Want to know how to become a key staff / grow and recognized as a young professional /


recently began my career after MArch 1 programme and feel fortunate to land a job despite the TC is below my expectation and my friends.

I have a pretty bad student debt and living cost is high here so, I don’t want to remain static. I want to be vocal about my ability, want to be recognized by the management and get promoted either word itself or better negotiation-able position. 

I want to know what are the qualitative aspects for junior employee to prove that he/she is worth from more experienced Architects here :; looking for a grade matrix per day.

anyone could lend me some wisdom ?


Sep 20, 21 6:19 pm
Non Sequitur

Good junior employees are expected to ask questions, propose intelligent solutions, and learn from their mistakes/ignorance. 

Shitty junior employees demand (or search the inter webs) for solutions without making the slightest effort. 

Try to stay in the first group. 

Sep 20, 21 6:46 pm  · 
2  · 
atelier nobody
  • DO NOT accept an unpaid or underpaid internship! If they don't value your work enough to pay you what it's worth now, they never will. "Paying your dues" in hopes of being a more highly-valued employee later is a fools' bet.
  • Do everything they ask you to do WELL.
  • If they ask you to do something you're not confident you can do WELL, ask for guidance.
    • If they're unhelpful when you ask for guidance, start looking for another firm - you don't need to be somewhere with a "sink or swim" attitude toward mentorship.
    • If you ask for guidance on every little thing, they'll quickly get annoyed and question your intelligence, but if you don't ask for guidance when you need it, it will be worse (see below). Seek a balance between having confidence in your (hopefully growing) abilities when appropriate and asking for guidance when necessary, but when in doubt it's better to err on the side of asking for guidance (for your first few years - this will change when you've got enough experience that they expect you to know stuff).
  • If you think you've done something well but it comes back redlined, learn from it.
    • Expect a LOT of redlines early on - it is part of the learning process that every one of us went through and is not a judgement of your character.
    • As you gain experience, one or the other, or a combination, of two things should happen: the volume of redlines should be going down or the level of the stuff being redlined should be going up. The absolute worst thing you can do at this point in your career is to keep making the same mistakes over and over - if your PAs and JCs are having to redline the same stuff on project after project, they are either looking for a way to get rid of you or else putting you on the "only worth half (or less) of an employee and to be paid accordingly" shelf, and you should be considering a different career.
  • Work about 40 hours a week (assuming you're in the US - substitute whatever a standard work week is in your country if not in the US).
    • There will be weeks when more work is needed, but they should be the exception, not the rule.
    • This holds true whether you're on salary or paid overtime.
    • If you find you're unable to keep up with your workload while working a standard week, it means one of two things: either you need to improve your competence and efficiency or you're working in a sweatshop and should be looking for another firm. Only you can determine which of these applies to you - both are pretty common in the profession.
    • If you're getting your work done in a standard work week but they seem to be unhappy that you're not there at all hours, you're working in a sweatshop and need to get out.
    • If they flat out told you when they hired you that you're expected to work more than a standard work week, you shouldn't have accepted the job in the first place and definitely need to get out just as soon as you can find a better firm.
  • If, and only if, you're doing everything they ask you to do WELL and finding yourself with extra time on your hands, ask for more.
  • If they offer you opportunities for professional development, such as sending you to seminars, paying for you to get additional certifications, allowing you time "on the clock" for webinars and such, etc, take it. Whether they do or don't offer you these opportunities on the company's dime, however, you should be pursuing such things on your own time and investing some of your own money - nobody expects you to spend every waking hour and every spare dollar you have on continuing education (or, if they do, find another firm), but you should plan on spending some for the rest of your career. Obviously, the more the firm will cover the better, but even if you're in a very generous firm you should still plan on dedicating some of your own time and money in addition to whatever the firm is doing for you.
Sep 20, 21 11:10 pm  · 
6  · 

A lot of employers will respond well when a junior employee reaches the point where they can produce all of the drawings for a small project with minimal supervision.  Advancement happens when a person knows how to put a) buildings together and b) put drawing sets together.   The exact building techniques and drawings in A and B don't have to be everything under the sun, they should correspond with whatever kind of projects your employer does.

Sep 21, 21 9:48 am  · 
1  · 

If you don't know how to do something, research it and give it your best shot without asking for help (within a reasonable time frame) then go ask for help. 

If you notice a problem on your project (design, technical, graphics, whatever) present a solution to the problem at the same time you alert your team leader to the problem. 

