Hey everyone

I am currently graduating with a BS in Architecture from an unaccredited but respected undergraduate program. I have experience interning in 3 architectural offices in the Northeast ranging from small to large scale practices. My current post-graduation plan is to take a year off before grad school.

I don't know if it's graduation cold feet or anxiety after a rough semester, but I'm having serious doubts about pursuing traditional professional practice. I've always been a good student, former chapter President of my school's AIAS chapter, and used to be very "into" the lifestyle and culture of architecture. Lately though I've been feeling burnt out and jaded. I resent the constant pressure and guilt to put in 60-70 hour weeks, and from my work experience I feel like long hours for little pay and respect are likely in the future.

I'm not trying to insult anyone or sound abrasive, but it seems like the desire to have free time and a comfortable living are seen as selfish and detracting from the creative pursuit. And maybe they are but you only get one life right? I know that starting out in almost any profession means less pay and more hours and I'm willing to do the grind work, but I'm not even sure architecture is something I love anymore.

Are there any suggestions for related careers so that I can use my creative and problem solving skills and not flush my architecture degree down the toilet? I have a year to try out ideas and still have time to do graduate study, but a little informed brainstorming would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your input (and sorry for the long post)!

May 3, 10 11:34 pm

No one can answer that for you pearl. Go with your gut, as cheesy as that sounds. And do it before money and responsibilities trap you.

May 3, 10 11:50 pm  · 

I was so excited because I thought this was a post about the TV show LOST!!! hahaha. damn you for having a real question!

good luck in your year off!!! I would just travel the world and have as much fun as possible! Screw architecture and low pay!!!

May 4, 10 5:44 am  · 

"Are there any suggestions for related careers so that I can use my creative and problem solving skills and not flush my architecture degree down the toilet?"

I struggled with this problem for 10 years! I never regretted getting a B Arch but I did regret working as a designer/architect after I graduated. I, like you, didn't want to throw away my degree so I ended up working as an architect, getting licensed and LEED AP. Now, I am itching to do something else but I feel like I invested all this time into professional practice and throwing it all away would be to depressing...

So, I did some real soul searching... I have changed the way I think of the time I invested. I convinced myself that it was not wasted time, it was an accomplishment. I set some goals, achieved them and now I'm off to something else.

That being said, I have spent too much time practicing architecture and it is real tough switching to a related field. One, because every related field is saturated with native professionals and two, "the lifestyle and culture of architecture" are ingrained in me.

If its not something you love, chances are you will like it less later on. It will also be difficult to switch fields the longer you practice.

My suggestions for related careers and careers I have thought about are project manager or a client representative for a developer / property owner, construction management, design / build and owning a food box truck.... I love to cook and mobile rocks!

May 4, 10 9:22 am  · 

Same here..graduated with a BSAT and definitely not getting my MArch.Not worth the investment. I think you should think about your personality first.I filled out a lot of personality tests online and searched what kind of careers are good fit for me. I'd definitely begin with the RIASEC test to determine if you're a realist who is more interested in the logic and structure behind things or are your more of an artist etc. Secondly you need to write down your values and expectations such as: your favorite knowledges or expertise,salary expectations,where you would like to work,favorite working conditions (if you want a flexible working schedule then apparently architecture is not for you),your values and goals, the type of people you'd like to work with and your transferable skills.

Check out the "Working Out of the Box" section of Archinect to get more ideas.Also,related careers to architecture is listed in some past threads on here.

Good luck figuring out what you want to do.

May 4, 10 10:54 am  · 

Some people have the twitch for design – some people do not. seems like you’re still struggling. People with no motivation in the field tend to branch off in other related fields as do2 mention, such as construction management, engineering and such. If you have the tools, then more doors will open for you. If you have nothing to offer, then you’ll just struggle just like everyone else.

May 4, 10 12:56 pm  · 

What do you mean by "tools" tuna?

May 4, 10 1:51 pm  · 
zen maker

I thought this was about LOST show as well.... oh well, I think 99% of us who graduated had that feeling, especially these days.

May 4, 10 5:54 pm  · 

Too many people died last night without clear reasons - why did Lock need to put them on a sub to kill them?? Seems like some holes in the story, or they needed to shove a bunch of ideas into one show.

Oh, this is about architecture....? Hmm, in that case, try a search for my posts. I left the profession immediately after grad school (two degrees in arch). Didn't like the hours expected, didn't like the opportunities and didn't like the pay.

tuna - he mentions nothing about design. I'd be really, really careful about making assumptions like that. Personally, design is my strongest skill and have been extremely motivated. Most of the people I know that have branched off are among the most ambitious and talented I've known, they just want more out of life than struggling.

I found a way to design, make a much better living and control my destiny. The possibilities are there, although I'd suggest school in this economy (MBA, MBA+ another degree, or some similar combo).

May 5, 10 7:50 am  · 

Hi trace. That is correct. He mentioned nothing about designing but it’s a fact regardless of where one studies. We’re trained to design…on paper, with our hands, on computers, even long before we started on this path. designing is an extension to our needs. We explore it at different angles that at some point in our education, we figure out what we like and pursue it. I like to refer it to what adam’s scott’s character Dilbert coined, “the knack”. A doctor tells dilbert’s mom that he has the knack which is a rare condition characterized by extreme intuition about all things mechanical and electrical and utter social ineptitude. Of course they used the term for his field but it’s universal. Some people have the knack and don’t question their educational path. Some people take longer than others. And there are others that don’t have it at all but still enjoy the field.

But at some point we give up designing and realize there is more beyond than doodling on the computers. I think people can agree that in their last few semesters of school, if you haven’t found that knack, then you start questioning whether this field is right for you.

May 5, 10 1:39 pm  · 

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