Take it or Leave it- The Patch Job

Recently I had dinner with a friend who, like myself, is an unemployed intern.  In networking speak we are “in between firms”. Kindred spirits in a way, after we were laid-off from our respective firms we both chose to have an adventure and move to Colorado this past year. Naturally our conversations turn to our job hunt frustrations. My friend informed me that her unemployment rate from where she moved from is so high she would have to find a $14/hr job to match it. Now to an industry-outsider it may seem easy for a person with a Master’s degree to do. Au contraire!

We’ve discovered our resumes are so specialized and so highly credentialed that finding a “worthy” job outside of our industry is incredibly difficult…dare I say impossible. We both thought it would be easier to get a job if we dumbed down our resumes and take our Masters degrees off! Once during an interview I had for a manager position the final comment was, “I see you’ve been very focused in architecture. Tell me, what’s the point of hiring you if you’ll leave the moment you get an architect job?”  Uugghh… I literally heard crickets.

These situations are so discouraging; it seems more productive to focus our energies towards the ultimate goal of getting a job in architecture.  My friend has the luxury to do this. Couldn’t we all be so lucky? Because she’s new to the area, her top priorities are building her network and getting her name out. She can take her time and focus on finding the right position. As for me, even with getting the maximum support from my former state, my unemployment rate was 30% less than hers. I needed to find any type of work until an architecture job came through. I knew myself well enough to know I needed to be busy and working. It clears my head, distracts me from anxiety and helps me feel like a contributing member of society. So to keep me sane, I took a patch job.

Patch Job [pach job] n. – not ideal employment usually outside of one’s preferred industry; used to fill the hole in a resume

It is a viable solution but with a catch. The patch job cuts down on the time I want, and need, to devote to finding a job in architecture. Wait-a-second…so do I keep the job if unemployment pays the same amount? It’s a hard question. My friend and I started listing reasons for both sides. To keep a patch job would mean a stable source of money, experience in something, and a sense of stability. But valid arguments for leaving a patch job would be if it doesn’t pay enough, it takes time away from the architect job search, or just maybe the work is embarrassing and it would be humiliating to admit to doing. The conversation ended with silence; a moment of reflection before sipping our wine and moving on to another topic.

The fact of the matter is most folks work for the paycheck and have their true passions elsewhere. What sort of patch job have you had or do have? What did you do on the side to keep you connected to your passions?

One thought on “Take it or Leave it- The Patch Job

  1. Pingback: It’s Time to Move On. « AIA Colorado EP Blog

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