Time to Panic? -> LAM March 2011: “Leaping Into What?”

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Time to Panic? -> LAM March 2011: “Leaping Into What?”

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    Thomas J. Johnson

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! One of my favorites!


    “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III.


    It’s what I keep telling landscape architecture students: find a niche or specialize in something else on top of an LA degree. Environmental Planning or Engineering will be huge and so will Urban Planning due to population growth in worldwide cities.Your video link below is a bit extreme view, but does make students think about this design profession. Especially regarding LEED, which I think is a joke.


    Melinda, I was referring to Netflix stock in 2002 as a relatively unknown company. Those were the comments from investors and analyst at that time in favor of Blockbuster Video over the home mail service provided by NFLX. And, Netflix is not “phasing out” mail delivery and going exclusively video streaming. Maybe you have insider information, but they sure didn’t mention it recently on their quarterly stockholders letter. The cable companies along with Cisco and Akamai will have their input soon. Even if the stock were to suddenly collapse now, it doesn’t matter to me, I’ve made my money from $2 per to now over $200 per of 3,855 shares. I have a “Stop Order” set at $172 per. The beauty in the investment and my Apple stocks is that both are tied to my Roth IRA…meaning when I retire and withdraw, it is tax free!! If you are 45 yrs old or younger, you can’t afford to not invest in the market. Social Security benefits and Medicare will not be there for you.



    Brian Hochstein



    A huge difference between the casual investor, like myself who does it for long term benefits than someone who monitors daily activities of Wall street.

    Jonathan Smith, RLA

    That sucks!  But I can’t imagine that this experience speaks for all engineering firms…


    As a veteran of a few civil firms….it gives me the cold sweats and no relief for one minute about the stability of the LA in the civil firm. Until municipalities or private clients insist on the use of LAs and some

    solutions with more than a “black & white” approach, it will go on.

    For LAs in the civil firms, here’s two rules for any kind of employed substantial run:

    1. Bring in work to a firm. As long as you hold onto that client, you have a job.

    2. Be billable or be gone.

    3. 1 may affect 2, or vice versa. 

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Rule number four  (I’d call it #1) don’t categorize your work as being landscape architecture or civil site planning.

    Do everything an EIT would do AND do LA work, too. You’ll be a better LA because of all of the civil site plan experience and a better civil site planner because you can also think like an LA.

    When it comes time to cut staff – who are they going to keep, you or an EIT? 

    When the economy heats up and there are LA jobs again you’ll be loaded with civil experience giving you an added dimension going into an LA firm.


    Don’t be afraid to apply for entry level civil jobs. I landed one over EIT’s who applied because they knew that they were not training their next competitor. I was told that about a year after I was hired (the prior experience didn’t hurt either).

    Melinda W. Polites

    I definitely agree regarding LEED and the video is a bit extreme unless you’ve ever worked in a corporate Architectural office.  Having discovered net flix this summer using my son’s xbox I had to wonder why they would be mailing movies at all and then I heard them say they were phasing out ‘by mail’ service on NPR after I read about it in the paper.


    Who designs public outdoor spaces over there and commercial?! Someone must be doing it, The High Line, Fresh kills park, hotels, resorts, streetscapes, etc. Can we hear from some people that like their job and do make good money( I know hard to believe, yes there are ppl who make good money being a LA) , I know your out there. Your prob just to busy to bother posting on here.


    Now im talking big picture here, of course ppl will be negative in the current economic climate.

    mark foster


    I love my profession (“calling” would be more appropo) , make a good living, and am turning down work (up early this am catching up). 

    I own a design build firm (commercial and res), and would not practice LA any other way.   In my 50’s and still get up every morning feeling like a kid in a candy store– a total thrill to take something from fat pencil to turning on the waterfalls…

    And for those of you who are starting out and struggling– I’m still here after 2 failed businesses,  huge debts (paid off), a decade of slave labor rates, and 2 years after college not being able to find LA work (early 80’s recession).   A rough beginning does not mean failure. 

    Jordan Lockman

    Well put and I think that it matches what many of us have gone or will go through.

    Noah Mabry

    Thanks Aaron! It’s nice to see some positivity on these boards from time to time…..especially for us recent grads who’ve had a rough time these last few years. I really try to take the long view of things hoping there’s still 40 or 50 years of LA work ahead of me!!

    Jessyca Frederick

    Thank you for sharing, Aaron!

    George Surovov

    i am in a scenario where i have worked as a project manager at a deign firm on the east coast the past 3 years. i have a business undergrad degree, but i want to me an LA, so i feel I really need to get my masters degree. yet the fear of debt and leaving a good job in a weak economy hold me back.


    i was accepted to a program in Copenhagen ( my first choice) and i think it would be a great experience. It also has a dual degree where i can focus in Urban Design as well.  I’ve been seesawing for weeks now between going into debt and living comfortable now but i am close to sending that tuition check. i believe in myself and i think thats all we can do, as long as we’ve put in the hard work and continue our education after graduating by adding new skill sets  ( i plan to become a certified solar energy and aquaponic installer) I think will be ok

    Craig Anthony

    mark foster – Thank you so much for that refreshing post. It’s good to read someone else being positive about the future of landscape architecture.


    I’ve been in this profession since the late eighties and I’ve have gone through a few rough patches, but I would never consider doing something else. It took me 8 months to find a job after graduating because of a recession. I’ve had to “job hop” from different parts of the country to maintain a job or to make more money. Since being laid off at the end of 2007, I’ve been just barely making it while busting my tail trying to establish an LA firm in this terrible economy. But overall this profession has been very good to me. The positive aspects of being an LA far out-weigh the negative. Generally speaking, I don’t think that LAs suffer more than any other design professionals. It’s not like architects and civils are just sailing through this down turn. Just like previous recessions they‘re on meager rations as well.  


    Jessyca – There’s no need to panic. If you’ve noticed the majority of the post by senior LAs on the subject of the future of the profession will express the cyclical nature of the business. I think most of us view the current recession as worse than others, but certainly not something we couldn’t make it through. We are slowly digging ourselves out of this hole and I’d bet peanuts to dollars that when you come out of school in a couple of years things will be in full swing. In-line with what MauiBob was saying, study hard and enjoy going back to school to follow your passion. It sounds like you don’t have anything to lose.


    By the way, never plan on being unemployed.

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