Originally Posted by mordecai
It is the opposite for the architects I know.
I'm very glad I began my career working for several large high-profile firms. While it was exciting ... and it gave me invaluable experience ... the schedule and general stress levels were both overwhelming at times. I remember one six month period where I worked 9AM to 10PM (or later) seven days a week without exception. Once when my father visited town, I took off to have dinner with him and one of the senior partners saw me at the restaurant. The next day he asked, "Are you a professional or a dilettante?" He acted as if it were improper for me to take off one evening to dine with my father. That was tolerable while I was younger ... but I couldn't see spending my life in that environment.
After a few years of the above, I transitioned to a lower key firm to handle their residential clients. When the firm decided to abandon residential projects ... I took the clients with me and began my own small firm with the intent that it stay small and low stress. I wanted it to be something I -- and those working for me -- could enjoy. I've never been happier.
Projects are exclusively single family residences in the $2M to $20M range. It was/is plenty exciting/rewarding for me ... and I had/have a life to boot.