Aug 23, 2015

munich vacation

Two weeks ago, I told my office that I was taking two days off to go to Munich. What I actually did, was use those two vacation days to work in another office. Let me say that these offices are not direct competitors, and as it was my first time at this office, I wasn't really that engaged with real work anyway. This was more of an opportunty for both them and I to get to know each other a little better.

Things I liked about the office
-There is a seriousness and urgency to the work. The projects I would be working on are actual projects with clients and most of them will be drawn and detailed in house. This is a sharp contrast to WA, where the vast majority of the projects I have worked on are either studies or competitions, and the one ¨real¨ project was simply a core and shell designer project, with the construction documents drawn by another firm.

-I liked the working hours. I apprecitated the fact that the approach was businesslike rather than a sacred brotherhood of Architecture.

-The people were nice enough at first blush. I am strongly encouraged as well by my friend Rafa who has worked there for many years and really enjoys the environment.

- There is a lot of autonomy given to designers. The bosses seems to solicit your designs, and then seek your comment and opinion when discussing all the options. At WA, I often feel that I am coloring in the lines. The forms and plan organization are always set by JW, and there is little leeway from the typical facade. My work over the past year has primarily been laying out boards, making renderings, making 3D models, and making drawings graphically appealing.

- Importantly, there is more money to be made. The salary is 400 euros more per month than my current job, which equates to a 20% jump before taxes.

Concerns I have about the office
-They have expressed a desire to see my German improve dramatically, which I makes me worry about how realistic this is. They want me to be fluent enough to talk to customers in six months of starting. Damn, that would be fantastic, actually, since it would be an actual hard thing I could take from my time here. I have already re-enrolled in my classes again, but I think I need to step up my game.

- They want me to work in Revit immediately, which is a little challengeing since I will need at least a week or two to re-familiarize myself with the German version. It has been over two years since I touched Revit, so it`s a little rusty, but probably will come back quickly. What is important is understanding all the commands in German.

- The overall time frame is a bit of a wash. At JW, I work typically from 8:45 to 6:30, five days a week. This is about 45 working hours, with about 5 hours of commute. Moving over, I will work 40 hours a week with close to 9 hours of commute time. Working less, commuting more, and fridays back in Stuttgart several hours before I would be at JW.

- There are no food options in this tiny village where the office is. I will have to buy my lunch on the way or make it and bring it from home daily. Overall, this is also a nitpicky kind of detail, to be honest.

Tomorrow, I have another meeting with the office and we will hash out the details. Things that are critical for me to communicate: 1) My status as not having started AiT. 2) My office-specific visa which will need to be converted to the other office. 3) I want to increase my salary 100 euros to 3000 a month to take account for the extra costs of transportation.

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