April 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm #158216AnonymousInactive
Nah, I’ll pass (no pun intended). You might come after me and I get claustrophobic in the subway.April 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm #158215AnonymousInactive
Ahem…since you put it that way, I’m with Henry. Go for it. If it fails you can call it an adventure and quickly pivot to renovating the gardens at your family estate. If you run in the right circles, “friends” are nice to have. What the hell a running a design/build landscape firm is just as cool as starting a vineyard. You go April!April 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm #158214AnonymousInactive
I’m starting to think you’re this diabolical LA. I can imagine you twisting your skinny little mustache as you plot to put a stranglehold on the business.
People don’t listen to this guy, he’s evil. He’s young single living in a beach condo, working on primo projects in LA paradise while discouraging people around the world from entering the profession.
I’m on to you mauiB.April 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm #158213allandParticipant
+2April 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm #158212April PreyParticipant
RE: mentoring. Couldn’t agree more. I think the mentor/mentee relationship is one of the most profoundly important relationships a person could have. However, how many professionals have you met in your career are willing or have the time/energy to be mentors? I have heard engineers and lawyers complain for years about the dearth of mentoring in their professions – is LARCH any different?
Given my circumstances, I could probably swing doing a non-paid internship for up to a year – but wonder if that seems too desperate. But I can’t help but wonder: why would someone help foster their own future competition?
Great stuff here – I keep suggesting to my classmates to visit this forum. I think the best, most accurate picture of the profession comes from the discussions on this board.April 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm #158211
When I say PNW…I mean the Pacific Northwest. Not a firm. 🙂 In the Pacific Northwest including Boise, there are large graduation rates for nursing and many nurses are holding off on retiring due to their spouse being laid off. I believe in Seattle they were about a 1000 jobs short of what incoming grads needed. I think that had to be the most poorly written explanation ever. But I feel too lazy to redo. haha.
As far as being a duo, honestly, my husband has been solo. I have been more of a cheerleader. We have children and I do spend most of my time taking care of them. He really has done it on his own…at this point I become more involved when he wants to bounce ideas off of me regarding design or the business end. I don’t know if I could have done it myself…I do find it intimidating. As our youngest gets older I do plan on becoming more involved. One benefit we did have was being in Idaho, where Jon could take his licensing and become an official LA. However, I am not sure that matters completely. I do believe that if you have good designs you can be successful with or without your license. Many people don’t know what an LA is in our area, despite two universities churning out graduates.
As far as working for yourself vs. a firm. Of course we would have liked to work for someone else! Jon still goes on jags where he looks and applies. But that isn’t our reality or the reality of most people graduating in the past four years. Oy vay. Four years! Jon has been the closest to landing a job with someone else this last year and it was all because he had his own business and had skills that he has learned, not at the university but through actually working and doing project management.The beauty of self employment for those brave enough to try it is that you don’t take huge projects early on. You do start out small, you carry insurance in case you really bungle(which we haven’t) and you are able to build your professional portfolio. I would even encourage people to contact local landscapers and ask to do design for them. A selling point would be that they will most likely have more materials to sell because we can sell a design better then they can. Jon is looking to sub concrete work out for a project and the guy wanted to know how we get people to do something different. He can’t get people to try new ideas, but we (you and I) can. 🙂 Remember if you don’t know the build aspect you can also be PM and sub most of the work out. We continue to purchase plants ourselves but in other area it could be more beneficial to work with a nursery and have them refer you. Anyway, sorry for the rant. We are learning and I do wish we had had a chance to work for someone else. This is the way we make lemonade out of lemons. 😉April 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm #158210
Although you learn much quicker when it is your own dime. hahha. OUCH.
Give yourself some credit Craig…I have seen many seasoned designs and they are nothin’ to brag about. Did I say that out loud? The hardest thing we struggled with was cost estimating and detail. But straight out of school we did have general design concepts down pretty well. Thanks Steve Drown!April 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm #158209
I agree…Business!April 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm #158208
Unless your an LA working for the government. hahahhahaha.April 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm #158207
Well if maui can explain how an unemployed grad will get their license…besides living in Idaho maybe that would be a real argument against self employment. Besides the fact that many people never get their license and do just fine if not better then those that have. How is doing AutoCad for years at a giant firm teaching you design? I see April as exactly the type of person that could do this. Everyone makes it sound like she would be in competition for the High Line. haha. No. The hardest part is not the design. It isn’t. I know that maybe takes away from some of the idea that we are all super talented and no one can learn the skills unless they train under some sort of Mr. Miyagi. There are no Mr. Miyagis hiring right now. Planting plans are difficult…being good at them is something that can be learned on your own and isn’t a risky proposition. Installing those planting plans is pretty low risk. Even simple retaining walls are simple, as evidenced by the millions of American’s that do that job themselves. Pretending we all have some choice whether we work at a firm or not is relegating people to barista jobs. Those skills get dusty if you don’t use them and do you think an employer is going to be more interested in someone that pulled themselves up and created opportunity or who bagged groceries at Winco and sent out hundreds of resumes and portfolios? People are attracted to go getters, even if that means failure. You don’t have to go into debt to start a business. We didn’t. Small business loans are very difficult to get. I recommend small scale planting design…get good at that and you have a niche.April 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm #158206
I like to read what you write Andrew…you have good insight. 🙂 We have students apply with us for design work and I do laugh. There isn’t enough design work here…but I think this year we may have the 8-12 build projects. Hot dog! But yes, we get the whole enchilada.April 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm #158205
Schmooze! Don’t underestimate beers and dinner parties. Accept all invitations and join your local Chamber of Commerce and go to Tips Lunches. We did that this year and it is making a difference.April 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm #158204
Sorry I keep reading the thread and responding to individual. Come on here with questions. Locally, you will be competition. I have asked Andrew, Henry and Mark questions on here. All have much more experience then us and will give great advice.April 5, 2012 at 10:12 am #158203mauiBobParticipant
Kim and Heather, Are you two serious?! I accepted a position on Maui 4.5 years ago after working for a private firm in Phoenix. About a year on Maui county, the firm in Phoenix went bye-bye. They laid off almost everyone during the great depression of 2009. Several of my former co-workers are still looking for an LA position or moved on to another career. As for me, I’m doing quite well. My job duties are varied and interesting on a daily basis. One week I’m doing land planning, writing reports and the next, putting on my LA hat to design parks. I drive a county vehicle to project sites for visit, get paid very well and my benefits are outstanding. My healthcare is covered 100% with 14 paid vacation days, 10 paid sick days and pension when I reach retirement. My current co-workers are all pleasant in this no stressful office environment…well, for most of the projects anyway! I wear shorts and flip flops every Friday. Did I also forget the annual professional education fund? I use it to pay for licensure fees, take college courses or go on ASLA conferences, like in San Diego. So I would say…not too shabby working under the Government umbrella!!April 5, 2012 at 10:25 am #158202mauiBobParticipant
Okay Craig, next time someone ask me, especially a student, I’ll tell them LA is great! A very very bright future, where its financially lucrative, lots of prestige, and probably retire after only 20 years in the profession. And did I forget to mention that all the young kids will want your photo and autograph too. Everyone should be a LA. There’s 8 open positions for every 1 job seeking designer. Sound good, my NYC friend? I will only speak the truth! LA is wonderful.
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