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Thread: Negative community attitudes and your job

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    Negative community attitudes and your job

    I'm curious if anyone out there currently works in a community that just seems to be overflowing with negativity - which is basically the situation I find myself in. I've come to the conclusion that this is what has really fed my recent questioning of whether I like what I do for a living or not. I think my dissatisfaction is just sort of burn out from the community attitudes in the area. I've really liked my previous planning jobs, but the present situation leaves me wanting to find other options. I know it is kind of generic and it happens all over, but how have you managed to stay positive in a sea of negativity?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cmavis's avatar
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    Best thing that I can tell you is to not take anything personally and leave your resentment at work when you go home. Try to realize that people need someone to vent their frustrations with and you are that person. Just tell them that you are doing your job and politely give them the names of your supervisors if they would like to take the issue up with them..

    Good luck and realize that a change of scenery never hurt anyone.
    "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" - Bruce Dickinson

  3. #3
    There is a great deal of negativity here and it absolutely, positively can affect your job and your life. We've got the worst council you could possibly imagine (it's not just me saying that -- folks that have come before area councils and even councils in other states have commented on how negative and dysfunctional this council is) and it trickles down from there into every corner or depression. It just sits there and ferments making the whole place a cesspool.

    In spite of this, we've managed to get two important projects under construction. Believe me, I focus on those while I count the minutes until this year's council primary (63,360 mins more or less) and pray that several incumbents get what they deserve.

    My suggestion is to remember that it's a pendulum and it will swing back from the far arc. If the place where you work has potential, it may be worthwhile to wait for the pendulum to swing back. If not, then it's probably time to begin looking elsewhere.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Wow! You must both be working in Pennsylvania!
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  5. #5
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    My suggestion is to remember that it's a pendulum and it will swing back from the far arc. If the place where you work has potential, it may be worthwhile to wait for the pendulum to swing back. If not, then it's probably time to begin looking elsewhere.
    Good comment. I've been on both sides of the pendulum at my present job, and now see the pendulum swinging back the wrong way again. When people confront me one on one (in the grocery store, on the little league field, etc.) about topics they are usually surprised to get the full story. The local newspaper is very much pro-development and the articles are pretty biased. Despite the negative opinions out there, I know better and can sleep at night knowing I'm trying to improve things, and that everything else is beyond my control. It helps that admin has a "this too shall pass" attitude rather than complete frustration, knowing it will get better eventually.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    Dashboard - I am in the same crisis right now. The short sightedness drives me nuts. Some of the stories you here about how development will "impact" them - its like they are pleading for the lives of their children!

    But alas I so far have come to the conclusion that our society has built itself this way and as agents that try to promote change for the betterment we will always be bombarded with these attitudes until a major shift in thinking and responsibility from society arises. A lot of this stems from a sense of entitlement and privilidge, which comes at the cost of our future.

    So far I have tried to keep inspired in order to continue doing what I do. I read up on the latest research and watch pop media on the subject, such as the End of Suburbia and Inconvenient Truth. This has worked for me - to a point - there are days I still think about changing careers as the negativity can really get to me.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    Good insight from all. One thing I have really tried to work on is to not let the negativity affect the other areas of my life. For a long time, I was taking my work home with me - at least in my head - and that just adds to unwanted stress levels. In the end, sometimes you just have to remind yourself its a job and its only a small part of your life. And when the right opportunity comes my way to change my environment, I will jump on it.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    I experienced a similar issue as city admin in the small town I was in before my current job. I am not sure there is much that can be done. It is sort of a social darwinian thing in my mind. The negative attitudes just contribute to the fall of the town over the long run.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Plenty of people in my town think that the city (council and staff both) can do no right. When we're not being downright incompetent, we're apparently alternating between ruining neighborhoods with incompatible commercial development one day and being too hostile to businesses the next. Loads of fun.

    I try to keep in mind, "My, isn't it nice to have an active, engaged citizenry!", and enjoying the little victories, but that doesn't keep me from hiding under my desk sometimes. I do live in town (and understand why many planners advise against doing so), but don't typically encounter much hostility outside of work. I get plenty of questions about what's happening with such-and-such project, but mostly from friends and neighbors (the people who know me and don't like me generally just avoid eye contact when I run into them); I do like being able to explain how some process works and why things are happening the way they are - I'd say my neighborhood pub group has a much better grasp of what's going on than the average citizen.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    It's really challenging for me because I have a thin skin. I'm beginning to think that the stress just isn't worth it.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Ugh... I worked in such a place for years... I heard on a daily basis how horrible the City was...blah, blah blah....... There are much better places! I learned a lot where I suffered for years...but planning is a whole other world where I am now. It is tough to be a planner in an economically depressed area...
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    I worked in a place like that for 6 months. It got better as time went on but it was sad talking with co-workers that had been dealing with it for the past few years. I exited and took, what I thought, was a better opportunity. My advice is beware of the "grass is always greener" complex and try to make the best of it. If you hit your braking point then you need to move on. Life is too short to be miserable.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Life is too short to be miserable.
    Exactly!!! I have used that very statement to others & in my own desire to move. I don't think you will ever find a situation of complete harmony. I mean, the nature of the business is dealing with people, and well, you know how that goes. Also keep in mind that some people view government as a necessary evil & nothing more. Sometimes you can be the whipping boy (or girl) for past experiences/attitudes as well.
    In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

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