unemployed grad's who want a place to complain about things!


Hello fellow unemployed grads, 

Are you out of work, I would love to hear your sob story?

Please post your complaints about what ever you want, but  try to keep it related in some way to architecture and the fact that we graduated during the collapse of the world economy.


Have a wonderful day!!!

Aug 23, 11 4:22 pm

Oh yeah, please keep it negative.  I am tired of all the sugar coating out there, lets face it, this sucks!  You should however try to think of ways to improve this situation in the future innovative ideas, reasons why our industry is one of the hardest hit etc...

Aug 23, 11 4:32 pm

Well I just graduated from Sci-arc, but luckily I got abducted by a spaceship where they let me redecorate their kitchens in exchange for slowing down on all the cavity probing. 


Aug 23, 11 5:02 pm

I just graduated from Sci Arc (cum lauder) After looking for a job last two years, I decided to go back selling drugs but only to find out the whole enterprise was infested with laid off architects many years my senior. Btw, we're not talking pot here. I now make OK money on slicing out registration stickers from license plates and sell them $15 a piece to guys who sell them on street. I can sell them myself for the market price of $25, but I don't want to get into retail end of it. My x-acto knife skill is really helpful.  

Aug 23, 11 5:21 pm

I just finished Yale and now I'm an assmucher down in the boystown. But that's OK. I was promised as much when I entered the school.

nom nom!

Aug 23, 11 5:34 pm

HAHAHA I love it keep them coming!!!

Aug 23, 11 5:50 pm

"Oh yeah, please keep it negative."


Aug 23, 11 6:37 pm

I just graduated from GSAAP and immediately walked into Hudson and drowned. My guidance councilor tells me this is normal even in the good times. 

blop blop!

Aug 23, 11 6:38 pm

I just graduated from GSD on Sunday, was in charge of a company by Monday, and we filed for bankruptcy today. My daddy bought me a yacht.

cha ching!

Aug 23, 11 6:45 pm

I just graduated from Princeton and now I'm a post-modern potato farmer. $3.99/pound for cylinder shaped ones. 


Aug 23, 11 6:53 pm

I just graduated from Cincinnati and I have no idea where I am. I see a taco truck across the street.

Hello mom?

Aug 23, 11 6:54 pm

I just graduated from AA and burnt down my own flat in solidarity with the protestors. I wish my school thought me the basics of being alive first.


Aug 23, 11 6:59 pm

I jsut graduraded from McGill and I am too durnk to workingawachumacallit...

Fuck you too buddy!

Aug 23, 11 7:03 pm

I just graduated from Washington U in St Louis and now I'm stuck living in St. louis.


Aug 23, 11 7:10 pm

I just graduated from Rice and cowfucking has been phenomenal! Our best year ever!

Ron Paul 2012!

Aug 23, 11 7:18 pm

I just graduated from graduate school and now unemployed after graduation. I want to go back to another graduate school and graduate again. What graduate school I can graduate more? After reading all the graduate stories above, should I really graduate again or leave the graduation to new graduates?  

signed: Graduates Often.

Aug 23, 11 7:24 pm

I graduated from Cooper Union 12 years ago and have been unemployed ever since. 

Free tuition suckers!

Aug 23, 11 7:26 pm

I just graduated from MIT and finally got laid for the first time ever.


Aug 23, 11 7:31 pm

Anyone know the real unemployment rate for architects?

I heard 60% that sounds really high

Aug 23, 11 7:31 pm


there are about 90 thousand unemployed architects in the US fighting for any position available.

Why do you ask?

Aug 23, 11 7:36 pm

I wonder how many architects have turned to prostitution.  I have not, and I will not,  but I imagine that somewhere out there in the good old U.S of A there is a prostitute with an M-Arch degree.  A bright young lad with a T-square at some dirty truck stop. 

So Sad!

Aug 23, 11 7:41 pm


Just wondering.....

Aug 23, 11 7:45 pm

No. Sad would be starving to death.

Nothing wrong with haulin' ass-gettin' paid.

