I need some advice about the working environment

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE I need some advice about the working environment

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    April Prey

    Question: when you are given a task by your boss, do you respond “OK” and walk away to begin said task?  The reason I ask is – you mentioned communication problems.  I’ll give you my two cents from my 25 years of non-landscape architecture work experience, a lot of that working for demanding attorneys….

    Have you tried responding to your assignments by repeating back to your boss how you understand the task it to be completed?  You could try something like: “If I understand you correctly, you want me to do A, then B, followed by C…then skipping ahead to X, Y and Z?”  Or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it verbally, you could follow up any assignments with an email that states: “Just to clarify what my assignment is, you want me to….(fill in blank).”  Although if your boss is really impatient, an extra email may just piss them off – you’ll need to judge the better method. But an email creates a written record that can be examined later if there is any confusion.  By doing so, you may pinpoint a misunderstanding early on, prior to commencing the task.


    Also, is your boss the owner of the firm?  I have found that people who have the balls to START a business often (IMHO) lack the skills for day to day operations.  For example, someone who starts a business has to have a big enough ego to ignore naysayers, take big risks, etc.  But then that big ego is not much good as a day to day manager of employees with average egos.


    Mike Metevier

    Thomas, here is the deal.  Start looking for a new job NOW.   Some people are just jerks and there is nothing you can do about it.  Do you best to stay calm while your working there, but start looking for another job.  Some people just yell and rant and do not know how to be profesional.  If you were that bad, you would have been fired.  The guy knows there are a lot of people out there looking for work and could replace u in days.   He keeps you around because you are willing to put up with his shit. 


    You cant change this person.   Dont listen to the people on here who are giving you excuses for his behavior, there is no excuse to be rude and unprofesional. 


    Not to sound like a hard @ss, but you need to put your big boy pants on.  This is the business.  Sink or swim.  I went through something similar with a small firm I worked for.  The only way I eliminated mistakes was by being meticulous to the point of insanity.  You MUST write everything down that your boss tells you to do.  You MUST go out of your way to learn the in’s and out’s of the tasks you are given.  You shouldn’t just do tasks because you are told to do so.  You need to know WHY you are doing them as well as HOW to do them.  Purchase books, go online, find resource regarding the project and the process you are working on. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.

    If you are looking for sympathy, you have come to the wrong place.  There are literally hundreds of people who would love to take your place right now.  This guy hired you because he saw something in you.  It’s your responsibility to live up to it.  Of course you can be a quitter and try and look for another job where you will be coddled and have your hand held next to a warm glass of milky milk.   If that is the case, then good luck.  Or……you can say F##$% it.  Today I will do everything I am asked and more. I will be a professional. You are in the big leagues now.  It’s time to start acting like it.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    We are people, not machines. We are all different despite the fact that we all like to pretend that all people are the same. What is the school of hard knocks to one is pure torture to another. What is trying your best to one, is inadequate to another. There is no way to properly advise Thomas because we neither know whether the boss is a hard a$$ or just frustrated with lack of ability, lack of effort, or lack of following directions AND we don’t know what Thomas has for skills, how well he follows directions, or how thinned skin he is.


    Quitting a job is up to that person to decide on his/her own. Thomas does not seem to be looking to quit. We can’t change his boss. All we can do for Thomas is give him advice on how to work better to please his boss, how to deal with the pressures put on him, and how to most benefit from the situation. A lot of people are giving that.


    1.) do everything you can to document what you are supposed to do, so that you don’t forget.

    2.) summarize your instructions back to the instructor whenever possible to confirm your understanding.

    3.) work methodically from big to small, general to detail so that you don’t discover conflicts too late.

    4.) talk to others about how they do things so that you can have more choices in the way you do things to improve efficiency.

    5.) make check prints and red line your own work and make corrections.

    6.) tell your boss what you are having difficulty with so that someone can help you out.

    7.) don’t let negativity snowball. Try to relax when things are stressful.

    8.) remember that some day it will be easier and when things get tough, you’ll think “this is nothing, I worked for that a-hole and this is nothing”. You’ll also have a habit of not doing all those little things that pi$$ed this guy off that others may have let slide and it will show in tyour work.

    9.) if the boss is hard to communicate with, try communicating to others (not complaining to, but looking for answers and clarification).

    10.) this should be #1 – do not get caught up in complaining fests with other frustrated co-workers. All that does is brain wash all of you into only seeing the negative side of things which can psychologically make you feel like things are way worse than they are. This is hard not to do.

    Alice M

    Hey, hope things have got better for you Thomas, I’m new to this too so not speaking from experience but generally I would say stick at it and gain some experience and then you will be in a good position and have more choice of where you can work. I hope you don’t mind but I am replying to your thread for some advice – does anybody know what is the standard wage for a newly qualified landscape architect? I have just left a uk university with a post grad diploma and wondered what the market rate in London is?  Interested to know how salaries may differ on a global scale too. Im thinking 23.5 – 25K in London, any feedback would be much appreciated.

    Ellis Cucksey

    I think your range seems mostly reasonable for an entry-level LA with a Master’s degree, at least for the jobs I’ve seen open around this area (Alberta, Canada). I’ve seen CAD Techs in Edmonton getting around 20K beginning sallary (IBI Group is hiring up there right now…), and beginning designers getting around 24K, but that’s with a large multi-discipline firm. Probably the smaller firms, especially in areas that don’t have the economic vitality that Alberta currently enjoys, would start lower than that.

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