I may be down but I’m not out!

I’m currently unemployed due to lack of work. My boss informed me of this news on the last Monday of September. I was not surprised by his announcement. I was very much aware of the situation through overheard conversations and noticing proposed ideas not being developed into real projects. Even though the signs of collapse were obvious, I deliberately chose to stick this out to the end. I was caught between bad economic times and even though I did not always agree on my boss’ practices, I didn’t want to bail on him; plus, I was working on some interesting projects.

I have been weighing my career options of whether or not to become a licensed architect while looking for that one ultimate architectural experience that would inspire me to become a noble architect. In the past decade, I’ve been presented with lots of disillusionment, disappointments, and pretense of the profession and yet, I refused to give up my career in architecture.

Instead of finding positive reinforcements to become an architect, I was exposed to more disillusionment, disappointments, and pretentiousness. It turned out, my boss is not a licensed architect. I took it for granted that he was when I interviewed with him. Then when I agreed to work with him based on the position we had discussed, everything surrounding that discussion crumbled around me and revealed the ugly truth regarding the staff and projects. I was replacing two people, as opposed to working along side them. And the projects that we had discussed that I would be working on were not as glamorous as described initially.

It seemed like I had hit a real low in my architectural career. And despite this, I continued to plow on and drudge through the mess that was left when the office reduced to just me and the boss. Eventually the mess cleared but there always remained a presence of uncertainty even though my boss tried to be upbeat about the projects that were coming in as quickly as they were disappearing.

I also had a couple of conversations with people who I had worked with over the years through different offices and projects. Our conversation reminded me of the architect I was already becoming when I decided to shift my career to another office where I thought I would continue my professional growth and pursue my license. Instead, I was stalled for a little over two years. And now that I have been laid-off, the courage to pursue my professional license has returned.

Since the beginning of October, I have renewed my NCARB records (I’ve let it lapsed). I have been aware of the changes that have been made with regard to the exams, and recently became aware of the changes with IDP. I have been researching study materials and classes for the ARE. I’m also actively looking for work; the exams and preparation materials are not cheap. And of course, I continue to write for La Femme Architecte.

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2 thoughts on “I may be down but I’m not out!

  1. Someone needs to post a word or two here of encouragement.

    While it may seem odd coming from me—as I’ve been wrongly accused of being a cynic—I would encourage you to maintain your obvious optimism, and not to descend to the more acrimonious strata of the profession. Those of us with any experience recognize that there are countless opportunities to become bitter, or at the very least, jaded. Remembering that architecture is really an extension of hospitality and garden parties, those of us who want to meaningfully contribute have to laugh it off and put pencil back to paper. Or fat marker. Or Revit, God forbid. The marvelous city around you was not built out of cynicism. It was built despite the unintended but destructive effects of the creeps who can’t lift up their eyes.

    I’m not inferring that your last boss was a creep. A victim of circumstance perhaps, and like most of the rest of us, probably in over his head. As far as I can tell, being in over our heads is how architecture is accomplished.

    Forza!

    • Thank you for reading my little post — probably the best words of encouragement someone has said to me during this time. You get it. Your words are very appreciated. And keep up your work on the comics!

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