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Thread: Am I the only one that LOVES my job?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Am I the only one that LOVES my job?

    Perhaps I am a bit naive, but I really do love my job, and would recommend it to those looking for a career. Planning totally fits my personality...a little bit (well, kind of a lot!) on the anal and controlling side, organized, nosy (hahhaah), love seeing improvement or trying to make it happen, love having a say in what happens around me. For those that don't give a crap, planning wouldn't be for them. There are some things I hate...being threatened with lawsuit, because I won't let some buttheads park their fleet of vehicles on the front lawn. Those just roll off my back - I'm doing my job, deal with it.

    Maybe I just got lucky...after grad school I got a job in a rural community of 10,000. Entire population of county is 45,000. Lots of lakes and agriculture. There's politics, but you'll find that anywhere where you have to deal eith government. Surprisingly, my position is held in pretty high regard both at City and County level. Regardless of the bunch of yahoos in this county, people realize planning is important. My *professional opinion* is taken seriously and respected. ((not that that means they always go along with my suggestions))

    Being the only planner, I technically *am* the planning dept. While pretty busy, I have do SO much, which has helped me learn so much. I get to be involved and have the ability to work with other departments (Building, Engineering, DDA, Economic Development......etc. etc. etc.) I've learned more here in the past three years, than I did in college.People know I am not into the BS, or politics type of thing, but it is hard to get away regardless of where you are at, or what position.

    I think too that attitudes are important. If you (meaning anyone) come across "I hate this town, hate my job, hate the people, hate this profession", you will not be respected and others will not take you seriously, and not look forward to working with you. Not that you should have to kiss ass either though.

    Sorry if this sounds all 'flowery', but I just wanted to reiterate that there are planners that like their job. I'm in Michigan, right by the Indiana and Ohio border.. not sure if there is a stereotype of planning in Michigan, but so far it works for me! Granted, this is my first job after grad school, but I know there is crap out there. I just think people have to be smart enough to either 1) try to change it their situation, or 2) get the hell out and find your niche somewhere else. Complaining won't get you anywhere.

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I would say that I loved my job, at least in the first few months. It seemed ideal ... good co-workers, a small town where I could perform a variety of functions,, and a smart, pro-planning Town Commission, and a variety of work that kept things interesting.

    The problems, though ...

    1) An exponentially increasing workload that kept me at the office for 50 to 60 hours a week. The week before last, it was 70. Night meetings a month... two Town Commission, two Planning and Zoning Board, one Board of Adjustment, one Code Enforcement Board, the occasional Town Center Committee ... it was too much. No comp time, and even if I got it, I'd have no time to take it ... I only took one vacation day in the past year. When your workload makes the news, it's a bad sign. I literally have no life outside of work ... none.

    2) A work environment that was not condusive to actually working, because a) my office was directly off the VERY LOUD reception area, b) was THE shortcut between the reception area and the town hall annex, so I had someone cutting through every ten or twenty minutes, c) excessive public contact, which meant there were few long blocks of time to work on projects or staff reports, d) no closed door policy, because it would have been impossible to implement; the office configuration and the demands of residents meant that everyone had unlimited, direct access to me.

    I could go on with 3), 4), and 5), but I'll spare you. You've heard my ragging in recent weeks, and it isn't pretty. Suffice it to say that I loved what my job could have been, before I put in my notice of resignation. Given numerous externalities not present in other planning offices, though ... well, complaining got me nowhere, so I'm getting out. Where, I don't know. I do know that I'd I didn't get out ... well, the Japanese call it karoshi.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Dan: But do you love the planning profession? It's one thing to despise your current position, and another to hate the profession. Seeing that you are looking for another job, as oppossed to going to grad school and getting your MBA, I would assume that you still love the planning proffession. I hope this true! It must be, as Cyburbia appears to be a passion of yours!

    P.S. Couldn't your current department hire an assistant planner? I know, budget is tight, yada, yada, yada.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by Beaner
    Dan: But do you love the planning profession? It's one thing to despise your current position, and another to hate the profession. .
    I've never said "I'm going to get my MBA" or "screw this ... I'm going to become an engineer." I don't know how many others feel the way that I do, but since I was a kid, drawing imaginary maps of cities, I've said "I'm going to be an urban planner." I've always been fascinated with cities, places, demographics, architecture, the built environment, and so on, and I can't imagine doing anything else ... even for a six digit salary. I'd feel ... empty if I had a different career.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Dan is right. This is a career that beckons to people. They are passionate about places, development, ecosystems and econosystems. They play SimCity and play with GIS. As kids they drew pictures of houses and played with Lincoln Logs. They carry cameras in their cars and stop to take pictures of things both good and bad in the built environment. It is in the blood. An individual job in the field may be bad, but the field of planning is itself a passion.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I love being a planner, i love in theory what i do-i hate who i do it for and i hate the slack i catch for it.

    im educated, bright and creative but we are by in large treated like dirt. an atty friend once told me planners were the onlything attys could look down on-and ya know what in the last 2 communites ive worked in it was true.

    sad
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  7. #7
          Downtown's avatar
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    SW - I'll be your soul sister - I honestly can say that I am so lucky to have the job that I do. Yes - uneducated planning board members, wacked out yahoos in the public and the whole political machine can really suck. but at the end of the day, i drive by examples of what I've done to improve my community, on the way home from work. I work in an environment that is extremely accommodating and in fact encourages me to have a real life outside of work. I'm with you, I'm happy with where I am.

