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The coach: ‘I have a new job but no one will tell me what I’m meant to be doing’

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Careers expert Matthew Turner advises an architect who feels their new practice could be a little clearer in expressing their expectations

I have just joined a new practice. They are friendly and I like the work they do, but I struggle to understand what I am meant to do, as I am given little direction. The office prides itself on not having much of a hierarchy, so it is hard to work out who to approach. When I do ask, I sense they are annoyed to be distracted.

Matthew turner

Many struggle to settle in at a new job, frequently due to minimal induction. Lack of hierarchy is great in some ways, but it can leave new people at sea. Often, a new architect is hired by one person, but explaining the systems, setting their workload, and bedding them in falls to someone else. Letting induction slide is not only a pity for you, but indicates a wasteful and inefficient practice. 

You should not feel intimidated or embarrassed about asking for direction. If you sense you are getting nowhere, it may be worth checking you aren’t coming across with a victim-like ‘what am I meant to be doing’ accusation. Take an approach of tirelessly making yourself useful, and see whether this works. People recognise people who are easy to work with, and this is a good way to build your value in a practice, which will be useful when the workload becomes clearer. 

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. To contact him with your questions, tweet @TheAJcoach or email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com

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