years experience be asking in NYC?

Aug 20, 20 8:51 am  · 
1  · 
square.

fancy is not off, i was making that at smaller firm with the same experience. someone with 4 years experience in nyc (if that experience is in nyc) should expect to make at least 60-70k. 30k in nyc is poverty level wages, and 40k is barely above the legal min wage.

if i was a graduate right now i would absolutely avoid any offers like that. go where there is money (even if outside the profession) and come back when wages rise again. starve these exploitative firms.

Aug 20, 20 9:07 am  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

At least two years ago, I know someone who started right out of college at KPF in NYC and was making 62k. My starting salary was not anywhere near that in 2012.

Aug 20, 20 9:48 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

i heard KPF burn you until you are dry. if you work 60 hrs average per week with no OT pay,then it is not true salary. Also, is it someone with graduate degree? I wonder if there is much difference between under grad and grad degree.

Aug 20, 20 9:59 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

I just calculated it and with my overtime/ average workweek (i'm on salary) vs my recent covid-inspired pay cut, I'm making like $22/hr. 

So pissed off about this, gotta find another job. 

(Working at one of the most recognized "high-design" firms in the USA, 11 years experience, licensed for 5.)

Aug 20, 20 10:03 am  · 
 ·  1
Jay1122

That does seem really low in terms of $$/hr, but remember as you said yourself "one of the most recognized high-design firms in the USA". That thing is worth some money if you care about architecture and your portfolio. BTW if you get tired of the "high design" and decide to work for boring office doing easy projects. You can get easily 90K and above while only working 40 hrs, and its easy non stressful 40 hrs.

Aug 20, 20 10:26 am  · 
 · 
square.

That thing is worth some money if you care about architecture and your portfolio

this is arguable at best. in fact, i would call it a myth. another take- "star" firms rely on this narrative to employ/exploit people at $22/hr. the only thing worth money is.. money. sure, maybe there is the "prestige" factor, and you might get access to some connections, but the majority of people who run the rat race in these firms see no tangible benefits, and only end up seeing a loss of earnings over time compared to their fairly compensated peers. making up that wage gap is extremely difficult, and both immediate and long-term quality of life suffer.

arch, i'm glad you're looking to jump ship, i have less experience and my hourly rate is $36, conservative estimate is $34 if i include the rare bit of overtime. you deserve more.

Aug 20, 20 10:46 am  · 
2  · 
square.

also, the dichotomy of "exciting design, $, or boring work, $$$," is a false one. there are plenty of great firms doing interesting design work that treat their employees well, even in nyc.

Aug 20, 20 10:53 am  · 
1  · 
randomised

True, if you’re a boring designer no matter where you work you’ll get boring work!

Aug 20, 20 11:11 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

@square

Of course it is not black and white. But firm doing excellent design yet pays well and have relaxing hours? I want to see which one.And if it exist, i bet it is competitive as hell. The only reason starchitect exploits people is because they can with the competition going on.

@randomised

I doubt designer matters much when your firm could not get a client rich enough to support those designs. The boring projects i mean are those small additions, cheap K-12, box multi housing or retail interiors. Money is real right, creative design is nearly not existing.

Aug 20, 20 11:24 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Lot's of good points. 

I went into it with eyes open - acknowledging that i'd probably be exploited, but that aspects of it might be worth it. Also wanted to see if i was "as good" as the other staff at such a firm. Spoiler alert... yes. 

So true that good designers do good work wherever they are... or put another way, good projects don't just happen (no matter what firm you are at) they take good architects to bring into the world. That said, starting with higher expectations, better program, larger budgets, and more willing clients does lead to overall more interesting work. 

The disillusionment is certainly about money, but no matter how much you are being paid, averaging 60 hour weeks gets old, and at my age, it takes a month or more to recover from the 100 hour weeks when on deadline. 

Agree with Jay to some extent - show me the firm that pays well, works 40, and does exceptional work that will become part of the architecture canon, and i'll happily take a job there. Until then, I just want to find a cushy place where I can sell out (or cash in) though sadly that probably wont happen til after covid.

Aug 20, 20 11:51 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

@archanonymous

Those dream firms do exist, there are only a few of them and their turn over rate is always low. If you can get into one, congrats man. You have landed the jackpot. Man, i am compiling a list of sizable NYC firms doing nice works, the list only has merely 20+ firms.

Aug 20, 20 12:09 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

@Jay1122 

They just had an undergrad degree. I think they've worked late nights, but I wouldn't say 60 hours a week. Supposedly their team strikes a good balance, but they told me it absolutely depends on who your PM/directors are. Other teams there are apparently worked to the bone (which seems like a fairly common thing amongst the larger firms).

