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Thread: The unemployed planner support thread

  1. #51
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Yeah, layoffs are quite awful. I've been through it a few times now, most recently last December. I haven't been able to find work in my field (LA) since then. The housing downturn has hit LV pretty hard. I started driving a cab recently so I don't get so behind on my bills and to have something to do. Its sociologically fascinating, doing this in Vegas, but other than that its a pretty sucky job. I've been blogging about it, both to vent and have some form of mental exercise. Its kind of frustrating seeing that there are still so many who can afford exorbitant displays of wealth. You see a lot of that here. Not that I aspire to that, but when you see the "system" is benefitting someone so much more than you, well, you feel like a chump. I think about starting over, doing something else, but I really don't know what. I don't want to incur more debts funding more education. Its been costly enough just keeping up with my LA certifications! I wish I believed those people who told me, after an IQ test when I was a kid, that I was up ther with most doctors and scientists. Somehow I got the idea that I wanted to do something creative, something that would benefit society. It feels like some kind of mass re-education plan to turn us all into widget-producing or marketing drones without any real thinking or questioning of society's direction. Not everyone is cut out to be a cutthroat capitalist, but it seems like those are the only people who are surviving and thriving now.

  2. #52
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater View post
    I think about starting over, doing something else, but I really don't know what.
    Same thing here sometimes. It seems like that in the end, planning as a profession has always left me disappointed. I'm so drawn to the promise for what planning can do for a community, but there is so little reward for your work, and so much BS along the way. It's the only profession I know of where you'll get in trouble with the powers that be when you insist on putting your skills and knowledge to practice. and do your job right. I often feel like an underpaid doctor who gives reluctant patients an honest diagnosis, and offers them a course of treatment, but they fight you every step of the way. "No, I don't have that disease. Even though six doctors have told me I have it, I really don't. And even If I did, I still don't want to take those pills. They give me an upset stomach. I know I'll become crippled if I don't take them, but really, my stomach is telling me no, and I have to listen to it over the rest of my body. Just tell me that I'm in great shape, and let me worry about my own problems, okay? You're just an obstructionist to my enjoying my life."

    What else can I do, though?

  3. #53
    Cyburbian
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    Dan, if you are not pissing off some commissioner, then you are probably not doing the job right. If you want stability and don’t want to worry as much about the politics, go to work for a consultant if you can. Remember, at the end of the day it is about making a living.

  4. #54
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    OMG!!!

    OK, whether you are upside down or not... get your house ready for sale. Then put it on the market. Go through your stuff and decide what you can and can't live without. That will at least keep part of your time occupied.

    It will be an adventure. Look at it that way.

    Do you have a place the dogs can go if you get in a situation that you can't have them? Make those arrangements.
    I agree on the whole "the relationship will make it if it is suppose to."

    You are fortunate that you don't have a wife and kids (other than your dogs).

    Keep all your possibilities open and something will come up.

    I sold real estate while I waited for a planning job to come open.

    Keep your chin up and fake a smile if you have to, it will get better.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  5. #55
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    wow...sorry Dan. We still seem to have the opposite problem here...hard to find employees.

  6. #56
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    As a person who has been let go (was able to negotiate and exit) and left before it could happen (the knives were being sharpened) and swore he'd never work in planning again, I am really liking working in the private sector. The worst part is dealing with my public sector clients, who are all the things I dislike about the profession. Maybe give the private sector a try.

    The other comment, look north of the border, there is a shortage of good planners north of the border right now.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #57
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    Same thing here sometimes. It seems like that in the end, planning as a profession has always left me disappointed. I'm so drawn to the promise for what planning can do for a community, but there is so little reward for your work, and so much BS along the way. It's the only profession I know of where you'll get in trouble with the powers that be when you insist on putting your skills and knowledge to practice. and do your job right. I often feel like an underpaid doctor who gives reluctant patients an honest diagnosis, and offers them a course of treatment, but they fight you every step of the way. "No, I don't have that disease. Even though six doctors have told me I have it, I really don't. And even If I did, I still don't want to take those pills. They give me an upset stomach. I know I'll become crippled if I don't take them, but really, my stomach is telling me no, and I have to listen to it over the rest of my body. Just tell me that I'm in great shape, and let me worry about my own problems, okay? You're just an obstructionist to my enjoying my life."

