This is the time of year that graduates enter the workplace, or summer internships are available for students. I've decided to share these tips with young architects. Although it was written a few decades ago, it is still relevant to those just starting in the architectural profession. This list is for those just beginning their architectural career. This list is aimed at those with zero to three years of experience. This list would be great for anyone with less than seven years of experience. These principles are helpful for anyone starting a career or even a student interning for a term. Let's not get into a debate over the name of this group. I know that it exists, but there's no answer. These are my top tips for getting the most from your experience in architecture. Although they're more suitable for a smaller firm (less than 100 employees), these tips apply to all firms.
Speaking & Listening
1. Use headphones only in the workplace. Listening to the conversations around you will help you learn more. Even if the conversations are not with you, they benefit your knowledge. Be aware of small conversations around your desk. It may be okay to close your ears to focus on a particular task. However, keeping them open is best for everyone. I know virtual meetings have you wearing headphones more often than ever. Take them off (or take them out) and hear the sounds in the office.
2. Listen more than speak. This is another one that will allow you to learn. You should practice it daily for the first two to three years of your career. You may have much to say, but understanding the basics is essential. Refer to the next topic if you feel the urge to speak.
3. When you're unsure, speak up. Not at the time, but later. You may need the right time to ask questions, such as in the middle of a client's meeting or at another inappropriate time. But remember it and ask later. Let the person finish their explanation before you ask questions. Don't interrupt but ask questions to understand. You are here to learn about the process and practice of architecture.
4. Answer your questions. It is sometimes better to find the answers yourself. This shows initiative. Remember, you need to find the right balance between asking and discovering. You can find the answers you need by using any method. The internet doesn't have all the answers, which is surprising to many young professionals today. Speak to someone, even someone who is not in your company. Mentors can be excellent and, even better, great mentors! Other young professionals can be a valuable source of information. All of your peers have been through the same experience. They can be of assistance.
Expectations are important
5. Never make a promise you cannot keep. It's simple. This is a simple rule. There are people above you who will take you at your word. This is only the beginning of a cascade of consequences. Do not be the first flake.
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6. Expect to wait twice as long. Period. Give yourself more time to complete a task than you think it will. Double the time you think it will take. It's just a fact. Although it may get easier with time and experience, the first few times are always much more difficult. Task completion takes longer than you expect, whether because of new knowledge, new skills, or other things getting in the way. It feels good to finish early. You are usually expected to deliver on your promises, so make it easy for yourself and those around you.
7. Never make excuses. Ever! Take responsibility for what you did if you didn't complete your task, made a mistake, or needed help figuring out what to do. Do not say, "John didn't get it done, so I couldn't." As an adult, you should take full responsibility for your actions and any harmful consequences that may result. You will become a better individual. You will grow and improve your skills or knowledge. This is another part of a career that isn't "fun" or even very popular. But to me, it's essential.
8. Take note of how your superiors behave with others. You can learn a lot from your "higher-ups" at work. They will show you how to behave with other people in your office and clients, consultants and others outside the office. They will probably want you to behave the same way. If they're okay, let them set the mood. It is helpful initially; you will soon be able to develop your style. It can take a while to get this right, so be patient.
Learn on the Job
9. Don't overestimate yourself. I know that you have just received a degree from a prestigious university. . . You had a GPR of 3.8, but most likely, you don't know much about the practice. It's not your fault. Refrain from assuming that you understand or know what is going on. You will be bitten in the arse. Be humble when you are adjusting to your new work environment.
10. Why? This should be your favourite word. Not in a snarky rhetorical manner, but instead in the "I want to learn" style. It's a great way to improve your knowledge and, therefore, your usefulness. This curiosity allows your boss/supervisor/colleague to feel useful. Those above you may like to explain architectural terms. This article is about asking questions politely. They will be more than willing to indulge this curiosity if your office is attractive.
11. Materials used in the industry are essential to know. These are your primary tools. Before developing new ways of assembling materials, you must understand how they work together. Your 3D-rendered model may look amazing, but how does it hold together? What is the behaviour of materials? How are the details flashed on? It is this that will take your understanding and abilities to a new level. You can manipulate a system in new ways once you understand its components.
12. Take notes. You're on a new learning curve. Take notes. . . It will help you in the future. You will benefit from it in the future. It may help you remember it faster if you write it down. This is how most people learn. Only some people will know this way, but taking copious notes won't hurt you. You can then look back on the information without asking the same questions again.
Persistence is a valuable asset
13. It isn't all glamour in the profession. Accept this. Even your boss will have to do something they don't like. It could be more fun to work. You can't be bothered to think that all you have done today or this week is redlines, filing or other trivial work. Everybody in the office has to deal with this in some way. The indifference is different for everyone. In today's world, I understand this is not tolerated as much, but it is how most offices operate. All offices, not just the architecture. The mundane aspects of most careers are part and parcel of the job. Despite what you may read on the internet or social media, all jobs are boring somehow.
14. Do not give up. The first few years of your career will likely be challenging. You may need to work in a better place, no matter where you are. Do not give up your chosen career. It may be necessary to change firms, studios, or groups. Please do not give up on becoming an architect because your first job wasn't good. You can't stop it. Find another job. This is not to suggest that if you have a terrible first month, it is time to leave; this is also not a good idea. Give each one a chance before you go for a position (unless it is a complete nightmare). A chance lasts between six months and a year.
15. Work towards licensure. This is a susceptible subject. It is true that it costs money and requires time and effort. But it's what you went to college to be. Here is the process. The process is constantly changing, but the task remains manageable. Make sure to move in this direction as quickly as possible. It would be best to achieve this status since you will work in that profession. It may not matter to you, but you will benefit from obtaining the certificate. Set this as your realistic, attainable goal: to become a licensed architect with a capital "A". It's not impossible. It took me a long time to complete this process, but that was only because I did not make it a priority. This was off my radar during the first four years I worked. When I became aware of this because of professional reasons, I finished it in a short period. If you start with a goal in mind, you will achieve it.