Aug 20, 20 12:12 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

I wonder what they are actually doing in those big firms as junior level. While the firm's project and portfolio looks great, there is the old saying of you stuck doing stair details. I want to know if that is true, i can not imagine myself several years of experience down the profession, all that i had exposed to was doing stair details or wall details. Or on the other side, several years down, all i had is 3D modeling, diagrams, presentation drawings. I think we often overlook the skill development part, which is also crucial. If you don't develop as a well rounded architect, even if you get licensed, you won't be able to lead a project when you want to be on your own. You will also likely to get pigeon holed into your role. Thoughts?

Aug 20, 20 12:30 pm  · 
 · 

archanonymous, you should definitely be making more. An equivalent rate of $22/hr is ridiculous for someone with your experience. I was making about that as a fresh grad/intern getting paid hourly, with time and a half for any overtime, drawing interior elevations in AutoCAD. My first job with an actual salary was more than that, and I had less than two years in an architecture office. And you're getting that from "one of the most recognized 'high-design' firms in the USA" with 11 years under your belt!?! 

Time to name and shame the firm. High design is not worth that much of a hit to your compensation.

Aug 20, 20 1:00 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

He did mention he is having a pay cut during this crisis. What if the cut is a steep 20%? which would be 27.5/Hr regular or 60K/year assuming 40 hrs week.Still does not look good. Man i love architecture and design, but i would rather get more money and build myself a modern custom house designed by myself to admire everyday when i wake up rather than be a slave to those big name design firms LOL.

Aug 20, 20 1:14 pm  · 
 · 
archanonymous

EA - yeah I was making more at my second job out of school. Of course, we got paid OT there... At the current place it is a combo of a steep pay cut and an average 61.8 hour week (just ran the numbers from my timesheet software.) So depressing too to see 7 weeks over 100 hours in the past year.

Aug 20, 20 1:43 pm  · 
 · 

Jay, those numbers don't make it much better. As I stated earlier I was making 60k with about a third of the experience and no license. It was not with one of the "most recognized 'high-design' firms," but rather with one you might consider a recognized design firm. 40-42 hours per week was normal. I don't think I ever worked more than 50 in a week. 

Even then a few years and a significant pay raise later, I left them for a better-managed firm with better pay and more respect. Some would argue better design as well. They are definitely more respected for their design, but they don't get the bigger projects the other firm did. Currently no layoffs, no pay cuts. 

Understand, I'm not trying to brag. Instead I'm trying to illustrate there are better firms out there. The sooner we start working for them, and not the ones that exploit us, the sooner they stop being able to exploit others.

Aug 20, 20 1:45 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

^ agreed. the "cannon" is a fluid notion that is defined by things like having talented designers all go to the same exploitative places. what we consider important, aka part of the cannon, is something we can define by elevating other practices.

Aug 20, 20 1:47 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

EA, 

I definitely want to join you at those firms. I bet once archanonymous leave his position. There will be hundreds of applications gunning for that spot even when they know what the condition and pay is like. BTW, how do you handle those 100 Hr week, 12 Hrs x 7 days is 84. Yikes man.

Aug 20, 20 1:48 pm  · 
 · 

I'd say you could have my old job. They might have filled it though. Last I heard a guy was interviewing for it (he reached out to me for some information about the position), but I never heard if they hired him. I'm not seeing the opening on their website anymore though, and the LinkedIn page of the guy who was interviewing for the position says he stopped working at his last office at about the time the pandemic hit. Could be he took the job but hasn't updated LinkedIn, or that he got laid off. At any rate, both firms have current openings. Locations vary by firm but cover cities located up and down both coasts primarily. Tell them EA sent you and no one will know who you're talking about.

Aug 20, 20 2:04 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

wait you just left the old job not long ago? LOL, yeah i will be like some stranger on the internet told me to get his old job so here i am. Looks like its some big firm with offices in major cities? I kinda wanna know the names.

Aug 20, 20 2:10 pm  · 
 · 
Fancy1118

@jay1122 yes larger firm. Started out at a small firm in NYC making $35k a year lol. Then two years later moved to one of the large firms in NYC and was offered $65k. Salary has increased since I've been there several years now. But cut back 10% in the pandemic with no assurances on when it will be reinstated. Said below that I'm working more hours too now...

Aug 20, 20 2:12 pm  · 
 · 

It's been over a year now since I left the old job (you know you're valuable when it takes this long to replace you). 

Yes, big firm, but not gigantic like the big G. More than 500, but less than 1000 employees spread out over something like a dozen locations. Primarily US cities with some international locations as well. 

That's the old firm. New firm is smaller, but still big ... more than 100, less than 500 employees. Fewer offices, national presence only (no international work).

Aug 20, 20 2:32 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Three letters?

Aug 20, 20 2:34 pm  · 
 · 

Maybe. Which letters are you thinking of?

Aug 20, 20 2:44 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Not many arch firms with over 500 people. The old firm definitely is one of those big corp we all know.I am more interested on the new firm. Love the riddle game.

