HPA Director, Zoë Hooton contributes to book ‘Adapt As An Architect: A Mid-career Companion’

HPA Director Zoë Hooton, has contributed to the newly released book Adapt As An Architect: A Mid-career Companion. The book’s author Randy Deutsch FAIA reached out to 50 architects in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to share their experiences and thoughts on career relevance and reinvention, to share their insights into what it takes for an Architect at mid career to persevere and thrive. The book’s chapters are modelled on the conversations you might have over coffee at your regular haunt with 50 of your favourite mentors.

Adapt As An Architect: A Mid-career Companion aims to support, nurture and promote the growth of Architects in the developing stages of their careers. The book recognizes at mid-career, one is either on a career path or they are not. Some are not sure how they arrived on the path they are on, while others may want to explore how to get off their current path to try another within their organisation or field without making any unnecessary or catastrophic career missteps. Some, through no fault of their own – especially with the current pandemic and economic recession, may have been forced off their path for unforeseen reasons, and are wondering which way to turn or what their next steps ought to be to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The book’s premise is simple: how to make the most of your career prospects without having to leave the profession or industry. Adapt As an Architect explores how to persevere as a practitioner while remaining rejuvenated, relevant and resilient – without losing sight of how to leverage and capitalize on existing knowledge and skills.

The book is in two parts. Part I focuses on Relevance – doing what you are doing today, only better and smarter. Part II is about Reinvention – doing something different, but not so different that you have to leave the field to do it. The book anticipates the questions you are, if not asking, thinking concerning this career phase – whether you’re just starting out in the field and curious what lies ahead, or in the throes of mid-career. Randy posed tough questions to the architect mentors, existential questions, challenging questions – questions that made them think at a time that was not particularly conducive to thinking; questions forged by experience, representing a great deal of thought and research.

Throughout the book Randy shares hard-earned career tips and advice that have worked for him and others. Randy describes Zoe’s contribution as ‘wonderful – her responses are thoughtful and are a testament to her experience as a mentor and success as an experienced Architect’.

Central questions of the book include:

How do we become relevant, and once we have proven our value and relevance, how do we remain so?

Why do some mid-career professionals flourish, while others struggle or become obsolete?

How can we be more like those who carry on and thrive?

What can we do now to assure our career longevity and survival?

What advice would you have for a mid-career architect who would like to stay in the profession but is finding it increasingly difficult to do so?

What advice would you give to a mid-career architect who sees no clear path to leadership within their current organization?

Have you experienced mid-career reinvention/self-disruption/ self-transformation in your role, and how has it worked out for you?

What can firms and professional organizations do to help female architects stay?

Is work-life balance achievable and desirable?

Have you visualized outcomes for where you are today, or would you describe your career as a happy accident … and does it matter?

What role does career planning play versus serendipity?

What strategies were successful for this group in surviving the 2008 recession and now the 2020-21 pandemic?

An extract from Adapt As An Architect: A Mid-career Companion is available here and the book can be purchased from the RIBA bookstore or via Amazon UK & Amazon US.

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