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Thread: Career Counseling

  1. #1
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Career Counseling

    I know we have discussed the idea of what would you do after planning before.

    Now it is real. I have decided that this place and job are not for me and have decided to take the plunge and see a career counselor/coach. I am wondering if anyone else has done this before or looked into it and if you have do you have any suggestions for what to look for in a company that does this sort of thing?

    It seems really odd to me that a person that prides themselves in strategic thinking / problem solving and providing solutions to problems can’t figure out a map to a better job for themselves, but that is what has happened to me.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    ......It seems really odd to me that a person that prides themselves in strategic thinking / problem solving and providing solutions to problems can’t figure out a map to a better job for themselves, but that is what has happened to me.
    What do you really want to do? How bad do you want it? Are you willing to take a loss in income to restart from scratch?
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Do you mean a whole different career?

    Maybe a more urban planning job would help? You seem to have travelled far to end up in a very similar backwater. Any Toronto area cities or firms hiring?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    What do you really want to do? How bad do you want it? Are you willing to take a loss in income to restart from scratch?
    As has recently been pointed out to me 'adults don't make as little as you do' so losing money is not really going to happen. As for restarting from scratch, I have now, the job I am in has turned out to be basically 8 (as in years) big steps backwards.

    As for what do I really want to do, I have no clue. I've been working at either being a planner or becoming one for so long I'm not really sure what is out there. Hence, the use of a career coach/assessment.
    Last edited by donk; 06 Jul 2004 at 4:13 PM.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I temped for a few years before I ended up in planning--actually, temping led to planning. It's a good way to experience other stuff without making a commitment, and if you aren't getting paid much now, it would probably be a step forwards in that regard. There probably aren't too many temping opportunities near you, it seems to be more of a big city thing, but if you don't mind the commute...Have you had other jobs besides planning? What makes you happy (besides bicycling and beer, although there are viable careers in both of those)? Is there a nearby university that might have evening courses in stuff? I'd try getting a low/no-stress job, (maybe a bike messenger?) and looking at other stuff for a while. It will be hard to figure out what you want your next direction to be while you're stressed about current issues. Hope this helps.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian pandersen's avatar
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    Why not used what you've learned to date and consider teaching a college course in a planning or development related subject e.g. GIS, site planning, urban design, historic preservation etc.

  7. #7
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I've done them a couple of times before and got the same answer both times.
    "You are smart enough to do whatever you want to do"... I say thanks for the help dude.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Kudos to you for having the courage to make the Big Jump. You know, there is an old truism 'do the work that you love and the money will take care of itself'. What I hear about career coaches is that they help identify aptitudes you may have, but do not necessarily give it to you like "Donk, after careful testing and evaluation we feel you should be a research chemist. Here are the applications for you to apply to State U for a degree in chemistry....and we have your first job interview scheduled for October 2, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Thank for using Jobfinders Inc."

    If you already know what types of things you're good at you probably don't need a career coach to tell you that.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    A couple of thoughts:
    I bought a book about careers based on Meyers-Briggs Personality Type. It was helpful. I don't know if I still have it or not and cannot remember the name off the top of my head.

    You are old enough to have some experience in life. What do you LIKE doing? You like cycling. Some folks in this forum have spoken of starting a bike shop. You seem to like renovating homes -- that is actually what led me to decide that I wanted "a degree and career having to do with the built environment" and began researching it from there.

    Could you go into a related field? Maybe you should stick with something planning-related but not government. Go to the private sector. Go into real estate development. Or construction. Or something along those lines.

    You have computer skills. What about transitioning more in that direction?

    Here is a problem that I see with you, personally, going to a career counselor: you are an extremely intelligent guy. A counselor who is not similarly intelligent is likely to be a waste of your time and money. I have spoken with a lot of parents of gifted kids who "need" counseling of some kind. And the kid often just plays manipulative games and runs circles around the therapist, who never does Get A Clue as to what is really going on. (Frankly, I generally think doctors are Stoopid and I have recieved a lot more effective advice from friends of mine that I met on gifted lists than from most doctors. :-} :-0 ) So, you may have trouble finding a professional counselor who can really be helpful.