Aug 20, 20 2:58 pm  · 
 · 
Fancy1118

My firm just hired a new marketing manager despite pay cuts still for everyone too , people are quitting every week too. At some point there's gonna be no one to do the actual work. All management because they are paid a living wage even with the 10%.

Aug 20, 20 7:22 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

Is there a K in there?

Aug 21, 20 1:06 pm  · 
 · 

Debating on whether to just give you a thumbs up or down and leave it at that. 



Probably wrong of me to lead you to this point and not give you anything so ... I'll give you a no on the 'K.' I'm still not saying whether it's three letters or not, and I probably won't tell you more as I still want to keep my anonymity as intact as possible (I feel like I've shared enough already that if you know me, or have worked with me IRL, you could place me).

Aug 21, 20 4:47 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

Probably only a matter of time for me until I'm cut now. Had previously voiced concern to the bosses about our return to office plan. This week I was told that, due to lack of staffing, I'd be required to take PTO for all week (though, of course, if something comes in for one of my projects that needs to be done ASAP, I should jump on it). I'm already supposed to have a few days off next week, so all combined I think that's all my vacation time gone. Not sure what can really change in a week here. Seems everyone else in the office has managed to be staffed, though, and no one I had asked had heard of anyone else having to take time off. Good excuse as any to finish updating my portfolio, I suppose.

Aug 18, 20 9:36 am  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

They will need you to come back and fill in when somebody in the office tests positive.

Aug 18, 20 10:01 am  · 
1  · 
randomised

Yeah, fingers crossed(!)

Aug 18, 20 10:12 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

I would never come back if i got temporarily let go. In their mind, you are expendable. No real future in that place for you.

Aug 18, 20 10:17 am  · 
3  · 
joseffischer

I've never been let go yet, but plenty of slow times where I and others must have been on the chopping block theoretically. I've always picked up side work and even started another job concurrently and eventually have to tell the original employer that I couldn't fit them in anymore. In the meantime, if you cut my hours/pay even temporarily, you're no longer getting my 100%. I now have to spend some of my time/effort securing a better gig.

This time is a bit different, in the pandemic with a 5 year old, just picking up extra work isn't as simple.  The work's there, but everything takes away from school-from-home and family time so much.  I have to be really judicious.  


Aug 20, 20 11:29 am  · 
 · 

If I had my pay cut I would also expect to work less hours. If the firm required me to continue to work full time I would not do so and let them fire me.

Aug 20, 20 1:13 pm  · 
3  ·  1
Jay1122

My whole firm got 10% cut since march until the end of the year still doing same 40 hrs in office. What can i say, time is tough. Even if i want to jump there is no job out there. 1/3 of the firm already got laid off.

Aug 20, 20 1:18 pm  · 
 · 
Fancy1118

In the same position as you. 10% pay cut. Hours have increased and I've also been asked to start supervising people during this. More responsiblitiles and less pay! But I'm stuck and lucky to have a job...

Aug 20, 20 1:41 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

10% cut here as well with full time hours. Gonna do the work, put in the hours but politely refuse to work extra.

Aug 20, 20 2:13 pm  · 
 · 

I would only take a pay cut if I believed in the firm and felt like a respected part of the team.  It would also help if the firm had a timeline of the cut a and plan to make up for the lost wages in the future. In no way would I take on extra responsibilities and hours. Sorry but that's just poor firm management. That type of poor management will cause a host of problems for the firm regardless of how the economy is doing. It makes a clear that management doesn't care about it's team members and will treat them like trash regardless.

Aug 20, 20 2:18 pm  · 
4  · 
SneakyPete

I agree with your views on how it reflects on the firm. I have never run a firm and recently have been thinking about what I'd do in a similar situation. I personally know one firm which never lowered pay or laid anyone off due to the economy, only fired them due to a mismatch in skills or performance expectations, and that firm existed for over 30 years through multiple steep downturns, so it's possible.

That being said I need the job, don't need the stress of finding a new gig during the pandemic, and don't NEED the last 10%, per se, as my partner and I don't max out our spending based on our incomes.

Aug 20, 20 2:23 pm  · 
 · 

I don't max out my spending either. However with my experience it's insulting to expect someone to work more for less money when we're still charging the same hourly rate to the clients.

Aug 20, 20 2:51 pm  · 
3  · 
SneakyPete

You're right, but that's what happens when people who are short on scruples run things.

Aug 20, 20 3:00 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

I'm currently running on a 20% pay cut. When they told us to come back to the office, it was asked if there was a timetable for salaries returning to normal yet, and the response we got was "No, but that's why it's so important to get back. But it's never going to be like it was before the pandemic. Everyone knows that."

Aug 20, 20 3:09 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

Any firm who makes the pay cuts permanent while staffing projects at over 100% full-time (requiring overtime) for paying clients can go fuck themselves. Layoffs allow for people to file for unemployment and look for work, making pay cuts permanent is a bait and switch.

Aug 20, 20 3:25 pm  · 
1  · 

Yeah - fuck that firm copper.

Aug 20, 20 3:25 pm  · 
 · 
square.

if you're in a position that you're afraid to have a direct conversation with your supervisor about the relationship between a pay cut and the amount you will work (they should be directly proportional, this is not a radical notion), then you are in a toxic workplace. i can't imagine not being able to have a candid conversation with my boss. chad's method is the right one- if your pay gets cut, so do your hours. you HAVE to stand up for your rights as an employee; fear and complacency are how the bosses keep squeezing more out of you for less. honestly, the number of people i've seen on this forum who are willing to work more for less money goes to show how completely fucked up and weak labor is in this country. again, pushing back against your boss a little won't get you fired. and if it does, you're better off going on unemployment and finding a workplace that allows you to be respected and have some self-respect.

Aug 20, 20 3:44 pm  · 
5  · 
coopercooperco

@square

Completely agreed. And I did communicate to my bosses that I thought there could be more transparency about the pay cuts and that it seemed like we were all working more hours, not less, when also discussing my issues with our return to office plan.

This is probably why I've been told I had to take PTO this week and that the following weeks were uncertain.

Aug 20, 20 3:48 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

My friend that got laid off a few months back still have not found another entry level job. He would love to replace those people complaining about pay cuts. Times are tough.

Aug 20, 20 3:54 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

That sort of attitude is why your friends get laid off. When cheap labor gets desperate, management gets greedier. 

Aug 20, 20 3:56 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

THAT'S A NICE JOB YOU GOTS THERE SHAME IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO IT, EH, PAULIE?

Aug 20, 20 3:58 pm  · 
2  · 

This is the kind of crap makes me think we should unionize.

Aug 20, 20 4:04 pm  · 
3  · 
Jay1122

People with many years of experience and licensed probably are not worried at all because economy comes back and they can jump right back into the pool. But for entry level and recent grads, if you don't get in the field and deviate from architecture, you may never pursuit a career as architect anymore. This field is fairly narrow and linear. That is why entry level is squeezed the hardest for low pay and over time work.

Aug 20, 20 4:08 pm  · 
 · 
zonker

Thats why during the last recession in 09', I had to really hustle, do temp work(1099), moonlight to gain experience, until 5 years later, I was able to land a direct hire design position.

Aug 20, 20 4:17 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

I started just before a downturn and managed to stay hired. I am not a special snowflake, and I am as outspoken in real life as I am here. As a single data point, take it as you will.

Aug 20, 20 4:26 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

I work less I

Aug 20, 20 4:52 pm  · 
 ·  1
randomised

I work less, I get paid less...makes sense. I don’t work more to get paid less. My time is precious, I’d rather change some more nappies than work for free for some greedy assholes that can’t manage their business properly or forget to tell their clients to pay on time. I’ve not been given a permanent contract a little too often to know the flexibility is always expected from the employee side.

Aug 20, 20 4:56 pm  · 
2  · 
gibbost

@Jay1122 'People with many years of experience and licensed probably are not worried at all because economy comes back and they can jump right back into the pool'. This may in fact be somewhat true. But more than that, the older you get the more you realize how precious and valuable your time is. Volunteering your time should be at your discretion--be it for family, friends, or employer. Asking someone to work harder for less pay is not okay and shouldn't be tolerated. If the boss is telling you to work more, that means there's plenty to do. It may take longer to get paid (by clients) these days, but eventually your employer will get paid and they just pocketed more off your hard work. Once you become an exploit, it's hard to take that back. You'll always be seen as one. Sadly, the profession is full of folks that believe that's okay.

Aug 20, 20 5:12 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

How come you all make it sound easy. I just want to get into a nice firm doing premium LEED box buildings. The maximum hour i would put out is up to 50Hrs/week, anything beyond that is unreasonable and not good for life.

Aug 20, 20 5:15 pm  · 
 · 
gibbost

Most firms want to put out nice product and provide quality service. Many also do not want to treat employees fairly. Do not let yourself sacrifice what your gut tells you isn't right, just to be a part of a cool building. I'm twenty years past college and hardly remember one project from the next. But what does keep me going is the relationships with good, solid people that I've forged along the way (architects, engineers, builders). When you find them, you'll know. In the meantime, best of luck with your current situation. At a minimum, I suggest letting your employer know your discomfort in the situation.

Aug 20, 20 5:24 pm  · 
2  · 

Jay112 - 50 hours a week is way too much. I do 40 hours a week, maybe 43. There is no reason to be doing 40 hours a week unless you own the firm.

