a leap of faith, or “aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! *splat*”

I do a lot of reading and about half of it is blogs. So, by extension I get a lot of emails. I don’t always read all of them (ok…most, but who’s keeping track), but the title of this post caught my eye and I was intrigued enough to read it’s contents. The title “leap of faith” is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, especially as I continue down this path of perpetual moonlighting. Eventually I know that I will have to make one of two choices:

a) take on less projects and keep chugging along with the day job as an Intern-soon-to-be-Architect

or

b) take the proverbial Leap of Faith and “hang my shingle”, as the old saying goes

The easy course of action, is obviously the first choice. The not-so-easy and mind numbingly terrifying option is “b” – to formally strike out on my own. But ironically enough, about a week or two after starting to write this post I got a push towards option b. It was not planned, though it had been on the horizon as a possibility for a while. The fateful event?

My day job went from full time to part time due to a lack of new work over an extended period of time. Same old story you hear everywhere – clients sitting on contracts waiting for *insert random excuse for why a project can’t move forward on time here*.  As a consequence of this, I’ve had to reach out to other architects and designers to offer my design/drafting/awesomeness services as a freelancer even heavier. This hasn’t completely been a bad thing. I still have several side projects that are nearing completion – the LA House is in for plan check, the kitchen remodel is being reviewed for contractor pricing and a few others are sprinkling in here and there.

Also, a new opportunity has sprung up in a very unlikely place – Little Rock, Arkansas. I know..you’re thinking “say whaaa??!!” and that’s exactly what I thought too. I applied for a full time position almost on a whim, thinking I’d never actually get a call back. But then I did get a call back, and a phone interview, and now in just over a week I’ll be headed up there with my family to check the place out and have a face to face with the principal of the firm. To say I’m excited about this new prospect would be an understatement. My wife and I have talked about getting out of Jacksonville for a while and this seems to be the major push we needed – necessity.

Now, while this move would put my moonlighting on hold for the foreseeable future, it would open up new and interesting opportunities in formal day to day practice which makes it more than worth it. So, as the economy continues to chug along it is becoming increasingly evident that the future of the profession is going to have to be much more lean and mean than it currently is. Gone are the days of big box firms of 50 or 100 or more. The future of real architecture is going to be a network of individuals all working together in collaboration rather than in more conventional firm structures.

There simply isn’t enough room for business as usual. Architectural practice as we know it is changing by the day. We’re becoming increasingly connected via internet file sharing and other collaborative softwares. Some are even built-in to our drafting software like in the case of BIM integration between disciplines. It’s either time to rise with the changing tide or get swept away by it. Which will it be for you?

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