  8. #8
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I may have been late to discover Planning (didn't even realize it was a profession until college), but I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. The fact that I could be involved in such a wide variety of different issues and projects keeps the job fresh, and I've been fortunate to work with some really great co-workers. I still go back to the community I used to work for to see the "end results," and can't wait until there are more for me here in my current job. For the most part the profession is well respected, and offers reasonable QOL in this region. I have little doubt that I'll be a planner for the rest of my life.
    "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

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I went to grad school for planning just to keep the student loan sharks off my back until I figured out my next move. Like NHP, I didn't know it was a profession until then. There are some aspects about my job that I like and others that I don't. I can't say that I LOVE it because that would be too extreme for me. I don't have warm, fuzzy feelings about the job either so I guess that puts me somewhere in the lukewarm to warm category.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Like I've said a bunch of times, Planning with the gov't just wasn't for me. However, in my new job, I've found real satisfaction in applying my planning experience to the engineering field.

    When we start developing plans for a subdivision, instead of commenting on plans that are already prepared, and not likely to change much, I get to add my input right from the beginning.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I like it.

    I too discovered it later than most. I love it more every day. I hope to get back into current planning again someday. But next time in a place where it is looked upon as a good thing by the locals.

  12. #12
         
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    About a million times I've tried to figure out what else I might want to do for a living. But like several comments in this string, I'll have to say urban planning is something that gets in your blood and stays there. Also, I'm very fortunate to be in a new position with a county regional planning commission that I like very much and suits my interests well.

    Now, if I could only switch off my "planner brain" once in a while so I could walk my dog around the neighborhood without subconciously critiquing every house, street, curb, gutter, signpost, street intersection, park strip width....

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Andy Dobson
    Now, if I could only switch off my "planner brain" once in a while so I could walk my dog around the neighborhood without subconciously critiquing every house, street, curb, gutter, signpost, street intersection, park strip width....
    This is something that always amazes and annoys my friends.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I'm with you andy and bturk.

    I will also include the urban history and theory as part of the speech too.

    A somewhat related question - separation of work and real life.

    I was invited to a friend's house for dinner, there were people there that had lead a lynch mob against me over a reccomendation I had made. How do you deal with these people in a social setting?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by donk
    I was invited to a friend's house for dinner, there were people there that had lead a lynch mob against me over a reccomendation I had made. How do you deal with these people in a social setting?
    I say, "Why don't you call me at the office to discuss that. We're here to enjoy good comnpany so lets talk about [insert something interesting]"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Originally posted by donk
    I'm with you andy and bturk.

    I will also include the urban history and theory as part of the speech too.

    A somewhat related question - separation of work and real life.

    I was invited to a friend's house for dinner, there were people there that had lead a lynch mob against me over a reccomendation I had made. How do you deal with these people in a social setting?
    Respond in Plannerese and mix in some theory for effect and they won't have a clue as to what you're talking about or wonder why they even bothered to question your professional judgement in the first place. **It has worked for me**
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I say, "Why don't you call me at the office to discuss that. We're here to enjoy good comnpany so lets talk about [insert something interesting]"
    I would love to tell people this, but living in a small community and being involved in a high profile development I can't go anywhere without people asking about the case.

    The topic came up in passing and I was able to explain my role in the process and why that explanation was not made earlier (role of the planner and the media).

    I really just wanted to tell them to BEEP OFF and mind their own business in the future. The process was not a pleasant one.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  18. #18
    maudit anglais
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    Originally posted by donk
    How do you deal with these people in a social setting?
    Always blame the engineers and the lawyers...

  19. #19

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    Originally posted by Tranplanner


    Always blame the engineers and the lawyers...
    Well.... it is their fault isn't it?

    Seriously though, you either love planning, or you're boring (insert: accountant, lawyer, or engineer here), there is no imbetween.

    The thing about planning is that it gives one a very holistic view of the world, from environmental studies, to politics, to economics, to architecture and urban form. I think it's that heightened awareness of where we are, what we are doing, and whats actually important that gets in under your skin.

    So yes, I love my career (and not just the lifestyle of consultant), and I don't just consider it my job.

