On moving from mail clerk to draftsman at an architecture firm:
When I arrived here [New York City] in 1966, right out of high school, I started looking for a job in the architectural profession. The first three months, I worked in a supermarket. Every Monday I could go to the employment office to see what jobs were available. I got a job opportunity: "call Elizabeth Hambright at Sherburn Associates." They were looking for a mail room clerk. I said, "Perfect!"
I took that job and within three months I got a tap on my shoulder. "I've [been] told you have a portfolio. Can you bring it in?" So I brought the work in, showed the guy who was the office manager. "These are your drawings?" he said. "Yeah." "You're sure these are your drawings?" he asked. "Of course they're my drawings!" "You did these drawings?!" he asked again. "Yes!" "Where?" he said. "High School". "They were teaching you this in High School?!" he said. "Yeah." "I'm promoting you to a draftsman. You're a draftsman now. Get someone to fill your spot."
(Above: St. John’s University – 101 Astor Place, designed by The Switzer Group)