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Thread: Planning... East Coast & Private vs Public

  1. #1
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Planning... East Coast & Private vs Public

    First of all, this board has given me a tremendous amount of guidance, i put great value on most of your opinions.

    First let me tell you guys a little about myself.I had posted previously about my situation, but instead of linking back to old posts i'll just say it again. I'm in my Jr. year of Undergrad at U. of South Alabama majoring in Geography, a school that does not offer any planning related degrees, be it BS or MS. I'm also older than most students, 24. I'm also married, my wife works in GIS for a local county government.

    My plans are to stay on the East Coast, i have no desire to live anywhere west of the Mississippi. The thought of being in a tornado or earthquake scares the crap out me . I would also like to live in an already established major city ex... NYC, Chicago, Boston. So i guess this leads to my first question. From what i can tell it seems planning seems to thrive the most in rapidly expanding areas such as in the south/west and any suburban location. Are there any jobs in established major cities? If my goal is to live in NYC, how important is it that i attend a school with in close proximity to New York? I'm thinking Rutgers or NYU.

    As i said earlier, my wife works in GIS for a local county. My father also works for another local county as a civil engineer. I have never met dumber people in all my life than the people that work for local governments. I sincerely do not want to be surrounded by stupid people. Is this just a southern thing? It also seems as though there is more financial oppurtunity in the private realm, is this the case? or are salaries nearly the same as the public realm?

    Another long term goal of mine is to establish a Planning/GIS/architecture firm with my wife. I know this is taboo to talk about. Since i want to do this down the road, i'm under the impression that i should probably stick to the private sector rather than the public realm.


    Any info would be great.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Dumb people in government. They are everywhere. They are especially prevalent in the south, and in county government. A southern county government can be the worst. It offers the lowest pay, and original thoughts are considered radical. There are no incentives for hard work other than the self gratification. The system is self-perpetuating as well: the average citizen knows the best and the brightest (and even the average) are not attracted to such places; and thus has low expectations of the government. The motivated ones move on--or get burned out, stepped on, and/or chastised enough to learn the system; and become members of the dumb.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Duh....I guess I got undumb when I left the city planning department for a private planning firm.

    I can't figure out if you're serious or facetious about not wanting to be surrounded by dumb/stupid people. Like mike gurnee said, they are EVERYWHERE, whether you are working for a private or public agency. Even if your co-workers aren't dumb/stupid, you may have to work with a stupid consultant or dumb local yokel wanting a variance for his triple-wide trailer.

    The public v. private sector issue has been discussed here in great detail. Most will agree that it's hard to break into the private sector without some amount of experience under your belt.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  4. #4
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    Duh....I guess I got undumb when I left the city planning department for a private planning firm.

    I can't figure out if you're serious or facetious about not wanting to be surrounded by dumb/stupid people. Like mike gurnee said, they are EVERYWHERE, whether you are working for a private or public agency. Even if your co-workers aren't dumb/stupid, you may have to work with a stupid consultant or dumb local yokel wanting a variance for his triple-wide trailer.

    The public v. private sector issue has been discussed here in great detail. Most will agree that it's hard to break into the private sector without some amount of experience under your belt.
    I don't know if you live in the south or not, but down here outside a select group of about 10 people everyone that works for the county is what we consider "redneck", they all talk about nascar, hunting, getting in fights and all that bs. Most employees i know were not hired from outside but from spending 20 years working their way up the chain. Usually starting off spraying herbicide and such and then just bumped up the ole chain to assitant engineer or some other position. One of my father's co-workers still uses Microstation that runs on Windows 95 b/c he says " i don't know nuthin but 95". All i ask for is to work in an environment where everyone has or is working toward a college degree.

    I did not mean to insult you by anymeans. Both my wife and my father work for county governments. I'm not saying everyone that works in the public realm is ignorant, if i did i'd be insulting both my wife and father. Just from the people i've met, they seem to be clueless about most everything other than the specific tasks they are required to do on a day to day basis. I asked my fathers co-worker who uses Microstation for a little help with the program in the past, he told me " I can't explain it, i just know how to do what i want to do".,
    Last edited by Kobayashi; 23 Jun 2004 at 2:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    There are pluses and minuses to every type of job situation. What you are doing is developing a personal career path, which is good. We cannot tell you what environment will best fit your comfort level, you have to determine that. With your comments, do not even consider a job in a small town or rural area.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Alabama may be an anomaly (or maybe it's Florida) but I've spent 18 years in Planning with county governments in Florida (rural and urban) and we're not dumb. In the planning office of my current employer, there's only one stupid person. Most planners here have advanced degrees and AICP membership. From what I've seen posted on Cyburbia, the pay is competitive, too, at least compared to the midwest.

    If you're a snob about the south, it's probably good that you don't want to stay here.

  7. #7
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Question: If New York City is where i'd like to be, is it wise to attend a grad school as close to NYC as possible? Or lets say hypothetically speaking i went to UNC, would it be tougher for me to find a job in NYC than lets say someone who went to Rutgers or Buffalo?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    This doesn't really attempt to answer any of your questions: if you think so many folks are "stupid" and you are married to a woman in GIS, there is a good chance that you have an unusually high IQ. Folks who have a rather high IQ and have never learned to deal with the social consequences of being the odd-man-out, often have an attitude problem about dealing with "stupid people". The reasons for that are complex and not within the scope of this forum. But it might be useful to you, as a human being, to surf Hoagie's some.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kobayashi

    As i said earlier, my wife works in GIS for a local county. My father also works for another local county as a civil engineer. I have never met dumber people in all my life than the people that work for local governments. I sincerely do not want to be surrounded by stupid people. Is this just a southern thing?
    It could my "dumb" southern upbringing, yes, I AM from the South (much deeper than Mobile), but this sure sounds like an insult to both people who work for local governments and those from the south, despite your claim that it was not your intent.

