summer working, had me a blast


You’re welcome for having that song stick in your head all day.

Today I write to the students – the ones who’ve just graduated high school on route to architecture school or those who are already in architecture school and are home for the summer.

You’re thinking – duh – summer is almost over. Either you have a job by now or I am too late with my advice. Yeah, I know that. Hang onto this for next year because I’m going to share my experiences.


What are your options?

Depending on where you live or where you are spending your summer, the first thing to determine are your options. Can you travel? Are there architect’s offices nearby? Are there other related jobs nearby? Do you have a car? Do you live in a big city where you don’t need a car?

Immediately after I graduated high school, before I even started to look for the proverbial job at fast food or the mall, I was directed to a local golf course by my track coach. They were looking for summer workers, one thing led to another and I was mowing, raking and cleaning up after old drunk golfers. I didn’t have a car; a co-worked picked me up or I walked or rode my bike. This job taught me life lessons and about myself. However, besides working weekdays, I had to work Saturday and Sunday mornings and I was up very early every day. Two summers of that and I needed to look elsewhere. In 1987 (with no internet), I hit the pavement looking for architects. With old school persistence, I was fortunate to find a job. This job lent experience but it didn’t lend much-needed money.


What do you have to do?

In other words, why are you getting a job? Are you desperate for money to stay in school or are you looking to have disposable income? What type of income do you need to fund your goals?

Golf courses paid very little and I actually made even less at my first office job. I grew up in a culture where you took any job in your career area, kept your mouth shut and were patient. To be honest, I should have looked for other work that would have paid more; I should have looked for a job in construction. I needed money for school or I wouldn’t be able to return. There was little time for play (and no travel) during the summer, so having a higher paying job might have made that possible. I don’t regret being responsible; I don’t regret developing a strong work ethic. Nevertheless, at 18, 19 or so, it’s hard to know what to do. Hopefully you have someone in your life that can truly guide you in making these decisions. Now my family takes trips and they’re so much better when they’re shared.


What do you want to do?

After you’ve been responsible and explored your options and acted sensibly, ask yourself – what would I like to do?

I felt a bit trapped in having to work all of the time, so I never took the time to consider what I wanted. My parents had little money, so working was a necessity. I can’t answer how you’ll pay your bills, but it’s OK to take a moment to consider what you’d like to do. If you start early enough, perhaps you’ll find options that weren’t readily apparent at first.

I’ve always been mature and taken care of business. I don’t condone being reckless or self-centered in our “me-culture.” Nor do I think you deserve it – you have to earn it. However, we’ll all work for a very long time in our lives. If – after you’ve dealt conscientiously with your summer, and you can still take a trip or take a job that might be fun, then do it.


Summers come and go. Think a bit before next summer. I wish I spent more time thinking.

Enjoy the last few weeks of this summer. It took me until I got married to really enjoy my summers after high school. Now I spend them with my favorite people.


(pictures are from a family trip this summer…making up for lost time)

Please read what my friends have to say about their summer. I’m sure it’s worth reading. #Architalks

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Summer is a Great Time To Market Your Architecture Firm!

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Summer : A Review

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Lake Powell

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Seasons of Summer

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
The Dog Days of Summer

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Summer — Architecture Imagery

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#Architalks 20 “summer” and architecture

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
4 Secrets To Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer Internship

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Summer Surprise

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
An Acrophobic Architect’s Illuminating Summer of Roofs

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Glass in Architecture – Summer Wonders

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@architangent)
4 Reasons Solar Power is a Hot Topic

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Seasonal change

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
… and the livin’s easy

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Summer Rhythms

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Do I Need to Hire an Architect?

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
An Architectural Spark for your Summer

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Summer in Seoul

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
[Dis]Connected Summer

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
5 Things to Make the Most of Your Summer

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
An Architect Summer

summer working, had me a blast

4 thoughts on “summer working, had me a blast

    1. I’ve always been one to ponder and consider, but I look back in a fog and wonder why I made certain decisions. Fortunately, I believe God’s providence was at work and I landed on my feet.

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