07 Aug 2018

Career – The News Knows

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What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a daunting question for most people. A purely acceptable answer is “I don’t know, but maybe I’ll try a few trades to discover what I like”. That’s exactly the way I approached the future career question and the first trade I tried was newspaper carrier.

It was the 1970’s and a cool day in Alaska, like everyday in Alaska. A financially-motivated 13 year old (me), who had his mind set on an Atari 2600, approached his parents to announce he had a new job. He inherited a friend’s paper route.

  • The job paid $1.00/day for 2 hours of hard work
  • There were no core business hours, but I had to deliver the evening edition of the paper to every subscriber by 6:00 PM
  • Method of delivery, collection routine and scheduling was my responsibility.

Delivery Method:

Delivery method evolved and ultimately defaulted to on foot. I arrived at that conclusion after I tried bicycle and sled. The papers were too bulky to tote on a bicycle and Alaska terrain was incompatible for irregular sled travel paths that ventured across snow-covered debris, unchained pets and freshly shoveled walks. I’m sure the mental and physical effort required to deliver papers in freezing temperatures and terrain made me stronger, but I was driven by something stronger than character — capitalism.

Collection Routine:

I created a 15-day collection cycle. My customers lived on the financially-challenged side-of-town. The monthly subscription was $1.50 for weekends only and $3.25 weekday. Payments proved difficult to solicit because my customers valued food more than the news. I started collecting on the 15th of every month so I could pay the draw bill that was due on the 30th. If I didn’t have enough cash, I had to pay out of pocket. As soon as I finished collecting, I restarted for the next month. Collection was a perpetual and lengthy routine.


Schedule was a challenge. The sun set around 4:00 PM in the winter. Every day after school or practice, I’d drop off my clothes and books, load the saddle bags, bundle myself and speed walk the entire 2 mile route to finish delivery by 6:00 PM. I always discovered a way to meet the goal.

Fast-forward 40 years through a variety of trades:

  • –baby sitter
  • –grocery worker (twice)
  • –food service (twice)
  • –laborer, painter, handyman
  • –teaching assistant – acoustics
  • –structural engineer – intern
  • –architect – designer
  • –architect – supervisor
  • –education director
  • –management consultant
  • –real estate portfolio manager
  • –architect – principal

The last 40 years mark a notable position and financial progression but at the core, my current career shares similar characteristics to my first job.

career CAD

Delivery Method:

Delivery method evolved and continues to evolve. I started with vellum and pencil originals reproduced as ozalid prints. That media evolved to electronic production, CAD, and hardcopy reproduction such as large-scale photocopies. Now I originate all deliverables via CAD or tablets and distribute copies via PDF and the cloud. The reproduction and large-scale prints proved too bulky. Technology drives certain changes so one company can compete with the others to make a profit — capitalism.

Collection Routine:

I created a flexible collection routine. Consulting clients receive invoices 1-week before the due date. I adjusted that delivery for design clients who need more planning time. After I collect all revenue and distribute all payments, I resume the collection process. Collection is a perpetual and lengthy routine.


Schedule is always a challenge.  I often adjust work days and hours around a colleague’s schedule, a client’s re-schedule, a contractor’s inspection or a continuing education seminar. I always discover a way to meet the goal.

I never knew when I earned the news carrier job years ago how similar it’s characteristics would be to my career. Perhaps the most deflating similarity is the notion I feel like I earn $1.00/day for 2 hours of hard work!

Read these articles to learn how other architects progressed in their respective careers.

Architalks Entries

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Well, How Did I Get Here (Again)

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
a paved but winding career path

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Career – The News Knows

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#architalks 41 “Career Path”

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Winding Path

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Career Path

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Career Path of an Architect

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Career Path(s)

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Career Path

Steve Mouzon – The Original Green Blog (@stevemouzon)
A Strange Career Path

Architalks Credits

This is another entry in Bob Borson’s blogging brain-child titled, “ArchiTalks”.

The #ArchiTalks goal is to inspire blogging architects with similar educational and professional requirements to opine on the same topic and simulpost their response so other architects and a broader audience can enjoy the rampant thought-diversity within the architecture profession

Select the links in “Architalks Entries” above to read how architects responded to the “Words” topic.

image/video credits:


About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 32 years experience in design, construction observation and life.