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Looking for career advice

nunyakango

Hello, to introduce myself I am a young architect with an undergraduate degree and few years of experience. I am based in India. Between all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has put forth and the general state of life affairs, I feel a bit lost. I've been working in a small-medium office(well reputed/published) since the last three years, ever since college. In these years, I have worked on some computational design driven installations/ small scale pavilions and few commercial interiors. While I have learned and gained a good skillset and confidence when it comes to these areas, I feel like I haven't worked enough with 'conventional' architecture projects. In the long term, I would like to work in similar research based, digital driven projects but with their limited applications and demand, I don't know how viable it is as a full time career. Also, with the combined effect of COVID-19 and the economic slowdown, there hasn't been much work in the office and whilst I'm getting paid and haven't been fired, but I also haven't had much work (sometimes almost none). I was planning to apply for a graduate course by the end of this year but with restricted travel, new norms for education and general sense of uncertainty I'm not too sure what to do. I kind of feel like maybe I'm wasting important career years and stagnating in this workplace. I also feel a little scared to make a change maybe, because of the unstable job market and I feel that perhaps with my current experience/ skills I won't be able to easily find a nice workplace. All this has been adversely affecting my daily behaviour and mental health. I guess what I'm looking for here is just advice and answers; One, in most simple terms that have I jeopardized my career with bad choices and is it too late to make a change? Two, if I can actually make a change how do most offices react to people with not so relevant experience? (I feel that might be the case, since I feel my experience is very specific). Three, if I take a break for say 2-3 months, would that be detrimental to my career? Also, if anyone has any general advice or words of wisdom, please share. 

I'm sorry if this sounds too weird, my head has been in a weird space. Thanks for bearing with me.

 
Sep 2, 20 2:32 pm
Jay1122

So it is Indian market we are referring to? No idea about the architecture landscape in that country. Just general advice, if you want to transition to new offices doing conventional architecture, you should try and apply while you are still in the old job. You never know until you apply, employers may or may not favor your unique digital design experience depending on the projects they do. But you are still young, they usually just care about potentials, professional attitudes and motivation more than specific skills in early career stage. If you take a break during this crisis, what is scary is that 2-3 month may turn into 6 month -1 yr until you find a job. Find your next one while you still have current one is the best strategy.

Sep 2, 20 5:14 pm  · 
3  · 
Bpham01

I agree with Jay.


i think you should look into larger corporate offices. They tend to have the overhead and infrastructure to take on and train young staff. 

Sep 11, 20 4:36 pm  · 
1  · 

They also tend to hire and fire based on workload and do so quite often.

 · 
not_NOT_an_architect

"While I have learned and gained a good skillset and confidence when it comes to these areas, I feel like I haven't worked enough with 'conventional' architecture projects. In the long term, I would like to work in similar research based, digital driven projects but with their limited applications and demand, I don't know how viable it is as a full time career."

Architects by training are generalists and tend to want to know everything about everything. Real value in the profession comes from expertise and experience, and both are developed over a long period of time. You could pivot to "conventional" architecture to learn something different and then combine it with your computational/digital skills in the future. Or you could focus only on your computational/digital skills and become an expert in that field. I think both paths can lead to a great career.

"One, in most simple terms that have I jeopardized my career with bad choices and is it too late to make a change? Two, if I can actually make a change how do most offices react to people with not so relevant experience? (I feel that might be the case, since I feel my experience is very specific). Three, if I take a break for say 2-3 months, would that be detrimental to my career?"

1. No, definitely not and it's never too late to make a change. However, don't quit your job until you have a next step available. If graduate school makes financial sense for you, go ahead and apply while you are working. If you want a new job, search while you are working. 

2. You would be surprised with the range of "experience" you may find with coworkers and bosses in life! For more junior positions, people are often hired based on how well it's thought they will succeed in a role and support a team rather than project-specific knowledge. 

3. I agree with Jay above that a 2-3 month break can easily turn into 6 months to a year. Because of COVID I think it could be forgivable on a CV (at least here in the US) to have a longer than normal break from work in 2020, so if you absolutely need to take a break for your mental health you could. However if it were me, I would spend all day everyday worrying about the next step of my career/education without a job to distract me.  

Keep working hard and taking care of yourself. Send your CV and portfolio to firms you're interested in whether or not they say they are hiring, and apply to graduate programs that interest you if it's financially feasible. Once you have done all these things, you may be surprised at what opportunities come your way. 

Sep 20, 20 12:28 pm  · 
1  · 
BulgarBlogger

“ and tend to want to know everything about everything. Real value in the profession comes from expertise and experience, and both are developed over a long period of time.”

 · 
BulgarBlogger

Quality of experience over quantity, my friend...

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