Aug 23, 11 7:47 pm

Prostitution and architecture? What's so weird about that? I thought you were an architect.. I take all my comments back! Troll.

Aug 23, 11 7:48 pm

Also: "A bright young lad with a T-square at some dirty truck stop."

That's very sexist of you to suggest that only male architects can become prostitutes. 

Go back to your Ayn Rand, asshole.

Aug 23, 11 7:57 pm

Ah, funny you should ask Arleo, I have dug up the following stats:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics -

May 2008 - 110,990 employed licensed architects

May 2010 - 78,700 employed licensed architects (this figure does not include self employed practitioners)

So that gives us a net loss of -23,290 architects from 2008 until 2010 or around 21% (2011 data is not yet available, but I think it is safe to say it is a net loss)

Now, that does not take into account new people entering the profession -

According to NCARB in 2010 14,737 people sat for the ARE exam

In 2009 13,326 people sat for the ARE exam

I am looking for two more stats, #1 - how many people actually passed the exam from say 2008 until 2011.  And #2 how many grads are coming online out of school into a profession which it looks to me is pushing well into a 25% unemployment rate (personally I think this is a conservative figure).  I have heard the schools pump out around 9,000 grads a year.  But I really want a reliable quotable source on the graduation numbers from accredited schools in the US.

I am sorry to report if we are talking 18,000 grads new to a profession at a minimum of 25% unemployment, we all know what that means.

No sugar coating those numbers huh?






Aug 23, 11 7:59 pm

Dam!!!  and that number probably varies alot state to state.  Do you know which state is the best place to be looking?

Aug 23, 11 8:08 pm

rusty, I believe that both male and female architects can turn to prostitution.

But I do not endorse it.


Aug 23, 11 8:10 pm

hmm... philosoraptor

Aug 23, 11 8:57 pm

*deep breath in*

I just finished my B.S Arch degree (fitting title, isn't it?) and only applied to my school for grad since it was easy. I hadn't taken the GRE or Calc & Calc based physics courses (since our curriculum was set since freshman year and couldn't take them as electives. didn't have money to take them elsewhere during vacation) Got into the grad program..they want 12k more than undergrad tuition. Same professors. Same studio space. Hey, I guess they have to dump the cost of finally getting a laser cutter, cnc machine, and woodshop on someone (since undergrads weren't allowed near them). The school dropped all my undergrad aid (after being assured by profs. in the dept that it carried over).

I could be done in 9 months with an M.Arch and approaching 80K debt, and if I am lucky enough to find work I'm looking at low $30s to maybe 40k until I get licensed (assuming I find steady work in this economy). I'm going off the AIA compensation reports (did you know Civil Engineers get theirs for free? I just signed up to the ASCE for FREE and they have detail tables with information about levels of experience, education, certifications, and accompanying compensation. Isn't that cool?

But suppose I want to take time, start paying off my current debt, work on a portfolio and apply doesn't look like I'm even eligible to apply for related work without a professional degree (since everyone in New England seems to need a minimum of M.Arch, LEED AP, and several years experience for entry level). 

Did research into schools in Europe...hellova lot cheaper..comparable education (some would argue better) and I would be out of the US for the first time ever......but even if by some miracle I attended any overseas dream school...what happens when I graduate then? The market is still terrible in the costs $1760 for the EESA-NCARB to even look at your foreign degree. 

I thought my neighbor my age back home was crazy...dropped out of school..managing a Dunkin Donuts. Lives with parents. No debt. Nice car. Has a new crazy and attractive chick over every day. Gets drunk, high, and goes on the lake every day after work. I'm envious.

...few steps away from another nervous breakdown...and keep replaying the Family Guy clip of Peter singing "I'm a tumor! I'm a tumor! I'm a tumor!"

Now if only my concerned mother will stop calling me every 5 minutes about "architecture" positions that all end up being computer programming....

Aug 23, 11 9:37 pm

Sounds like a Fenway area type school to me... but hey, 9 months is awesome.  You get a Masters degree in the time it takes most people to get a BArch.

