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Thread: New start?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    New start?

    I have been a Planner for 20 years, doing CD and Physical for the first 17, a Director of Planning and Inspections for 2 and 1/3 as a consultant.. The last year I have been out recuperating from a car accident. I was left with a non-functional arm, in need of a cane and the remnants of a moderate TBI. I think I am ready to go back, but to what? My old employer (private sector) started talking to an attorney, and they politely disinvited me from working there. I am looking again at the public sector from which I came. But now I am asking myself if I should. Can I? Do I even want to? I have been volunteering in my assessors office and like it. Maybe there is my future...maybe I just like to have something to do.

    I have always worked lots of hours (50+ per week). I think I'm good at what I (used to) do. I truly love the interaction my positions have afforded me, even with the blow hards. I think I have made a difference in all but my earliest community.

    Please tell me something. Any words of wisdom help, no matter how extraneous. May be I'll even laugh. Where do old(ish) Planners go?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Yes... keep drumming (going by the screen name). Even if you truly cannot use one arm, there are examples of mainstream drummers to look to for inspiration. Music will soothe your soul... and drumming, at least for me, allows me to let out the stress that builds up over a 40 hour work week and 7 upper division / grad level (i'm still an undergrad) classes.

    In regards to a planning related direction, I'm still a bit new to the field, but I would venture a guess that at the very least there are a host of community based organizations that would love to have someone with your experience on board if you are so inclined

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I can't believe anyone would keep you from working at your job because you were in an accident (unless you really needed that arm for moving and lifting things). I would take legal action.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DrumLineKid View post
    Please tell me something. Any words of wisdom help, no matter how extraneous. May be I'll even laugh. Where do old(ish) Planners go?
    We all have to make our peace somehow with the practical need for money. A job is one piece of that puzzle but only one piece.

    We all have to have something meaningful to occupy our time. A job is only one possible solution for that.

    Decide what you need and try to find a life situation that fulfills your need for money, meaningful work, etc. There are lots of people who do make a fresh start in an all new direction after tragedy strikes. Tragedy can give you a different view of the world by ripping away some of the assumptions and "givens" that you have always taken for granted. This different view can be freeing for some people. Whether you find it freeing or imprisoning is partly a choice.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    From an old (no need for ish) planner

    I'm not surprised that they eased you out the door. In general, the private sector is not very sympathetic to real or perceived disabilities. I'm generally not litigious but if you haven't already contacted an attorney that specializes in business discrimination, do it! And...make sure that they only collect a percentage on damages actually collected, no fees up front or hourly fees. Discrimination suits are time sensitive so don't procrastinate.

    If you're happy with the situation in the assessor's office, hang in there! Your knowledge and leadership experience will be noted and appreciated. If you're looking for a new path, look at what other people have done and see how you can apply your knowledge to other areas and opportunities. Don't get hung up on what the starting salaries may be relative to your previous income, almost every career change sets you back initially.

    Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    What are you fiscal responsibilities? Do you still have kids at home and/or "mooching" off you? Do you have a big mortgage on the house? Do you have big car payments? Do you need fancy new clothes every six months? Do you live simply and easy?

    Just some questions for you to ponder. I think you should really sit yourself down and evaluate your needs and responsibilities.

    Good Luck!!
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Wow. It always impresses me what people go through and how they deal with it. You are asking some deep questions. Faced with the betrayal of your former employer, and the physical limitations, it is not suprising that you are questioning the next phase of your life. Sometimes praying can help.

    But whatever you do, also talk to someone outside of this forum. I am thinking of someone trained to guide you through a tramatic occurance such as the one you are going through.

    Keep your head up, that way you won't trip. Good luck.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    But whatever you do, also talk to someone outside of this forum. I am thinking of someone trained to guide you through a tramatic occurance such as the one you are going through.
    I will second the suggestion to find someone (or some group) to talk to in addition to Cyburbia. Having been through a lot myself, I would suggest you go looking for people with personal experience that is somehow similar who have managed to find some practical solutions and make some peace with it all. Professionals have their place but they also have their limitations and downside. I've done both and I find that those with first hand experience who have found solutions that work for them are the best source of practical knowledge and support.