Use the resources you have - Ching, product reps, cut sheets, office standards, look at old sets from your office.

Sep 21, 21 9:59 am  · 
2  · 
atelier nobody

This is also excellent advice, taken together with my suggestion to find a balance between confidence in your own abilities and asking for guidance when needed.

Sep 23, 21 1:43 pm  · 

I would suggest that competence will get you far but not necessarily to a point where you're becoming groomed for leadership or management at your firm. From what I've seen personally at large corporate design-oriented firms, what gets you singled out for leadership or management is pretty much talent (either in architectural design or in leadership) combined with maturity and initiative.. The better the 'fit' between you and the organization, the more likely you will be cultivated as a future leader.

Sep 22, 21 9:07 am  · 

Really? I worked at several large corporate firms, and what got you marked out for leadership was some baseline competency in architecture, yes, but talent in public speaking and presentation, bullshitting (not in a bad way), physical attractiveness, and cultivating relationships with the right people - both in your firm and potential clients.

Sep 22, 21 9:59 am  · 
4  · 

Yes the worst thing you can do is become master of CD sets and details.

Sep 22, 21 10:36 am  · 
1  · 
atelier nobody

There are a few firms that will fast-track a Howard Roark (kjpn's post), many more firms that will fast-track a Peter Keating (archanonymous's post), and others that will fast-track both. I would strongly suggest avoiding firms that fast-track anybody.

(If you don't know who Roark and Keating are, you're probably better off, honestly, don't look them up.)

Sep 23, 21 1:49 pm  · 
1  · 

hahaha that's a great summary into two completely ridiculous archetypes.

Sep 23, 21 1:52 pm  · 
1  · 

Jump ship to CM or Developers and boss your former bosses around.

Sep 22, 21 10:29 am  · 
1  · 

arch, i wouldn't disagree with you. maybe the talent aspect is more relevant in certain firms where that is a strong ethos in the firm culture. if it's less about architecture with a capital A your emphasis is probably more correct, generally

Sep 22, 21 12:17 pm  · 

and I think you are right on the money with "The better the 'fit' between you and the organization, the more likely you will be cultivated as a future leader."

Sep 22, 21 1:10 pm  · 

- Check out the AIA compensation survey for your region. You should be aiming to be in the upper quartile of your region. Important to start at a place that offers growth everyday - learn about construction, detailing and putting sets together. 

- Learn CA at least on a fundamental level - you don't have to be an expert in dealing with supers, CM's unless you really enjoy that. It's a stressful job. 

- Learn about thoughtful project management and collaboration, working with consultants, product reps, AHJ's. Try to be in teams with the principal, best PA's/PM's if it's a small/medium firm. Learn about putting together RFP responses, tag along for interviews if there is an opportunity

- Take ALL opportunities to be in client meetings. Be prepared, have good agenda's, try to have thoughtful comments/inputs. The better you cultivate your interpersonal skills, the more relationships you develop. 

- Remember that clients are the ultimate boss. The more you have direct relationships with them, the more you can do what you want, have more control over projects. In the long run that also allows you to go out on your own. 

- If you want to make top drawer money, you need to be bringing business or be in ownership where you negotiate with clients. You will never make a lot of money negotiating salaries with firm owners. The industry is an over-supplied market. You won't get higher than upper-quartile region pay if you are an employee most likely even if you are top tier. 

- Get licensed ASAP

- Learn about contracts, fees, business models. Recommend reading Financial Management for Design Professionals by Steve L Wintner or anything equivalent to understand rudimentary stuff. 

- Remember the skills and talent you have only belongs to you. Don't kill yourself for any business unless it's yours. You don't owe anything to anyone other than good work. Work 40 hours, work efficiently, be healthy and maintain good relationships with family and friends. Know when to leave and try something knew when they don't appreciate you, understand your value or want to invest in your growth

Sep 22, 21 7:08 pm  · 
4  · 
atelier nobody

Try to avoid getting "pigeonholed" too early in your career. Ultimately, you will be a better designer if you understand production and a better production architect if you understand design (and a better "rainmaker" if you understand both), so it's best to build a strong foundation in BOTH before deciding whether one or the other (or a different role in a firm) is where your talent and inclination are stronger.

In a perfect world, this would be what all firms expected of junior employees. Unfortunately, this is not the case - building solid skills as a generalist before ever specializing is actually kind of hard to do under the real working conditions in most firms that I've seen.

Sep 23, 21 2:04 pm  · 
2  · 

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