October 5, 2010 at 2:06 am #167488
I was just wondering what do people think in the long run would be better? Should we try to employ the vastly underemployed young adults (under 28) or hire back the 50+ over crowd? I have read many forums and it seems the two groups with the most unemployment are Gen Y and Baby Boomers. Gen X looks like they at least keeping their jobs in landscape architecture. I think fundamentally there are probably too many landscape architect grads. Construction will not return for another 5 years. We will all sort out into other industries hopefully.October 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm #167576
I think you are limiting your conception of where LA’s work..With increased requirement for going green, LA;s are needed to fill a lot of environmental review jobs – just check USAJobs if you want to see some creative job descriptions coming up..Some of these are even TARP jobs..I t hink it is essential the LA’s keep their expertise in the whole picture at the forefront – these governement jobs are also extremely important – jobs in sustainability, jobs in CEQR review and stormwater – these should proliferate, as society realilzes that government regulations are essential for the good society – don’ ‘t forget transportation, also..<>
So I disagree with your ‘who should we throw first off the bus” – first, throw the people who don’t want to move forward into a greener society, to better technology…Not landscape architects – our choice of profession was prescient, and forward thinking..October 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm #167575
In an ideal world, everybody who wants to work, could. We don’t live in that world any more. I’m currently unemployed. I don’t want to be. I like working. I’m the kind of person that needs to be busy.
I also don’t fit into your Gen Y / BB Boom profile. I’m Gen X (32 yrs old) but I only have two years experience in Landscape Architecture because I took a non-linear path to get here, working construction and selling Data Mining Software before going back to school for L.A. I lived in the studio, worked my butt off and landed a great job right out of school where I also worked by butt off. Unfortunately, Nov. ’08, the credit market collapsed and you could literally hear the brakes screeching on projects…
I’m hard working and talented. I can be equally productive and/or creative and am a well rounded designer in terms of knowledge / technical / software / hand rendering abilities. I think I “deserve” to have a job. I didn’t go to school for 5 years to bag groceries and bagging groceries doesn’t begin to cover my expenses, such as the student loans I took out to pursue this profession. Yes, it’s frustrating but I’m not alone. There are a lot of talented, hard working people out there who are unemployed. I’m sure that there are also a lot of slackers, who view L.A. as just another job, punch in at 9:00 and out at 5:00, who don’t contribute anything to an office except mistakes and drama who are still employed. In fact, I’m positive there are…
Who should we try to employ, the vastly underemployed young adults or the 50+ crowd? I think that’s a strange way of looking at it. It almost has a socialist government tone to it, but OK, I’ll bite. Generally speaking, the 50+ crowd is not as technically advanced as the Gen Y crowd. The Gen Y crowd doesn’t have the experience (wisdom, knowledge) of the 50+ crowd. I don’t think you could fill an office with Gen Y and have it work because they don’t know how things get done/built in the real world. You also couldn’t fill an office with 50+ crowd because they are going to have a hard time cranking out CDs in AutoCAD and their design aesthetic may be (I said may be) dated. So, to answer your question, we need both.
We also need us Gen Xers to bridge the gap. We tend to have a good balance of technical and drawing skills. We’ve been around long enough to know how things work, we tend to have a strong work ethic and are mature, we can talk to both Gen Y and the 50+ crowd.
In an office, I’d say that a ratio of 1-50+ (designer/principal)/ 2-GenX (project mgr) / 2-Gen Y (production) would work well. Of course you still need IT (on-call for an office that size) and admin to answer calls and handle marketing etc.
You say that construction won’t return for 5 years. I think it might be longer. “Construction” is also a broad term and I would hope that “construction” doesn’t ever return to the rate it was in 04-08. We built more than we needed because we could. Now we have a surplus of office, retail and housing that will prove to be a major problem in 5-10 years.
How we define “construction” and the role landscape architects play in that process is going to have to be redefined if we want to stay viable. Instead of explosive outward growth, we are going to see a refocusing on dense urban areas. We are going to focus on advancing/ developing and refining transportation, open space/ parks, in-fill / brownfields, and restoring natural systems. Water and transportation are two huge, pressing issues that need to be addressed and landscape architects need to play a key role in the envisioning of how those issues will be resolved. Engineers tend to think purely in numbers and they are very good at it. Landscape architects need to work side by side with them, guiding the process to ensure that it remains human, beautiful and functional.
