The day kind of got away for me, so this is going to be a quick entry. I’d like to come back to the subject with some more thought, but here we go:
Architecture. Specifically, finding a job in the field.
As many of you know, last summer I graduated with a Masters in Architecture. What you may also know, especially if you’ve heard me rant about it, is that it has not been a good few years to find entry-level jobs in the field. When I started the program in August of 2008, they told us at orientation that “Architecture is a great field, and there’s tons of jobs out there!” By the end of my first semester, the school had changed their tune. “Don’t worry,” they said, “it’ll be better by the time you graduate.”
Well, I’ve graduated. And it doesn’t feel much better.
Some of my friends got jobs in the field right out of grad school, but they were the minority. Of the people I knew, I would estimate that only 10% got jobs after graduation. Me, not so much. I looked, but the good majority of listings I saw were asking, on average, for 3 to 5 years’ experience for an entry-level internship. And they could get it: with the number of layoffs that hit the industry, those of us fresh out of college were competing for positions against people with five, even ten years’ experience. Needless to say, there wasn’t much hope
So I set out applications, casting my net wide. But I could probably count the number of callbacks on one hand, to say nothing of my scant number of interviews. Eventually I stopped looking, because it was just getting too discouraging. There are only so many times you can be burned before you stop sticking your hand near the fire. And that’s to say nothing about my expiring professional credentials.
Now, things may have gotten better: I’ve seen a few more friends getting jobs in our field, but I’m not sure it’s enough to coax me back into the fold. My design skills have gotten rusty, and I was never excessively passionate about architecture in the first place. I thought it would be interesting, a way to be both creative and analytical. But since graduation I’ve become disillusioned with the industry, and I’m not sure I want to start the search again. I’ve come across a promising opportunity in the IT field, and I’m not sure I would be willing to give up what sounds like a neat experience to try out a new field, even one I have a degree in. Plus, a quick perusal of architecture job boards still shows the same kind of listings: “3-5 years’ experience.” Protip: when you can’t get a job without experience, it makes it really hard to get experience.
This isn’t meant to denigrate my friends that have jobs in the industry. I’m really happy for you, and wish you all the best. I’m just having to wake up to the fact that architecture might not be for me, and it’s not a pleasant experience.
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