The last time the industry entered into uncertain times was back during the Financial Crisis of 2008, and the impact we saw from this event was catastrophic for architects and designers of all kinds. The lack of opportunity in the industry after 2008 was so low, that many architects were forced to change industry completely, and many have yet to come back.
One of the groups of architects that got hit hardest were the small firms and independent architects. Now that we have new uncertain times ahead, we thought it would be helpful to provide 5 different ideas for you to be able to weather the current storm and come out even better on the other side.
1.) Improve your skills and become indispensable
First thing first! You are able to decide how you will improve yourself, or not. Start by being honest with yourself about the areas that you can improve in. What are your career goals? If you want to work in the USA, you will have to show your strong grasp of Revit. During these times of uncertainty and upheaval it is important to understand what you can control about your situation, and how to improve it.
Try to go back to your past interview experiences, and remember the areas that were your weaknesses and how you can improve in those areas. If you had a hard time expressing and communicating your ideas, maybe you should work with a friend or family member to create mock interviews and prepare your answers for those tough questions. This self-improvement is up to you to decide, but try to be realistic and honest with yourself, so you do not spend time on areas that are already strengths.
2.) Network! Network! Network! Connect with the decision makers
During tough times, your network may help you gain access to opportunities that normally would be more accessible, but due to the uncertainty, may lead to the firm going with the safer choices. If the decision makers already know who you are and what you can bring to the table, then you will be able to better convince them of your candidacy for an opportunity with them.
If you already have the job, by knowing and relating with the decision makers you may have a better chance at staying with the firm, due to your strong relationships. Remember! Firms are communities of people, so make sure you are contributing to the community during the good times, so when the bad times come they will attribute your energy and love for helping with you as a professional.
3.) Be able to wear many different hats and have a flexible attitude
When the firm is forced to make hard decisions, they will be forced to weigh the different options they have. What does this mean? Well, if you can take on many different roles and responsibilities then you are less likely to be fired. The decision makers will try to maximize their efficiency, which means costs vs services provided.
Try to be the architect or designer that is able to wear many different hats and provides the firm with the flexibility and lower costs they need to succeed and grow. Your flexibility during the hard times will be remembered during the good times, when the firm will be able to compensate you for your hardworking and time.
4.) Create many different streams of income
As an individual, you should have multiple income streams, so that you are not dependent on just one. This can range from tutoring classes to freelance work to applying your hobbies towards making money. First, start with what you can offer on your own to another person. Are you really skilled in drawing and sketching? Maybe you could start teaching your techniques and skills or you can try to target small companies with small marketing budgets to create a campaign for them with your art skills.
Think outside the box! Do not just focus your skills to the architecture industry, you may be able to spread yourself to other areas that may be growing, rather than shrinking.
5.) Be willing to make concessions and have a strong grasp of the industry currents
This ties into the previous point, that you must be willing to be flexible and have various options to choose from when planning your next career steps. For example, let’s say the firm you are at must cut hours, yet they are exactly the kind of firm you would like to work at long term, considering their goals and focus are inline with yours.
Rather than leaving the firm for a better paying opportunity, maybe in the short term you are willing to reduce your hours to provide the firm with the time and flexibility they need to survive. Humans often focus on the short term goals and issues, while sacrificing the long term growth. Make sure you understand where the industry is going so you can plan your career steps accordingly.
We have 🔝 program advisors that can coach you and personalize their mentorship plan for you! That way you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career. 👍 Our Selection Committee of architects and designers with 10+ years of experience and have provided advice and expertise on the US market for countless architects and designers from around the world. 🤓