December 29, 2010 at 11:56 pm #166085Scott LebsackParticipant
Awesome!December 30, 2010 at 1:12 am #166084Michael RoyParticipant
exactly the same for me.
I had over 3 weeks of “comp time” that went unused/unpaid when I left my job because I was never allowed to take it. In the end I didn’t even bother asking for it. It would have been ok if (as discussed with my former employer) it was taken into account for salary and bonuses, but no bonus was given. Anyway starting a new job soon that seems to actually have a system in place, we’ll see how that goes.
In Aus Landscape Architects are supposed to fall under the Modern Award for Architects, you can check it out at http://www.fwa.gov.au/documents/modern_awards/pdf/MA000079.pdf
You will notice minimum pays are really low. I don’t actually know anyone who is paid quite this bad. But to the point of overtime it says anything over 37.5 hours a week is overtime and should be taken as time in lieu within 6 months. Most people I know have altered contracts for 38 or 40 hour weeks but are still supposed to get time in lieu which they never get to take it.December 30, 2010 at 2:29 am #166083Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
Surv/Eng Firm (40-42hr weeks) for me (I am an RLA) …usually 40
paid hourly, time and a half for OT, just like my co-workers.
generally 8-4:30 M-F, but allowed flex time.
… all these years I thought I was missing out not working in a big LA firm.
Does the long hours and short pay happen in small LA firms, or only the big name ones?December 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm #166082Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
He also does not want to pay over time or burn anyone out. But, yes, I do have a boss of great character and generosity. … and we are the busiest office of our type anywhere near us. Coincidence? … I think not.
Chaotic and fast paced? Absolutely. Fun and interesting? Not so much.
The tough jobs are the ones that pay well and have a higher degree of job security. The fun and interesting jobs don’t seem to have as much of either for employees these days.December 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm #166081
I’ve always been able to get work done in a reasonable 8-9 hour day. I’ve been working +/- 40 hours/week for the last three employers. I know other people at other offices around me are working 60 hours plus.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going home at the end of the day.January 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm #166080Mike MitchellParticipant
I agree with you 100%. Some people tend to “spin their wheels” for the majority of the day. Deadlines are one thing, but 8-9 hours in perfectly reasonable if you are productive. Now if your employer is cutting costs by having multiple people work tons of hours to avoid hiring someone else, might be time to start looking elsewhere.
When are we going to ride this year? Did you get the CO pass?January 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm #166079
We actually moved up to Aspen so we are doing the aspen thing this year. We have a place just down the road a piece with plenty of couch space if you’re interested in shredding some RFV pow?January 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm #166078Mike MitchellParticipant
Nice work! We (the gf and I) are coming up there this weekend. Should be up on Friday night, staying in Aspen. Snowmass on Saturday?January 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm #166077
If you need a place to crash let me know. We have basic accomodations, but friends always welcome!
I’ll send you my cell number.January 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm #166076Tanya OlsonParticipant
Boy do I feel lucky to have landed in the firm I did for my first job out of school! I worked regular hours with some weekends / late nights occasionally at deadline times.
The partners did a lot of things right: 1. bid projects with a reasonable number of hours 2. took responsibility for time management themselves 3. were on salary, while the rest of us were hourly – guess who stayed late most of the time? The partners. 4. They refused to go into debt as a firm so their overhead stayed as low as possible.
When they created the firm they took responsibility for what they had created like a parent would for a child. When the economy took a dive, they took the hit first to protect their employees. Yup – I know that was a rarity, but I’m definately going to follow their example as I design my own firm. You guys wonder why I’m all lovey dovey all the time about landscape architecture? Blame them. They were an awesome firm to work for.
How can one possibly be a decent landscape architect if one has no time to enter the landscape? It makes no sense.January 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm #166075
I read the book by architect Alan Lapidus, who became most notorious for world-class hotel design. His father designed Fountainbleu hotel in Miami. He mentioned several times in his book where he owned a firm and went without pay to protect and retain employees. He goes on at great length about the reasoning behind this beyond the sense of loyalty or dedication. He wanted to keep his employees because he liked them and they did good work, which also happened to make him money and get more work. Makes sense right?
Where is this reasoning today? Rare, you say Tanya. I agree.January 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm #166074AnonymousInactive
I’ve briefly worked at an office were the LA staff was overworked, under paid and unhappy. Everyone was miserable including the owner. Employees that stayed around for any length of time did only what they had to do to keep their job. The owner was working himself to death, because he was always interviewing, training new hires, and filling in for vacated staff positions. The company was profitable but at an unnecessarily high cost.
On the other hand, I’ve worked for companies where staff seldom worked over 40 hours per week, received good benefits and were treated like humans that made good money as well.
It’s just not necessary to take advantage of employees to run a successful business. I truly believe if an owner genuinely cares about his employees and is fair and consistent in managing them will have a lot less problems to deal with. Show your people that you’re in their corner the better the chance of having them be loyal to you.January 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm #166073Tosh KParticipant
I’ve worked in 40 hr offices and 60 hr offices. I would think that the differences are in billable vs worked hours. Firms can get things done and stay afloat if everyone works at a reasonable pace and projects are billed around the going rate for projects; to spend more time on non-billable (early schematic/conceptual, etc) portions of design, the time/cost needs to come out of pocket (until the firm is reputable enough for someone to pay for it).
Personally I enjoyed the work at the offices I stayed late at (it was almost all design work), the hours were brutal and not sustainable over a long term, but when starting out and with a good team it can be energizing like being in studio at school was (and being inefficient, I didn’t feel as “exploited”). We spent a lot of time looking at precedents and other tangentially related subjects during work hours that weren’t really billable time. Working on CDs until the wee hours of the morning sucks though.
I find that its always healthy to ask about retention rates at firms – it’s a good indicator for how much the other employees enjoy being there (team spirit, quality of work, social vibe, compensation) and therefore how much the employer is hoping to keep you around (especially with the fresh-out-of-school crowd, there’s a lot of firm hopping early on, though I suppose less now with the downturn). I have seen that some firms have principles/senior staff that have been around a long time and moved up, and others that seem to have a lot of 1~2 yr turnover at the junior/entry level positions.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for new graduates to expect spending extra time in an office learning the ropes on top of billable hours – let’s face it, many of us out of school didn’t know how to put together a CD set, how construction sequences worked, or to work efficiently in CAD.January 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm #166072AnonymousInactive
Great point Tosh K. There’s so much that you learn in your first years when you enter the profession, way more than what could be compacted into a 5 year BSLA program. Other than being able to draw, think conceptually, talk the language of design, and run prints, I didn’t know squat.
I didn’t kick up a fuss about working long hours, because I immediately recognized the knowledge, skills and abilities that the mid-senior and senior LAs had that I along with my contemporaries didn’t have. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had only begun the first level of my training to be an LA.
When I first saw one of the older staff quickly generate concepts on trace paper and did a series of overlays to refine a concept into initial presentation design sketches in about 3 or 4 hours and all of the various task he had to juggle; I knew exactly where I fit in on the pecking order.
I made it a point to spend as much time as I could with senior staff so that I could learn from them. If they stayed late, I was going to stay late. I also didn’t’ feel exploited, because I was being paid to get schooled. On top of that I was still able to get regular sleep and have a ton of fun.
Eventually you become a journeyman Landscape Architect and then you can demand the compensation you deserve.January 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm #166071Mark SanfordParticipant
We consistently have 40 hour work weeks, but when times get busy ( like now) we work 50-60 hours a week and even have done 80. i do not mind though, as i am just thankful for being employed and the work. It doesn’t hurt that I enjoy it also!
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