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Thread: Is there hope for me in the planning field?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Is there hope for me in the planning field?

    I used to be a regular visitor of this site as planning has always been the most interesting thing in the world to me. I ended up changing my mind, however, when I learned of the politics involved, as well as the whole thing with giving presentations and dealing with angry people. That's just terrifying. I'm very introverted (INTP on myers-briggs) and don't know if I could handle these aspects of being a planner, even though the study of cities and how they are designed is so freaking fascinating to me.

    I ended up changing my major to computer science as I am used to working at a computer (GIS person for 7 years) and like the fact that I dont' have to deal with people very often. I basically gave up on planning for the reasons stated above.

    So, I was looking at the regional planning agency's website today and it reminded me just how much I love this subject. I thought, "Might as well go ask around and see"... which led me back to good ol' cyburbia.org

    Is there a planning related profession (besides GIS) that someone like me would be comfortable? Just figured I'd give it one more shot as it's not too late to change back to Public Administration on my degree plan.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    I'm very introverted (INTP on myers-briggs) and don't know if I could handle these aspects of being a planner, even though the study of cities and how they are designed is so freaking fascinating to me.

    Is there a planning related profession (besides GIS) that someone like me would be comfortable? Just figured I'd give it one more shot as it's not too late to change back to Public Administration on my degree plan.
    Wherever I've worked, there have always been planners whose interaction with the public, and need to give presentations, was almost non-existent. They primarily worked on research and analysis for the current and long-range planners. Also, planners on the development review side sometimes do very little in the way of public presentations.

    BTW, I am slso very introverted and very shy, but I had to work to overcome that. I spent 15 years in current planning and am now in trails planning, both of which require presentations at public meetings and hearings.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
         
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    I agree with ZG, there are plenty of positions where a planner has limited access with the public and even less appearing at public meetings. One of our Planners here comes to the meeting but never has to speak, etc.
    Long range planning would be a good place for you to start. It would be primarily research and writing, and with your GIS skills you shouldn't have a hard time finding a place to work.
    Public speaking was (is) very difficult for me but over th past few years I have begun to overcome it. I still get extremely nervous when I know the cameras are on me during a meeting, but having a supportive Board and making sure I am prepared and doing the right thing, usually get me through it. Its not so difficult to speak in public, even when there are angry parties when you believe that what you are doing is of benefit to the community and everyone involved. I say go for it. You are obviously interested in planning and like it, it can be a very rewarding (and at times thankless) job/career.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I think introversion is something that can be overcome by anyone with enough work. Everyone is scared when they first give a presentation, but public speaking is a skill that must be aquired. Think of all of those introverted college professors who can't even make eye contact in a one-on-one conversation but are perfectly happy standing in front of a room of 300 people because they do it every day.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    How about a research job with something like HUD, Fannie Mae or other "think tank"?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far!

    The idea of research and writing sounds fantastic! I am good at both of these things and it's the analysis/study of urban environments that I really get into. I'm so very glad to hear that there's a place for people like me in planning.

    So, I guess the next question is what to do with school. Should I continue with the computer science degree or change to public administration or economics? I'm not sure because since a Master's Degree is pretty standard for planning positions, I'd have to go to graduate school anyway. I was thinking that maybe the computer science degree would be a good way for me to actually earn money (lol) while going to grad school. I'm going to a private university that costs about $530 per credit hour, so I'm going to need some way to pay off that enormous student loan

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Thanks for the replies so far!

    The idea of research and writing sounds fantastic! I am good at both of these things and it's the analysis/study of urban environments that I really get into. I'm so very glad to hear that there's a place for people like me in planning.

    So, I guess the next question is what to do with school. Should I continue with the computer science degree or change to public administration or economics? I'm not sure because since a Master's Degree is pretty standard for planning positions, I'd have to go to graduate school anyway. I was thinking that maybe the computer science degree would be a good way for me to actually earn money (lol) while going to grad school. I'm going to a private university that costs about $530 per credit hour, so I'm going to need some way to pay off that enormous student loan

    Just get your degree in whatever you are doing. You will realize that in ANY planning program for a masters degree you apply for, only 1 in 20 will have an undergraduate degree directly related to planning. 1 in 10 is a REALLY high number.

    So Stay in computer sciences while edging toward GIS. Then, go to a graduate planning school that fits you, and you will be right where you want to be with multiple job applications possible with the papers to back you up on either.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Feds

    GO WORK FOR THE FEDS.....there is no better place to work, if you want to avoid being (directly) accountable to the citizens in general, not to mention its a great place for an INTP or any introverte to work......Library of Congress would be great.....HUD...come on what a dream....lost in one of those cubicles working on housing issues...But the best Fed. Agency has to be Interior for Nat. Park Service or Agriculture w/Forest Service......how about somewhere in EPA's basement.....too bad you've got to be a blood relative of another FED, or know your elected politician very well to get a job there (that and it can take over a year to get a job with them)

    The next best job is working for a consultant....ZERO accountability to the public and they get to do ALL of the fun stuff
    Skilled Adoxographer

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Duke, thank you for your incredibly logical answer I had planned on using my CS degree to go into database administration or network admin. in a GIS-related context. Following the plan you've given, I could have the best of both worlds

    The One, thank you for brightening up my day with a good laugh

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    My husband is EXTREMELY introverted. Nineteen years in the army, calling cadence and teaching classes and leading troops, means that he can smoothly cover up his knocking knees and terror of public speaking in unfamiliar situations. When he had to give a speach for a college class, they all thought he was wonderful. He no longer shakes in his boots at work as that is a familiar environment. But he still needs time to himself when he comes home, after working with people all day. He loves his job. It is all he ever wanted to do when he was a kid. He has never made a big deal about how he had to adapt to the job. He wanted it badly enough. He finds it fulfilling. He takes the bad with the good.

    So I guess I would suggest you ask yourself: How much do you love it? How fulfilling is it? Does it seem like it will be worth it?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    My only problem is this. I graduated a year ago and I am still a member of both the APA and CIP. The employer, or at least dumb people from HR don't see that. All they look for is experience. SO the more you are away from the planning field the moe they will think you're not interested in being a planner.

    The only way you can stick your nose into it is if you go to conferences and sessions, attend seminars and network -something I didn't do last year because of the fact I didn't have the money, even though it was right in my own city. Luckily I am still considrered a student therefore it's cheaper for me and I can still go at a discounted rate. So this time if I am or am not working in planning by this Sept, I will be going to the conference regardless and getting my name in there. The reason is so you can bypass HR and go to the person who's hiring.

    As well sometimes it's good, or at least I have been told, to go to the planning director or person who is in the position to hire and send a resume to them. They will see your skills and maybe only go thru HR just to administer your paycheques.

    I don't know. That's what I have done without much success but it could be a good thing for u.

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