    If you want to work in an environment in which EVERYONE has or is working towards a college degree, then maybe planning is not the right field for you. Regardless of where you work and for whom you work, you are going to be dealing with people from all walks of life. What will you do when you discover that your NYC co-workers and/or clients love NASCAR, hunting, fighting and all that other stuff you deem b.s.? It is quite convceivable. Not everyone from the big cities are as urbane as you would think.

    To answer your question about which school to attend, check out this thread. Being able to land a job in the city of your choice is less about where you went to school more so than what can you bring to your current employer.
    Last edited by Planderella; 25 Jun 2004 at 10:07 AM.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Kobayashi

    It sounds like you would make a great professor of something, you already sound like a fully tenured prof. at a major university..... Go get your PhD and find the appropriate Ivory Tower from which to voice your opinion of stupid local planners. (some of us like our jobs, are smart, and are trying to change things from within, not to mention make a living somehow)

    A story: Reminds me of the Ivy League prof. who showed up for the first day of class, stated "I don't want to know who any of you are, I don't care.....I teach for one reason, so that I can pay for my trips to South America to climb mountains!"; "write a paper on any subject and hand it in on the last day of class, otherwise, I don't want to hear from you............" (tenured faculty) I dropped the class immediately....

  11. #11
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Good Grief

    Dear Lord! Why such a harsh backlash?!? Once again i did not mean to offend anyone here, and i believe you guys are taking my words out of context. I was not referring to GIS/Planning or the other techincal departments within these county administrations. I was referring to everyone OUTSIDE this area including comissioners. My wife & father both work in buildings that host MUCH more than just GIS and Planning, and these floors are NOT exclusive only to their specific departments. There are only 3 people within my wife's GIS department, and thus you can see how she is forced to deal with many others outside her department.

    It was to my understanding that at planning firms you deal with planners and maybe some architects but for the most part, everyone there has a job related to your specific field. At a couny or any government job you have a much broader view of the world, and get many types of different people. THIS is what i was implying. I did not mean to insult anyone in Planning, GIS or Engineering. Please forgive me if i have.

    Quote Originally posted by The One
    It sounds like you would make a great professor of something, you already sound like a fully tenured prof. at a major university..... Go get your PhD and find the appropriate Ivory Tower from which to voice your opinion of stupid local planners. (some of us like our jobs, are smart, and are trying to change things from within, not to mention make a living somehow)

    A story: Reminds me of the Ivy League prof. who showed up for the first day of class, stated "I don't want to know who any of you are, I don't care.....I teach for one reason, so that I can pay for my trips to South America to climb mountains!"; "write a paper on any subject and hand it in on the last day of class, otherwise, I don't want to hear from you............" (tenured faculty) I dropped the class immediately....
    When did i ever say planners were stupid? Before you drop insults please comprehend what you are actually reading.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 24 Jun 2004 at 7:42 AM.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kobayashi
    I have never met dumber people in all my life than the people that work for local governments. I sincerely do not want to be surrounded by stupid people. Is this just a southern thing? .
    I believe this is what got our goats. For those of us working in local government, or in the south, yeah, it sounded pretty insulting.

    We're more than happy to chat and help you out if we don't feel insulted.

    'Nuf said.

  13. #13
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    I believe this is what got our goats. For those of us working in local government, or in the south, yeah, it sounded pretty insulting.

    We're more than happy to chat and help you out if we don't feel insulted.

    'Nuf said.
    Well, i didn't mean to paint such a broad stroke. Oh well the damage is done...can we please get off this now and back to the main topic.

    How many more times must i apologize?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kobayashi
    Well, i didn't mean to paint such a broad stroke. Oh well the damage is done...can we please get off this now and back to the main topic.

    How many more times must i apologize?
    You know, they aren't trying to hound you, they are trying to explain and communicate. Even people who indicated they were offended tried to point out resources for you. And you are doing a lot to keep this alive by focusing ONLY on what you FEEL are "personal attacks". You could have chosen to largely overlook the reactions to those comments and expressed gratitude for the real suggestions amongst all the affronted feelings.

    You are young and 'Stupid" in your own way. Learning how to get along socially with all kinds of people is a form of intelligence in its own right and one that is often overlooked as not real impressive. I directed you to a resource and so did Planderella. We have not been thanked for that or even acknowledged. Had you chosen to focus on the actual aid offered, this wouldn't have gotten so seemingly "ugly" (from your perspective -- given your comments, I think people have cut you a fair amount of slack. And I do understand that you didn't really intend it to come out that way.).

    I am not personally offended. I am only trying to explain to you that you have a lot more influence on this situation than you seem to think. You do not have to take the defensive or play the victim and doing so makes it a 'self-fulfilling prophesy'.

    I would be happy to answer more of your questions except I utterly lack the knowledge necessary to answer them, since I am still a college student myself and launching a business and I have no expectation of being able to work for someone else, private sector or public sector.

    Well, I guess time will tell whether I am putting out the fire with water or gasoline.

    With the best of intentions (and everyone knows what road is paved with Good Intentions) but perhaps really sloppy execution,
    Michele

  15. #15
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kobayashi
    Oh well the damage is done...can we please get off this now and back to the main topic.
    I'd suggest starting a new thread, and being a bit more careful with your word choices.

    Thread closed.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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