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bye architecture, hello nursing

useasback

As a lot of people here, I had a love-hate relationship with architecture. I love the creative side of architectural design, but hate the typical CAD monkey desk life, office politics, and poor job outlooks. I graduated in 2006 before the full onset of depression and landed a job in a big-name architectural firm and worked there for three years. In those years, i did concept design, presentations and presentations. Despite repetitive request for experiences in other aspects, I learned nothing regarding to how buildings are put together. I felt that both of my career as a young architect and my learning in architecture hit a glass ceiling and I was stuck there for a long time. Looking back now, I realized how unhappy and miserable I was. 

When I lost my job in 2009, I decided to get a certificate in nursing. I made the same amount of salary with one year training in nursing as what I made with five year B. Arch plus two year degree of M.Arch. More importantly, I love my job as a nurse. It is fast paced, non-boring, and has a scale that is manageable for me. Nursing offers greater opportunities for advancement and requires critical thinking skills which fit into my ambition. Nursing also gives me a chance to care for the vulnerable and hopefully I made a difference in someone's life and they will remember how I make them feel when they are sick. I work three 12 hour shifts and off four of the seven days of the week. Drawbacks? I have to work every other weekend and every other holidays, the job can be stressful sometimes.

As of today, I worked in my hospital for 25 months already. I am truly thankful that I lost my job four years ago because I would not have the courage to leave architecture and do something I will truly enjoy for the rest of my life.

Best luck for all.

 
Feb 8, 14 4:31 pm
Punch84

Great post!  I know too many people that went through similar experiences in their old office before getting laid off, complained about it, but didn't do anything and got hired back into the same position in a different office.  Best of luck to you and congrats on the successful change.

Feb 8, 14 5:32 pm  · 
3  · 
CharlencPherson

Exactly! You are right enough. I also agree with you here.

Oct 10, 21 8:55 pm  · 
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natematt

Congrats on the career shift!

I have been wondering lately why nurses work 12 hour shifts? Isn't that hard for them and unsafe for patients? I don't know many people who are even close to their best after 12 hours of work.

Feb 8, 14 6:38 pm  · 
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Congratulations!  What a terrific story in how to turn a set back into an opportunity.  Sounds like you found your calling.

Feb 8, 14 6:47 pm  · 
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Aristotle

Congratulations, don't you miss drawings and being creative?

You still get to do problem solving but being with people all the time, v's being with inanimate objects and a computer screen. I'd rather spend my life in front of a computer screen than with people as I don't have the people skills or liking to be with them for very long.

Feb 8, 14 7:51 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

So, this post was for what reason again? To do what actually, and should I care that you cut and ran? Let us know when the work as a nurse gets too tough for you, and you decide on career choice number three.

Feb 8, 14 8:53 pm  · 
 ·  3
joeuk

.

Aug 7, 17 4:16 am  · 
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Aristotle

I think it's nice to know about his particular story, whether it has a point or not.

Feb 8, 14 9:15 pm  · 
1  · 

"cur and run" LOL

Haven't heard that in a while.

Feb 8, 14 9:55 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

betadine, jaded much?

I think its nice that the OP let us know that there are other alternatives out there, and that (s)he enjoys it.

Feb 8, 14 11:17 pm  · 
2  · 
natematt

To be fair, I think the motivation and message of this post could be taken in a lot of different ways. At first glance I thought it was a jab at the profession, but after a little thought I changed my mind. I think they are trying to find some resolution for what must have been a very difficult decision to change professions after so much effort went into getting where they were. I for one wish them the best of luck.

Feb 8, 14 11:47 pm  · 
1  · 
x-jla

And you don't need to do a 3-7 year internship for shit wages to be a nurse.  But then again architecture is a much more dangerous profession.  Lol.  The path to be an architect is absolutely over kill.  You can inject stuff into people's veins after a year or two but to draw a wall section you need roughly 10 years of schooling and internship. Lol lol.  

Feb 9, 14 6:17 am  · 
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Congratulations on a happy move, useasback! I know several nurses and most of them are so happy with their career choice, for reasons you offer: they have direct and positive impact on people's lives.  Plus a friend who has been nursing for years has great flexibility in his schedule: he works lots of 12-hour shifts, covers for other people, etc. then several times a year takes 3-4 week vacations in Europe visiting family members. He leaves work AT work every day.

