Work Related

Disgruntled Over craigslist ad

Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Work Related | 0 comments

I’ve been in the field of architecture for many many years. I have owned my own firm, and I have worked as an employee.  There are vast differences in each respect.  As an employee, the employer pays you a wage, and then compensates you with benefits and takes care of paying taxes. Naturally, your hourly rate is adjusted downward because of those extras that the employer does.  If you work contract, the worker is responsible for all of those, and then some.  Suppose the contract person has to buy his own PC and drafting software – where do the funds come from? What about general overhead? Electricity and phone/data isn’t free.

So, today, I came across an ad on craigslist, advertising for an architectural draftsman. I’ll post the ad here:

Drafts person needed for small Denver Firm / Collaborative, specialized in residential urban infill, addition, remodel (Pop Tops), we also do some commercial work (%20). Candidate must be proficient in AutoCAD, with good communication skills, organized, with an eye for attention to detail, honest, grounded, and ideally able to work for periods of time unsupervised or from home part of the time and in my office part time. Familiarity with Denver Zoning and Building Codes will distinguish you, though not required. Contract position, at least for immediate future. Compensation commensurate with experience. Please send a brief introduction with attached resume and 1 example of Construction Documents of (residential) work, PFD’s please: showing your understanding construction details (sections), clean and readable Plans and Elevations. Please include your professional goals, short term and long term, and your availability: approximate start date, desired number of hours per week, i.e. what are you hoping or needing to earn, other commitments, are you currently freelancing?

Ok, first off, what is a PFD?  good thing I have “attention to detail” because that is the first thing I noticed. I am most certain that he/she meant PDF, but one should never assume… Then the rate aspect – $18 to $25/hour? The last time I worded for such a low wage was back near my exit from college, AND my taxes and benefits were paid.  Plus, I didn’t have to buy my own PC/software/power/data.  AND that was 20 plus years ago.  I know the economy has changed some. but to expect all that and pay low blows my mind.  So, I did what any smart ass guy would have done – I replied from a fictitious email account.  Why not my own?  Well, you never know who is running an ad on craigslist these days.  Anyway, here’s my reply.  I sent it unsigned.

I thought about sending my resume and portfolio for your open “contract” position, but a few things told me not to.

First off, you are offering way too low a rate for a contract person. That is due to the assumption that the contract person will use his/her own AutoCAD and computer, as well as pay for their own taxes/insurance/overhead. I’ve been in the field for many years (contract for a large part), and the last time I charged that low of a rate was near exiting college before I realized that I was being taken advantage of. Fast forward 18 plus years, and that rate is verging on insulting.

Secondly, if you want someone to apply that has attention to detail, you might want to practice what you preach, and proofread your ad. PFD’s do not exist, but PDF’s do!

I’d go on to my third reason for not applying, but I think the first two cover it well enough.

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Revit Rendering

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Work Related | 0 comments

However much I would love to fill my days with writing fiction or any other of the 100+ hobbies I have, I do work.  My latest project has been one that does not come by very often.  It is a 11,000+ s.f. single family home.  I know, a little small, huh?

Anyway, I started the project back around the middle of December and have been mixing my days on this project as well as a few other non-Revit projects.  I SO much prefer this project because of Revit alone.  Not to mention the enormous size.  As a comparison for size, My entire 3 floors would fit in the same space as their 2nd floor, their smallest floor…


So, this is it.  I have another 3 weeks packed to finish this puppy up.  It will certainly be close, but I think I can do it.

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Drafting Table Revisited

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Handcrafted, Work Related | 0 comments

Now that’s it’s been almost a month since my infatuation with the spendy drafting table from Pottery Barn, I have news!

Being the creative wood worker type, I designed a table to ‘mimic’ the one from my last entry.  I was able to find a surplus of hardwood lumber (African Mahogany) on craigslist for a steal and had a fabricator in line to make the two half round table supports.  Then I found my new table.