Aug 20, 20 5:54 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

My current firm is relaxing and people are good, but the projects are boring. It is all renovation and Urban infill box with cheap construction material and standard details you grab from library and tweak. I want to join the firms doing those premium LEED box building with fancy curtain walls, cloud ceilings, green roofs, etc and run the project from start to finish. I just need to compete with others who want that spot as well. The competition is real tho. I am willing to spend some extra time up to 50 hrs/week to show the effort and dedication. There are certainly people that cares about what they work on, and people that doesn't. On my previous job, the colleagues care more about where to go for lunch more than the architecture/design.

Aug 20, 20 6:14 pm  · 
1  · 

That's all good but working extra hours isn't a good way to show dedication. Run screaming from a firm that thinks so as they will realistically treat you as production only. Want to show dedication and actually get to design buildings? Become good at design. Sketch. Design on your own time. Learn how buildings actually go together. Learn to detail with standard components that don't require customization. Learn after work.  Let the managers know you're doing this too.  Anyone with an understanding of proportions and the ability to draw can create a custom design that looks cool and will cost $$$$$$$$. It takes a good architect to do the same that can be built and costs $$$$.


Just my advice.  Take it for what it's worth which to be fair is only about $100 an hour so . . . 

Aug 20, 20 6:35 pm  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

the grass is always greener. at my firm we do zero-carbon, LEED, and LBC buildings but then people forget to eat lunch because they are so busy, or drink smoothies because they have an ulcer from stress and can't stand too much solid food.

Aug 20, 20 6:40 pm  · 
 · 

Sounds like a shitty firm archanoymous.

Aug 20, 20 7:06 pm  · 
1  · 
Fancy1118

I think we all should unionize! Huge companies do this all the time! I keep telling my managers that Im not ok with more work, more responsibility and less pay and it goes ignored. What do I do? Refuse to work and be labeled difficult? I'm heading that way recently. It's demeaning.

Aug 20, 20 7:16 pm  · 
 · 
EvanH

Fancy1118- http://architecture-lobby.org/

Aug 20, 20 10:56 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

Zero carbon LEED etc all for the planet but horrible for employees, something doesn’t compute here archanonymous!

Aug 21, 20 5:23 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

Over work is definitely more of a firm culture and management thing. It just becomes more acceptable at large design firms because the projects are good. They are not afraid that you leave, plenty to replace you. It is all about peer pressure, when all your co-worker works late, are you gonna be like "i did my 40 hrs, I am out". If employees are willing to overwork without pay, they exploits it more, such vicious cycle.

Aug 21, 20 8:51 am  · 
1  · 
square.

just to be clear- i might sound overly harsh but i understand that the employee is in the harder spot here, and it feels pretty daunting sometimes. this is a tough problem because it's SO ingrained in american culture. we value work, and especially busyness, above everything else.

the only way to change that culture on an individual level though is to practice what you believe in, even if no one else is doing it. i like to think i've been able to push the culture in my office in a better direction, and we've started to hit a critical mass of people working more reasonable hours because we're collectively holding each other accountable to leaving on time.

and no one's been fired.

Aug 21, 20 9:16 am  · 
7  · 
Jay1122

@archanonymous

 It is not about grass being greener.It is about choosing what is most important to you. Architecture matters to me. I want to work for a no big name corporate doing LEED box and not work for those exploitative single name starchitect. Once saw a big name starchitect post hiring someone with 2K stipend each month in NYC. 

archanonymous, with those fancy projects under your belt, you can easily find a better cultured firm that still does good work. That is why a lot of exploitative firm has high turn over, employees just want the fancy project in the portfolio then jump.Mean while, i have to swim upstream.

Aug 21, 20 9:17 am  · 
 · 

I agree with square on this. I don't do more than 2-3 50 hour weeks a year. Other than that it's 40 -42 hours a week. I design and run projects from conceptual through CA. It's about balance.

Aug 21, 20 9:55 am  · 
1  · 
square.

same chad, i do everything i can to work no more than 40 hours a week. it's funny.. once you view working over 40 hours as a failure, because you couldn't get you're work done in a reasonable amount of time, it changes everything.

the other irony in all of this, which has been alluded to, is that by working more than 40 hours of week, you're creating the problem. once you respect yourself and your time, you will be viewed through the same lens, making you a more valuable employee and less expendable.

Aug 21, 20 10:26 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

What kind of building do you guys do? Typical box?(typical steel frame/concrete, punch window, standard masonry/stud wall) Advanced box?(still primarily box but with more forms, corners, turns,complicated system, assembly and detail, featuring curtainwall, skylight, etc) Innovative? (Non-orthogonal, non-standard unique structure system, construction and detailing) I feel as the building system gets more complicated, the more exploitative the firm goes. I just don't know if it is because the fee does not match the effort and time required for those complicated project, or just inefficient management.