    Whatever you do, may the journey be a good one.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup...

    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I can't believe anyone would keep you from working at your job because you were in an accident (unless you really needed that arm for moving and lifting things). I would take legal action.
    If you were not provided a very generous separation package.....go get one.....and smile the whole time....if it makes it to a jury (they will settle) you'll be a winner....in the meantime, maybe this is an opportunity for you to focus on a specific part of planning that you JUST LOVE.....long range stuff? GIS? Public Outreach? Permit Review? Special Projects? Models? Start a new business with the settlement money from your evil ex employers... I'm looking into my crystal ball and I see a positive future for you!



    worst case......become a senator ...........this should give you the giggles.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Become a Senator??

    I am from Delaware and Joe is running for President...........

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    If you're previous employer was a receiver of federal-aid funding or worked on federal aid jobs you should be covered by ADA and he cannot discrimainate against you when you come back to work. If you enjoyed your old job in the private sector, you should try to get it back. Look up what protections that you do have.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah ha....

    Quote Originally posted by DrumLineKid View post
    I am from Delaware and Joe is running for President...........
    This is your chance.... or you could just become a state senator
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  13. #13
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Something........

    I got a call for an interview yesterday! I received confirmation I was included in the candidates last week. Its an Environmental Program Manager in the Air and Solid Waste Division of our state environmental department. That actually matches my degree (environmental studies). Its not planning, but beggers can't be choosers and right now, I'm a beggar.

    COOL. DLK

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Something........

    I got a call for an interview yesterday! I received confirmation I was included in the candidates last week. Its an Environmental Program Manager in the Air and Solid Waste Division of our state environmental department. That actually matches my degree (environmental studies). Its not planning, but beggers can't be choosers and right now, I'm a begger.

    COOL. DLK

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Update

    Had the interview today. I asked (off the record) if my arm/cane/temporarily lost tooth mattered to them. They genuinely said no. Cool people. I dunno about my chances for the position though.

    DLK

  16. #16
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    With 20 years of experience, why not strike out on your own as a consultant??

  17. #17
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Two reasons: 1) health insurance and 2) fear of the unknown. If something doesn't happen by Summer, I may have to try it to be able to afford the former.

    DLK

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jkellerfsu's avatar
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    Consulting

    Quote Originally posted by DrumLineKid View post
    Two reasons: 1) health insurance and 2) fear of the unknown. If something doesn't happen by Summer, I may have to try it to be able to afford the former.

    DLK

    You wouldn't happen to be any race besides white? I bring it up b/c of the MBE requirements that would be in your favor as a consultant.

    Are you married? If your wife has health insurance, why not use hers, consult and and get your salary plus $130% for overhead - get gov contracts? This is probably over-simplistic but who knows, myabe it had not crossed your mind.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Great........

    I had an appointment with my neurologist today. He thinks I am still not ready to take on any kind of Planning. (OH NO, I FEEL A RANT COMING ON)

    Background: In the crash I got jostled around a bit......revived at the scene....coma for a month......no recollection from January 24 until May, 2006.........5.5 months in-patient at two hospitals......4 months of all types of therapy (PT,OT,ST) after home.

    The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) hasn't gone & won't go away, according to him and the books my wife bought. I did some census calculation on Sr.'s for my volunteer position. I thought thet were done well, documented well, and summarized well and they didn't even phase him!

    I don't know what to do......Everyone warns me about re-working too soon and risking my disability income. For crying out-loud, I was a Director for a small City (just so there is no mis-understanding, I left there a few months before THE date), I have done Planning Department budgets for nearly 15 of 20 years. I can (could?) do CDBG in my sleep. I can still cite the Federal Register. I can still advise on local Code issues from memory.........

