I'm pretty sure you've all heard that the economy isn't doing so great. With the breakdown of the financial world, the banks have shut down lending. Without financing, developers can't do what they do best - spend other people's money in order to make money. No money, no projects (this includes schools and other government projects if the bonds aren't passed by voters). No projects, nothing for architects to do and no way for them to get paid. Architects like me.
I thought I would have a job through the end of January, since my project would end around then. I wasn't sure what would happen at that point, since they seem to be keeping on other architects who don't have active projects.
I was off by three weeks. My project is not completely done, but yesterday I was laid off. I got a little bit of severance and had almost two weeks vacation saved up, so I've got till about the beginning of February before I'm eligible for unemployment (yes, I'm going to sign up now so I don't miss any benefits due me). Considering that I've been paying into unemployment for the last decade or so, I definitely don't consider it embarrassing or accepting charity to collect unemployment. So, that plus my savings plus economizing should keep me afloat for 6 months or more (probably more) while I look for a job and wait for the economy to improve. I may not even get a job in architecture. I don't know. I've got some diverse skills, including writing and project management. These can be used in many places. So, don't get all worried yet folks. My current take on this is that changes, though scary, are what can shake you out of a rut or put you on a path that you'd never thought of before. As an adventurous person, that is exciting to me. Yes, you may call me crazy, I'm ok with that. ;)
Today was weird. I went into work to get my stuff, try and tie up some loose ends, and collect some things I could use for my portfolio. I spent four hours going through stuff (I'd been there 6 1/2 years, but it's been only 3 since we moved our office to the new space), recycling what could easily be identified as unneeded, and trying to archive thousands of project related emails. PDF writer made that a thousand times easier than it sounds, but it was still time consuming. The only think I really didn't get done was collecting stuff for my personal records (photos/renderings of the buildings, etc). However, I think I have enough good will there to still get those later this week.
Then, I had lunch with the construction people I've worked with for the last 2 years. They were more shocked than I was that I was laid off. They'll be fine, I left things (on the architectural side, at least) 95% done. There are a few outstanding issues, but most of the background work is done on them. I will miss them though, as much as they miss me. The funny thing is that while we were eating lunch (at the very end of lunch) at the Mexican place across the street from the project, the superintendent got a call on her cell that said the fire department had showed up. She and the others ran back across the street to find out if it was a false alarm or a real emergency. Hee!
I went and did a couple errands, including posting the secret project I've been working on. I wasn't going to put all that effort into it and balk at paying the postage. After that, I went to JR and Stacey's for some commiserating and talking through what the next steps will be.
By the time I got back home, it was 4:00, and I spent most of the evening putting a door in the basement with the help of a friend. Turns out it's harder than it seems it should be, but we got it in OK. It works well. I forgot to buy a handle and latch, but it's in. I'll put in the handle and also do a little work on the jamb (drywall that needs to be put in) in the next day or so.
Then we went out to an economical dinner (happy hour priced drinks with one appetizer and one entree, both shared).
Happily the evening activities ended there so that I would have a couple hours to write this lengthy post for you all!
And that's how I ended up busy all day long on the day after I was laid off.
Tomorrow I'll list some of the projects I have planned to fill my days.