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.
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.