Aug 21, 20 10:31 am  · 
2  · 

I do all types of building design with various types of exterior shells based on the owners program, taste, and budget. Using your classification system (WTF did you get that BTW?) I would say every building I've done is at least an 'advanced box'. Every public building I've worked on has been LEED Silver and several have been LEED Gold.

Oh and I work on education, medical, retail, public works, government, multi family, and civic projects.  

Aug 21, 20 10:59 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Sounds like you get great projects and manage it well. I want to work on those projects too. The classification is my own philosophy LOL, of course architecture is way more complicated in terms of systems and designs. But i divide it into 3 like how the car world differentiates. The typical box is like honda civic, it works, but everything is bare acceptable minimum. Advanced box is like Mercedes, still typical but with premium features. Innovative is like Ferrari, expensive, unique and craft of art. The typical 3 tier marketing strategy. Bare minimum, premiun and ultra luxurious niche.

Aug 21, 20 11:24 am  · 
 · 
gibbost

I would contend that real innovation occurs when given hard problems to solve without unlimited resources. A Ferrari is an incredible piece of art and science, but only because they can charge a fortune to own one. A Prius is also pretty incredible as it works to solve a real problem (fossil-fuel dependency) without making itself unobtainable. The same analogy could be applied to affordable housing and other community driven projects. Good architects can innovate at any scale and budget. Don't fool yourself into believing that you need to be in the 'ultra luxurious' niche to be notable.

Aug 21, 20 11:44 am  · 
1  · 

I get what you're trying to do however that type of classification system is too simple for architecture. There are so many systems in a project that the design could still be complex even if it has a simple exterior shell.


Oh and in architecture you design way more than just the exterior shell you many want to rethink your concept of a LEED Box being architecture. 

Aug 21, 20 11:44 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

it is for a quick reference. It would be funny to break down and list all architecture systems in a forum post. But it usually won't be far off in real life. Here is the example of a Cheap box i do that i consider typical box: K-12, rectangular shape of various, CMU+brick wall/Metal Stud+Clad, single ply/built up roof, VCT floor, ceramic floor at bathroom & kitchen, CMU/Gyp interior wall with half ceramic tile at corridor, ACT ceiling w/ 2x4 lights, punch window of various sizes, single story stack up, no double floor height space nonsense. Typical central corridor with rooms on both sides. Place egress stair as required by code. To exaggerate a little. The only design left is probably pick finish color? It makes me weep listing that. I just designed half of the school, all left to do is layout the program to meet code and ADA, and voila there is your "architecture". Probably the same concept in a boring multi-family housing.

Aug 21, 20 12:07 pm  · 
 · 
archanonymous

I'm not sure Western Colorado is the hotbed of architectural innovation you make it out to be. I guess there's a big personal judgement here about what is "good" what is "great" and what is worth it for each individual person. 

Square - it sounds like you were (are) in a similar situation and have had some luck making changes.

Aug 21, 20 12:20 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Now for some example of the premium LEED box i am referring to, lets do visual.

Some projects by BNIM, saw it while i browse Archdaily during my lunch.

Aug 21, 20 12:22 pm  · 
 · 
gibbost

You weep as you list out the program to your project. I weep as another entitled intern architect waxes poetic about wanting to design the Taj Mahal. Try funding a project on your own--chances are your perspective changes. That K-12 school you're working on was likely a bond initiative supported by local taxpayers. They're not interested in validating your passions for high design. They just want a safe and comfortable place for their children to learn. . . . It's okay, I was there once too, but i grew up and learned that architecture is more than what you see in a magazine.

Aug 21, 20 12:25 pm  · 
1  · 

AA - never GJ was a hot bed of architectural innovation.

We do some rather standard stuff for clients with lower budgets

Home - R-5 High School

Columbine Middle School | BG+co | Archinect

CMU DINING HALL - Prospace

Locations & Hours - Timberline Bank (Grand Junction, CO)
Aug 21, 20 12:27 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

@gibbost

Of course i know the money is the reason. But those above make it sound like design ability can change it all and make it amazing. Money always matter, curtain wall cost more, double height space cost more,green roof cost more, glass railing cost more. Custom cladding panel cost more. That is why only a few firms can do those projects because there are finite amounts of clients with that budget. And i want to be inside one for my own entertainment, Yes I am selfish. If i just want a job with pay, i would probably be better off doing engineering or finance.

Aug 21, 20 12:32 pm  · 
 · 

Well just because you work for one of those bigger firms doesn't mean you'll be designing anything. In fact since they have more people like you trying to get in there is a higher chance you'll be production staff and not design anything. Something to consider if you want to design.

Aug 21, 20 12:35 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

I like those branching columns in the second to last image!

Aug 21, 20 12:36 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Chad, those looks good. My firm's client cant even move away from using VCT flooring, seriously even just polished concrete is better. Big entrance canopy? curtain wall facade? That is a dream LOL.