Yes, I bought a table instead of making my own.  Sure, I had the wood bought for $25 bucks.  Sure, I had the fabrication inline for $27 bucks.  Sure, I wanted to make it myself.  BUT…  I had no time.  Plus, it’s freakin’ cold outside now, and I would most certainly have to wait until April to get it built.  I still have a stack of Mahogany that will surely be put to other uses, and I learned a lot about the variable quotes for steel fabrication.  The low, which was from a local steel supplier at $13.00 for each side. to a high of $275 complete!  And honestly, I am a bit disappointed with all the self employed guys responding to my post.  Every one of them wanted to basically rape me in price.  Once I called the supplier, at the recommendation of one very nice responder, I quickly realized that their are a bunch of crooks out there.

When all was said and done, the Table I bought was from World Market.  It was listed at $279 regular price.  Even at regular price, it was way less than half of the Pottery Barn table.  Then, the day after Christmas, all their furniture went on sale.  It dropped down to $224!  Then, add the fact that I am an Explorer member at WM, and they JUST so happen to send me a one day only coupon for an additional 15% off my purchase, I ended up getting the table home for less than $200!  Now, it looks awesome, and sure, it’s not made by me, but I have it now, and it was WAY less than it would have cost to buy it elsewhere, or worth my time to build it.

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New Drafting Table

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Handcrafted, Work Related | 0 comments

Yes, a new drafting table is in my future.  I am looking to build one though, as the cost of buying this beast is a bit spendy.  I figure I can get something very similar for around $200 in materials.  We’ll see though.

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Tough Decision

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Life, Work Related, Writing | 0 comments

Well, It’s been about a week since I so firmly boasted that I would be writing in NaNoWriMo again this year.  I made it just a few days before I pooped out.  I know.  I suck.

It’s honestly ok.  I am ok with it.  I am just starting a new job, and i really need to focus on that.  I found myself disregarding work thoughts in lieu for writing/story thoughts.  Unfortunately, I NEED to focus on work right now.  If I had started the new job a month ago, and not on October 29th, I certainly could do both.  But as I am so new to this office, I do not want to let them down.  And lord knows I NEED to focus on writing/story if I want to actually write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I may still in-fact continue writing on my story throughout the month, but I will know set an unobtainable goal just the same.

I am going to finally get rolling with my UrbanCastle blog though.  I had full intentions of getting it started on September 1st, and then again on October 1st and November 1st.  I have a lot of the leg work done, and I just need to focus through on a few “hour” sessions getting content out.  I know, you ask how can I go ahead and write in a blog, and skip out on NaNo.  It’s because the blog is written in 350 to 500 word chunks, and they do not necessarily need to be contiguous.  A novel sort of has to flow, an I need to really keep all those sub-plots in order.  My blog will work itself out without a whole lot of lost work time.  So there!

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Down another path in life

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in General Site, Life, Work Related | 0 comments

Isn’t it funny how when you think you have everything almost figured out, something comes along and pushes you into a new direction?  Well, that is sort of what happened to me this week.

For the last several months, I have been working on my Design By Kohler website (which I am almost done – I know, I keep saying that) and have had the long term plan of giving self employment another go.  Probably in the LONG-LONG term, that is still there, but on Thursday, I accepted a position with another local architect.  I start the week of the 29th, and it cannot get here soon enough!

I am only anxious to start the new job because I want off the current one sooner.  Honestly, the current job is OK.  It is an EASY job for the money, and there is relatively zero responsibility.  It’s just not challenging enough for me.  No design.  No creativity.  Zip – Zilch – Nada.  And there is no running water on site, and with winter coming on, taking a poo in the port-o-potty is something I was NOT looking forward to.

So, the new job is back in architecture.  Back to the stress, which I have grown to love.  Back to being creative.  Back to a flushing toilet in a heated room!  And it’s not like I have to learn a new office environment.  I have done work with these folks for many years while running DBK.  I know both of the gentlemen there fairly well, and it will be an easy transition.  I am not sure what the future there will bring, but I am going into this with an open mind for what I hope to be a bright future.

As for my up and coming blog,, I still plan on running that out.  I have a lot of material worked through and have most of the graphics done.  I want to make sure I have at least 2 to 3 months worth of posts ready to go before I pull the trigger.  That way, if I get bogged down with my day job for an extended period of time, I can continue to post new material on the blog on a relatively regular basis.  I hope to build that blog up to around 50,000 subscribers, and I cannot do that if I post once or twice a month, if I remember that often.

Finally, I have a TON of photos I want to get posted, but they will have to wait just a bit longer to make their debut.  I promise to have new material posted here soon as well.

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