Assistant Architect - Chapter 2 (2)

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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling


Chapter 2: Job Hunting

Almost all of the cover letters he sentcame to naught. Only one German foreign firm had returned with an e-mail gentlyexplaining to Zhang Siyi that all the positions at their firm for interns andassistants were already full for the year.

Yes, it is already August. The bettercompanies have long been full. He was sostupid for giving into Fu Xinhui encouragement to travel and have fun in Europefor one month after graduation knowing that the domestic construction market isexperiencing a low period. Three to Four percent of people in the business aresuffering from laid-offs and pay cuts. Some companies can’t afford to pay theirexisting staff, let alone to hire new people.

Although not as prestigious as Cambridgeor Oxford, Zhang Siyi graduated from a university with a famous architecturalprogram in the United Kingdom. However, these names add little value to astudent with an undergraduate degree which can only be used as a small steppingstone for Zhang Siyi’s job search. Since most developed countries constructionmarket peak has passed, Zhang Siyi thought returning home was the only wayforward with his career.

However, because of the current saturateddomestic environment, the door that he thought was once open has now beenslammed in his face.

He is competing for a position amongstall the graduates of architecture from the old eight schools in the country aswell as graduates from other famous universities. Then there were people likeZhang Siyi who are forced to find the leftover scraps.

In fact, if Zhang Siyi chose somethingelse, it would be quite simple to get a job, especially in a big city likeHaicheng. Many travel agents or leather product companies will welcome himbecause you can go directly to the job with little training.

He didn’t know getting an Architecturaldegree would cost so much and become such a burden. While he was studying, hedidn’t think so all the time. It was just that there were a lot of miscellaneousexpenses such as various specialized pens for drawing, artist markers,materials to make models, printing fees, etc… used in the learningprocess. Even with his amounting debt,he can’t abandon his hard work!

Why did he want to study architecture inthe first place? Zhang Siyi may have forgotten. Perhaps, just because it soundedcool.

Because of the lack of academicqualifications and professional ability, Zhang Siyi only wants to update hisportfolio. After all, looking back at his lower grades with the eyes of agraduate, almost all of them can only use the word “shit” to describethem. So, during this time, he was working hard retouching his designs to seeif he could make his work more appealing.

This is his last bet. If he still can’tmake things work at his current level, he can only rush back home and ask hisfamily to let him go study abroad for a master’s degree…

Grasping his head in worry, Zhang Siyiwas about to start work when he felt his stomach protest.

One great thing about returning to Chinais it\'s so convenient and cheap to eat. Zhang Siyi stayed in the UK for fouryears and ate enough hamburgers and fries for a lifetime. When he came back, hefell in love with Haicheng and never wanted to go back.

He ordered takeout and returned to hisroom to wait for the food. When he finished eating, he started feelingsleepy… Since it was early in themorning a little nap first, then work later. Zhang Siyi comforted himself andslept, but when he woke up, the sun was already starting to set below thehorizon.

He glanced at the time and secretly sworethen quickly climbed out of bed to wash.

In the living room, one of Zhang Siyi\'sroommates is glued to the couch playing games with the mobile phone. Yes, he isFu Xinhui. The one who was suspected of being gay in the dispute between ZhangSiyi and his girlfriend this morning. His other roommate is Jiang Hai. Thethree of them were classmates in the UK while they were studying. There weremore than ten students from mainland China in his architectural program whohave returned to the country and plan to find their jobs in Haicheng.

“Are you awake?” Fu Xinhuilooked up at Zhang Siyi and asked lazily. “What do you want to eat for dinner?”

“…I feel like I just ate so I’mnot hungry.” Zhang Siyi went into the washroom with a heavy heart. Histhoughts seemed to echo his girlfriend this morning. Repeatedly questioning thephrase “What are you doing all day?” Yes, what is he busy with? Howdo you feel not doing a single thing all day long?

“Just eaten?” Fu Xinhui asked.

“Well, I went out in the morning.Did you think I never got up?” Zhang Siyi snapped. “Although I wokeup at 2 in the afternoon, I just wanted to say that I started earlier than you.What about the pizza from last night."?

"……" Is this guy proud to sleep untilso late? “No, I am so hungry. Whatabout the seafood place downstairs? I just looked at the reviews and foundpositive comments about the lobster dinner. Can you go?”

When Zhang Siyi heard the“lobster”, his stomach seemed to be a bit hungry. Once again, hethought about this morning’s breakup event. The depression and regrets in hisheart gradually came back, so he wanted to eat something to eliminate it.

“Well, is Jiang Hai back?”Zhang Siyi asked.

Among the three, Jiang Hai was the onlyone who transitioned smoothly to a job after graduation. However, hisachievement wasn’t due to his own effort. Someone in the family had arranged itearly so he now worked in a real estate company.

“I just sent a him message, he isworking overtime.” Fu Xinhui said.

“No? More overtime work! How many days has he added this week? I thought thatJiang Hai never worked overtime.” Zhang Siyi finished getting ready andcasually wore a pair of slippers to go downstairs with Fu Xinhui.

“I don’t know why a graduate is soanxious to work long hours. Cherish your youth and take it easy!”

When Zhang Siyi heard this, he becameangry: “Don’t say that! I went to Europe to play with you instead oflooking for a job, and now compared with Jiang Hai, my fortune has reversed.

Fu Xinhui shook his head and said:“You aren’t thinking straight.”

Frustrated, Zhang Si Yi shouted back:“Young masters don’t have to worry about food and shelter so don’t talk tome about what my mental state is!"

Fu Xinhui is a naive, typical rich secondgeneration with several big companies, owned and operated by his family. It isobvious that such a young master who has enjoyed the blessing of money can renta house with them and enjoy his time.

