I was reading an article on the "archdaily" website and was intrigued by the author's account of his research into what unemployed architects are up to these days in this disheartening economy.
The first of his examples was a lady in Boston, recently laid-off from practice who now spends her time "rediscovering" the city and applying to Graduate Schools. Her strategy is to avoid the current crises right now by continuing her education and increasing her net worth so that when indeed the economy does recover, she would be in a potentially better position. Many unemployed architects I know are trying to also shore up their personal professional standing by taking various certification exams like the LEED and the ARE as the current lull has afforded them time to now do this.
But I think the most interesting example given was about John Morefield (27), an architect from Seattle. Morefield had a very good idea, after being laid off twice in a year, as he setup a booth at a local fair, answering home remodeling questions for 5¢. On the first day he earned 35¢! But that wasn´t his real earn, but the 7 conversations he started, with 7 potential clients he meet. This way he started to build a network, also pairing these new clients with contractors he recommended. This resulted in Architecture for 5¢, an office were “no project is too small for big ideas”.
It is a little depressing that things are this bad but if John Morefield is able to really pull together serious clients who are ready to commit to a new project right now, then great. But if they are going to be paying him 5¢ then that defeats the purpose. Hopefully, the 5¢ fee was only for the duration of the fair. But I would seriously advise anyone in the profession who has more time on their hands than usual to use this opportunity to further their architectural education and take whatever exams they need to take to improve the general quality of your resume.
Image obtained from archiblog.info