Leslie B Wagle

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  • #3557825

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Wow, I goofed up – I meant for this to go into the “internship” topic, if a moderator wants to move it….

    #3557818

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Here is something maybe a little to the side but I stumbled onto. These are suggested characteristics for architects to have and I think would be the same for LA’s, considering them both as designers in the environment. And besides being traits to look for being going into the field(s), they would apply to having what it takes to stay and grow in the field:

    10 Signs That You Should Become an Architect

    #3557786

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I haven’t had much to say on the where to locate yourself topic, because there are so many issues for each person/family but I guess my philosophy was shaped by already being married with a child when I graduated. When things were rough someone might ask why not move but then if you chose a ”region,” as we did and decided it would be our “roots,” why not hold out hope where you can search deeply (days before internet duly noted). Also we were burned a couple of times by bad bosses and outcomes, and we just couldn’t see blasting ourselves into the unknown to have that happen yet again (although a single person traveling light could do it).

    What I really notice looking back (maybe this should go into the first day of classes / life satisfaction topic)…is that I ended up with more of a patchwork than I expected. Some of all of these: working for self, small offices, large offices, government, design/build, and teaching. Yet all of them taught me things that I may not have appreciated at the time, but came in handy in hindsight. I’d advise people to keep enough information, drawings, and photos to be able to show for moving through your career. That is, for situations that involve being hired as a consultant as well as for a steady position. It has helped so much to hear of something I’d like to do, and be able to recall having actually worked on something like it, and dig it out of the stash…whether a PUD or a single entry sign. Managers and clients both are careful about who they put their trust into, and being able to show something actually performed (and preferably built) really can ease their minds.

    #3557772

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I was originally interested in private residential and small scale social spaces (urban mini parks etc.) but was open minded and just soaked in the education and hoped for the best. I assumed I would be in some medium sized office and eventually feel secure enough to work for myself (not necessarily build a multi-person business). As it turned out, I found myself in a city with enough work opportunities to get the time needed for the exam, but that weren’t challenging or financially steady enough to justify staying on once I had that license. So I struck out of my own earlier than ideal, then just made it work. Fortunately, some repeat clients helped steady it, but there were advantages in being self-directed while my son was growing up. I later got invited for 3 years into a major firm in a nearby city about the time my son was leaving for college anyway, but a recession ended that and I floundered for a couple of years getting some old business back again.

    The main semi-regret is that there was an opening in a city planning office, and I thought I was lucky to be hired. It was a commute and longer hours, which solved the immediate problem. Then in the course of working there, while I finally was able to get good benefits and save for retirement, the tasks of course were basically administrative and regulatory, not creative in the sense of classic LA. And it only took a couple of what I felt were bad “tweaks” made by management to turn me seriously unhappy. I did try for other positions but all were further away, had other negatives, etc. and I dreaded re-kindling what would have to be a new start from scratch 1-person business. The whole passage eventually lasted 15 years but I was “free” then to do anything I wanted.

    During that time, new tools such as Google Maps, dropbox, and just plain information searching had evolved and so I thought I would try virtual consulting. It’s been pretty rewarding but not a substitute for a full time job if you are still in the main career lane or have more family obligations (my son is grown and all I want is a part time life challenge). I think I am essentially trying to “compensate” for the planning time and just enjoying the chance to tackle real life if minor scale projects. So at both the start and end of my career, that aspect of self-direction, i.e. flexibility &/or lower pressure pacing has worked out well.

    #3557747

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    “going out there and finding a place to be productive regardless of what the sign says” is right on….except that convincing someone to let you participate depends on some kind of credentials. So, I think LA will need to have credibility with other professionals or whoever forms teams of people to work in those promising future areas. But the label will be hurt if what Bob says is true about LA’s becoming submerged in a mixed population of unreliable quality. People ultimately learn what they need to look for in skills and portfolios. An existing field really needs to be sure it has a “defining core” that is solid among most of its members.

    #3557742

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Note: 2006 to 2016 were the recession years. And if that is projected forward, it might yield Bob’s 2016-2026 numbers. Could such further sliding be warped by the grimmer past? (I’d be interested in how architects fared and are predicted to do along these same time frames).

    #3557741

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    It’s strange if true. I’m sort of finding (nothing scientific) that more people seem to know what we are and can do. But I agree I don’t think all that many positions are available in large swaths of the country, and invisibility will whittle away at the numbers over time as fewer young people get inspired to enter the field. I wonder if the Joseph’s reduction can be explained by people leaving? Or are they doing related but differently-labeled work which is hard to detect in gathering statistics? Andrew in another topic has mentioned other “gray” areas where we end up. That would also affect Bob’s numbers on job openings if some aren’t counted.

    #3557703

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I also check by relatively often and harbor a thought or two now and then for possible topics. But what I think happened, is that when it was last active, the blog suffered somewhat (as everything nowadays) from disgressing into the poison of politics and/or climate change, even on other topics or the leanings of the participants just surfaced (worse when highlighted). Some people are fervent, many others more nuanced. But people not coming here for that, or who have independent positions, just get tired and wander off rather than deal with it (since nothing is going to change minds of the writers readers, let’s face it).

    Anyway, back to the challenge. Look for me to make a new effort to see what happens in a few minutes (since the sponsors have provided this for us and must wonder too)…one being kind of silly topic on Sketch Up. And another more serious one about longed-for fulfilled and unfilled designs.

    #3556925

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Actually this past weekend I was working in the same way on a large site, (massive existing hospital in fact) where again I expected the buildings to “lean” a little due to the multi story forms (showing small slices of the side walls), and I could get the ground features to stitch across 3 images… but when compared to an enlargement of an earlier historic line drawing, things just had to be compromised. I would think the line drawing was taken from something like missing original site plans but the photos were also “real,” yet didn’t mesh. This time tree crowns were pretty clear since there were fewer, from a drier climate location. But parking areas etc. just had to be representative, not literal. This will just be a base for planting upgrades so that’s okay but the same issue was there again. Something we just have to take into account and not over-rely on, if the nature of the project requires expensive construction type accuracy.

