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Career Story: Partner In A Small Architectural Firm

Partner In A Small Architectural Firm

Job Title: Architect

Type of Company: My firm specializes in high-end residential and health care design.

Education: BS, Architecture, Syracuse University

Previous Experience: I have worked at three architectural firms, and I am now a partner in a small firm of my own.

Job Tasks: As both a designer and officer in my company, my responsibilities are numerous and since our firm is a small one, both my partner and I are involved in the business and design sides.

My day starts most often with phone calls to contractors who are working on projects that are under construction, though sometimes I email them or meet them at the job site. There is always communication between my clients and myself, whether it be to answer questions or to make changes to plans that are in the design process. Communicating and performing administrative tasks consume much of my day, while designing, revising drawings and brainstorming about ideas usually comes in the late afternoon/early evening when the phones stop ringing and the e-mails stop coming in.

As a starting architect, I spent most of my days drafting other people's work. This was not fulfilling for me, so I made strides to make my own contacts and start doing my own projects on the side. I have been in business for myself for nearly 9 years now, and even with all the non-architectural work that's required to run a practice, I would never want to go back to a large firm.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being my own boss; I enjoy designing interesting projects; I enjoy dealing with my clients directly, one-on-one; I love seeing something I have designed come to fruition and see my clients enjoy what I have created for them

Worst: Not knowing if there is another project around the corner; having to skip a paycheck if a client does not pay an invoice; having to deal with unhappy clients; and spending days dealing with administrative issues instead of designing.

Job Tips:
1. While you are working at a firm, always seem interested in what you are doing (even if you aren't). Your superior will always be inclined to give you more to do if he or she feels you 'get it'.

2. Get your work done quickly and effectively and check it over to make sure it contains no mistakes. Your superiors hate spending time editing your work, so make sure it's correct.

3. Be creative. Read magazines to keep abreast of current trends and then improve on them.

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