Not to take away from the on going Layoffs...Layoffs thread, I thought it would be nice to hear about anyone's experiences in landing a new job or self employment.

If you are one of the fortunate ones out there, please share with us how you like the new place and what is keeping you busy these days.

Apr 13, 09 2:30 pm

some of my professors have been doing some very nice work in the austin area

Apr 13, 09 2:45 pm

The week after I got laid off in mid-February (when I sent out an email notifying folks that my email was changing), my old boss from a few years back called and asked if I wanted to come back part-time. The old firm has lots of non-prestigious small projects for which the client pays T+M. And I said, "sure!"

So far, so good.

Apr 13, 09 3:48 pm

ah thats a nice save citizen.

Apr 13, 09 5:18 pm

I was employed in February after 4 months of being unemployed ...better working enviornment... ALOT more responsibility ...and a great boss almost glad i was laid off in the first place

Apr 15, 09 7:25 am

happy to hear about that outthere...good luck to you.

Apr 21, 09 2:52 pm

I hear that Obama's Infrastructure plan will include Roads, Bridges & Sewers on Mars.

Apr 29, 09 8:50 am

I guess if you don't have any legitimate criticisms...just make up Mars, time machines and messiahs.

seems the right wing was been reduced to a few delusional kooks.

Jun 1, 09 12:48 pm

Most of the the people I know who are at other firms have said that things have started to pick up. My firm just hired people -- mostly senior level staff.

Jun 1, 09 2:16 pm


good to hear...
what city are you in?

Jun 1, 09 3:06 pm

I lost my job in January, but I had the opportunity of doing some consulting work for different offices in my city. Now I am dedicating my time in creating my own office, branding office.

Jun 3, 09 1:00 am

i've been working in a brewery this summer. i'll be sad when i have to leave to go to school.

Jun 3, 09 10:29 am

I was once angry financially when I worked for the man.

The metrics of an architectural office are to bill 3x and pay you x. It's the 'x' that sucks.

10 years ago I decided to go after some middle zone between x and 3x and open my own practice. The last 3 years I made $150k, $180k and $200k on my own. Worked out to be about 5x.

I am now very happy with being in the profession and feel that I am paid well for my time and energy.

I no longer even think of trying to look for opportunity with the man at 'x'. I go after my own clients with my own unique offering and risk it all for 5x.

Jun 12, 09 1:43 pm


Inspiring to hear your ambitions. What kind of advice would you give for a young architect who has just registered and wants to pursue their own clients? Besides a lot of skills and experience, did you feel like a big part was by luck?

The financial anger in the beginning of a career seems like it is a given. Congrats for making it!

Jun 12, 09 2:44 pm

yes, I concur wit .dwg; DesertMod, congrats on the slew of opportunity you've had. Of course none of us know what your overhead costs are, and if with all that income coming you, you are still living comfortably.

In any respects, sounds like it was the right choice for you.

As of this past Monday i got my walking papers. Sucks cause I just bought a new condo too (closed last week) and now this?! Suppose I am going to have to hustle and hoping not to start beggin' or settling for menial jobs.

Good luck to all out there!

Jun 24, 09 1:26 pm


I don't think that this recession is going anywhere anytime soon.

Jun 24, 09 1:56 pm
rare act II

i got a raise today...nothing spectacular...but anyways!!:)

Jun 29, 09 6:35 pm

My income is from a home-based office with my only overhead as liability insurance, my car payment expensed through the business, a percentage of the home electric bill, and office supply/equipment stuff. When you expense through a business everyting is pre-tax - so it's like a 40%-off sale. Much better than paying for stuff with after tax dollars as an employee. So I keep 90% of what I bill. Residential remodels are probably the way to go for the next 12 months - commercial is still going in the tank.

Jun 29, 09 10:03 pm

To .dwg, my 'luck' came from doing projects well - staying late, going the extra mile, doing more than what I was paid to do. Then when people started asking who to use, my name came up more often. Don't know any other solution than work your *** off and take on the client's needs as though they are your own (or even in front of your own needs sometimes).

Jun 29, 09 10:06 pm

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Aug 31, 09 5:55 am

Ha! That's classic, make a second name to post a seemingly unconnected bit of praise for the spam you just posted. Seriously though, someone has to be pushing the boundaries of spam.

Aug 31, 09 11:48 am

There is hope for those of us looking for work....

