You did it! You finished those grueling years of architecture school, perfected your portfolio and your interview pitch, and you landed your first job with an architecture firm. Everyone told you that working in a firm would be lightyears different from what you were used to doing in school, but until you get out there yourself, there is really no way to know just what that might entail. Once you’ve tackled life’s bigger questions about surviving outside of architecture school, you still have to learn to function in a day-to-day job. The learning curve is steep and it can certainly be overwhelming, but you’ve made it this far and there are a few lessons and skills you are sure to gain quickly as you start your career. 1. You might not do much designing. We might as well get this one out of the way. We’ve all heard the horror stories of new employees becoming nothing more than Revit-monkeys and slowly wasting away in front of their computers working on toilet partition details. While it’s not necessarily going to be that bleak, don’t expect to be given a big design assignment on your first day at the office. This, of course, depends on the type and size of firm you work for. A smaller firm is often more likely to give you experience on a wide variety of tasks, including some design work, while larger firms often have their employees take on more specialized roles. Under what conditions you work best is up to you to figure out, and you may not always get it right the first time. If you’re not happy with the kind of tasks you are given, you can always ask your supervisor about taking on different responsibilities, but it may help you to expand your mental definition of “designing.” Even the more mundane-seeming assignments you may be given still require careful thought and decision-making and you can really “design” all the work you do by applying the design thinking you have developed to the task in front of you.
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