Education + Architecture: 50 Things

50 Things I didn’t learn in Architecture School

1.) Don’t send an email for everything, they live forever and get sent around

2.) Be wary of moonlighting “opportunities”, there is a reason they aren’t coming in the front door

3.) Don’t dress like an intern, get some pants that don’t say ‘Dockers’ of the back

4.) Perception is reality; it doesn’t always matter if you’re right or not

5.) Be extra nice to the I.T. person

6.) Architectural firms have different glass ceilings based on the job title - know what they are

7.) Talking like an architect makes you sound like you are trying too hard to sound like you know something

8.) Listen to people who have been around the block, they know things

9.) Pay attention to what’s important to you, learn who you are, not who you want to be

10.) All firms are wildly different, try and determine the culture of the workplace

11.) When you are sick, stay at home – nobody wants your cooties

12.) Architects work in a service industry, try and remember that you work for someone else

13.) It’s architecture not emergency surgery, mix in some hobbies during the weekend

14.) Learn how the business is run and how to sell work, it’s more important than being a designer

15.) Even when your Boss is your friend, they will fire you

16.) Most people don’t like coffee breath even if it is from Starbucks coffee

17.) Never get drunk at office functions, people will remember you forever as “that person”

18.) Being good at CAD does not make you a good architect

19.) Unless it’s in your job description, don’t get coffee for the Boss – nobody likes a suck up, not even your Boss

20.) Know what your role is and do it

21.) Your Boss doesn’t care why you didn’t do what he asked; excuses and reasons sound a lot alike

22.) Ask for opportunities; don’t wait for them to come to you

23.) Keep your outside business outside the business

24.) If your firm is outsourcing work, fix up your resume

25.) If your firm justifies long hours as “part of the training of interns” look for a different firm

26.) Be a participant in developing your career – nobody can read your mind and know what you want

27.) The eating habits you had in school should stay in school

28.) Having a graduate degree in something other than architecture can actually make you a better architect

29.) No matter how great you think you are, until your name is on the door, be prepared to do what you are asked to do

30.) Once you leave architecture school, people don’t want to talk about architecture all the time

31.) Your school portfolio doesn’t have the value you think it does and once you have a real job, expect to leave it in the closet forever

32.) Being a good designer is more about giving people what they want, not what you want

33.) You should have pulled your last all-nighter back in school, be suspicious of the firm where this pattern continues

34.) Learn how to speak well in public – take a class if needed

35.) Don’t be a jerk about sustainability; there are many priorities on a project

36.) Volunteer some of your time to charity – any charity

37.) Most architects will never live in a house that they designed for themselves

38.) Pay attention to everyone’s opinion, and treat them with respect

39.) Hand drawing is not a gift; it’s a skill and has value beyond creating pretty pictures

40.) Don’t wear sneakers to work – dress like you could have a client meeting that day

41.) Don’t yell at people even if you’re angry, and never send an email when you’re angry

42.) The person in school that you thought had terrible designs – but could talk about their project - will be your boss

43.) The person who can sell work has more value than the person who can design the work

44.) Staying up at work all night isn’t cool, get your work done during regular hours and go home to your friends and family

45.) Make friends with people who aren’t architects

46.) You will always work with someone you don’t like, find a way to make it work

47.) Running a business is difficult and stressful; the person who signs your paychecks deserves to be paid more than you

48.) Don’t burn any bridges – architects are a small community of people and you will run into the same people over and over again

49.) Read books without pictures in them every once and awhile

50.) You can’t always control your clients, if you see a project that looks really bad, maybe the client made them do it. Be nice.

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