24 years is a long time. That is even longer to be at one architecture firm. That's how long I've been in the employ of RLPS Architects. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a report in September of 2018 that shows the median tenure for employees with their current company is just 4.3 years. Architecture and engineering occupations were actually a tad higher at 5.7 years. My firm has had at least four people celebrate a 40th work anniversary, so while I am only half way to that milestone - 24 years isn't anything to sneeze at.
I have a deep, dark secret though. It turns out that I never actually interviewed for a job here. How can that be, you ask? Nepotism? Prisoner work release? Nope. Not many people can say this, but my mother interviewed for me.
In May of 1995, I was completing a semester abroad. At that time, RLPS was extremely busy, due in no small part to earning its largest commission to date in 1994. There were already three interns on board for the summer, which I think was a record for that era, but they thought they could use one more. Based on the word of mouth from those three interns, who consequently also attended Penn State, a call was placed from this office to my parents’ house to inquire about procuring my services as a summer intern.
My mother took the initiative to schedule a meeting with one of the partners and to gather up my unfinished portfolio and what she could find of my college transcripts (probably only through year 3 and a half). Remember, it was 1995, I didn't have any of this stuff digitally and I don't think our dial up modem in Italy could have wired a single page of it. Without any preparation or coaching, she proceeded to present my work and sell my services to the firm. The only background she had to aid her in the explanation of my work was what little I had told her about it well over six month earlier. Anyone who knows my mother knows that she is not a particularly visual minded person, but what she lacks is vision, she obviously compensates with loquaciousness. Somehow, she managed to make enough of an impression that I was hired sight unseen and I reported upon my arrival back in the States.
All I can say is: It pays to be nice to your mother. She can be your biggest advocate. And she saved me from a fourth consecutive year of nailing wood studs together through the heat of the summer!
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