“Lead, follow or get out of the way” -Thomas Paine

My father drummed this quotation into our heads as children to the point that it became an unconscious mantra. Not one to attribute his wisdom to others, I had no idea where it originated until I Googled it five minutes ago. Dad chose to lead…always, even when it may have been more prudent to follow. Getting out of the way for him was just not an option.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

With the current level of architectural unemployment or underemployment at least twice the national average by conservative estimates, that voice in my head is calling. Here is what it says:

The Issue:

A remarkable number of architects and architectural interns are unemployed. Not only is this economically devastating for the individuals and their families, it is keeping a huge number of gifted, talented creative people out of the workforce and ultimately, the economy. A creative approach is needed to find a solution to this crisis. We must tap into the best we all have to offer and work on this together.

The proposal:

I am organizing four half day (or possibly full day) “Career Charettes” to be hosted in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington on a series of Saturday mornings. We will invite unemployed and under employed members of the architectural community as well as those who have jobs and may be able to create jobs and are willing to bring their energy and wisdom to bear.

Depending on the number of participants, we will assemble as a group, get an update on the facts and figures available, collect tips and leads on resources, get exposed to one or two inspiring speakers and their stories.  A resume/portfolio workshop will be available as an option.

Participant will then break up into smaller roundtable groups (8-12). The small group setting will create an opportunity for participants to introduce themselves, share stories and experience, do some networking and gain some encouragement and support.

This is not a “job fair.” It is a chance for smart people to come together and begin (or continue) working on a solution together. Follow up to these sessions will be the responsibility of the participants, however AIANC and the Sections may choose to extend support as they are able.

Participation should be free but a small donation might be requested to confirm registration or participation and to cover the cost of coffee, or lunch if appropriate.

The offer:

I will organize the process and provide coordination for each location.  I will act as MC if requested or defer to local leadership and I will donate my time.

The background:

I practiced architecture for thirty years before taking a four year leave to open a photography practice. I have been self employed, but functionally unemployed during that time. As I began exploring options for “finding a job” or deciding “what’s next?” I was helped by a variety of caring people. My participation in a similar “Job Garden” hosted by my church was the seed of this idea. My passion is to help my friends and colleagues discover and leverage their own potential and leading this effort is just one important way for me to do it.

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” –Thomas Paine