We always want to find the best doctor to provide care - as we should - but if one is staying in a hospital, and assuming the actual treatment goes well, it is ALWAYS the care from the nurses that makes a big difference.  

Plus, my ProPractice professor always said if we wanted financial security to marry a nurse! I encourage you, as you would in architecture, to stay at the top of your field: take classes, research areas of treatment that interest you, etc. Stay valuable by staying current.  Congrats again!

Feb 9, 14 9:45 am  · 
1  · 
Volunteer

"Cut and run". Probably, over his working lifetime, this young guy will save many lives by being alert and conscientious. May not be as wonderful to you as coming

Feb 9, 14 10:13 am  · 
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Volunteer

as coming through with a Frank Gehry look-alike building. But, whatever.

Feb 9, 14 10:14 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Far from jaded, I've considered getting a 2 year degree as a surgical tech in 2009, and I was thinking about it because I thought it could inform what I was thinking about, and currently think about in architecture. The difference here is that I am licensed, and stuck it out, despite being shit on by the "profession". My deal is this, I don't think that I would one, quit because it got tough, the saying about the tough and going, I knew what I signed up for in first year, and I wasn't about to let people get in my way. Second, even if I did, I wouldn't come here and whine about how tough it was, and that's why I'm leaving. Third, and perhaps more importantly, nursing is hardly any easier a profession, and I hear horror stories all the time about work hours, getting shit on by hospitals corporations; in shor, to pull another cliche out of my ass, the grass is always greener. Good luck, and remember, learn how to draw blood really well, watch out for rolling veins, walk slowly and lookout  for blind corners when carrying full bed pans. Oh, one last thing, despite what nurses say about the morbidly obese, bariatric patients, they do have feelings, and need as much compassion as you can deliver.

Feb 9, 14 5:13 pm  · 
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Saint in the City

Not following your 1 through 3 points, Beta -- sounds like, 1: the OP quit because he/she was miserable, not because it was hard.............2:  is this person whining?  Not reading that in their post -- more like noting that other options are out there...... 3:  I'm also not reading where the OP said nursing was easier --  just for them more enjoyable.

Feb 9, 14 5:59 pm  · 
1  · 

I would be too tempted to braking into opiates cabinet. Kidding of course. Good luck with your new career it is not very similar to architecture. Actually you could be a medical consultant for an architecture firm someday, rethinking some of medical floor plans which can be dismal, though efficient. 

Feb 9, 14 6:06 pm  · 
 · 
YVVNG
Humble brag
Feb 9, 14 6:21 pm  · 
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geezertect

^^^  I agree.  If a person loves the profession and is willing to put up with the negatives, they should stay in.  If not, they should do something else.  It's not a character flaw or sign of weakness to admit a mistake and change course.  It's not a religion, it's just a job.

Feb 9, 14 9:13 pm  · 
1  · 

 It's not a religion, it's just a job.

Sacrelige!

Feb 9, 14 11:36 pm  · 
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chigurh

Useasback, thanks for sharing and congratulations on your career change.

It takes courage to cut your losses and move on professionally.  Unlike some of the other comments above, I do not think it is a sign of weakness to switch careers.  Architecture is a very difficult profession and misery loves company (why people are so critical that you would leave or even post about it). 

I never understood the notion that was constantly pushed in architectural schools and in professional practice that things need to be as time consuming, difficult, and painful as possible.

Anyways, as another architect that is considering getting out, your comments are inspiring, I think the biggest setback in leaving for me is deciding what else I could do without having to go back to school for another professional degree that I can’t afford.

How did you decide on nursing?

Feb 10, 14 11:24 am  · 
1  · 
geezertect

^^ But true.........

Feb 10, 14 11:44 am  · 
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AshleyCPerrino

Though the post is old at this point, I wholeheartedly appreciate you for posting it OP. I'm currently in a similar mindset as you were when the switch to nursing was initially made (do I continue pretending to be happy as CAD monkey until I finally feel some sense of fulfillment many years down the line, or do I switch careers entirely and become a nurse/go into something more immediately rewarding). 

Based on the things I've seen and heard of with my mother's experience as an RN, the two environments are completely different and incomparable in my opinion. Going from slowly developing Carpal Tunnel while drawing endless lines on a computer screen to being on your feet for 12 hours a day, going from patient to patient in a high-energy atmosphere. Talk about tough, not to mention the blood, guts, and excrement -- two different worlds!

