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Thread: Help: career choice

  1. #1

    Help: career choice


    I'm faced with a bitter sweet dilemma. A choice between two jobs..!! People would be happy to have one job offer (as I would too had I graduated 2 yrs back). Today the market is booming with new work and development in all corners. And hence the need for Planners. I have an architecture undergraduate with 2+ yrs of work exp. About to graduate from a good accredited planning program with courses in Land use, Real-estate and Urban-design.

    offer1: from a large multi-national Architecture firm which has a planning dept also. Work involves masterplanning, street scapes, etc. extensive use of graphic presentation etc. I like the kind of work and the team. The pay is in mid 40s. That is the pay most people in my class are getting. However, I consider myself a little more experienced and would like a better pay.

    offer2: from an even larger multi-national Engineering firm which has architecture-planning dept. work involves facility planning, graphic presentations, etc. Work environment is decent and team is good. the pay is in mid 50s. closer to the kind of pay I would like. The net difference in the two pay packages is 8K. Benefits are similar. Both positions are non exempt (ie eligible for overtime).

    Any suggestions on which offer to take up and for what reasons. I don't know what value should I place on future prospects with a firm. Is it really true that most people keep changing jobs every 2 yrs. And are all your future pay packages dependent on your first pay?

    need to make up my mind soon. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Quote Originally posted by ImPLANted
    And are all your future pay packages dependent on your first pay?
    General studies do show some relation between your initial pay and your long term pay: People who have the misfortune of starting their career during a depression or recesion when jobs are hard to come by and pay is typically lower tend to make less over the course of their lives than people who start their career during other economic periods. Of course, that is a generalization, not some Rule.

    Good luck with your decision.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    Where does location/lifestyle factor in your decision besides pay ?

  4. #4
    Thanks for the replies.

    In terms of location both are based in the same city. No relocation involved. Job 1 is in downtown, more aligned with my idea of activity in downtown and is transit friendly. Job 2 is outside of the city and a little inconvinient in terms of commute. But that is not a major concern. I'm more concerned with the kind of work and my loans that I have to repay.

  5. #5
    I would not recommend being a planner at an engineering firm if you have an alternative prospect at a planning/design firm. I expect you'll find the quality of the planners around you to be much higher in the latter, which will make the experience more valuable in terms of setting you up for the rest of your career. This is a generalization, of course.

    I'm on my second job after grad school now (first lasted a year and a half). Switched from a private engineering firm in the suburbs to a planning organization in the city, and took a ~10% pay cut to do so.

    It's interesting that you can get paid overtime, however. Seems very unusual if you're salaried! Is that something unique to where you're located?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    I would say offer 1 because often planners get pushed aside on projects in engineering firms to just filling out permititng forms (but I could be wrong) - and I would say that pay in #1 is really not bad for a first job out of school

    Offer 2 is intriguing, however, because if it's truly multi-national, it might be more resistant to recessions because there's always a country somewhere that's doing well

    good luck - that's great you have a choice to make!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
    Nov 2005
    New Hampshire Seacoast
    with the exception of some photoshop work, i would guess that your design skills will not be valued at position #2. you'll probably be an entitlement slave. not that there's anything wrong with entitlements, but i am a planner in a predominantly engineering firm, and the planning department's work is substantially composed of entitlements/due diligence. i would go with option #1, your opportunities will probably be more well-rounded. unless you really want the money.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
    Apr 2006
    Highlight of the lowland
    I'd get a feel for how the companies run, as well. Large companies can be overcentralized bureacratic nightmares, or can relinquish most decision-making to the regional or department managers. I can't think of too many people who would want to work in the former, though 8 grand might make the difference.

  9. #9

    Thank you,

    I had great discussions with a couple of people in both the firms, and it seems I'll be taking up the offer 1, with planning/design firm. Most people I talked to mentioned, work environment, long term growth and the ability to make up the initial difference with sustained better quality work.

    Thank you all for sharing your experience. It has been very helpful.

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