    However, you might check Hoagiesgifted.com They list "Recommended" psychiatrists, testing professionals, etc. I don't know if they have a list of career counselors. But, if they do, even if you have to do a limited telephonic or e-mail consult, that might be more useful to you. I told a Canadian friend of mine to not waste any more time and money on local testers and to contact the GDC in Denver. She could not afford to go to Denver for a full assessment of her kids but was able to send all the test results, etc, that she had and get some feedback. When you are so much smarter than most folks you meet, it is hard to find anyone who can give you any useful advice. But I am acquainted with the webmistress of Hoagies and she holds herself to very high ethical standards. If they are recommended on her site, they are some of the best in the world. If they can't help you, no one can.

    [/"elitist snob" advice]

  10. #10
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    I've done them a couple of times before and got the same answer both times.
    "You are smart enough to do whatever you want to do"... I say thanks for the help dude.

    If that is the answer I get or where it is leading, I'll be saying "You better hope I am smart enough to be a proctologist, because you'll be needing some help getting my foot out of your a$$"

    I have some serious comments for those that have provided advice, I'll sum them out as teh thread progresses.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Now it is real. I have decided that this place and job are not for me and have decided to take the plunge and see a career counselor/coach.
    Did that other city we were talking about not come through?

    What about south of the border? I'd love to hire you -- it's a GREAT place to work -- but there's no positions available
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #12
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Did that other city we were talking about not come through?

    What about south of the border? I'd love to hire you -- it's a GREAT place to work -- but there's no positions available
    No contact since the interview, so I am assuming that it is PFO.

    As for the states, I've tried that route, got some interviews, but nothing came of them either (4 interviews). Combine that with the fact that the move here has pretty much drained my savings/put me in debt and I need time to recover before I could make a big move again. Moving into the City will be tough enough, but at least I have a support network there that I could couch surf on for a month or so until I found a hovel.

    Like I said in my update, this has been the bigest mistake I've ever made (after becoming a planner)
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Is the problem that you do not like planning, or that the places where you have worked have been so hellish? I'd hate to see you get out because of bad experiences with employers, because I have seen enough of your thinking to know you are good at planning.

    I have had two experiences with employment counselors, one bad, the other so-so. The better one did not really help me with a career so much as they led me through a series of tests that did help me to pinpoint what it is that I like to do and excel at. The second... said I should become a rabbi. I did not bother to mention that I was raised Catholic and am now (and was then) more-or-less agnostic.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    Donk, I don't know if this is a helpful guide at all, but here's a question for you. If you were given a free credit card that had a limit of a billion dollars and you were to use it to get to a life that you wish you had, then what would be that life? Once you know what that "desired life," you can then start figuring out what pathways you can go on to get there.

    Don't feel bad about being "unrealistic" because that "unrealistic desired life" may be actually reachable and achievable. Like the Nike once said, just do it!

    Maybe you need a break from planning and perhaps you'd like to do something else. Like what Michelle mentioned, look up at possibilities of further pursuing some of your interests. You can always go back to planning later on. You're not sentenced to do anything in life. As Emily Dickenson said once, dwell in possibility. Just be glad that you've realized that you're not happy now not later on in life.

    Oh, and do this in a quiet place. Do this by yourself, free of distractions. Listen to what are your thoughts whether or not they are rational. Give yourself a time to figure out this "crisis."

    That's my two cents worth for now.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Is the problem that you do not like planning, or that the places where you have worked have been so hellish? I'd hate to see you get out because of bad experiences with employers, because I have seen enough of your thinking to know you are good at planning.
    A little bit from column A and a little bit from column B.

    While many of you have only heard the hell stories (they are more humourous) of my employment locations, there has been some good as well.

    It has become clear to me that potential employers view me as a "rural" planner or a planner that only knows how to manage/administer decline, these are both things that I no longer want to do, but can't figure out how to escape the stereotypes.

