The reasons

choice

Seem­ingly a naïf ques­tion, it instead addresses one of the most unpal­pap­ble, unwrit­ten dis­putes on prac­tic­ing Archi­tec­ture: The hid­den agenda. The plan for the future. It is, in a way, the: “what do you want to be as a grown up” kind of question.

A young archi­tect, freshly out of uni­ver­sity, is faced with the choice of thou­sands of offices to apply to. The scale is global, and so is the ambition.

Par­tic­i­pants were offered 5 pos­si­ble answers to the question:

  • 17 — rep­u­ta­tion of the office
  • 9 — clear future career opportunity
  • 55 — learn­ing opportunity
  • 11 — no other choice
  • 23 — other (specify)

55 respon­dents indi­cated learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties as the rea­son behind their choice. Together with the sec­ond biggest group1, rep­u­ta­tion of the office, they form a vast major­ity.
The aver­age income of those who applied and work at an office for learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties is the low­est, as they signed, will­ingly or not, an intern­ship agree­ment for a tem­po­rary con­tract.
The results of this response imply the state­ment: I am will­ing to sac­ri­fice my income, if at least I can do an inter­est­ing job. Or if that job will look extremely pres­ti­gious on my CV. And for all we can assume an unde­clared moti­va­tion: After grad­u­a­tion, I wasn’t ready to work in a per­ma­nent job.

why-do-you-4

The very few that, instead, responded with future career oppor­tu­ni­ties, based their choice on a sta­ble and reli­able work­ing envi­ron­ment, and they form the group whose income is, by far, the highest.

(It should be noted that the high­est income recorded in this sur­vey is just above the legal min­i­mum).
I won­der, does a higher income nec­es­sar­ily mean less inter­est­ing projects? How is a career dif­fer­ent from a learn­ing oppor­tu­nity and how is it that this dif­fer­ence dou­bles the income?

There is an ide­al­is­tic mind­set, part of the edu­ca­tion and embed­ded in the way of think­ing typ­i­cal of this field, that pushes all those young archi­tects to self-immolation for the sake of a greater abstract good.
Is the assump­tion I am work­ing at a well-known office, so one day I will be a good Archi­tect still valid today?

Con­sid­er­ing all fac­tors involved, prob­a­bly not.

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2 thoughts on “The reasons

  1. Colt Sievers says:

    well, being in a well-know office sup­po­sivly opens wider oppor­tu­ni­ties after­wards, how­ever it is also true the oppo­site, mean­ing that to be overqual­i­fied do not pay back always…

  2. admin says:

    The lady on the fea­ture image (4th per­son from the left) looks like Peggy Olsen from Madmen

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94Maggie

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2017-08-06 12:09:32

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multitude- multitude

on Survey

2015-04-01 13:27:31

[…] the spon­ta­neous responses to the last ques­tion of the sur­vey car­ried out in […]

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 18:10:56

@Colt Sievers I will be the first to agree with you on all counts. I would love to read that article. If you ever want to publish it on my blogg please do not hesitate to contact me.

Colt Sievers

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:58:10

@Conrad having worked in one of those offices that you mention, I have found your post as much provocative as naive and simplistic. I should make an entire post to explain why... will leave that for later. Thanks, anyway, to keep the discussion alive

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:45:07

Besides my terrible diction or lack thereof this raises another issue. Should we really feel outrage or sympathy for these interns? After all the ones who can afford to take these kind of jobs are the sons and daughters of the wealthy. What this letter is, is infact symbolic capital and social significance for sale. The rich kid can buy this piece of significance for among other reasons to go to a party and say to his less affluent counterpart, "hey I work for SANAA, or DS+R or whoever. Where do you work again?" Its a status symbol, just like a porsche, or a private jet. Affordable to a selected few that can afford it.