I got an interview for an intern position in NYC. The office does some really nice high-end residential work.

Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be more openings recently?

I brought my portfolio and resume to the office in person and spoke with the owner.

This seems like the way to go. So if this one doesn't work out, I have a plan for next time.

Oct 16, 09 5:22 pm

I was laid off in November after 12 years with the same firm...doing mostly commercial, R&D, some pretty high end stuff....then the bottom fell a job a month later, have been there since..with a firm that does all education work..super busy...then the firm merges with the 9th largest Architecture Urban Planning firm in the world.....Now getting opportunity to be lead design on school, transportation, and other types of thing to happen to me....future is nothing but bright!

We are swamped with work and needing to add to staff.

Oct 16, 09 6:04 pm

I ended up getting the job I interviewed for a few weeks back. Moving to NYC tomorrow.

Anyone else have any luck (I really do think luck is a big factor in finding work right now)? Interviews, offers, words of encouragement, anything to help raise the spirits of people still looking.

I have been hearing good things. A few small firms I was talking to were busy, and saw new projects on the horizons.

Nov 11, 09 12:24 pm
Third Conchord

I was laid off back in May with a pretty high-profile office. A lot of work was tanking and when a project would go, so would it's staff. I went through one solid round of applying to places around mid June, didnt really hear much and then tried again in late September/early October. Got an interview with a smaller design oriented studio that i was interested in and that's been pretty busy and got the job. Have been working there for a couple weeks.

Nov 11, 09 1:32 pm

this thread makes me smile. :-)

Nov 24, 09 11:48 am

These days, teaching urban planning to undergrads, trying to work in the importance of design....

Nov 24, 09 12:38 pm

After ages of looking, I got hired on a 3-week trial with the idea that in January it will probably become permanent. FINALLY.

disclaimer: I am not an architect, so this doesn't say a lot about y'all's outlook, but I wanted to share the good news here.

Nov 25, 09 8:53 pm

I'm now teaching - but I escaped all the layoffs at the office and choose to make the jump to the ivory tower.

Nov 26, 09 10:32 am

After 9 months of unemployment, starting my own design firm, getting my license and then converting my design firm to an architecture firm I have been lucky enough to have been offered a Manager position at NCARB. I start work in about a week.

Nov 29, 09 2:31 am

congrats rationalist and s.selophane.

Nov 29, 09 10:24 am

that's awesome s.selophane. what are you going to do about the firm you started?

Nov 29, 09 1:17 pm
some person

Congratulations, s.selphane. The new K Street lobby in NCARB's building is pretty cool.

Nov 29, 09 3:34 pm

Good job everyone who has stuck it out and those of you in that rough in-between period who are trying to do so. Glad to hear success stories.

Remember a lot of the recovery is going to be word of mouth and keeping in good with former employers. Good luck everyone.

Nov 29, 09 4:00 pm

+| I will have one of the few positions that should leave me with adequate weekend and evening time to do a few projects a year (not more than one at any time). We discussed my firm at the interview and my intention to keep active, but not too active.

Nov 30, 09 1:02 am

+| I will have one of the few positions that should leave me with adequate weekend and evening time to do a few projects a year (not more than one at any time). We discussed my firm at the interview and my intention to keep active, but not too active.

Nov 30, 09 1:02 am

Grrrr, I hate when it double posts.

Nov 30, 09 1:11 am

I graduated (M.Arch) back in June, spent 6 weeks as an assistant prof, touring around Europe with a group of students. I moved to Rome at the end of July, relaxed for a month, then started work in September.

After a three month internship, they've offered me a small raise and the chance to stay on for a full year. The pay's not great, but the work is exciting. I feel extremely lucky to be working in architecture, at a well-known firm, in an amazing city. Not a bad way to ride out the recession. :D

Nov 30, 09 5:55 am

s.selophane- that's very cool... i wouldn't think they would mind, since it's not like you're working for one firm while having another firm on the side. in fact, i would think NCARB would appreciate you staying an active architect/designer. i hope i have some of the same luck!
(i used to walk by that building everyday on my way to work.)

Nov 30, 09 8:05 am
Canary Trace

Awesome news s.selophane! I think you are wise to to try balancing your work. It will keep your future options open and, IMHO, it will make you more valuable to your new employer.

Also congrats to rationalist. Knock'em dead!

Nov 30, 09 8:41 am

So it looks like things are slowly turning around! I also found employment! Graduated in May and have been working for a non-profit, but not a permanent position. But have now found a job and am very excited to start-will start in january! yeah me!