Aug 21, 20 12:36 pm  · 
 · 
archanonymous

gibbost - it this the same public that waxes poetic about the beauty and investment in old (surviving) civic and institutional buildings? 

The public is stupid and its our job as architects to give them more than just a "safe and comfortable place for their children to learn." I mean, why not just throw up a metal building if that's the goal? That's not architecture, it's building.

Aug 21, 20 12:38 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

archanonymous, totally agree with you, If you ask me, all the buildings should be high performance. Simply having those boring boxes may not be beneficial in the long run. What is funny is the difference between K-12 building and higher Ed. I wish those higher ed buildings will be standard for K-12, but it is always about money and value engineering. Also, the lowest bid GC is very sloppy and nasty to work with.

Aug 21, 20 12:43 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - I think you're a bit unrealistic about what architectural design is. In your example you described a rather unimaginative program and design response to what I can only assume is a lower budget project. Projects like that are out there and you'll work on them. What I'm saying is a good architect can still make such a boring project interesting and pleasing to inhabit (to a limited degree) through various creative means. Sure the project won't be cool with fun flowing lines, cantilevers, and multi story spaces but not every project can do that. Like you said above - there are finite clients with budgets to afford innovative architectural design.

Aug 21, 20 12:47 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - those are all projects I've done in Grand Junction over the last five years. I'd consider all of them to be an 'advanced box' as you put it. Construction costs ranged from $225/ sf to $315/ sf . Decent budgets by not high by any stretch of the imagination.

Aug 21, 20 12:52 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

Chad, 

 Don't know what you mean by unrealistic about architecture design, as in how flexible one can design a project? the client of your project may have freedom to let you design. The client of the project i mentioned? Its an agency. And it is not made up. The program for the building? provided in PDF with list of rooms and square footage. let me give you an example of how strict they are. We tried to use masonry ties not in their standard, we need approval from their standard committee. LOL. Honestly, only design left is layout the box with central corridor and pick colors.

Aug 21, 20 12:58 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - What I meant was that you have an unrealistic expectation that every project will allow you to create innovative architecture - it won't . Even the innovative projects will have basic, boring components, systems, and details that will impact the overall design.

May I ask how long you've been involved in the field?  I ask because I felt the way you did in the beginning of my career.  It took me a few years to realize what I said above about the availability of innovative projects and the clients that can afford them.  Don't be discouraged by this though - you can still be creative on basic projects (some you can't though, it sucks).  It typically takes time you gain the experience needed for this type of 'basic creativity'.

I just don't want to see someone think the only way they can get to be creative is to work for a firm that's going to work them 50 hours a week and treat them like sharpened pencil.  You're better than that and deserve to be treated as such.  I hate using this phrase but it's all about finding the right firm.  Easier said than done I know but don't give up.  

Aug 21, 20 1:02 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

I know every project won't be fancy, I just want some more freedom than that and i will be happy. i haven't even mentioned those boring roof replacement project we do. Good money tho. my 1st job firm has 60 people but only does Reno in education, very high profit rate, just open one old project, reuse all the standard details and modify, voila done and bid. Anyway, i just need to move up stream and hopefully doing projects with more budget.

Chad, i am even fine with not doing design, as long as the building i work on has some value. More than a cheap product of service.You guys are flying high, so you won't know the pain of flying low.

Aug 21, 20 1:11 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - I'm not flying high. I've poked my head into the clouds a bit but I still do glide at low altitudes quite a bit. Not every project can be a new building with a fun program and open minded clients. Guess what I'm working on right now - a shed to house site utilities. I still do quite a bit of basic work, including renovations. Hell, I just finished a conference room remodel for a state building, basic as they come.

Aug 21, 20 1:32 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Chad, at least you try to address them with proper design work. I have seen how low one can go in architecture design. Without sharing too much detail, It was a new 2 story building on a unique deep sloped site with sloped roads etc. The design by firm partner was done in vacuum after he looked at the site image with program layout stacked in 2 story box, add some windows and glasses, add a barrel roof because he likes it, then slapped on the site. It has a lot of waste and funky spaces because the site is small and complicated. Did not consider orientation,sun, level differences,site condition,circulation, etc. Other people were like, whatever, just finish the set and get paid. But for me, OMG it kills me LOL.

Aug 21, 20 1:48 pm  · 
 · 
randomised

All this talk about 40/50+ hrs a week as a salaried employee, I’m doing 32 hrs or 4 days a week and loving it, and it is proper innovative groundbreaking design, building and research, so lucky to live in a country where the government supports architecture and the creative arts and where architects actually have rights as human beings.

Aug 21, 20 3:50 pm  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

LOL, randomised. What country are you in. I just know it is not U.S. or Asia by your description. Probably europe.