    I have decided this forum is too upbeat. Its time for some real life circumstances. (Or am I the odd one out) The reality is that Planning is a pain in the...neck career. Long hours, elected representatives out in left field (it all comes back to baseball....), missing at least some of the events your kids hold dear, unholy property owners/developers (sorry guys). (I loved it all.)

    and now a word from our sponsors....If you are like the Kid was, willing to work the hours and put up with the occasional nonsense, you can do relatively well in the Public Sector. The pay is actually good, the benefits are great, there typically is a real retirement plan, and you get to know your community very well. Be what you've dreamed, be a Planner.

    They even told me not to drink (it enhances the deficits). My wife listened to them too. I don't know if anyone dreams of being a Planner, life just points us there.

    No questions, but would like somebody to explain the meaning of it all. Sometimes it just helps me to complain to those that know the life. At least have a beer for me.

    DLK

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I can't comment on the physical aspects of your recovery process but it seems eminently clear from your writing that your thought processes and writing skills are strong. I'm saddened by the response from your doctor but if the wife agrees, what can you do? No profound thoughts here, just hopes and prayers for your recovery.

    Oh, one more thing. Planning without beer is just...planning. I'll hoist a couple for you. Good luck and don't drop out, there might just be someone out there who can actually help you.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    New Start

    Friends:

    Serendipty arrives again. I dug this post up because I have something important (at least to me) to write....

    I am a PLANNER, by title and by responsibility. Starting today. Its been since 1/24/06 since I could say that.

    I am now working for an MPO, sitting on consultants and learning the new capabilities of a GIS. (I learned computer mapping when the maps were overlaying a set of typewriter characters to produce a density. And color.........?)

    I tried my hand at working for a large housing authority doing research on Assets. Almost stayed (evidently a TBI gets to your decision making center of your brain). But ya know? All I was doing was creating paper to put in files just in case some anal auditor from HUD (I know, not all HUD employees fit the description...) wants to check up on a site that participated in the Section 8 program. It didn't matter. Planning matters. That is what I enjoyed about the profession for tha past twenty years, thats why I wanted to get back into it. Thats why we all do it....

    PLANNING MATTERS!

    We could all do something less time consuming, less frustrating. Hell, we might even make some more bucks. But odds are, it wouldn't matter as much.

    When the usary developer accuses you of thwarting progress or interferring in their right to do as they see fit, think. If you're of the other persuasion and some nit-picking plan reviewer, gets in your face about some obscure point, think. Take a second and remind yourself that what you do MATTERS. You are responsible for how your community, municipality, county, region, state will evolve over the next decades. What you do now can last for generations, the buildings, the neighborhoods, the roads, the attitudes represented in your plans and legislative initiatives. They all shape the future of our greater Community.

    Yea, its a pain sometimes. Sometimes its hard to find a feeling of accomplishment. But we see the possibilty, the results, we feel the future. We are PLANNERS!





    So, maybe thats a bit over the top. I'm just happy to be involved again.



    Something about coming from the brink....


    DLK
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Glad to have you back.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DrumLineKid View post
    ...
    I am a PLANNER, by title and by responsibility. Starting today. Its been since 1/24/06 since I could say that....
    Planning matters. That is what I enjoyed about the profession for tha past twenty years, thats why I wanted to get back into it. Thats why we all do it....

    PLANNING MATTERS!
    ...[/B]
    I am going to print this out and put it up on my wall in solitary. Maybe on the bathroom mirror, too.

    Congrats on your return to the field; hope to join you again soon!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    That's great news, DLK! Welcome back.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Great! I know the feeling of being back. After I was fired from a job a few years ago, I was really considering if Planning is what I wanted. I wasn't so much sick of the politics, but just the politicians and the spineless city managers that worked for them. Anyway 2 1/2 years later, I'm still glad I made it back in.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
    - Metallica

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