Architecture and the culture that surrounds it is not for everyone. The same goes for nursing or any other profession for that matter. You're incredibly brave for picking up a new career altogether during a tough time, and I wish I could talk to you directly because your complete transition has left me with some questions. I hope all is still going well!

Jun 20, 17 12:05 pm  · 
1  · 
Gingerjoy

I'm  now at the same situation where im battling between my career shift to nursing. Cant help but think of the salary i will be making if i change to nursing career. I know its not about the money but sometimes, the practicality sense overules. Would be interested to hear anybody who did this career change and their stories of success.

Aug 6, 17 8:22 pm  · 
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randomised

Just start reading this thread from the first post

Aug 7, 17 12:08 am  · 
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BIMBlaster

It is a good choice. Web Architects make about 50K more than "architects".

And the reason is deep, modern architecture is far from modern technologically speaking and that retardation has depreciated the industry into a banker handmaiden for CMBS con games.

For some reason I am still investigating WHY the architectural academic and professional organization establishment never developed a repoire with computer science, and today's architecture is the result. 17 years behind object oriented automation and 10 years behind advanced automated BIM basic concept understanding.

Falling behind the one means the other is years off. But imo, a few advanced firms will be 10 and 20 times faster than the industry dumb-bell curve in 5 years, how that equates to reality, I do not know.

But, architecture as we know it, this 1980 frozen mindset that just happened to steal a CAD copy, will pass away, how turbulently remains to be seen, but a world war can be an accelerant for this kind of needed change. 


We shall see. You can always pursue both now that you have a reliable job.

Aug 8, 17 5:54 am  · 
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randomised

So, just become a "web architect". Look up from your computer screen, the real world is not made out of bits and bytes :)

Aug 8, 17 7:06 am  · 
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archiwutm8

So don't know if it is or isn't.

Aug 8, 17 12:25 pm  · 
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Nats

Well done nursing is a much more important and likely much more rewarding career than architecture which has become extrrmely dull and commercial of late. I am trying to get out of it myself.

Aug 8, 17 6:48 am  · 
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cipyboy

This further implicates a much more important question- why are we valued less for what we think we're worth?

I think main reason is social importance.looking at the big picture is that the medical field gets more funding from various sources eg. insurance, subsidies of sorts; while architecture dwells mostly on managing designs. Plus, were already sharing the pie with other professionals in the field. Were doing twice the work for half the price.

Aug 11, 17 11:47 am  · 
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sameolddoctor

"This further implicates a much more important question- why are we valued less for what we think we're worth?" - because we are just not important enough. What a nurse does has a direct corelation to life and death. What we do is highly removed from anything that critical, at best. Less risk less reward

Aug 11, 17 4:00 pm  · 
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accesskb

oh how I wish to take up nursing even though I may have to wipe poop off the floor and clean up that old man who has consistency issues compared to dealing with stupid stress like trying to get the photocopier working before a deadline or being blamed for a drawing mistake. ><

Aug 11, 17 2:37 pm  · 
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randomised

Speaking of deadlines, what if someone's life depends on your actions and you screw up. I'd rather fuck up a drawing.

Aug 15, 17 4:35 am  · 
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Brit

As a nurse, I can tell you all the OP will be burnt out and miserable in nursing sooner or later. The realities of modern bedside and clinical nursing aren’t sustainable for a life-long career anymore with it’s ever-expanding scope, capped pay, asked to do more with less, high nurse to patient ratios, patient and family dynamics/abuse... the OP has the rose coloured glasses of a newbie nurse... that’ll fade, and then (s)he will be rushing to get a masters in nursing degree to escape the hell that is actual nursing.

Apr 24, 18 5:50 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

depends, there is a lot more to nursing than floor nurse in a hospital

Apr 25, 18 8:42 am  · 
1  · 
tintt

Yes, there are nurses who answer phones to help people (nurseline) and some who teach patients about conditions either in person or on the phone, and those are both excellent jobs.

Apr 25, 18 10:55 am  · 
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shellarchitect

wife does surgical quality, if she wanted she would be making far more than me.

https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/collegepayoff-complete.pdf

Architect lifetime earnings = 2.9 million (M.Arch) or 2.2 (BA)

Nurse lifetime earnings = 3.0 million (MA) or 2.5 (BA.)

Apr 25, 18 11:21 am  · 
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aprillewis

I've been on this forum so many times trying to calm down my worries about my major, but still resort to work, shaking, and crying. (Sophomore in CC.)

