Out with the old...
For any 60+ architects who feel like the sharks are circling—you’re not imagining things. Some young pup may very well be eyeing your job and counting the days to your retirement, according to a conversation started yesterday on the Archinect discussion boards. The thread is intended as a forum to “share any hints and rumors about practitioners and educators who will be throwing in the towel.” Reading through the two-dozen posts already up, you might have cause to feel uneasy even if you’re just over 40, since the definition of “baby boomer architects” seems to be a little loose in the Archinect community.
Interestingly, the conversation has centered less on aiming the bead on gray-haired office mates and more on questioning why younger architects aren’t rising in the field like their predecessors. “If you're really worried about your own future and some aging hippie blocking your way, you need to stop thinking like you're always gonna work for somebody else,” says a commentator going by the moniker “distant.” But other commentators suggest that the era of the mid-size firm is over, and with it, any opportunity to advance beyond (a) a sole practitioner or (b) a low-level employee in a large firm.
Older workers also take the blame for a stagnant profession, according to one commentator going by “toasteroven.” “What I've been running up against with many senior people (boomers, I guess) is that they seem very insecure (especially with the new technology) and are holding very tightly onto whatever shred of competence they seem to think they have.” Boomers don't understand teamwork, according to toasteroven, and consequently don't recognize a good team player when they see one. “Boomers don't see us as ambitious because we aren't clamoring over each other to get to the top of the heap ... we like working together and sharing information, and I think they unrightfully see this as a sign of weakness rather than an asset.”
The Archinect conversation isn’t exclusive to younger practitioners. Two retirement-age architects weigh in. One says, “I would love to retire in the next couple of years, but have been having trouble getting the next generation to take over management responsibilities, mostly marketing. There is no one here who seems to be capable of being the 'rainmaker.’” Take that, kid.