As I've been sitting about and contemplating my navel, this thought hit me:
We've been taught this Profession is not singular, but a team activity. It has been hammered into our heads from the first year of architectural school that we will be working with other professions in the building industry.
When we get out of school and those of us who have worked in offices found that this is true and we have to play well with others.
Now, with the down turn of the economy, lots of folks have lost their jobs or new grads have not been able to find work with firms. Those folks have responsibilities, student loans, families that count on them, car payments, rent , food-- well the list can go on. I know that a number of these folks tried to find work and when they couldn't, a number of them decided to open their own shops to make a living.
Ding so, they wound up doing the whole nine yards. They became chief cook and bottle washer. While there is a lot of pressure, it can also be quite liberating.
My question is this-- How difficult or easy will the transition be once these folks go back to offices(and some will). Having had the freedom to do what they fell is the right thing and doing it, then having to follow rules and regulations of the new work place.
I'm interested in when people think about this situation(when it happens)
The typical office environment has always felt like an unnatural place for me to practice design. You just cant do good design on a day-in, day-out 8 hour, 40 hour plus work week.
I just commented that I have been doing absolutely everything in order to generate income and remain independent for as long as possible (we'll see how long it lasts!) from garden design, to planning, infographics, and even a little interior design and a gallery exhibit or two -- all that on top of trying to learn quickbooks and keep my account balanced (and of course not go starving)...thing is...I love it.
Offices are much better than they used to be, Henry! We have 77 SF per cubicle now, and places to 'express breast milk', plus a general lack of decorum or hygiene so that your neighbors are whispering and stabbing each other in the back all day long, cutting their fingernails, spitting and washing their feet in the bathroom, and failing to check themselves for fleas or bedbugs before leaving the house.
Yes, the more I work in offices, the more I love sewage treatment plants and gizzards.
I have a hard time imagining going back to someone else's office. Maybe someone that I know well and work with frequently? A huge corporation and cubicles- probably not. Even a University setting seems too constrictive to me at this moment in time....but you do what you've gotta do. Never say never, right?
Life is an endless trade off!
Henry: as an individual that has experienced both sides of the coin, I feel that working back at a firm environment may be a redundant experience for many veteran LAs. While the pay will be steady during the term of the employment, the leashes will be shorter, axes will be sharper, and the impulse of managers and firm partners to reduce the workforce wont be quarter to quarter or year to year. It is, and will be, project to project. While we as seasoned LAs know this routine to a certain extent, the obligatory two year stay average at an A/E firm has been greatly reduced. I feel that this is the roadblock in hiring since 2008 and on. While firms would hire and expect to support a workforce for a while, they are simply too hesitant to do so yet. Everybody is still waiting for everybody. It is "part of the game" in our industry. And it s----.
A very insightful viewpoint. Right on the money, as far as I am concerned
I've only been at it a short time and already sick of playing the game. I dont know how anyone can stay at a large firm with no back up plan, wondering whats going to happen next month.
I'd rather make less and at least know I'm the only one responsible for me.
I'm enjoying small office environments: veterans to learn from, friends to get inspired with, and fresh minds to get excited with. Some are better than others obviously, but when the glove fits, it's pretty nice.
Chances are that if one is making it on his/her own, he/she is more likely to be the next employer rather than the next employee. This is another way that it is in the cycle of LA, is it not? The storied "establishment" is rolled over in the cycle, too. These people will be the neww bosses and will either find themselves leading with all of the philosophies of the new generation or finding that the "old ways" are necessary in order to run the business. I don't which it will be, but it is pretty clear that we'll find out at some point.
I had been sitting on all sides of this round table.
Is it not all about satisfaction, your boss, the bank, your partner, the client, Mother Earth, your team members, the next cubicle asshole, your ego and your dreams?
How much are we prepared to take our self back, how cocky are we or want to be seen, what is or was our original drive to become what we are?
I don’t think that landscaping is a lonely fighter job.
Yes, “I can” is great, but do we really want it? Is it not our all spot on ambition to be a famous LA?
Alone? These times are gone or we are geniuses with a top public relation support. The big things are where the big money is and that requires big teams.
Call it sad, in over 40 years I was only once in the lucky position to be part of a true team.
True enough, Ernst. "What kind of LA do you want to be?" will get as many answers as people.
I have also not had much experience in the way of "a true team" (as I think you mean it), but to Henry's point: Landscape Architecture is a team sport no matter what the circumstance. It is the nature of the work. Even at a small scale, you still need to play well with others. True, they may be electricians, plumbers, masons, landscapers, etc. but it takes a village to do this work. Always has, always will.
May not be the ethereal stuff, but I believe the ability to work in teams--especially with those who's context is radically different from yours-- is a great skill. I also believe too many LA's are mistaken in their believe that college gave them all they need to know about some really basic stuff. I have seen too many who have no chops.
Perhaps this downturn is a chance for some to return to some core values which have been sacrificed of late? Don't have this answer, but I am musing....
I had never given up, always tried to be an Ambassodor of my trade, always on the search for a better out- and input, and more important put the lesson lernt yesterday into today's improvement.
I love that daily challenge.