    #3556818

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’m not familiar with the dual programs, but I am an LA who worked for 15 years in a planning department, and I know of others who also have. The best I can tell you is that yes, some positions exist in planning for people with other backgrounds, not just LA but geography, even political science and GIS trained people. However, they are usually bigger departments that can sub-assign roles and I never left mine (reviewing plan sets for landscape compliance with the development ordinance, and assistance to the historic preservation commission). You would probably rise faster and have more opportunities with training in planning. On the other hand, planning won’t satisfy a deep desire to do site design, and a planning degree is not training that will help you in most LA offices. Money is important but life is long – base the decision on what you know about yourself and where you think you can weather the ups and downs. Notice I didn’t say “do what you enjoy the most.” You can’t really predict how far you can go, you probably won’t have a completely smooth ride, and both can be satisfying when they are the right fit.

    #3472547

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well that’s great although I still think you are describing the payoff at the end of the process and confirming what the topic started with, being valuable once the rubber hits the road and not just in allure. What I mean by 1/3 is not literal mathematically as much as how it can “feel” compared to what observers may believe looking at big victory type presentations. I’m counting all the researching, goodwill cultivating, professional development, growing of skills and searching out potential projects that offer more challenge, adding specialties covered, staying flexible for economic gyrations, or even expanding the geographical reach of the practice, along with the cultivation of referrals. Nothing is static any more but most of the public is generally more familiar with what a teacher or a pharmacist does and even a bit of educational outreach comes into it sometimes. Congrats to you Andrew…

    #3472541

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Absolutely…I may not have said it well. There is not really much of a “pre-existing” necessity for LA in the real world, however much we conceive it should be recognized and “believe” in the “good” it can do. You have to demonstrate worthiness once you get an opening. Those just aren’t waiting out there to jump into in the way that future theorists tend to imply and graduates tend to assume. I’d say something like 1/3 or more of the total effort on a project often goes into just getting the project.

    #234556

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Well in a nutshell our problem has always been getting into the process early enough to even demonstrate the enhancement of aesthetics. But I think you are stressing that to even be at the influence table requires good technical skills or why would anybody invite us at all? And I kind of worry about what students are coming to expect. I hesitate to answer the young writers who give opinions on future trends. It hardly makes sense to me. I feel like saying, sure, we LA’s are going to be seated at some urban Davos-like convening of the world-mind to plot the course of the built environment…when really all most of us can do is to keep underlying values in the picture as we meet real project conditions and constraints. That “inner circle” idea may exist for members of major firms on well budgeted projects, but won’t be the role of the typical small practice. We must be able to cover the technical side without failing on that last half of what you wrote.

    #233057

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’ll make an attempt at this, although it is U.S. in context and may date back a few years although I’m in contact with more experiences than just my own.

    1. The mystery only you can solve. There are various ways, but you could start by asking yourself what you want and then plot how to position yourself best…although once you get some work, it has a tendency to roll in the same direction. So, if you want to tackle residential, you could offer to assist design-build firms and offer to give talks to garden clubs, newcomers, etc. while if you want to work on more various types (industrial, multi-family etc.) and include grading plans, storm drainage, etc. you might contact area architects and engineers for times they are overwhelmed. Even if you aren’t licensed, there may be somebody in the office who can go over your work to be sure it can pass under their seal.

    2. This has been done even in the paper hand drawing days, with work carried or mailed in, so it certainly can be offered on line, but will have to be marketed. Once you have some samples, set up a flicker or Land8 portfolio to refer to or at least have some samples to send as attachments to aid in discussions. I don’t think it would be a majority of firms but on the other hand, even one who doesn’t want to go with a full hiring might send you repeat work on an as-needed basis.

    3. That is really a matter of luck in pulling in some of the possibilities in 1. or 2. above, and depends on size of project, etc. But if you are still slow because of just starting out, or you can’t tackle what could cause you financial liabilities, you need to not overprice yourself and also learn there is some work to avoid, even when hungry. I think having some other part time income that uses graphic skills would be a support strategy.

    #212662

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I thought this had earlier answers but I may have it confused with another post. The question in various forms (whether to change degrees etc.) comes up a lot and you may want to scan earlier history of postings to see more professional answers.

    Basically, I didn’t have to incur debt myself due to being in an earlier era when education wasn’t so expensive. What I can say is that the field is not as recognized or established as a “necessity” in development as we all would like to believe it should be, or may become. Unless you are in a fortunate market and well-established firm, there is real exposure to economic downturns, although yes it can be satisfying when things are good. I know $40-$50k doesn’t sound fabulous for a beginning salary, but you can hardly expect $80-$100k with no license or experience. So the debt could be a drawback unless all roads you look at are equally debt producing.

    Urban Planning demands much less creative graphic design skills and is I think better entrenched in local government organizations. It definitely is not about highways and traffic systems unless you gravitate towards transportation planning. Even then, you would be doing studies and engineers the designing. Most planners work on long-range land use / “area” plans, updates to local ordinances, zoning cases, conditional or special use cases, variances, historic preservation. They also review submissions for building permits and check plans for proper setbacks, watershed compliance and other issues that may need revision. (Fire, public services, police etc. add separate comments before issuance of permits). At least that is my experience.

    As far as office environments, nope if the office can’t afford it or the local government is using older structures there is no guarantee of any aesthetic office space but I’ve never been in a truly dark or depressing one either.

    I hope that helps, sorry for late response.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 203 total)

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