Props to you for making a bold decision!

Mar 30, 21 10:53 pm  · 
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citizen

Nursing a bourbon here.

Mar 31, 21 12:04 am  · 
1  · 
archi_dude

Wow so B3ta has been a huge jerk for years.....

Mar 31, 21 12:44 am  · 
1  · 
randomised

at least got to admire the consistency :-)

Mar 31, 21 4:21 am  · 
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greenlander1

Useasback glad to hear you are happy with your choice.  At least half of my architect friends have moved on at least somewhat into different things (design build, construction, real estate development, private equity) and are much happier.  Also have some buddies very happy in architecture too.

I also took my first non architecture job in 2009 and I look back at the GFC as being the best thing that ever happened to me bc as early as few years out of school I had nagging fears on whether I was in the right field.   Strangely enough I feel just as creative as I did in architecture, it's just that the things I work with are different.

Mar 31, 21 8:24 pm  · 
2  · 
James Bragg

The thing is, not everyone who has studied architecture will end up being an architect.

School does not prepare us for life in the real world. A lot of variables to factor in that university does not teach, and what you think you like to do with your life in your twenties may not necessarily be true later on.

This does not apply to architecture only btw, it's a fact of life.

Apr 3, 21 5:21 am  · 
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natematt

While this is true, the reality is that it's a lot more likely that an arch major will follow the degree path than with some majors. People used to ask me what I was going to do when I graduated.... I always liked to give them this confused "are you dumb" look and just say... architecture. It was accurate.

I know a much higher percentage of nursing majors who do not work in nursing, than architecture majors who do not work in architecture. 

Apr 3, 21 12:26 pm  · 
2  · 
James Bragg

I don't disagree but I believe that this is largely down to the individual. There will be those who know that in any profession you get out of it how much you put in and persevere. There are others though that prefer to simply take a different path.

Apr 6, 21 12:04 pm  · 
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Luques

Though the OP is from long ago, glad that the OP made a career switch and found satsifaction.  At the same time, it is somewhat discouraging for someone who is about to enter an MArch I program.

My question for all of you experienced architects, what advice do you have for someone like me to avoid starting one's career in a "CAD monkey, desk life, office politics" job?  How much does the school one attends matter (e.g. how important is prestige)?  What type of internships?  Specialization?

Thanks!

Apr 3, 21 11:48 am  · 
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natematt

Specialization for basically anything other than digital technology requires work experience. What's really key is getting in at a firm that is invested in your growth. Not to say you won't have to do some "cad monkey" stuff... it's not really possible to avoid in a profession so reliant on drawing... even after you've been working for years.

Anyway, if the firm you're at is invested in you, then you'll get a meaningful experience, and hopefully be able to enjoy a lot of what you do. 

Apr 3, 21 12:38 pm  · 
3  · 
greenlander1

what natematt said. Also do research on your firms and talk to people there. Just because they have sexy drawings on their website doesnt mean it's a good place to work. My first two architecture jobs were for tiny family offices.  While their work was pretty solid (some would say conservative) but nothing groundbreaking but I had a great experience since they let me put my hands on a lot of things even though I screwed up a lot of the time.

Apr 3, 21 12:52 pm  · 
3  · 
alennislopez

What I love about nursing is that you can care for others in many different ways not only doing 12 hour shifts at the hospital, which I dislike. I don't see guts, blood, or deal with patients. I chose more of an educator type role and my schedule is flexible. Some days I work a few hours, others I can do less than 10 or so (rare). I have done vaccines for clinics, state testing, prison, and now I am going to do covid testing. What I love about it is that you can turn nursing into anything you want. You can deal with the sick and also the healthy. It doesn't have to be the 12 hour, empty stomach, full bladder, up on my feet all day type of shift. Life has taught me how to work Smart not Hard. I get paid pretty well and my work is stress free and I get to be home with my kids every day. My daughter loves architecture and I wish I can tell her I wish you would do nursing, but then again I don't know what it's like to do architecture. I just know the infinite opportunities my career as a nurse has allowed me to experience. 

Oct 9, 21 1:01 am  · 
1  · 
CharlencPherson

I have a great interest in architect and design. I have been trying for a long period of time. I already started following others people who are expert enough. But the problem is I don't have enough creativity. How can I increase my creativity?

Oct 10, 21 8:57 pm  · 
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