one woodbrook place, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architect

One Woodbrook Place in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Above is a negative of my sketch of One Woodbrook Place in Port of Spain, Trinidad that I did for Sketchcrawl earlier this year. Hope you enjoy! More links to One Woodbrook Place >>>

The global economy has definitely slowed down and in some cases halted the construction industry, making it challenging for many, including architects (and engineers). Architects are sending out proposal after proposal and hoping… Others have been forced to close their offices, and yet others keep pounding the pavements looking for projects and/ or employment. This recession has also brought out the ugly side of some architects, sad to say. Architects and firms that offer unpaid positions to employees, or want consultant services for free… architects who eat their young. There is a blog by that name, whose mission is to expose firms’ exploitation of intern architects (Click here for blog >>>). I often wonder what thought process goes through a person’s mind to be that callous, that inhumane, that immoral, that unethical, that disrespectful to ask that another human being work for NOTHING.

Architects (in some regions) have failed in my opinion, to occupy a seat at the table with the public. They have instead taken seats in ivory towers and been very slow to being present, being on the ground, being visible; educating the public, educating students, clients, governments, and educating themselves. No wonder the public thinks architects “draw plans.” Instead of being professionals with values (like those in the past), some have sold themselves for the Almighty Dollar, looking for the cheap way out. Instead of helping each other, they become crabs in a bucket, pulling each other down while fighting to get to the top.

Being a professional means that you are more than likely bound by a Code of Ethics, and this practice of “no pay” is HIGHLY UNETHICAL. When you ask a professional to work for free, he/she is in fact paying you to do the work. Not even offering to cover their basic needs, respecting that they (and their families) have incurred costs and sacrificed for their education is just unthinkable. Anyone asking a professional to work for free is doing a disservice to their country and the public. A professional asking a fellow professional to work for no pay is even worse and tantamount to cannibalism…professional cannibalism.

The stability, power and longevity of a tribe is directly related to the way it is treated by its members. When many of them seek to take, to enrich themselves and to find a loophole or advantage, the group is weakened. Culture and management are not the same thing–when we strengthen our organization, when we encourage and respect our fellow employees, management follows. Group up, not top down – Seth Godin

When architects resort to eating their young, their fellow professionals, their mentees…offering them nothing for an honest days work…I hope they expect the same. Disrespect begets disrespect. The tribe we get is the tribe we build.

Links to this issue:

http://pimpingarchitects.blogspot.com/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html

http://committees.architects.org/idp/interntrap.pdf

http://archiseek.com/2011/aai-condemns-young-graduates-being-exploited/

Thought for the day:

determination, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, illustration, cartoon, architect

Creative Commons License
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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