Aug 23, 11 9:51 pm

Sounds like you might go to the same Fenway school as I do...this might sound weird over the internet...but it's actually comforting to know that someone from the same school is registered on an online architecture forum..and not raving about getting hammered, high, and doing adderall.

Aug 23, 11 10:22 pm

Can't seem to edit my last comment...its really just the debt and quality of life the debt brings that I'm freaked out about.. I know plenty of people (family included) whose lives are basically ruined due to the housing bubble bursting and mortgage crisis...I like the school and program alot.

Aug 23, 11 10:33 pm

If all else fails, my cousin assures me that a mobile pet grooming service is surprisingly similar to an architectural career. Except you can muzzle the clients. 

Aug 23, 11 10:58 pm

athensarch, "I feel your pain"  On the bright side, although I am in a shit load of debt about 100k, and 3 months out of Grad school with no job, It may sound cheesy but the education was really worth it.   I just wish the AIA was more helpful!  First they need to stop these firms from being allowed to hire unpaid interns aka slave labor.  I think that this is a highly discriminatory hiring practice since a person such as myself who does not have a rich family to support them cannot possibly work for free. 

Aug 24, 11 12:27 am

the whole interning for free thing is messed up.  they're just stealing jobs from people who really could be working, worsening the situation and making underpayment the status quo.

i strongly disagree with the whole "being an intern" thing after you get a degree (the NCARB classification stuff).  if the degree doesn't make me any more qualified than some high school senior / freshman in college intern, why did i bother to get it?  or more importantly, why is it required to work for a company if its worth nothing?

i've interned places (for money, thankfully), and have to say that the first 3 months i was useless because i wasn't familiar with any kind of document standards, basic construction knowledge, or general workings of an architecture firm.  by the end of my co-op term, i could do a ton of stuff and was actually relatively useful.  is it THAT hard for schools to teach that 3 months worth of stuff in order to create an actually COMPETENT graduate?  i mean, what am i paying all this money for?  to be indoctrinated by academia's design agenda?  don't get me wrong... being a good designer is extremely important and i know that.  but college is also supposed to give students the necessary training to be able to work in an industry, and out of my observations most arch colleges don't.

i went to school to learn how to build things, and now that i've graduated i still can't say i really know how.  a lot of professors say "well you can read about it on your own if you want" (which i have) and "you'll learn it when you start working" but couldn't it go the exact same direction for design?  you can say that about anything.  if you're interested in design couldn't you just read about it?  its because people won't, which makes me question the importance of teaching all this theory and art in architecture school.    i'm intersted in designing AND building buildings, so i went to school for it.  i dont' want to hand you a 100k check for you to give me all this info i never wanted to learn so you could tell me to read a book on what i really wanted to learn.  there has to be a healthy medium, and when i'm going to class for 4 hours a week to learn how to water color, or read thoreau, or dissect some artwork that i have no interest in... i can't help but wonder how much more beneficial it would be for me to be learning how to frame a house, or pour a foundation.

Aug 24, 11 3:17 pm

"is it THAT hard for schools to teach that 3 months worth of stuff in order to create an actually COMPETENT graduate?  i mean, what am i paying all this money for?"

When more students start asking those specific questions of their universities -- and actually holding their feet to the fire -- then starting salaries in this profession might start approaching a living wage.

While it is true that some firms abuse the system - and recent grads - most do not. Nevertheless, as an employer, I'm willing to pay fairly for competence and productivity. I'm not particularly willing to overpay while our firm teaches recent grads the basics of architectural practice and what we do here in the office.

Aug 24, 11 3:44 pm

I think I am completely insane right now.. I just rejected the only job offer that I got in 3 months.  This position was paid, but I didn't feel right about the work they do.  Am I crazy for having strong morals in this economy?  They basically build golf course developments filled with coorporate Mcmansions in rural China.  I just spent the last 8 years complaining about this type of stuff 80-90% of my day, and I just could not be a part of it.  I am not sure If it was a stupid move, and I really need the cash, but in some weird way I feel good.  Any one else ever find themselves in this situation? 

