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Thread: Planning related careers?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.

    Planning related careers?

    They say that people will switch jobs around 7 to 8 times and switch careers 3 to 4 times within their lives. But what else can be done with a degree(s) and training in planning? I have been looking for opportunities closer to home because I realize that there will be little to no opportunity for advancement where I am at now. But there are no planning jobs there.

    I think that jobs with Architectural Firms, Development Firms, and even Construction companies would have work for people who can read the development code, create a site plan, read a site plan, and understands the politics and ways to get what they want.

    What other jobs do you think that planners would be qualified for?
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  2. #2
    Dec 2001
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Get a job in design.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Mar 2006
    Machesney Park, IL
    Once when we had a church applying for a special use permit, they hired a guy to handle all the paperwork, meetings, etc. He wasn't even all that knowledgable, but he did this for churches all over the greater chicago area, and he seemed to do pretty well for himself, and got to work out of his home. I thought, "man, I need to start a business like that someday."

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    I've noticed a realtionship between planners and barkeeps.

    I could have sworn I've seen some ads for planners in GR lately.

    Personally reinventing myself several times in my career appeals to me. Planning has always involved asking the question 'What am I doing to improve things in Detroit?" I was very much impacted by watching an incredible slide of the local economy in the 1970's, mixed in with bigotry, unfairness, and just a downright mean spirit to pit black against white, republican against dem, union against non-union; and the impacts of these combining to make a divisive envirionment. I looked for a job I would be happy doing a long time. One of my greatest fears would have been if I actually got a job offer from one of those places far from home. Now, I am pretty well set for retirement and still enjoy what I do.

    I'd look for mitigation countermeasures. For example, the state runs a lage vanpool/carpool program that may be able to match you with folks going your way. This would relieve a lot of your stress.

    Advancement comes from the strangest places and under the strangest circumstances. It should not be motivation to quit a job you are happy with. Politics change over time, management reshuffles the deck and may include you or exclude you (it is not personal unless you make it so). Ultimately you need to ask am I happy independant of advancement.

    Should you do decide to move on, do so in a way where your conflicts of interest will be minimalized. I know several years back I was toying with the idea of getting my father invovled and doing a design/build set up for small communities non-motorized plans. He being a retired DPW engineer, and myself being a transportation planner it would have made a good fit, but the timing was not right. Even if the timing was right, it would be difficult to ramp this up as I have professional contacts with communities that represent half the state's population (creating huge confilcts) and I did not want to quit my job completely should this turn into a boondoogle.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Your problem is that the planning profession, including all its various specialties, is very unique. Your situation is made even more difficult by the fact that you've chosen where you want to work, instead of finding a job and moving, as most professional planners do. As DetroitPlanner said, you're very lucky as a planner when you don't have to move around for jobs.

    That being said, I would explore the neighborhood associations/community organizations. They are often looking for community organizers and such. They may not pay well, but will help you "get your foot in the door", in terms of working in the city. I would contact the board members of the neighborhood associations and introduce yourself

    Cellular companies often employ people knowledgeable in zoning for site selection, etc.

    If you are serious about stopping the commute, you may have to take work in the retail/service/restaurant industry. It really comes down to how bad you hate the commute, because even if you're in a dead-end job, it's still planning/zoning related and better than busing tables.

  6. #6
    Dec 2006
    Go into business for yourself out of your home.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    I'm surprised no one has suggested land use law as a career option yet.

    Of course, that means back to school and more debt (for most).

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