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Thread: LA to planning

  1. #1
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    LA to planning

    I'm in a quandary. I have my LA degree and license. I spent several years working for a state DOT, whcih I found easy yet boring, so I tried out the private sector, and I've found it difficult to keep up. I've already lost a couple of jobs for simply not generating the work fast enough. I was never the fastest with whipping plans out. A lot of the work is tedious and repetitive, which bores me as well. Maybe its a bit much to expect of a career, to find in challenging and rewarding, but that is what I hoped for when I got into this. Instead I've found a lot of dissappointments and difficulty simply making a decent living. I wonder if planning is more suited to my temperament. I'm also considering real estate. I'd like something that calls for a little more human interaction. The long hours you spend in front of a PC when preparing plans are something I'd like to avoid. I find it very isolating. I'd like to get back into gov't work, but the jobs are a little harder to find and often require long waiting periods. I'll need something in the interim. I moved across the country recently to Southern California, thinking I'd find the work more interesting and better suited to me here, but I haven't. Its been a great deal of stress being alone in a new city. I wonder what I've gotten myself into.

    Any advice is appreciated.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    yes - many a landscape architect (me) ends up in planning - it's a great skill base to break into a planning department because not only can you read the plans, you can also understand them and visualize the project, get the grading plan, etc. - that's a big help to a regulatory board

    you may have to start over and be entry level, which I did, but if you work hard and learn zoning and laws fast, you can move up the ranks pretty fast -

    going back to school while working will also help - even professional development will work for you

    i think it's worth a shot for you to try - good luck

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Mar 2006
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    athens, ga
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    I think that the LA degree is a good start for a lot of things. I've got one, and work in the zone between LA and Planning - there seems to be a lot of overlap, and I'm happy there.

    The real question, though, is what *you* want to be doing. What is it about your current job that you're not happy with? How much of your current unhappieness is due to being in a new town, rather than the job? From personal experience, I know that one can feed the other.

    Having said all that, I've found that working for consulting engineers is an interesting place to be. Seems to be a fair amount of demand, too. I've also known people to work directly for developers, and that job seems interesting as well. Yes, there is a perception that you've sold your soul to the devil, but it really depends on the specific developer.

    Still, the big issue is for you to take a deep look inside of yourself, and see what you need to make you happy. Yes, having a job is important, but in the long run it's best to have a job that suits you.....

    Regards,

    Brian

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    the jump is totally possible, since it's not much of a jump in the first place. 3 of our 8 planners have LA degrees, including the head planner and one senior person.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Thanks so much, everyone. I just picked up an application from the City of San Diego. They have Junior Planner, Assistant Planner, and Associate Planner positions open. I'm going to apply. Perhaps I could still do some free-lance work on the side to make up for the lower income. The starting salaries aren't all that bad however, compared to what I've been making. I know I am capable of doing good landscape architecture work, I just seem to need a little more time to do it than most. I had a small garden I designed published in a regional magazine and in the local paper. But I really took my time with it. It evolved organically rather than with one plan I put down and then constructed that way. In the private sector, there is no place for developing designs slowly. I've also found much of it is just shuffling tree and shrub symbols around ad infinitum and then getting numbers together. You're usually just putting plants on plans that others did. I never really cared for the horticultural end of the business, but it seems that is what you get directed to since most of the available work is there. Now planning issues seem to have an intrinsic interest for me. I get into reading the forums here and the articles linked on Planetizen. Most LAs that I worked with don't seem to have much of an interest in planning.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    In the private sector, there is no place for developing designs slowly. I've also found much of it is just shuffling tree and shrub symbols around ad infinitum and then getting numbers together. You're usually just putting plants on plans that others did.
    nail on the head.

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