Has anyone here exited the Landscape Architecture industry?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Has anyone here exited the Landscape Architecture industry?

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    You live in Idaho! A heavy red state and Palin was a U of I grad too. Its so obvious the GOP protects the wealthy in America, while ignoring the middle class in terms of financial matters. The GOP then uses religion, gun ownership and a few other selective subjects to rally their middle class Republican sheeps. And I especially love the way the GOP sheep talks about smaller government until a crisis lands on their doorstep. Suddenly they can’t get enough government support.

    Pat S. Rosend


    The profession should mandate a 10 year license limit. Everyone has to retake the exam after holding the RLA for 10 yrs.


    Nooooo. No more testing. It is really not that hard to do this job folks. Even Dr’s don’t have to retake their boards.

    Craig Anthony

    Saying that Landscape Architecture is stagnant doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement. In context, it seems like a person would have to have a serious case of tunnel vision to make such a comment. In 2006 universities couldn’t produce enough LA grads to meet the demand and the big concern was engineers and architects filling the niche. Prior to 2006 our services were in big demand. If an LA was willing to relocate, it was easy to make a good living. Sounds great, but what happened? The Great Recession happened. The money stopped flowing and the new projects came to a screeching halt shortly thereafter. So common sense tells me that whenever the money starts flowing again and people/LAs will start working again it will all work out.


    People that are considering leaving Landscape Architecture and the AEC industry for greener pastures need to think long and hard. How long do you think that this country can go on with the people that plan, design, build, manufacture, and maintain the things we Americans need sitting idle? It seems like the people I just described are the folks that made this country great. It’s just a matter of time before the lack of production from this large portion of our population drags us all down. You’re a smart guy, can’t you see it’s all connected. This country will not prosper without building and upgrading our homes, workplaces and infrastructure in a sustainable fashion.  


    MauiB you’re missing the point. I have no problem with people wanting to leave the profession and I think it’s great your friend makes $540K as uh…whatever. I just have a problem with people who claim they’re moving on hanging out in the Lounge with a bunch of LAs pissing on the profession. Dude-who becomes an LA expecting to make half a million a year? It’s not all about the money. Most people go through the heart ache of getting a LA degree because they found it interesting and it’s how they picture themselves.


    I was Teamster for years and I couldn’t imagine myself talking to my old work buddies who stayed about how much it sucks to load trucks in the heat and the physical toll repetitive motion inflicts on the body. They decided to stay, I decided to move on. What would I look like talking trash about the very line of work that fed me and put me through school? I’m surprised you don’t show a little more gratitude toward the profession that has provided you with a salary along with the potential for additional income for more than a decade.  

    Jason T. Radice

    That is what continuing education credits are for. Push for your state to require them if they don’t already.

    Heather Smith

    I think what you say is very true. We have NEVER been able to get a job. Jon has applied at 150(???) firms at least!!! Three phone interviews and one interview…a week before the market crashed in 2008. So yeah…there is nothing else we know. We are so grateful to be thriving in our own design/build business…perhaps we have lower standards for success. We are fed, sheltered and even paying down student loans. Success is measured differently…and that is okay too.

    About a year ago or maybe even just six months ago I was ready to ditch LA and ready to go to school for something, anything! Grasping straws. Summer now…so I am okay…but winter is coming!

    Craig Anthony

    Of course there are rough patches, but getting through them is what life’s all about.


    I don’t recall any of the veterans here in the Lounge painting a rosy picture of the profession. I learned before I graduated that, if people are looking to make the big bucks and have the world kiss their butt because they’re an LA they’ll be greatly disappointed. If you don’t have a bit of the pioneering spirit, don’t become an LA.


    I just don’t think it’s wise for someone to make a permanent career change considering the state of the economy. Finding a profession that is stable, interesting and with good pay is like trying to hit a moving target. What’s hot now might not be so hot tomorrow.


    Once again no one can tell me where the greener pastures are for AEC professionals. Should we all become accountants and morticians? Certainly not, the best thing to do is to survive until we have an idea what the new normal is. We are in a time of transition. Change is more than a campaign slogan, it’s happening right now before our eyes weather we like it or not.


    Young LAs use this down time to hone your skills and make connections. I don’t care what anyone says, the profession of Landscape Architecture is about to blossom.   


    We are about to go into another recession, whether we ever really came out of the first one is debatable. The problem is the whole work paradigm has changed. Work abuse is rampant, competition is cutthroat, and money is in too few hands. We will be weathering a generation of deleveraging because the whole world is saving and paying down debt. This is a grand supercycle on the downward trend(see Tulip Mania and Elliot Wave Theory). I wonder how this will work itself out. Peaceful demonstrations? Violent Uprisings? Or none of the above. We are in a job crisis, that is not even mentioned in Washington. I honestly hope for the best.

    Heather Smith

    I learned before I graduated that, if people are looking to make the big bucks and have the world kiss their butt because they’re an LA they’ll be greatly disappointed.


    I did not think I was going to make big bucks…but no bucks? I mean, that is really what is happening here. And no, we were not taught that the profession was so unstable. That is great that you were.


