The recent, not so recent, economic downturn has given many of us architects the opportunity to do what we have always secretly wanted to do anyway: not work in architecture and pursue a “career” in something else designy that we were always told was beneath us and our parents refuse to pay for as a college degree. So, instead we became architects and spent our nights, and let’s be honest, most of our days, daydreaming about being butchers, and bakers and candlestick makers and other such fascinating and elusive career tracks. Also, we can now enter design competitions on the side (read: addict) and tell everyone that we are doing it to keep our skills sharp and get our name out there while we await another job offer; but really we just can’t stay away.
I was recently reading a few articles in top name and legitimate news magazines that will make me sound cultural and educated. Usually, I try to keep to the lighter fare like cnn.com and peoplemagazine.com, as well as a hearty list of awesome design blogs, but I was whisked away from my daydreaming into reality by several links in the New York Times spotlighting what is happening to the architectural industry and unemployed architects in the recession. It was here that I discovered this enviable lot of rogue designers.
I was tantalized by their stories and while I truly appreciate my consistent source of income, I was a little green with jealousy over the entrepreneurial spirit. What became clear in the course of my reading said legitimate news magazines and architectural journals was that the architecture industry is doomed and my degree is losing value on a moment by moment basis. Not that it was worth much to begin with, realizing that “value” and “cost” are two very different concepts indeed. My degree cost me a lot, but as I attempt to peddle my skills on the open market, I am finding that it is not fetching a high price. This is sad to me but also mildly entertaining. For instance, I can’t help but be pleasantly amused when fresh college grads, who have yet to get a taste of disillusionment, are confused and crushed when employers look at their design portfolio and don’t respond to their plethora of basswood models and poorly detailed CAD floorplans with anything less than earnest desire. Can’t they see the raw talent for detailing construction documents and jockeying new business opportunities in that sketch-up rendering??? I won’t be the one to deflate their dreams. I will just let them take their place in the cube next to mine and watch as they slowly waste away in the creative wasteland. Theory doesn’t pay the rent.
And so, in honor of needing to find a new career in what I predict to be not very long, here are a couple of the new career tracks I am eligible for; thank you top name and legitimate news magazines for your priceless guidance. I encourage all architects to add to this list. We need to stick together and if I lose my job, I need some ideas for what to do with my time.
…also, if you are an architect you may want to look into these…I have included a couple awesome links for your entertainment.
Ice Cream Sandwich Truck Driver
Architecture 5 cents