Job Shadow

For planning 10, we are required to participate in a job shadow. A job shadow is basically when you choose a carrier you are interested in and find a job in that field, and you go there for a day to shadow someone. Job shadows are really good for work experience. These types of events are perfect for students to get a taste of the working world and to see what careers interest them. While you are there, you may decide you want to take that career path, or you never want to have that job. This is a very open project. You can choose any career you are interested in. It is pretty unusual to know at the age of 15 what career you want to take in the future. This is the reason students participate in job shadows. In fact it is normal to have multiple jobs before you reach your “dream” job. 

For me it was a pretty easy decision because I have always been interested in architecture. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see if architecture is the career I would want to pursue.  I have also been interested in Sports Medicine so I chose that as a job option in case I couldn’t find any architect offices. In order to find a job to shadow, there were a few steps to take.

Steps to getting the job shadow:

First of all we needed to brainstorm jobs that we may be interested in and find some phone numbers.

For my job shadow I asked around and my dad knew some architects. He gave me multiple phone numbers to different offices and I gave them a call. I also did some research to see which company I wanted to shadow for. 

After some research I called HCMA, and they were welcome to let me job shadow them. I chose this company mainly because they work for my dads work and he told me that they were a very good company and they are located in my city.

About HCMA: 

HCMA is all about working with a space and building things beneficial to the community.

HCAM’s slogan is, “We want to look at spaces, places, architecture and design with fresh eyes – yours” (HCMA). 

For example their company came up with the idea for the alley downtown. They created an alley that no one used into a space that is now a tourist attraction.

On the phone and email we discussed when and where I needed to be. HCMA’s office is located down town and I was going to be there for the whole day, 9am-5pm. This way I would get to meet a lot of people and really get a feel for the job. Right when I walked into the office, I noticed all of the art work and structures around the office. All of the creativity in the office made the office have a chill and welcoming environment.

Quick summary of My Day

My day started off with arriving at the office at 9am. When I arrived at the office, the receptionist had made a schedule for me throughout the day. First I met Rachel. I followed Rachel around for pretty much the whole day, as well as meeting a lot of people. At lunch I went with Rachel’s friends that also work for HCMA. At lunch we had a conversation about what universities everyone went to. After lunch I walked around the office and interviewed some people. I met and she told me about the Masters degree in architecture at UBC. I met Johnathon Strebly who was the director of Creative Services. He was very helpful and he gave me  some business cards if I needed to ask more questions, and he even said he would be interested if I ever wanted to do some work experience. I also talked to the sustainability coordinator. I was so surprised because there is only one sustainability manger in the whole office. She had a lot on her plate. Basically she was the energy checker for each project. Her role was to make the buildings as energy officiant as possible. 

Rachel was working with her team and her role is the project assistant. Something I learned in architecture, is with a lot of the projects they work as team. There is a project manager, PM assistant and the project lead (the person in charge of the bids). Rachel’s team was working on the Harry Jerome renovation.

This is a pretty big task, and Rachel’s role was to make a mini model of the campus so they could figure out where each part of the rec center would be. Overall her job was all problem solving and designing which was definitely something that sparked my interest!

Rachel also took me to the office where they make the actual models of the buildings before they construct them into full size. These building were very detailed and looked so real except they were just a scale model.

I came home from my day at HCMA wanting to be an architect even more!! I talked to so many people at the office that gave me some very helpful advise and information about schools. After interviewing the head of one of the departments, in charge of the bids, he gave me his business cards. If I was ever interested in getting more work experience, he would let me shadow and get some work experience.

Of course I needed to thank the office for letting me job shadow! Therefore, our final step was to write a thank you letter:

Overall my job shadow helped me make a decision on what type of career I want to take. A lot of people recommend universities that offer a good architecture program. For example Carlton University has a good architecture program, Rachel went to Carlton, she even showed me her learning port folio she had to create to get into the university. I was only at the office for one day but having more work experience would help me decide my career even more.

Here is a short video summarizing my career plan:

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