The profession seems to have been glorified to the point where those of us who do it are perceived as part the 1%, a pinnacle usually reserved for the corporate CEO, the doctor, the lawyer, the banker, the hedge fund manager, etc. How? Why? I don’t know. The mainstream media? The film industry? Sadly, those who pursue the profession for the gobs of money, a big house and a sports car do not realize, until it’s too late, that the union carpenters, plumbers and even the their laborers that they interact with on many projects are making more, AND punching out at 3pm.
The following question was posed on my previous blog post, 8 Myths About Architects. I felt that it deserved (needed) a post of it’s own.
September 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm
I googled ‘Myths About Architects’ and your site came up. I am a second semester Architecture student and I am having second thoughts, I do not have a passion for it, but my professors says that I have “a tremendous amount of ability” and “that there is a lot of talent and intelligence” in me. So, my question is, how is “a life of an architect”, I feel like if I don’t like it now, would I like it later? How far should I go before I decide to drop? I’m afraid of regretting it. Do architects make a lot of money? I know some of them do, but I mean what does it take for an architect to make lots of money?
September 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Out here, far away from the glamor and romance of the university architecture studio, a jaded architect who does this for the money will say “RUN!”, and then while flailing about he or she will rant negatively about what we do. Another architect in the same room who does this for reasons not related to money will stand up and say “Wait a minute, before you go…”, and proceed to talk you to death about his passion for what he does. It’s a personal preference but success, whether it’s being happy or wealthy, at any level will require passion… and patience.
But like any career you have to determine what YOU want out of it AND what you want to do with it. Being an architect can be frustrating and lonely. No one really understands what we do and can’t see the value unless their project requires a stamp. Some architects do not feel rewarded unless they get that big paycheck, and for them the frustration will likely cause weariness and resentment, wishing they chose a more financially rewarding career. That’s not to say an architect can’t make a lot of money. Those who do are likely doing something in addition to designing and building, such as real estate development. Those architects who are indeed able to break into the 1% by doing only architecture will tell you that it takes hard work, mind numbing patience, days and days without sleep and countless unappreciative bosses and clients. But they are probably at peace and comfortable with their choice, fueled by their passion to create places for people to live, work, play and pray. A couple of dream clients that we all search the horizon for tend to help as well. However, this breakthrough in the careers of what the industry calls “starchitects” is not likely to occur at all for most of us, if one does reach that level of success it will not be until he or she begins to approach the age of 50.
If by your 2nd year you are not waking at 5am and rushing to your studio to study and test an idea, on a project that will never be built, working for what seems like just a few hours only to realize that the sun is rising and it’s the day after tomorrow. Then it might be time to explore some options. The talents that you use to design a composition of rooms, or buildings are not relegated only to architecture. Right brain thinkers are also found in fashion, film making, mechanical engineering (designing cars, door knobs or toys… not HVAC systems), even software engineers and entrepreneurs need that level of creativity. If you have not found your passion don’t sweat it, your young. Stay where you are for awhile, see where it takes you.
But don’t take just my word for it. There are other bloggers out there who are architects. See what they have to say…
Photos used with creative commons license