Aug 24, 11 4:13 pm

What's wrong with golf courses in China? Are the Chinese not worthy of it? Do they not deserve the spoils that upper middle class enables? What should the Chinese be doing in their spare time instead? Basket-weaving?

It may be a boring gig, but where does morality come into play? Are they using human bones for sticks?

Aug 24, 11 4:23 pm

The whole Arch degree program was great in teaching theory, the application of theory, and design, but there was ZERO preperation for prof. practice.  I think it would be better to add a year to the program where we would be able to "practice" in a mock firm environment, so that we would have skills like construction docs....etc...

Then we could make a better argument for higher pay.  However, it should also be the responsibility of the AIA to regulate a fair pay standard for entry level architects.

Aug 24, 11 4:26 pm


Go read Kunstlers book "The Geography of Nowhere"

These developments destroy rural areas and local economies.  Look at the American Southwest.  It is even worse in China because they just move poor people who have been there for generations to do these kind of projects.  It is not just about the work being boring, I can deal with that and have before, but rather it is about the destructive nature of the work.  China is repeating many of the mistakes that we have made and I do not want to be part of it.   Look, bottom line is that I love "good" architecture and urban design more than anything, and I hate crap architecture and destructive urban design more than anything

Aug 24, 11 4:37 pm

jarleo, suburbs have destroyed America. I think it's only fair they do same to China. In fact, it's your patriotic duty to litter the Chinese landscape with culdesacs. 

Or are you a traitor? You sound like one.

Aug 24, 11 4:40 pm

HAHAHA thats funny!  No, but I would be one if I helped the Chinese govt. beat up on poor farmers.

Aug 24, 11 4:45 pm

why add a year of pro-practice when you could just work and possibly get paid?  I'd just put in place of all the other stuff.  Also, there's no reason the degree should take longer than 4 years for professional status.

I'm just going to complain about everything!

Aug 24, 11 4:51 pm

I need beer!

Aug 24, 11 4:51 pm

Due89, thats what this forum is for..... complain away brotha!

Aug 24, 11 4:53 pm

I tried prostitution but I only have a B.Arch degree.  The Johns around here are asking for an M.Arch plus a minimum 5 years experience in hospitality work.

Aug 24, 11 5:24 pm

There is a song titled, "How to be Eaten by a Woman," by an electronic music group, aptly named, Glitch Mob.   

Yes, I believe I would like to be eaten by one, preferably someone with a nursing background that makes 60k+ a year.  She can wash my dishes, clean my floors, and best of all, take care of me.  All architects in hospitality should take heed: marrying a woman in the medical profession is like marrying your client, except you get to step on the good foot and do the bad thing.  

Aug 24, 11 7:37 pm
Token AE

Once you become a senior principal, the line between architect and prostitute gets pretty blurred anyway.

You might as well start the decline early and use your youth to your advantage.

Aug 24, 11 9:13 pm

The practice of Architecture is in decline because society is in decline.  The more I look the more I see doom and gloom...  The difficult thing to accept in these times is that the economy will take a decade or more to fully recover.  By that time we will have missed out on a fundamental period in our careers.  The only bright side that I see is that theoretical work will go through a golden period, like it has before during economic plight. 

Aug 25, 11 12:27 pm

"the whole interning for free thing is messed up.  they're just stealing jobs from people who really could be working, worsening the situation and making underpayment the status quo.

i strongly disagree with the whole "being an intern" thing after you get a degree (the NCARB classification stuff).  if the degree doesn't make me any more qualified than some high school senior / freshman in college intern, why did i bother to get it?  or more importantly, why is it required to work for a company if its worth nothing?"


The problem is that architecture was, historically, more of a trade than a profession. Architects are taught the wrong way in the same light that foreign language students are taught in the wrong way: there is no focus on immersion. 

After five years of expensive schooling (regardless of whether it cost you or your parents-it still cost SOMEBODY), I should fully understand how to put a building together or else, theoretically, I shouldn't hold a degree. I cannot legally call myself an architect, and I have to rely on the fluctuating economic situation of the country in order to get the experience I need to obtain that license. 

All I want to do is MAKE BUILDINGS!

Aug 25, 11 1:13 pm

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