I.E. A project calls for 5 foot acres of water detention. An engineer will give you a 200’x200’x5′ box / hole. A landscape architect will push and pull that box into a wetland, develop a planting plan of aquatic, emergent and terrestrial plants and create a park around it so people can enjoy the nature (ducks, birds, deer, etc) that is recreated instead of having a box, planted with turf, surrounded by a chainlink fence, so people don’t drown in it… That is what landscape architects do and it is what we will do more of as housing, retail, office “construction” falls off. Engineers and Environmental Scientists can put the pieces together, but they are not “designers”. It will look like an Engineer and a Scientist built it. We need to ensure that we’re a part of the process to increase the value of these spaces, to provide “the big picture” perspective…
OK, I’m sufficiently off subject… back to looking for work….October 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm #167574
Jason T. RadiceParticipant
I just started an MLA (2yr) and am seriously reconsidering my decision as well. At the school I attend, it’s like starting over for a BLA. I can’t get the classes I wanted to take, and the rest of the time is wasted taking studios I took 15 years ago. I have 11years in practice, and am licensed. I don’t need to explore the profession to decide which path I want to take. That decision had been made a long, long time ago. Its like there is nothing for the professional to refine or hone their craft at most colleges (I’m researching EVERY LA program to explore what I might be able to do to salvage my time and money).October 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm #167573
Nice insight, Tom! Hey, I like it that I’m a larkie…!October 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm #167572
That’s an interesting way to frame it because “deserving” in my experience does play into decisions of who gets to stay and who is let go. If you were the boss, what would be an easier decision: laying off the guy who’s wife just had a baby or the single guy who has no real attachments to the region and can easily pick up and move. If you’re an equal opportunity employer, you have to try to keep your diversity level up. I was talking with one of my former co-workers a while back. He had repeated issues with this one lady who was in a position of authority over him, felt that she dragged down the process with petty issues and didn’t really know her stuff. Fed up, he asked the manager why she was kept and I, whom he preferred as a superior, was laid off. The manager told him that he thought she would take it harder. Yeah, not a great business decision, but it goes to show that compassion does play a role in these decisions. I also think that politics play a role in that people like to surround themselves with others of compatible leanings. That same former co-worker also told me about a meeting after I and one other lady were laid off and a project manger offered up the opinion that “Its just us Republicans left” or something like that. When the workload decreases, you really don’t need many licensed people around. You need someone who is capable of checking plans and putting the set together and someone who is proficient with CAD & graphic programs to produce the plans, preferably not licensed so you can pay them less. In a way the market decides who deserves jobs, but so many other factors play into it. It was like a big game of musical chairs deciding one’s fate. You can’t expect life to be fair.October 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm #167571
This is such an odd question (in my view) I have to ask: Why are you asking?October 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm #167570
I am just worried that the generational wealth transfer is just not happening anymore. The young are being shut out of many opportunities. Baby Boomers have now transferred into this vicious Tea Party, they hope to retain all the social safety net for themselves but dont want to pay for it. I am not accusing all Baby Boomers. But one day, someone will show them the door. I am sure Gen X and Gen Y will help to clean up this mess. Its just Baby Boomers lived in the best economic times of the US. While Gen X and Y have seen downsizing, offshoring, outsourcing, stagnant wages, dual income families, rising healthcare costs, loss of company pensions, and the end of social mobility. The richest 1% own something around 30% of the nation, not seen since 1929. All I am asking if we get our chance to mold a new nation that still inspires the world and is set up as an open society as a counter-balance to the rising plutocratic China model.October 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm #167569
Well I am just asking as a nation, who should needs jobs the most the young and unemployed or those fast approaching retirement. I am conflicted. Older workers help to apply wisdom to business decisions and experience to cut through all the idealism that may muddle a project. But I dont want my generation of young full of energy to be unemployed and arrest our development. We might be a new Silent Generation.October 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm #167568
Wow! What a load of generation generalizations, Ashish.
You might enjoy this then:
It paints an opposite picture of the generational values.October 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm #167567
haha, I just read too much news lately. I am not really that pessimistic, but I am worried about rising economic inequity. But my feelings are not isolated to me, there are many my generation who feel gated a bit. And the rise of fringe-right politics is frightening among older Americans.October 5, 2010 at 7:06 pm #167566
Thanks! Yeah, I’ve been through numerous fluctuations regarding my views on landscape architecture over the past two years. I’ve even posted comments on Land8 that are completely opposite of what I describe above, stating basically that land archs are not necessary and that engins and archs can get projects built without us. I still believe they can but I also believe that good designers add great value to projects, making them more than the archs and engins envisioned. At times, out of frustration with the current state of affairs, I’ve attempted to detach myself from the profession but I can’t. It’s in my blood. It’s how I think. It’s how I perceive and interact with the world.October 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm #167565
Most of those approaching retirement lost the value of their retirement savings two years ago. Maybe we can cut a deal: give the jobs to the young…who have a lifetime of work ahead…and who must buy out the older workers! Everyone winsOctober 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm #167564
Yeah, I mean retired people should not be thrown on the street. Thats why I am surprised by people who want to privatize Social Security that happened to basically company pension plans when they became 401 K programs. And well those 401 Ks lost around a quarter of their worth or more, it just seems like its such a race to the bottom now.October 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm #167563
That’s a tough call… As the boss, it seems that it’s your job to make decisions based on what’s in the companies best interest, not on what is easy or makes you sleep better at night. Sure, it would definitely be easier to lay off the single guy but is it in the best interest of the company? Are you there to be a counselor or to build a lean, mean, fighting machine? The single guy is cheaper, hard working, has no family obligations that prevent him from staying late or traveling. His health benefits are a lot less than a families… And maybe the single guy spent every penny he had getting himself to your location to work for you. Maybe he can’t just pack up and go… Then again, in this economy, you pretty much OWN the guy with the wife and kids. He’s not going anywhere… you can work him to death…tough call…
Not letting someone go because you think they might take it hard is not the way to build a successful business. What you’ll end up with eventually is a workforce full of people “who might take it too hard”, i.e. weak and needy. Those are not the people I’d want working for me. I’d want to operate a business not a day care center. That kind of an environment can detract from productivity more than anything else. Everybody needs to stand on their own two feet and the boss needs to be able to focus on leading the charge, not deal with petty issues.
Then again, maybe there are other “political” reasons you’re not privy to that would explain why certain people were retained while you were let go… All you can do it suck it up and move on… life is not fair. Might not be fair for you now. Might not be fair for them later.
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