5 years ago, I quit my architecture job with no prospects in place. I knew I needed out. The job felt more like AutoCAD boot camp than a place where I could grow as a promising architect. I flew home for a few weeks to be with family and returned ready to take the open architectural positions by storm. I have always been a go getter and this time I knew I wouldn’t settle for a place which pushed you so hard beyond your capacity, you forget why you even got into this profession. I knew I wanted to be somewhere that I could learn and enjoy working. During my search I came across an ad on Craigslist that, I have to say seemed bogus at first, because it was a hiring agency, which I wasn’t used to. Through my discussions with the agency they explained the open position and the firm De Meza + Architecture. I interviewed and liked the people I met, plus the firm was expanding and had just moved into a new office and were excited about the possibilities. This mimicked my own life, as I had just moved to a different neighborhood and wanted my life in the Bay Area to become what I envisioned it could be. I accepted the position as architectural designer/drafter and was invited to their open house party for their new office. That was definitely a change to my last job. A friend and I went and we enjoyed margaritas and tacos on the roof of the office space. How cool was that!
Needless to say, I started work and learned the ropes. Over the 5 years I have seen co-workers come and go. I saw changes in clientele and in the office setting. Over that time I grew into a role of managing projects. I always try to find ways to be more efficient or strategic. No matter the scale of the project, I always wanted it to be perfect. One thing I have learned over these years is that being perfect is impossible, and that I will be more focused on doing the best job I can and ask that of anyone I am in charge of. This has allowed me to become a more rounded designer and manager. If I was at another firm, I don’t think I could have gained as much experience as I have at DM+A.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the unique office culture DM+A has to offer. Where else would the boss take us out for ice cream because a power outage? Or where we would do pot lucks for lunches or happy hour at the office. Or get to see slideshows of trips anyone went on. For my 5 year anniversary, Gregg treated us to dinner, drinks and yes, of course dessert at Bix in San Francisco - a must try. There is never a dull moment at DM+A and they have become my family away from home. This job has introduced me to some of my favorite people to be around.
So what’s in store for the next 5 years? I will obtain my architectural license, there will probably be some changes of clientele, new projects, experiences…and of course more of the unconventional office culture I have come to cherish while at DM+A.