I just read an interesting article in Architect Online, http://www.architectmagazine.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=1006&articleID=1011085 .
Described is the “lost generation” of architects who graduated between 1990 and 1994 (I’m in that group). The article discusses parallels between the economic downturn in that time frame and the current situation. Specifically reviewing the dwindling numbers of architects with 15-25 years of experience (hint – that’s us) working in the profession 1-3 years ago. Seems to me there is a direct correlation between the exodus prior to entering the profession in the early ‘90s and the contemporary talent/experience available.
Having “been there/done that” in the early '90s, I did what all passionate young architects would do: I found a way to be in my chosen line of work. I tacked together 2 to 3 contract positions so I could just get by. Luckily for me, it worked and there was enough pick-up work around. As time went on, I developed great alliances on which my current practice is built. No, I didn’t start out saying, “Hey, I’m gonna have my own firm.” It sort of just worked out that way; and I’m glad it did. Happy is the pathway you allow to deviate.
If I were in the graduating class of 2009, I might see things differently; granted history gives good perspective. Although I think Syracuse School of Architecture is correctly counseling its graduates, I want to go one further:
- Pass the LEED exam
- Learn Revit inside
- Get involved in your community for your profit
The point is, make a 1-, 5-, and 10-year plan. Each plan will be more nebulous the further in the future they reach; or if “numbers freak you out,” call it Now, Soon, and Later. Don’t just go along for the ride; take the rudder and steer your own ship.
-Lisa Stacholy, AIA