Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The latest issue of Architectural Record, the main publication of the American Institute of Architects, was titled, "Surviving the Recession: The Strategy Issue." Usually, Record's covers are some high-quality beautiful photos or some amazing building or another, usually not in America, or if it is in America, in some huge super-edgy-design city like New York or San Francisco. This month's cover is a bright safety orange with white, yellow, and black letters.
Oh, no! Is there a recession going on, Record? Did it just happen? But...but your covers and pages have been plastered with amazing and glorious paeans to Pilkington Glass connectors and $400/sf projects for the entirety of 2008! How can this be? I rolled my eyes so hard at this that I nearly looked at my brain. What of it that I hadn't wasted away listening to Ricky Gervais podcasts and watching "Ax Men" and "Ghost Hunters" was left behind screaming, "WOW, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, I LIKE YOUR CAPE!!"
As usual, though, I'm of two minds. I'm also glad that they finally pulled it together at McGraw-Hill and figured out that most architects and interns were dropping their glossy architectural-money-shot-parading piece of quasijournalistic solipsism straight into the recycle bin without a moment's glance. Kinda difficult to skim the archiporn if you're worried about having a job or making sure your employees do. I'm impressed that the question "Will young architect flee the profession?" made the cover, but not impressed that I can't really find any answer for it inside. There's a 2/3 page dedicated to describing what some young architects, interns, and architectural college grads are doing right now per their self-reports on an AIA website, but I'm not seeing much else. Granted, I'm sorta skimming the issue in my lap as I type. (If any of you out there find a real answer regarding what they're referring to on the cover, holla.) I'm also encouraged to see a good article on surviving and staying active as possible in the profession. The first and I think best suggestion is to get ready. Make sure you have references, write your resume and gather copies of your email contacts now. Many firms aren't allowing people enough time to do a thorough clean-up/out when the defecation hits the oscillation.
What strikes me most about this whole issue is that, even though it's the issue I'm most likely to read of Record, I'm not terribly interested in reading it. Partly it's because I'm tired of being reminded of how shitty everything is in my profession right now. I can look at my office full of empty desks and my 10% smaller paycheck and know that. But more than that, Guy and I have already discussed what we'll do if I get laid off. My resume is 95% ready and my image sheet is about 50% ready. I'll complete them (maybe in the next week or more?), get the unemployment office to allow me to send out only three resumes a week (down from the typical five; many of my former colleagues have done this) and collect unemployment while I write one of two books I'm working on. We've saved up a cushion that will fill the gap in my unemployment for about 4-5 months, without including the unemployment benefits. We'll have to figure out COBRA and healthcare, but other than that , there's no point in losing my/our mind(s) over it.
Posted by Mile High Pixie at 6:00 AM