As the rest of the past week continued to be unhappily slow, work-wise, I remained in an introspective state of mind. In particular, I reflected on my career choice as an architect.
I wondered, Are most careers this exposed to the vagaries of the economy? Would there have been a better choice of livelihood? How did I end up in this profession anyway? I’ve been compelled by circumstances to review the whole process.
I followed up high school by enrolling at the Big Ten University located in my hometown. I had no particular occupation goal at the time. I partly enrolled because so many of my friends did also and to run on the track team. My first semester tuition and fees ran a total of $124.00, so it seemed like a relatively inexpensive, low-hazard experiment.
I began in the Urban Planning curriculum at the suggestion of my dad. I had little idea of what planners did, but the curriculum did include some art and graphics courses, which interested me more than the other freshman requirements. In my first semester, I took a sophomore level basic design course in the architecture curriculum.
Toward the end of the semester, my teaching-assistant instructor, who was working on a master’s degree in architecture himself, told me that I seemed to do well at the work and should give some thought to transferring into the architecture program. I said I would.
Upon leaving the class those thoughts consisted of mainly, I wonder how much architect’s make? and, I wonder if chicks dig architects? All I knew of architecture students at the time was that they seemed to pull an extraordinary number of all-nighters in their design studios. In spite of that, I had met a few at some social functions and none of the urban planning variety, so I concluded the risk was tolerable regarding my concerns and met with the dean that afternoon to transfer into architecture.
It was like reading from the wrong roadmap but somehow still driving to the right destination.
Even with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t know that I would have chosen a different path, although it might have been for more judicious reasons than my then 18 years old mind could conjure up. Anyway, it just seemed like a good fit at the time and still does.
That was close to four decades ago. This is the third significant (and worst) recession we’ve experienced over that period. The first two were tough enough on business, but as the economy now de-leverages, the fed issues a flood of fiat money and the government’s solution to the problem of overspending is to overspend with more zeal and increase the number of programs to be funded, it’s hard to see how this can end soon (or well).
Time will tell. I’m imagining they’ll need some architects in Haiti, but the economy there is worse than in our neighborhood. Pray for Haiti. Pray for the U.S. too.