Architecture grad NATHAN BRASIER talks about the importance of valuing your sleep, and stepping outside your professional comfort zone.
Where do you work, and what’s your job like?
I am currently working at an engineering firm in Chippendale. Originally, I was employed as a design technician to work on the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout. After 6 months my position expanded to supervising a small team of 8 designers (mostly UTS engineering students) working in my previous role. Much of what I now do is facilitating communication between the team and the client, and ensuring that the quality of work meets the standard required by the client.
How did you land your position?
After submitting many applications to architecture firms in Sydney, I came across an advertisement for the job online. At the time it was definitely not the ‘dream job’, but I ticked all of the boxes for job requirements and thought I would give it a shot. I took the application process for this job much more seriously and aggressively than I had others, and I found myself somehow enjoying competing with engineering students for a position in an engineering firm.
Enthusiasm was the strongest tool I employed in my application for the job. My cover letter was modified and personalised to be specific to this job, and I called to follow up on my application to show that I was excited at the prospect of working in the office. If you really want a job, you can’t be shy.
What university experiences were most helpful in preparing you for the real world of full time work?
You don’t realise this at the time, but the design studio prepares you very well for working in the real world. Your tutor is your manager. Your classmates are your team. The design critique is more or less a presentation of final design work to the client.
What has been your most rewarding work-related experience so far?
This February I was fortunate enough to travel to New Zealand in order to establish a new design team in Auckland. My responsibility was to train 4 new staff to the Sydney team’s level in just over a week. The work was very tough, but the opportunity to represent the company internationally and independently establish the operation of a small team was amazing. And an all expenses paid overseas trip, free taxis to work? Pretty freaking cool.
Do you have any advice for pulling through studio-related all-nighters?
I’m going to say something controversial here: For the love of god, don’t do them. Learn to manage your time and value your sleep. Ignore those who tell you it is a part of being a successful architect; they are doing neither you nor the profession any favours.
But if you feel you must, don’t do them consecutively.
What career goal are you working towards now?
My current job came very much out of left field, and yet it has opened me up to a completely different side of the construction industry. While many of my friends joke that I have jumped ship, I have no doubt that I am going to seek employment in an architectural firm in the future. Experiencing the engineering perspective has given me a unique insight that will definitely inform my future in the architectural profession. So I would recommend any job-seekers to be open to the idea of applying for jobs outside your direct field of study, especially while still studying. You’d be surprised how rewarding it may be.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons