Monday, April 29, 2013

Deadline after deadline...

Please forgive the recent silence, especially because it's going to be quiet here for all of May. My project has three deadlines in the next five weeks, so I'm pretty slammed of late.  (And my staff, God bless them, have been handling the relentless deadlines pretty well, even when I haven't been terribly pleasant.)  So instead of making a real post, I'm just going to post a few interesting links now and then.

Today's theme: abandonment (since that's what I'm going to have to do to Intern 101 until my deadlines are over in June):

First, actual abandoned architectural structures that look like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Speaking of abandoned buildings, this photographer takes pictures of elegant, abandoned buildings in Europe and produces some amazing images.

Then, a British mental hospital that was closed and is being turned into apartments--talk about adaptive reuse! But is this the right reuse for this type of building, especially one with a mixed history in a community?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Of Millennials and mentorship

A recent online article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek related the differences in mentoring the Millennial generation. The article stated some familiar yawn-inducing ground (the younger generation uses multiple mentors to get ahead instead of sticking with one main person with whom to connect) and brought up some new problems for the mentor-mentee relationship (the mentee is better at certain tasks, especially those pertaining to technology, than the mentor, and all the mentor's clients want to work with the mentee instead). It was a decent article, to be fair, but like many articles about generational differences, it makes me want to barf in my recycling bin.

When I discussed mentoring interns at the 2010 and 2011 national AIA conventions, one of the primary points of my presentation is that, while generation can affect a person's behavior more than race or gender, it is one's humanity that affects one most of all. Mentors in this article who felt irritated by a mentee's behavior in a meeting or calling or texting them late at night regarding routine questions seemed to  be complaining that it was the mentee's youth that made this a problem.  I dare say the root of the problem is a basic one that plagues even my colleagues from my same generation (Gen X, to be precise): not everyone was raised at your house.  I've had interns look bored and text their friends in meetings with consultants, and I've had other interns sit in those same kinds of meetings and take notes, ask questions, and contribute ideas. These interns all had similar levels of experience--the difference was the kind of person they were and the kind of intern--and architect--they wanted to be.

To me, it makes absolute sense for an intern--and in fact anyone regardless of age--to have more than one mentor in one's career.  If an intern was thinking about changing jobs, I might not be the best person to talk to about that, since I've only worked at one firm for 13 years. However, if an intern had an ethical situation to deal with, I might be just the right person. Further, in a work world that is increasingly about who you know, then it makes sense to just know more people. Putting all your eggs in one mentorship basket is a pretty risky bet.

Overall, it sounds to me like Millennials are embracing a changing work world while older workers (including many Gen Xers) are not, and there's a little bitterness there, perhaps being taken out on the Millennials as a bit of shooting the messenger.  However, there are still "old-school" habits and practices that still work in the workplace, like not bothering your coworkers on the weekends, paying attention in meetings, dressing professionally, and listening in a conversation instead of waiting for your turn to speak.  These are things that appeal not to Boomers or Xers or Millennials, but to humans.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A note about external links from Intern 101

I recently had a request for the link to the 2011 AIA Compensation Report be reconnected/updated.  This was a link provided by a commenter, not by me, so I really can't fix it.  When readers and commenters send me external links, I check them at the time of posting to make sure they work, but I must rely on whoever posted the link to maintain it. (In the meantime, those looking for the report are probably better off looking for the 2012 version. It'll be more relevant to your present situation.)

I do appreciate outside links sent to me by readers.  When you find something funny, interesting, or helpful, I check the link out for myself before posting it (or not). Feel free to send along those items, but please note that I can't maintain links that are posted in the blog--I can only change where a piece of hyperlinked text goes.  If you find a non-functioning link on the sidebar of this blog, do let me know. (And if you have a corrected link, it's very much appreciated.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lulu's Mailbag: How do I include actual projects in my resume?

Most of the questions I get regarding resumes involves folks coming out of school or with little professional experience. However, J. asks a good question:

[I]f you have any suggestions about how to include intern-level professional work in a portfolio, I would appreciate any tips. [The work] I've done at [this] internship is portfolio-worthy but I do not yet know how to incorporate it alongside my previous academic work.

Including information about work you've done in a firm is one of the top things, if not the most important thing behind your contact info, to include on a resume. A few general tips:

  • When you add a real-life project with a firm to your portfolio, drop a school/academic project.  The more actual/built work you have on your resume and portfolio helps you make a better case for someone to hire you.  If you've been working for a couple of years and all that time was spent on the same project due to its size, you may even want to drop off two projects.
  • Include the built work on both your resume and portfolio. You can highlight one or more projects on your resume when you mention where you've been working. On the resume, provide name and location of project as well as general information (2,300-sf bank, 40-bed hospital, etc.) and then describe your role on the project team. On the portfolio, you can go into more detail about the project (2,300-sf bank in the heart of historic downtown Austin, TX with a focus on achieving LEED Platinum, etc.)
  • Be cautious of using images and pictures. Images of built and rendered projects that were created or paid for by your firm belong to your firm. Putting them on your resume can be and portfolio can be a violation of intellectual property.  If you cannot or are uncomfortable asking for permission to use these images, your safest bet is to take pictures of the building yourself or include web links to online images of the work (either on your firm's website or in an online newspaper or magazine article).