Dec 11, 09 7:56 pm

Have a friend who also just found a position, its a temporary job but it pays well and maybe he can get a full time gig out of it.

Dec 11, 09 9:34 pm

ya for tinydancer. congrats.

Dec 12, 09 8:11 am

nice to see this thread picking up some steam

high hopes for spring / summer 2010

Dec 14, 09 12:05 am

i accepted a position with the us district court this afternoon. for the next couple of years, i will be surveying the courthouses in my state and producing as-builts for each one. there might be some actual design work, as well. im psyched to see behind-the-scenes in a courthouse, and, oh, those federal benefits ... its just a relief to have something stable after thirteen months of unemployment.

Dec 16, 09 9:45 pm

that could actually be a pretty interesting job gillespie... i think there's actually quite a bit of new federal courthouse projects coming up in the next couple years, you never know: you might've stumbled onto some useful job experience in an unexpected place... you can study the program organization of courthouses, security requirements, etc.

with so many unemployed architects, maybe the way to differentiate is to develop some specific specialized knowledge of a specialized project type? especially those project types that are going to be more resilient in tough economic climates

i have a friend who is now working in facilities project management for a large company, so the client side PM stuff... Deciding if he should hire an architecture office or if they do it in house... That seems like it could be pretty relevant project experience too, seeing the other side of things could be useful, even if you want to return to working at architecture firms later...?

Dec 17, 09 1:24 am
a mouse

just started a new position last week, after 6 months of bar work and travelling on my redundancy/anual leave that i had been hoarding.

the job market in sydney has picked up in the last couple of months, had 3 interviews in a week after not getting any for 6 months in London.

5 years working in a global firm with 100+ in the studio and i'm now working for a sole architect on 2 small but high quality houses.
its not quite as big a shift as some here, but after getting stuck on dubai masterplans for too long i'm loving the chance to work on smaller projects.

Dec 17, 09 1:37 am

Just curious is anyone else has emerged from the current situation in a place where they actually feel better off. I got my MArch in May 2008 and got laid off from an Arch firm in NYC in Dec 2008. After seeing how the atmosphere was at the time I made a real quick decision to jump on board an internship program I found abroad which at least guaranteed staying active in the field for half a year. After not hearing from many NYC firms when I got back I found a Design firm that specializes in tensile structures used mostly for events and exhibitions (Tensile Design was actually a large focus in my thesis) and although its not an Arch. firm; I've been more involved with actual design, fabrication, and installation than I could ever dream of from an entry-level Arch position (not to mention Ive been getting to work in someof the greatest spaces in the city).

I don't recieve as much credit towards IDP as I'd like which was an original goal after graduation; but I've really been enjoying the work I've been doing here and would like to use this eventually to try and dig myself further into this niche, but with an Arch firm. Still wondering how and when to make the transition, and if too much time away from architecture has an affect on people. Also curious if other people have been narrowing their searches or not in lieu of the current circumstances; thanks.

Dec 17, 09 11:41 am
prairie school drop out

just wanted to share some uplifting news on behalf of friends...yay!

i know 6 people who started working in the past month/six weeks or so. all in chicago. 4 of the 6 graduated in may. one had been asked back to his former place of employment. 2 started last month at healthcare firms, one at a national corporate firm, one doing something related to arch, but not at an arch firm (unfortunately i don't know exactly what, but it seemed related), and one is pure gossip (so i know no details about it).

Mar 3, 10 11:20 am

Thanks for sharing PSDO.

I've certainly noticed an uptick in job ads from "real" architecture firms. By real I mean firms that do actual built work, not pet project firms run by adjunct faculty a few years out of grad school, or "design" firms looking for cheap/free interns.

Whatever happens to all these emerging architects that never seem to they just slip back into academia, get swallowed into the rendering dungeons of SOM, or cash in the trust fund and retire at 35?

Mar 5, 10 3:23 am

I just signed on for a great intenet spambot program. It looks really promising.

But seriously....

After 8 months at my starchitect gig in Rome I'm moving on. Starting in two weeks I'll be at a new job in Shanghai, at a well-known international firm. Unlike the high-turnover ego-driven arch firm i've been working for, this promises to be a pretty long-term engagement, with appropriate/adequate pay & benefits.

Can't complain.

Apr 26, 10 4:10 pm

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