When I was in college I decided that all I wanted in life was to be an architectural designer. I didn’t care much about getting registered as a licensed architect, I didn’t care much about learning the industry, I just wanted to design, and I felt like I was the type of person who would be a good designer. I had an understanding of design, of history, of theory, of current trends, of structural engineering, and a desire to learn more about all of those things.
When I got my first job in architecture, I was put in a position to design, almost exclusively. And I loved it. My job was incredible and eye-opening and wonderful and I wouldn’t have traded the experience and my time there for anything.
But I didn’t get paid anything. I took a pay cut from a part time job to work full time, beyond full time often putting in 60 hour weeks and almost always putting in 50. I didn’t mind the hours but I knew I couldn’t raise a family like that, not if I was going to get what I wanted out of my life. I did mind the pay. I openly laughed when they told me my pay and they responded with take it or leave it.
My second job in architecture offered me comfortable pay and easy hours. I travelled a lot, which I loved but couldn’t do with a family either. But the work was boring with no design or imagination involved at all. I’m glad for the time I had there because I worked downtown Detroit and loved that. I loved taking the bus to work. I loved my coworkers. It was a great place to work, besides the work.
While I was at my second job in the field I decided to go back to school and work on getting registered. However I decided while at school that maybe a career shift over to teaching might be more appropriate. Since both of my last two jobs were not what I wanted in some capacity, and realizing the industry was structured like this in general, high design means no money lots of work, corporate work means no design. I decided to step away and into the classroom when the time was right.
I pursued a degree that would allow me to teach and practice, an M.Arch in theory and history. I had the goal of teaching studio, or even theory or history at a university.
But I had major breakdown in the middle of all of this and I lost my job and my schooling. And since my baby was only a couple of months away I reacted quickly and took a job I knew was waiting for me, with my father in law, selling robotics equipment. And it is none of the three things I previously thought I would be doing.
Most days I really miss architecture. It has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. But now I have found a job that is stable, pays well, easy hours. And while it takes care of my biggest passion, my family. Hopefully it is something I learn to love in the future.