Aug 21, 20 3:59 pm  · 
 · 
randomised

Yep, good old “socialist” Europe...the Republican idea of hell on earth.

Aug 22, 20 3:00 am  · 
 · 
square.

i'm in a sector of architecture (in nyc) that isn't typically considered a hot-bed of "high design" (based on stereotypes of what gets more attention), but within that sector we are one of the small guys and considered one of THE design firms (as opposed to the big machines that have been doing it for a long time). and we definitely do not do "leed boxes" like the big guys do.

Aug 24, 20 9:27 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

Jay - please don't lose that idealism. It's painful and tiring and feels like you are raging against some unidentified foes all the time, but "accepting" that sometimes you will do shitty boxes is a sure way to ensure you do them. Every client needs to be challenged, and every project should be interrogated with fresh eyes, ideas, and aspirations. Of course, that doesn't pay too well...

Aug 24, 20 9:48 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

archanonymous- You cannot change a client or firm culture easily. I will just need to join a firm that has richer and open minded clients.I know the reality of the field, I just don't know if i will succeed or not as it is very competitive and often times exploitative. And we circle back to whether it is worth to join those exploitative high design firms or not. But it is all about personal priority i guess.

Aug 24, 20 12:24 pm  · 
 · 
square.

jay, there are many firms that offer a sweet-spot somewhere in the middle. i moved around several until i found the right one. it's a bit like goldilocks; you'll know when it's just right.

Aug 24, 20 2:38 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Square, I try man, I try.The pandemic really shuts down so many doors. I would even settle for exploitative firm just to build the portfolio on fancy projects to serve as stepping stone. Shitty box and small renovation projects will not cut it, academic projects matter less and less the further down the career you go.

Aug 24, 20 2:57 pm  · 
 · 
square.

understood, hopefully things will look different in a year. i was fortunate enough to find this office a few years ago, but made sure i stayed put long enough knowing a recession was looming...

Aug 24, 20 3:02 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Could be worse. Current firm already laid off 1/3 of employee and is still slow. Luckily I am not the worst employee to get cut. But if it gets worse, i will probably get chopped too. Hopefully there will be a quick rebound on economy and big firms will start hiring again. That will be my opportunity to strike.

Aug 24, 20 3:40 pm  · 
 · 
HolisticDesign

Our firm is very busy and currently hiring for a project manager. We had an opening for this position last year and recurved 3 applications. This time we received 40. There's a lot of people looking for new jobs out there.

Aug 20, 20 5:04 pm  · 
 · 
gibbost

I live in the midwest. Our office has weathered this year pretty well. We too are very busy. In fact, we just hired 3 more people and could use a couple more. I've noticed that the savvy developers and clients are looking at the long term projections and not the short term pain. A building in schematic design today may not open for 18 months. ( 'Hoping we're over most of this by then' he says with a hard gulp).

Aug 20, 20 6:09 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

what sector are you guys. I think only multi family housing is busy based on the AIA billing index report. Institution and commercial sectors get a heavy hit.

Aug 20, 20 6:33 pm  · 
1  · 

We're super busy and doing retail, MOB, and education. We're also trying to find an experienced project manager. I expect once the deadline for filing the paperwork showing the PPL's use we'll have more talent available for hire.

Aug 20, 20 7:10 pm  · 
 · 
gibbost

We have a balanced portfolio of corporate office, multi-family, retail, education, and health care. Retail and office have slowed, but not a lot. Our City is pretty well saturated with multi-family so I see that slowing regardless of Covid.

Aug 20, 20 7:33 pm  · 
 · 
HolisticDesign

Believe it or not, we have 5 single family homes signed up, along side a few new multifamilies and duplexes, and a major commercial project. I suppose I should say we're in Denver though where people are still moving in despite all the craziness.

Aug 20, 20 10:57 pm  · 
 · 
coopercooperco

Well, was told by a senior level staff member in no uncertain terms that the principals are "preferring to staff those who have returned to the office and not elected to continue work from home." Only time I have listed on next week's staffing plan (our office updates it for the coming week on Friday at midday) are the two days I requested off months ago. Time to start looking in earnest.

Aug 21, 20 7:18 pm  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

I hope they have some pretty robust safety protocols in the office and access to speedy testing. They shouldn't insist on filling up the office without those things. It could be a real sh*tshow when they have a positive case or a cluster of them in the office.

Aug 21, 20 7:37 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

unless the idiots in the GOP get their blanket immunity from prosecution

Aug 21, 20 8:10 pm  · 
 · 
thisisnotmyname

If COVID contacts the office, it's a real hit to firm productivity when everybody in the office and their households have to drop everything and go get tested. Then the waiting period for the results is very tense. The deep cleaning of the office means everybody is immediately on WFH until that work gets done.

Aug 24, 20 5:33 pm  · 
1  · 

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