    Or as a student wrote in a job application to our firm: -

    "I'm very happy with the "Carrier" of my choice....

  20. #20
    maudit anglais
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    I've thought about this, and I definitely fit into the "love the career" crowd. Only I drool over transportation networks, not set-backs and minor variances.

    The job is good - I definitely love working for a progressive city. Though of course there is a lot of politics, and too much overlap/duplication. It's a constant fight to be heard above the crowd! In addition, my boss is so busy that it is very hard to get any time with him, and thus very hard to get a lot of work moved forward - I've got crap waiting in his inbox that's been there for weeks (months!).

    It'd be nice to have a bit more power/control, instead of constantly having to negotiate with others.

  21. #21

    Planning as a profession is going down

    've been a good boy here lately so I hope I don't blow it. The problem with planning is that it's so broad and non productive. Lemme explain.

    It so broad because planning spans so many fields and therefore is diluted, generally non respected, and low paying. Just think of all the people on this forum- it ranges from transportation planners to, code enforcement, to economic dev, etc. So many jobs calling themselves planners. There was a debate on here as to whether code enforcement is planning. Code enforcers as with other "planners" are all just municipal administrators- nothing more, nothing less. The same as mid level pukes in a private enterprise.

    Planning is non productive because there is no need to hustle to get anything done. It moves at the speed of government with it's bank holidays, bureacracy, politcal strategery etc. The worker in the private sector has to produce something to keep his/her job. In government the worker, on the other hand, is not held nearly as accountable for his/her actions. The off the wall benefits packages also allow the gvt. worker to wallow in laziness.

    So it is not surprising that this thread starter loves her job. You don't have to produce for a company by bringing in revenue, you have subsidized benefits and probably niceties like comp time, excess vacation, etc. Your not a bad person for loving that situation- just try to realize you're not doing much to increase the productivity of the econmomy.

    Planning often hinders and adds cost to private sector endeavors. Municipalities really only need a good plan and codes and then have an absolute minimum staff to enforce it.

  22. #22
         
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    Originally posted by donk
    I'm with you andy and bturk.

    I will also include the urban history and theory as part of the speech too.

    A somewhat related question - separation of work and real life.

    I was invited to a friend's house for dinner, there were people there that had lead a lynch mob against me over a reccomendation I had made. How do you deal with these people in a social setting?
    Sometimes, it's fun to take a poll of the room of who voted in the last local election. Then you can see how many in the "lynch mob" are interested in being involved in local affairs in any meaningful way.

    After being thrown out of the party by the lynch mob, you can congratulate yourself on your knowledge and rightousness while picking out your extra-value meal at McDonalds.

    I had someone pull this kind of stunt on me at the gym of all places. I should've dropped a barbell on his foot. The perils of being in the public eye I guess.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I dont think you blew it Muggie

    That was concise and introspective. And yes *ohmygosh* I'm siding with mugbub!

    I agree that our career title describes a concept not a product. A lot of market sectors have planners - financial planners, for example? You say "Planning is not productive" well, that's becasue planning is not a product to be produced. Its a process to be followed. Its a means to an ends. In my opinion too many in government beleive it is a product.

  24. #24
         
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    Re: Planning as a profession is going down

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by mugbub1

    Planning is non productive because there is no need to hustle to get anything done. It moves at the speed of government with it's bank holidays, bureacracy, politcal strategery etc. The worker in the private sector has to produce something to keep his/her job. In government the worker, on the other hand, is not held nearly as accountable for his/her actions. The off the wall benefits packages also allow the gvt. worker to wallow in laziness.

    I think there are loads of public-sector professionals, myself included, who take strong exception to this assertion.

    The misconception that every public sector worker is a jaded, calcified bureaucrat and every private sector worker is a dynamite booster of capitalism and the free world should be put to rest by any thoughtful person. There are dynamite government employees and bloated examples of inefficiency, greed, and corruption in business. It swings both ways

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Re: Planning as a profession is going down

    Originally posted by mugbub1
    've been a good boy here lately so I hope I don't blow it. The problem with planning is that it's so broad and non productive. Lemme explain.


    Planning is non productive because there is no need to hustle to get anything done. It moves at the speed of government with it's bank holidays, bureacracy, politcal strategery etc. The worker in the private sector has to produce something to keep his/her job. In government the worker, on the other hand, is not held nearly as accountable for his/her actions. The off the wall benefits packages also allow the gvt. worker to wallow in laziness.
    While that may be true in your case, I beg to differ. When I worked for the gov't, I busted my butt much in the same way I do now for the private sector. There's no difference to me. Why? Because of my work ethic. I go to work and do what it expected of me (from my boss, client and myself) and perform accordingly, sometimes above and beyond. Civil service can only protect a gov't worker so long before he or she is held accountable for their actions. I've seen it happen.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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