Layoffs have started....advice?


Layoffs have started in DC...Gensler, Smith Group, GGA. Everyone else is in a hiring freeze.

What is your firm doing? We got the "no bonuses this year" talk.

Does anyone have advice on how to stay afloat for first time downturn economy employees? I just moved to my firm, so I'm the lowman on the totem pole... needless to say I am a bit nervous.

Good luck to all~

Nov 6, 08 10:32 pm
gold spot

No free meals anymore, Saving on electricity, LAYING OFF, no fresh recruits....yes, thats about it.

Nov 6, 08 11:56 pm

I'm in DC (at one of the national firms). We're getting our asses kicked too -- 2 rounds of layoffs -- mostly affecting our mothership office which is located in one of the more economically vulnerable cities. Our office has stayed relatively busy but you can tell everyone is a little freaked out. I've stayed busy with my project -- doing a lot of tedious work which apparently is a good problem to have right now.

I'm sure that everyone can agree that this has been a nightmare. When will it all go away?

Nov 7, 08 2:28 am

those that say dc is recession proof, are liars.

Nov 7, 08 6:56 am

I left the profession last recession (dot com bust).

What to do? Save. Make sure you've got a rainy day fund, 'cause the rain is just starting to pour.

Nov 7, 08 8:03 am

we just sacked the office's two lunch ladies and the cleaner! tough times ahead.

Nov 7, 08 8:23 am

Advise? Stay flexible. From my experience around '01-'02 the people that firms will keep are those that can handle the work they have, no matter what it is. Typically non-billable support staff gets trimmed so don't turn your nose up at that type of work if asked. Answering phones and running copies is still better than working at McDonalds.

Nov 7, 08 8:54 am

The last office I worked for here in L.A. went from 150 to 50. And that number will drop.

I know some other offices that have already laid off 80% of staff. Dunno about other cities but its prob gonna be as bad as the early 90's. I am guessing worse.

It is impossible to get construction loans here in L.A. I know someone hunting around trying to get financing for a ground up house. They have high 700's credit, and have 3x liquid assets over the potential loan. And cant find anything that doesnt require 50% down off the bat.

Until banks get all that crap off their balance sheets, no new construction. most are in damage control now.

Nov 9, 08 4:36 pm

good luck people.....

hustle time

Nov 9, 08 4:59 pm

sounds like a fantastic time to head back to school...

Nov 9, 08 5:22 pm

go back to school for a mba or a different degree.... seriously

Nov 9, 08 5:24 pm

I hate to be negative here, but the MBA is also a very risky decision. The jobs that people hoped to get on the receiving end of an MBA don't exist (in such quantities) anymore.

Nov 9, 08 7:31 pm

i dont really see the reason to get a m.a. in arch (unless you only have a 4year and need it to get registered)...

theres more to do out there than .... diversify a bit

Nov 9, 08 7:55 pm

I spoke with a long-time recruiter last week and he said the current climate is WORSE than '82.

Nov 10, 08 2:24 am

Layoff are starting to be seen more and more frequent in Philadelphia, in small and largert firms, I got a couple of friends that recently just got layoff and they have not found work. It is really scary time for the industry.

Nov 10, 08 12:53 pm

Good morning, anxiety!

Nov 10, 08 1:07 pm

Obviously, the impact in the US is gonna more severe than here in Canada, but I wonder if we will see the same kind of thing here. In Alberta, we haven't had any kind of layoff talk yet that I know of, but I do know some large developers have put off some really large works for a couple of months at least.

Any other cdn archinecters have any feedback?

Nov 11, 08 12:57 am

our admin got laid off last friday, we're down to 6! (from 9 when i started 2 years ago!)

Nov 11, 08 1:37 pm

Firms that have laid people off (that I know of) in the DC/Baltimore area:

Preston Partnership
Architecture Incorporated
Cooper Carry
Niles Bolton
Group Goetz
Marks Thomas

Additionally, a lot of engineering firms have lost a lot of their engineers as well.

Nov 11, 08 1:59 pm
wrecking ball

RTKL chicago as well.

