ArchiTalks #28: Moonlighting

Forward: This is the twenty-eighth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks started by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect. This month’s topic of "Moonlighting" comes from Mike Riscica. Be sure to check out the blogroll at the end of this post to read others' thoughts on Moonlighting and Architecture.

The topic of "moonlighting" is an all-too-common one in the creative field. We have graphic artist friends of ours that work for large corporate companies that moonlight to keep their skills honed. What is "moonlighting"? It's working under the light of the moon, after you get off from your regular full-time job. In architecture, while keeping those CAD commands sharp is one thing, it's also several other things. We've broken down architectural moonlighting into three similar, but different categories: 

Traditional Moonlighting

You work for an architecture firm, typically with a minimum of 15 employees, but you aren't getting your fix of 'design' and you're underpaid. You're moonlighting to do something that you can call your own and make some dough on the side. You're probably using your own personal computer to do this. Often starts on bootleg software or a shared license. Once you do this for several years, you might think about opening your own one-(wo)man shop. 

Competition Moonlighting

You have a group of friends from school or at the office and want to enter a design competition together. You might even be encouraged to do this by your employer, but they don't want you using company time since these are non-billable hours. The group of people you decide to work with is often how new offices and firms are born. You're spending post-dinner until 11pm or later for several weeks at a time grasshoppering (while rhinoing, of course), reviting, sketchuping, vraying away. You are truly an optimist and believe you can win the competition or at least gain some notoriety. At the very least, you add something to your portfolio for the next job ahead.

Monkey Moonlighting

May be along the lines of 'traditional moonlighting,' but actually it's even more stripped down than that. You've met some older architects who can't draft as fast or can't use CAD at all, and are simply their CAD monkey. A one-(wo)man architecture firm has won a new job and wants you to create a 3d model of their new project and site. There's very little-to-no design work involved on your part, but it's relatively easy money. You wish you could bill at a higher rate considering your full-time job pay and overall skill level, but you live with what you can get. 

We love the moonlight. We don't see moonlighting as a bad thing in the very least, unless someone feels like that's the only way they can survive. Otherwise, moonlighting often allows those in the architectural profession to do additional work and continually hone their craft. 


Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Should Architects Moonlight?

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Ironic Blasphemy of Moonlighting and what Architects are Missing Out On

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
moonlighting more than an 80s sitcom

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Moon(lighting) changes with the seasons

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Moonlighting

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
hustle and grind: #architalks

Michael Riscica AIA - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Moonlighting for Young Architects

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
Architects do it All Night Long

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Starlight, moonlight - tick tock

Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Is Moonlighting Worth It? Probably Not, But We All Try.

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
The Howling

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Moonlighting: or Why I Kept My Dayjob.

Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
An Alternative to Moonlighting as a Young Architect

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architalks 28 Moonlighting

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood - Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Moonlighting

Ilaria Marani - Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
There is no moonlighting. It's a jungle!

Jane Vorbrodt - Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Crafted Moonlighting