Fu Xinhui sings enchantingly: “Comeon~ Happy~ … Anyway, there is a lot oftime….”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

When they arrived at the restaurant, theyordered food then Fu Xinhui suddenly asked, “Where have you been allmorning?”

Zhang Siyi poured a beer and said:“I broke up with my girlfriend.”

Fu Xinhui was surprised: “You ranout early in the morning to break up?”

“I didn’t go intending tobreakup,” Zhang Siyi sighed. As he retold the events one by one from themorning, Fu Xinhui became more irritated. Filled with indignation Zhang Siyiasked, “I really don’t understand why she suspects something between us.Do we act gay? Not! Do you think there is something wrong with her?"

"Hmmm…" Fu Xinhui intently stripped thelobster and put it on Zhang Siyi’s plate. “You aren\'t thinking about hernow, right?”

Zhang Siyi naturally ate the lobster andwas silent.

Fu Xinhui looked up and said: “Areyou regretting it?”

Zhang Siyi bowed his head: “It\'sbeen two years after all. If it wasn\'t for me during this period, her temperwouldn’t have become so bad."

Fu Xinhui enlightened him: “Girls,they all want to spend time with you. You are used to acting differently whenabroad, but she is looking forward to seeing you return to the country and begentle with her. Now she sees the difference between her ideal and reality. Thegap is definitely not acceptable for her.”

As a result of Fu Xinhui’s analysis,Zhang Siyi became more and more guilty: “What should I do……? Explainit better…? Try to save our relationship?

Fu Xinhui asked: “Do you think youhave time to manage her needs?”

Zhang Siyi frowned: “Hmm… it wouldbe better to wait for me to find a job first.”

Fu Xinhui smiled: “You are toonaive. Look at Jiang Hai. Do you think there will still be time after work?Your girlfriend was originally a character that liked to accompany people. Thisprofession is destined to cause her emotional stress. She won’t ever feel satisfied.

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Fu Xinhui: “But it is not good forme to make this decision for you. Think about it yourself.”

"You\'re right, I’m in the mood to find ajob now,” Zhang sighed, with emotion,” and I feel very tired when I’mwith her recently. It\'s not so easy being together with her. Zhang Si Yithought about his girlfriend’s speculations, joking, ” I want to really begay, it\'s so much easier being with you.”

Fu Xinhui :"……"

When he returned to his room, he thoughtabout sending a text message to his girlfriend detailing his thoughts that werediscussed with Fu Xinhui as well as further explaining his current exhaustedstate. He thought if both sides can step back for a little, they can continueto be together and not officially break up.

He took a long time editing his txtmessage. He finally sent it out after modifying it several times back and forthfor 30min. He still held onto some hope that his relationship with his girlfriendwould work out.

Not one minute passed when Zhang Siyifelt the phone buzz. He didn\'t expect the other party to write back so soon….

“There is no need to explain more. Ithought about it in the morning.”

“Your profession is just too abnormal. Ireally have had enough, Zhang Siyi, maybe we really don’t fit together.”

Let\'s end it.”

Three text messages connected to threephone vibrations. These three combos let Zhang Siyi once again realize therhythm of the first “sonata” in the morning.

After reading the messages he collapsedon his bed like a dead dog. At this moment, the phone vibrated again. Zhang Siyi thought that it was a girlfriend –wait a moment – noooo…. Now an ex-girlfriend who sent something else tocomplain about, but to his surprised, it was a push notification on his mobilephone for new E-mail!

Zhang Siyi bounced from the bed andrushed to the computer to open his Email…

Re: job hunting Zhang Siyi

With shaking hands, Zhang Siyi opened themail.


“Hello, Mr. Zhang,

Thank you for your letter, our architectshave browsed your resume and portfolio, and are interested in furthercommunication with you. If you are still looking for a job, please bring apaper version of the collection on August x-x. The interview at the companywill be before 10 am.

Tel: ***

Address: ***

If you have any questions, please callMiss Whang in the Human Resource department.

Borderless Architectural Design Firm. Co“


Ah, oh oh oh oh oh yeah…!

Zhang Siyi jumped up from the chairexcitedly, holding his head and screaming madly – he finally received aninterview email!!!

But, wait a minute… Which company is Borderless?

Zhang Siyi sent out too many resumes to keeptrack of them all in this period, so he doesn’t remember the details. Becauseof his background studying abroad, the only known example of the job is basedmostly on foreign designers\' private firms where the general welfare is good.The working atmosphere is relatively relaxed and there is no need to workovertime.

The biggest avenue forward is in thecarrier building group and Design Institute. Working for them in key brancheswould be a big addition to his resume. If they don’t give him an opportunity,Zhang Siyi thought to apply to the small construction companies that areChinese-foreign joint ventures. Tiny company ventures aren\'t popular and aretoo risky to apply.

Borderless is the company on the firstbatch of resumes that Zhang Siyi’s sent. At that time, his goal was ambitious,so he picked the best. Zhang Siyi excitedly checked the Internet and quicklyrecalled that Borderless was a subsidiary of a large-scale design institute inChina a few years ago. It was mainly an elite team of young designers, bothdomestic and foreign.

Compared with foreign firms, Borderlessis more grounded and has a strong background. Even if it is a domestic company,the designs of its projects aren’t rigid or dull at all. In recent years it hasbecome the first choice for many architecture graduates.

“Hmm… I see that the threshold ofthis company is extremely high, and it is rarely publicly recruited so how canI suddenly receive an email from them?”

Zhang Siyi is both nervous and excited. When he originally looked at the relevant website data for an application, he thought he would take a chance and apply even though he wasn’t expecting anything. He didn’t know it could be so long before he would receive a reply … Is this the legendary darkest hour?