Just Curious…

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    Jarrod D. Lee

    Of those who lost jobs a couple of years ago…have you found a new one yet?  I am sure there are some that have started their own thing, some may be doing great, some may have already folded.  I am more looking for discussion about firms hiring or not hiring.




    Hot Tip and Big Clue here: There is near a kiloton of forum discussions on this and directly related topics here, most within the span of this year so far. You will find more than ample, current and cogent insights from those who posted in those forums about their experiences regarding your curiousity.The individual and collective tales are not exactly inspiring.

    If you do that, you will be able to perceive a clear trend in the prospects for hiring landscape architects in the States. The trend (if there even is one) decisively points in a southerly direction.

    I am on the opposite side of the globe, and the economic slowdown is in full swing and effect here now. This region (Asia) was the last one standing.

    Ernst Glaeser

    And the same accounts for the MENA region

    Leslie B Wagle

    Maybe this is the wrong topic but I ran into something I don’t understand (scroll down this one):


    So if you do 20 plans you make $100?


    Madness!  How will they ever pay for their copy of 3D Studio at those wages?!  Are these people who are living in parts of the world where you can live for $5/day?

    Alan Ray, RLA

    did you ever hear the statement “you get what you pay for” ?


    I have given up all hope for this profession after being laid off (I am a registered LA with over a decade of experience).  Maybe if you are in your 20’s and naive, you can have fun in this field but once you start to settle down, buy a house, have kids, you quickly realize that landscape architecture is not a sustainable career path (unless maybe you marry someone with a stable job and can treat it as a hobby).

    I was fortunate enough to have decided to get a double degree in LA and Planning and was somehow able to get hired as a city planner after nearly a year of looking for work (making more money and with better benefits). 

    I suppose if I get the urge to deeply contemplate what cultivar of azalea would look best next to Ms. Jone’s patio or to design another parking lot, I can hang out a shingle and look for side work, but frankly – good riddance to landscape architecture.  I know too many friends and classmates out of work for years, with most completely finished with the field.

    Tosh K

    I graduated in ’09. Took some down time, took a few months to get an entry level job (with 5 yrs of experience in site engineering), got laid off for a year. I’ve been working now at another firm for just over a year. Most of my peers are in landscape architecture- we got out as firms on the coasts needed to hire entry level for work that is trickling in.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    I have mentioned this before, after 40+ years dedicated to la is seems that this profession seems to work if you are self employed….I’ve seen many discouaged in dead-end jobs, no jobs, bad bosses, etc…….

    The only way to make a decent living I”ve found is do go it alone. I worked for firms 15 years barely scraping by trying to raise a family…It takes a while but you can not expect others to recognise your talent and worth….

    I was told by my last employer that I was just a business investment, like a computer or copy machine….

    So, the best advice I can give anyone that still loves the craft we practice, is to make a plan to make it alone as soon as possible….no one else will do it for you.


    Sounds like if you want to last in this field, you have to give up on being creative and become more of a business man/woman. That’s a shame because I enjoy getting my hands dirty and making things. 

    Alan Ray, RLA

    you can do both….it is a balancing act.

    Leslie B Wagle

    It IS sort of a trade-off. On the employee side, you have to do whatever the sales force brings in (and you may even get  drawn into being part of the sales force) plus you don’t have any security when the times are rough.

    On the consulting side, you may also have to do whatever you can find, but you can “steer” yourself a bit and downturns may hit the same way but you may be a bit more adjusted to living lean and wary. Also something that schools could teach (but life will eventually) is that “marketing” is actually embedded in reality anyway. Even if you want a career in one firm, you are probably going to face the need to strategize some moves along the way.

    Self employment is a matter of facing that truth in a different, more continual context. In fact, it helps me to think of marketing as the “first step” of the design process; either you do it or you depend on someone who does it. So, do it creatively. Again, life will provide the instruction even if the professors don’t!

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Necessity does not displace creativity. Creativity is what needs to be used to solve problems. It is not limited to unbridled whims.


    When necessities are overlooked in order to be expressive it is a lack of creativity. It is no different to ignore the parameters of an office or a market place than it is to ignore a soil condition or climate.


    Use creativity to solve problems whether they are aesthetic or job related. Marketing takes creativity. Design sales takes creativity. Tailoring scope of work in a limited economy takes creativity. I assume that hiring practices and compensation packages for employees that still keep the company profitable takes creativity as well.


    Getting to the point where you can survive on your own like Alan suggests (and I agree with) takes creativity as well. No one wants to train their next competitor. No one wants to invest time, money, and effort in people who will quickly move on. No one wants to lose good help.


    One thing that is very overlooked in this business is that one Principal (or any other LA in the office) has enough design creativity to apply to multiple projects at one time. Few are looking to hire more design creativity while many have staff to do the production work to support that creativity. It does take creativity to support the design creativity of others.


    Alan Ray, RLA

    very well said Andrew…I don’t know where the idea that they have to be mutually exclusive came from…I guess that’s what is being taught these days.


    I don’t see many old people as support staff. They are either management or the principal. What happens to those who are not so good in business, or those who are not good at being “the face” of the company? Do they remain as designers, the people who work behind the scenes? Or do they get kicked out and replaced by younger designers? 

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