Nov 11, 08 3:25 pm

Mid-size LA office - No raises or bonuses here - lay-offs are starting, 1 by 1, targeting with low-performers.

DMJM is laying off, according to former employee.

Rumors that Johnson Fain went from 100+ to 30 over the past year.

Advice: follow that School Bond Money & perform!

Nov 11, 08 4:18 pm

i know someone that just got hired at dmjm... it happens

Nov 11, 08 6:15 pm

how bout not working at those corporate whorehouses?

Nov 11, 08 7:53 pm

We just had our first really sucks since the person worked here longer than me (small firm, VERY awkward) I have to think not being registered yet actually helped since there's no pressure for my bosses to pay more...
I work late a few nights a week (they notice) and don't ask for the overtime pay-i take long lunches or leave early (where they don't notice) to make up for it...
advice: standout by working hard, be easy to work with, and be proactive-it may be the difference between you and the guy sitting in the next cube when your boss thinks about the pink slip...that's what happened to me

Nov 11, 08 10:10 pm

must agree with dubK and sameolddoctor:
how bout not being anxiety whores. find a way to get out- and fast.

firm let off 10% nationwide monday. international layoffs were yesterday. we work for chump change as it is- but now there's more chumps out there willing to work for less.

Nov 12, 08 12:15 pm

I guess Dubai might the answer for some people...

Alot of work, non-mediocre pay...

But of course, you have the deal with all the craziness of living in such an articficial city..

Nov 12, 08 3:52 pm

Dubai is over anyway:

Nov 12, 08 3:58 pm

There was never enough people in Dubai for a "housing boom" anyway.

The amazing thing is that America has a housing shortage and this is going on?

Nov 12, 08 4:28 pm

i thought there were 5 million new empty homes and 12 million vacant homes and that was 6 months ago.

Nov 12, 08 5:43 pm

this is what i have heard in the last 2 weeks:

LA October 2008:

jerde laid off @ 20 people
gehry laid off @ 12 people
frederick fisher laid off 25 % of their architectural staff
rios laid off 30 % of their staff
johnson fain laid off 50 % of their staff

has anyone else heard - ?

Nov 15, 08 12:07 am

I can't imagine the one about Johnson Fain is true. I thought they were doing relatively well, and I saw Scott the other night, and he didn't act like someone who had just laid off half his staff.

Still, it's getting scary out there. Every single person I know at an arch firm has either been laid off or has coworkers who have been laid off. Boston, San Fran, New York, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, etc.

I think beta mentioned it on another thread: now is the time to experiment, go on your own, innovate. With all of these layoffs, you have to think you are in pretty good company. How do we keep finding ourselves in this position? Maybe because the general public doesn't need us anymore? How do we fix that?

Nov 15, 08 12:41 am

I'm sure that Scott Johnson doesn't care that he just layed off 50% of his office. These people are just his soldiers and he assumes that he will find others when (and if) he needs to gear-up again. If he and his partner were not so arrogant, maybe...just maybe, they would have some clients. It's just a hunch.

Nov 17, 08 12:38 am

It certainly is a tough time. The credit crisis brought instability to employment in the AEC industry early this year - maybe even from late 2007.

It could get even tougher as it becomes more evident that the financial and economic crises are flowing over from Wall Street to Main Street. Not only are banks still purging and failing, but consumer-supported industries are starting to fail. It's a downward cycle. It's only really just beginning for the majority of us who work outside of Wall Street. Put your seatbelts on.

There is a new article concerning layoffs published online at Architectural Record:

Nov 18, 08 9:34 am


What did you want Scottie to show you? A very sad face?

Well, this guy and his buddy only treat their workers as labors (as "soldiers" referred by architoture is too nice for that). Everyone at that firm is disposable.

Slash bunch of labors can save some $ for Scottie to decorate his fancy net!

BTW, just don't know why, how come "Bert and Ernie" have got all these fancy awards (Gold Medals the latest) from AIA?? I don't think they have done that much for the profession/industry/education......

Jan 19, 09 5:22 pm

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