    I'm looking at these upcoming interviews/sessions with the career coaches as an opportunity. If I get one idea out of them, they will have been worth it.

    For what it is worth , I am totally sceptical about self help books and this sort of thing, but am willing to reduce it and give it a chance.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    There is always that all time favorite: Astrology! :-P

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    It has become clear to me that potential employers view me as a "rural" planner ...
    I think I suffered from the same assessment. Why was I always asked "How big a city is ____?" when I got to an interview. The person who was hired always seemed to be from a larger community, at least until now. Even then, my new employer is far from "conventional."

    BTW, if you want the job description for the job I am leaving, PM me. Rather than managing decline, you'd be managing growth. There wouldn't be any code enforcement, and the site planning role is more advisory than regulatory. You would be three miles from the best mountain biking in the region (and the road biking is good too), an hour from some of the finest-looking women in Wisconsin (at the UW-Madison), and surrounded by outstanding micro-breweries. I was also making about 120% of the median income of a family of four in my community.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Has anyone had any experience in dealing with headhunters? It was suggested by my soon-to-be mother-in-law as I'm looking for new employment.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  19. #19
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    As has recently been pointed out to me 'adults don't make as little as you do'
    Keep in mind who it was who said that, eh? Someone mentioned thinking about the kind of lifestyle you'd like to lead and then seeing if your current career path will allow for it. Knowing what I know about you, I think it will ,given the right position (unless psycho-chick really got to you and changed your priorities ). I really don't understand why Planning hasn't worked out for you - you definitely have the skills and aptitude to succeed in the field. Perhaps this is something you should raise with the career counselor.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    Has anyone had any experience in dealing with headhunters? It was suggested by my soon-to-be mother-in-law as I'm looking for new employment.
    Do you mean the people who are supposed to work with you to find a job? If so, forget about it in the public sector. Their approach is to tell you to network. Go talk to people you know, and ask them to refer you to others they know, and so on. Then during those discussions, somebody is supposed to say "Wow! We could really use someone like you!" The reality is that public jobs are not created that way. There is usually a long process tied to the annual budget. The best advices for public job seekers is to time your search for the beginning of the year.

    On the other hand, if you mean the folks who work with employers to identify candidates, then go for it. What can it hurt to send them a resume and make a phone call so that they know you are looking?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  21. #21
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Rural is good and bad...

    Here's how I ended up in Oregon; generally a bastion for planners, but the rural areas are a little different.

    Engineering - I wasn't an engineer, but I designed, inspected, and surveyed. Good experience.

    Planning - Yeah, this was REAL rural planning. I had CE, too. That very quote you have from Blazing Saddles was the .wav file that played when I started my computer. I hated dealing with the people. But I took it upon myself to become very computer literate, to the point I could even design databases and be the IT guy in a pinch.

    Community Development - When I moved, they loved the computer skills, and now I also supervised 3 people in a building department. At this job, I took up writing grants (To date, I'm up over seven million in 5 years). No one minded me learning that skill at all. So now... I could move to...

    Community Services - Planning, Building Department, Public Works (street/water/sewer/parks/industrial park/activity center), and all the grant writing. The days are long, the work is tough, and sometimes the people are still morons. But I get a great deal of enjoyment watching a $400,000 grant turn into a rebuilt street...

    I just turned down a "headhunter" from a bigger city in Oregon offering almost twice the money. So, what am I telling you? Try and be "the guy" in whatever you do and diversify your field... If your town is truly on the way down, get them a few grants. Plan a park, get the funding, and make public works build it. You have no idea what a project like that looks like on a resume.

    Good luck, Bud... (And I assume you'll still be in the FF league?)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    Good luck, Bud... (And I assume you'll still be in the FF league?)
    Yes, and hopefully this year I'll win a few of the squeakers.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  23. #23
         
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    I believe you said you're in Canada, so I could offer one bit of advice...Do NOT go to the career counselors at HRDC (or the unemployment office, or whatever you want to call it). I tried that route 2 different times in my life, and they don't help very much. They just tell you what's available, as opposed to actually helping you figure out what you want/can do.

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