Monday, March 4, 2013

Further thoughts on recent posts: getting licensed and having a life

As I head out of a big deadline into a week-long business trip, I've been mulling over comments and emails I've received regarding two recent posts. The first was the post about possibly being penalized for having a life outside of work and not always putting work first.  Comments and emails I've received seemed to push back on unreasonable bosses and firms, but they also seemed to advocate for a sensible balance of life and work.  Will a few extra hours here and there leave your children and spouse in an angst-filled place for which they'll need years of therapy in the future? Probably not.  Will missing big events (little league games, ballet recitals, birthday parties) affect them deeply and rob you of valuable time with your family?  Probably so.  Again, it's about balance.  Being able to pitch in when needed at the last minute is a sign you can be counted on, but when your job seems to be more about being a firefighter (that is, you're having to pitch in at the last minute several times a month), then it's time to draw the line.

I'd like to hear from more people about whether or not to get licensed.  So far I've heard from someone who had a decent list of reasons not to get licensed and from someone who sounds like they're really burned out from too many years and too many bad projects.  Are there any interns out there who have several years' experience but decided not to get licensed, or can share why they haven't yet gotten licensed?


  1. I am really at a crossroads on whether I want to get licensed. On the one hand (or perhaps, "at the moment"), I am a bit burnt out at my job and the projects are repetitive. The coworkers are great, but the office policies keep piling up, and my office has sued ex-employees in the past (really big trust breaker with my firm). Right now I am saving up for a wedding and a house, and have a hard time thinking of how I can set aside the money to take my exams. My intuition is telling me that getting my license isn't necessarily going to make me happy (or not right now, at least).
    On the other hand, I am marrying someone in the same field. I don't want to have to explain to people in the future that we met in school, and that he is licensed (next on his list, he started before me) and I am not. This might sound like a strange reason, but it's very compelling for me. It isn't my only reason that I should take my exams, but it's the reason that's causing me enough discomfort to say, "maybe I should do this."
    Right now, I am riding this out to see how I feel next. I have some things going on in my life right now that I feel I need to pay attention to before I make the next important decision in my life, and that's OK with me.

    1. As a fellow woman looking into licensure and deciding my path over the next 5-10 years, I've to say, PLEASE get licensed. I know you love your husband and your relationship is undoubtedly everything to you, but we need to be selfish every once and a while. Don't let one bad employer control the future of your career, and don't let a relationship, either.

      Do it for you! It's important in the long haul.

  2. I’ve been working as an Intern Architect for the past 7 years. In that time I have completed my IDP requirements and have applied to take my ARE. However, over the past few years I have not scheduled a test and do not have any plans in the immediate future to do so. In my situation, I have not found any benefit beyond personal recognition to get licensed, given that no compensation is given for testing. Until you become a Principal of this company, you will not get to sign drawings, effectively leaving you as a Project Architect, a role that I am perceived to manage as anyway. So like some have said before me, it just increases my liability within the company for a marginal increase in wage. The end goal is to test and gain licensure, but in the meantime, I can get by as a non-licensed PA.

  3. If one can, one should get licensed. It gives you options.

  4. I see no reason to not get licensed, if your company won't give you compensation (financially or otherwise) then its easy to leave that company. I'm lucky that my company offered a significant pay increase to get licensed and paid for me to take my tests. It's rare, the last firm I was at offered a pen (yes you read that right), a minor insignificant pay increase, and no help on the costs of the tests. The way I see it, getting licensed gives you options, either within your own company or outside of it. No one wants to be the 50 yr old "intern" that can't get a job when layoffs happen because firms are very cautious about hiring someone thats gone that long w/ no ambition of getting licensed.