    I don’t know why it is considered…unloyal? to point out that we have had several years of unemployable LA grads. That the longer you are out of school without a job in the field the farther your chances of becoming employed are. Would you really encourage someone to take out thousands in debt for a degree that has no employment opportunities? Better yet…would you tell your child to become an LA? One of my professors had a son entire the program at a different university and graduate about a year ago. Last time I heard…still no job. Do you think his own dad’s advice would change? Ultimately we all have to eat. If you need to clean toilets to do that you will, but at least you don’t own student loans on that.

    I have been talking to my children about opportunities besides college, including the trades such as electrical work and yes, even plumbing. Maybe they won’t want to do that…but these are valid options that actually pay well and are necessary in our society.

    Heather Smith

    Also, just have to point out again…acting as if this “down time” is some sort of blessing in disguise is pure delusion. haha. Really? Yeah. I am sure they are all rereading old issues of Landscape Architecture Magazine to stay up to date. haha.

    Craig Anthony

    Oh boy, here we go again! Sister you are all over the place.


    “I don’t know why it is considered…unloyal? to point out that we have had several years of unemployable LA grads.”


    Who in their right mind needs to be told that LAs are suffering with the rest of America? And loyalty to what, Heather what are you talking about?


    “…would you tell your child to become an LA?”


    Of course I’d be o.k. with my child becoming an LA, primarily because I can’t think of a better career for creative types that like to work outdoors. You can’t force a round peg into a square hole. I would rather my child be a happy struggling LA, than be a miserable stock market guy that’s loaded. These guys make up half of my client base and I would not want to trade my life for theirs.


    “I have been talking to my children about opportunities besides college, including the trades such as electrical work and yes, even plumbing.”


    The trades have been decimated during this recession. Plumbing is cool as long as you’re not in new construction. Remember what I said about the moving target.


    Landscape Architecture is a necessity, we just need to continue letting society know that we are. So suck it up Heather and decide weather you’re in or out. Enough with the whining, there are people that are being put out of their homes that never heard of a Landscape Architect.

    Craig Anthony

    That’s not what I’m saying. But, a person with the right attitude could turn their down time into a blessing by doing the best they can with what they’ve got.




    The reference to the state of the profession prior to 2007 was to let younger folks know that it hasn’t been as bad as some are making it out to be. Sometimes it’s good to know where you came from.




    The real delusion is thinking that LAs should be excluded from the pain of this recession. It’s a cruel world out there Heather. Go hard or go home.  



    Craig Anthony




    the only thing we really disagree on is the changing course or career part. You’re telling people to remain in the LA profession when you also changed careers to become an LA! Here’s a stat I just learned on the Dylan Radigan, MSNBC show this morning: of the percentage of unemployed workers in America today, only 4.8% have college degrees. That means the accountants, nurses, economists, math majors, etc are getting work. But we all know how bad it is in our field of landscape architecture. 

    I’m not one of those who is moving on with the LA profession and hanging out in the Lounge. I think those people have credible stories to tell. Listen to what they are saying and then judge what’s best for your situation. And yes, LA is stagnant! I would NEVER tell my kid or any others to pursue this field.

    Read the recent news…The Federal Reserve offered a dim outlook of the economy last week, saying it expects growth will stay weak for two more years. As a result, the Fed said it expects to keep short-term rates near zero through mid-2013.

    Roughly 14 million Americans remain unemployed. And the economy isn’t creating enough jobs to rapidly trim that figure. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.8 percent in the first six months of this year, the slowest such pace since the recession officially ended more than two years ago. In June, consumers cut spending for the first time in 20 months. 

    How much longer do you want people to “hang on” in this profession? I think this is the new norm, less projects, less staff needed and growth coming overseas. LA production (cad construction docs, photoshop renderings, etc) done by those entry level employees are to be exported to foreign workers for less pay. That’s what happened to the manufacturing industry and 30 years ago, they said it would never happen either.  


    Dylan Radigan, MSNBC show this morning: of the percentage of unemployed workers in America today, only 4.8% have college degrees.


    I’ve seen numbers like that elsewhere, and wondered how true it is.  I know a lot of people with substantial educations that aren’t working.  In my own neighborhood, there is someone with a Master’s in biology who worked in research for a major pharma company for years.  Another was an editor for medical journals…an architect, a horticulturist…all educated.  All those big financial firms in NYC that laid of 1000s..I’m sure most of them had degrees.  Its been just as much a white-collar recession.

    April Prey

    I question that figure as well – just checked a BLS website and it is true when race is taken into account – that is the figure for educated/white. I too know numerous educated people out of work.  I was a paralegal for 10 years prior to returning to school for a second degree (BLA – I start year 2 in Sept).  The legal profession was hit really hard – this is an area where even a legal secretary is expected to have a bachelor’s degree, and in big firms even the people working in the copy rooms have degrees.  Huge numbers of people in legal were laid off, from entry level to attorney.  I had 1.5 years of unemployed down time before I started year one of the BLA – lots of time to surf on-line discussion boards.  There are tons of educated, experienced people out there that can’t even get interviews for part-time, minimum wage jobs.


    Something doesn’t smell right with that 4.8% figure, but I haven’t gotten to the bottom of it.  It doesn’t square with the reality in front of my own face.  You can’t swing a cat in my neck of Puget Sound without hitting an unemployed person with a degree: engineers, nurses, accountants… you name it.


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