Avoiding the Pigeon Hole


My firm just purchased me an insanely maxed out desktop with every possible upgrade and no expense spared. The "best workstation" in any office in the entire company. They said they want me to have the tools and resources to "innovate" in the smaller office I transfered to. Of course I smiled, thanked them but on the inside I was thinking, "OH SHIT, I'm the new BIM guy." 

A little background, 2012 MArch grad (w/ 2 years experience prior to going back to school). After interning previously with my current firm(large design-build),  started in summer 2012. 6 weeks in I was offered an opportunity to be an Asst. Project Mgr and Site Supervisor on a massively complicated high-dollar project to see it from pre-design to punchlist. A priceless experience over 18 months, working directly with the client every day, driving schedules/subs and seeing how "the other half" in what we do operates. In January 2014, the project finished up and I headed back to the home office when I was thrown another curve ball. They asked me to transfer to one of their smaller regional offices because they have had minimal to no local design resources. Since most of the design staff was in the home office and I had a working relationship with them I could coordinate the design direction and keep things moving smoothly. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get back to design to knock out my exams and the few remaining IDP hours I had left to get my license this year. 

It started out great, working with my team members in the home office. But after a few weeks I started to get more of the production responsibility given to me. Their thinking, since I'm here now, I can produce things locally instead of handing to someone else. 4 months and now the proclamation comes that I'm getting this fancy PC to push technology and "innovate" and maybe a new title later this year that won't be architect. Innovating for me has been incorporating 3d printing in our work flow, working on augmented reality and implementing it in the field, learning to code. Those are the pieces of contemporary architecture that I'm interested in...  

Now I recognize that I still have a great deal to learn, I'm thankful not be doing bathroom details all day, I'll be licensed, but not yet there...Unfortunately every time you hear about someone becoming "the BIM guy" it's a label that's very hard to peel off. I don't see myself staying in design forever and I don't really see myself following the traditional architecture track either. I enjoyed project management/construction management and being a part of the physical formation of architecture, drawing details on walls so contractors get it right instead of picking the right Revit family is where I draw the line on the future I want to have.  

This is all reminded me about a post last year "

Should I be worried? I really like the company I work for but I've seen people go down this track at my firm and others. It usually ends with them not reaching licensure and/or leaving because they can't get out of the production lineup. 

Apr 28, 14 9:27 pm

are you saying implementing augmented reality in the field is something you did?  if so, how does that work?  what sort of things did you do?

Apr 29, 14 10:28 am

The only thing that would keep you from reaching licensure is not being self motivated to do so.  The position you are working in has no impact on your ability to go and take computer based exams on the weekend.  If you are talking about IDP requirements that is a different issue, but most people just BS those categories anyways.  Enjoy your new workstation, be the BIM guy for awhile, get your license, and if they don't see the value in that, you can always move to a different company to a project management position.  

Apr 29, 14 11:12 am

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