Thursday, October 13, 2011

Career Alternatives

Dr. Architecture,

I have seen your blog and I wanted to get your thoughts concerning career alternatives.  I am currently 45 years old with a wife and two young children.  I am the breadwinner in the household while my wife homeschools our children.  I have been interested in architecture for as long as I can remember -- especially old historic buildings.  However, when it came time to go to college, I opted to go into accounting because 1) I thought that I wouldn't be able to make a living in architecture, and 2) I lack good drawing/artistic skills.  After 20+ years in a career which bores me, I regret having not gone to architecture school, and at least tried architecture.  While it is, I suppose, still possible to return to school, it really is no longer a very practical alternative given my situation.  I was wondering if you had any thoughts concerning career alternatives for someone in my predicament.  Thanks. 


Thanks for taking the time to review the ARCHCareers blog.

At one level, I would say that you should go for it as you have plenty of productive work years remaining in your life; Philip Johnson, one of the most influential 20th century architects, practiced architecture until his death in his 90s after becoming licensed at 39.

With that said, I caution you because of the commitment in time and expense which may influence your decision as you are the breadwinner.  With your accounting degree, you could pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years), but you would need to take some drawing courses for purposes of a portfolio.

Besides the track of becoming an architect, I wonder if there are design related fields that you could pursue that may not take as long in terms of additional education but still provide your the career satisfaction that you are not currently getting.

I highly suggest the book -
What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles for insight.  You may also wish to consider contacting your alma mater to see how they help alum with career services.

As another route, see if you can pursue accounting work with an architecture or design firm.  In this way, you are connected to architecture.


No comments: