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Those entering the architectural profession tend to be motivated by a desire to undertake creative design, although studies have revealed that many practicing architects feel they lack sufficient creative opportunities. Proponents of anticipatory socialisation argue that experiences prior to entering an occupation influence job satisfaction once engaged in employment. Given concerns over the retention of architects, there is a need to explore practising architects’ motivations for entering the profession, how this affects their anticipatory socialisation and their experience of working life. This paper aims to explore this issue. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 23 practising architects based in the UK, exploring the anticipatory socialisation of architects focussing on issues of career choice, expectations of the profession, experiences once working within practice and job satisfaction. Many respondents had chosen to enter the profession out of a desire to be creative and their university education furthered this desire. The reality of working life was very different, with much time spent on administrative tasks. For some, this gap caused disillusionment with the profession and adversely affected their job satisfaction. The paper discusses the possible impacts of poor anticipatory socialisation on practicing architects and the profession. Recommendations are made for further research including a large scale survey of the profession. The data presented in this paper help researchers and practitioners to understand architects’ motivations for choosing a career in the profession and provide guidance for how the mis-match between expectations and the reality may be overcome.