As a part of the #Architalks group started by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect, here's my post for the theme "Then and now". 10 things that changed from architecture school to receiving my license in the mail. Check it out here and be sure to read the posts linked at the bottom written by other architects in the group.
Now, without further ado, here is this week’s Friday Four!
1. Lesson of the week – Get involved with different communities
Many of us Architects and designers are often caught up with projects in the office, family at home, taking care of our pets, and spending so much time binge watching shows online. All of these activities take up our time and we convince ourselves that we don’t have time to take on more responsibilities. Well, what if you were able to make or find a few hours a week in your schedule? What would you do? Where does this time go?
Although I’m always working on several projects both in and out of the office, I’ve made the choice to mentor architecture students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds, volunteer my time with local architecture organizations, participate in design competitions, and develop my blog, Journey of an Architect where I share my design ideas, knowledge, and advice with everyone. In fact, this week, I developed a blog post as a part of the ArchiTalks series with a group of Architects that Bob Borson of Life of an Architect started some time ago.
Once we all launched our blog post, there were so many people reading our posts from all over the world. Being a part of this Architect blogger community has taught me that we no longer need to be physically present to be a part of something larger. We just need to be willing to give back to others and support one another’s causes and efforts. Best of all, the feeling of being a part of a community is wonderful.
So find your niche, look for a community (or start one), and have lots of fun doing what you love!
2. Best moment of the week – Negotiating a deal with my internet provider
At some point in our lives, we reach an age where we’re faced with so many bills at the end of the month. If you’re like me, most of our income goes towards student loans, rent/mortgage, car payments, and utilities. We also hate looking at our bills, so we setup automatic payments and never think about it again. As long as our bank statements are positive, we could care less, right?
When I first graduated college 3 years ago, I made a decision to track all of my bills and continually negotiate a better monthly plan. This month, however, I saw my internet bill and realized I was paying 2x more than usual and the price was continually raising! So I immediately picked up my phone, called my internet provider, and spent 10 minutes on the phone. Within these 10 minutes, I spoke with two representatives who eventually transferred me to speak with a woman with whom I negotiated a fantastic deal.
Instead of telling you everything we said, because a lot of things were said in 10 minutes, here’s a quick summary. For internet service alone, I was paying $70 a month. Not bad, right? Well in 10 minutes of negotiating, I reduced that payment to $35 a month plus a savings of $20 for the first month. So in total, I saved $435 (in annual view) in 10 minutes.
Why am I sharing this with you? As Architects, we’re often put in positions where we have to negotiate a deal with our clients. Many of us who are inexperienced in this area will typically allow the client to set their fees or we’ll agree to a fee that will barely keep our office afloat. So every negotiation that I enter with my service providers, car dealer, mortgage broker, etc. I’ll practice my negotiation skills and force myself in these uncomfortable situations so that I can get used to it and eventually be extremely comfortable discussing finances.
So next time you’re in a negotiation with a service provider, a car dealer, or whomever, give it a shot and see it as an educational experience!
3. What I’m currently listening to – The Tim Ferriss Show by Tim Ferriss
With so many projects going on at the same time, I’ve only been able to listen to podcasts and read very few pages of my book. So this week, I listened to one of Tim Ferriss’ most recent podcast episodes with a dog trainer. Normally, I wouldn’t be interested in an episode like this, but my girlfriend and I just rescued a wonderful dog, so I gave this episode my attention. I’m happy that I did because I learned a lot of new methods of teaching and tried them with my companion.
4. 30x30 Project Update – Developing a second design scheme for 5x30 Restaurant and Apartments
As my friend’s restaurant and apartment renovation continues moving forward, we’ve decided to come up with a second design scheme for the apartments to present to the preservation committee for a 40% tax incentive on his project. We decided to design a scheme with only one apartment upstairs instead of two. So far, this is a challenge because we have to maintain as many existing walls as we could so that we qualify for the credit…