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jobspot The great escape

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On the face of it, architects must be suited to many other careers and are usually convinced of the fact.Whether one is a student 'doing an allnighter' with three friends and a bottle of tequila saying: 'Of course, what I really want to do is direct, ' or is well-established in practice saying: 'How can I get out of the daily grind of apologising to clients for late tender issues and arguing with contractors that they must know how to fit a ridge vent (because I don't)?', architects are obsessed with their escape strategy.

Younger architects tend to want to venture into the more glamorous world of art and film. Architects are surely singularly well qualified to be set designers but, despite Hollywood's current infatuation with the profession, the British film industry tends to see us as part of the class of unnecessary evils, along with accountants, stars and paying customers. As for art, remember: the fact that someone lets you paint their Shoreditch loft apartment and leave your drawings there for a month does not necessarily mean you have a glorious career ahead of you as the next Damien Hirst.

Older, more worldly architects often bemoan the paucity of architects in politics.

Our track record here is not good. Lord Rogers is making an impact, but prior to his peerage only Bill Rodgers (of SDP gang of four fame) and Albert Speer spring to mind as architect-politicians. The fact that pantiles versus flat roofs has not been the subject of heated political debate since the Exhibition of Decadent Art escapes most architects, and goes some way to explaining why architects are barely even represented at local council level.

The most obvious alternative is the most immediate: property development. We reckon it would be easy; find the property, do a few sums, secure the finance. But then, architects' business sense is such that the average sole practitioner earns less than a nurse. Now there's a career.

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