    What else can I do, though?
    two words: PRIVATE SECTOR.

  8. #58
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    Go through your stuff and decide what you can and can't live without. That will at least keep part of your time occupied.
    I know someone who once supplemented their unemployment check by selling a bunch of stuff on ebay.

  9. #59
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I agree with dandy, this is a good time to re-charge yourself by traveling - and Australia and Bermuda really need planners and will likely pay to re-locate you

    [insert Lily Tomlin operator voice]...and I must say, I am unimpressed with your GF's inflexibility

    both my husband and I have gotten laid off once in our lifetime and I was ready to move to DC or California with him if he had found work there - both of these layoffs, btw, were in the private sector so don't think private sector is more stable - I left private sector because it was so unstable - but I worked in the late 80's and early 90's when the economy in the northeast was tepid at best - so maybe a switch to a private firm will renew you but don't think if the economy sinks that you will be unaffected is all - especially if it's a development firm, you'd be better off scoping sites for a chain store

    I do know how it feels to be laid off though so I do know what you are going through - that's why, again, I would say, get out of Dodge and go! You may never get this chance again to renew yourself and travel on someone else's dime

    in the very short term, though, like today, I would sign yourself up as an office temp with a local agency and get a nighttime job (cabs, restaurants, bars, anything) - this is what I did and it got me out in the world and I met some decent contacts that I was able to use as references when I did go find a planning job again - since you don't know why they let you go (and I am not convinced you were not wrongfully discharged, btw) you will need new people in your life as advocates or at least take stock in the staff people that are still there to sue as references in the future...

  10. #60
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    people that are still there to sue as references in the future...
    I did not know that.

  11. #61
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    SAW
    Off-topic:

    I did not know that.
    LOLOLOL use, that is - sorry - typing furiously to look busy here...

  12. #62
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    ... you'd be better off scoping sites for a chain store...
    Was going to suggest site acquisition for the major retailers/fast foods. They all have 'em. Cleveland is convenient to many markets. Travel involved.

  13. #63
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Was going to suggest site acquisition for the major retailers/fast foods. They all have 'em. Cleveland is convenient to many markets. Travel involved.
    A lot of those site acquisition companies are based on Columbus, so that might be the place to look.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  14. #64
          Downtown's avatar
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    Oh honey! I am sick in my stomach to hear this. :fierce hug:

    Ok - pity party over - I think that you've gotten some good advice here - i don't have much to add except to network, network, network.

    As for being laid off - while that hasn't happened, we just had a complete regime changeover in the town. One party rule since the depression. Complete overturn of supervisor and the majority seats of the Town Board. my boss, the planning director, was able to resign before the new regime came in and fired her, but the rest of us are NYS Civil Service protected. Which means now they need to make things uncomfortable enough for us to leave on our own volition, which they're doing a pretty good job of. So, I'm also avidly job seeking, but at least I have the luxury of the fall back job, and the hopes that in the next election, we'll have a new supervisor.

  15. #65
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    In the very short term, though, like today, I would sign yourself up as an office temp with a local agency and get a nighttime job (cabs, restaurants, bars, anything) - this is what I did and it got me out in the world and I met some decent contacts that I was able to use as references when I did go find a planning job again - since you don't know why they let you go (and I am not convinced you were not wrongfully discharged, btw) you will need new people in your life as advocates or at least take stock in the staff people that are still there to sue as references in the future...
    I couldn't agree more with the Luckless Pedestrian about getting yourself back out there as quickly as possible even if it is un a capacity that might be a gross underemployment of your skills and abilities.

    I always say to myself that if times get bad and I were to unexpectedly lose my job, my first stop on the way home after cleaning out my cubicle would be at Starbucks or Caribou or somewhere similar. I just imagine that with all the people coming and going through a coffee shop, you are bound to strike up some conversations that may lead to something more. I know I have begun more than a few relevent conversations with other customers while just waiting in line. As an added bonus, I know Starbucks provides health insurance for even their part-time employees. And the flexibility of a retail schedule is great in allowing you to work on that job search in case you have to take time off for an interview with minimal notice.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  16. #66

    Good luck, Dan.

    I have attended the regional MPO in Cleveland and even some seminars with Dan. It's always a shame when someone is let go, whether politics played a role or not. I had the same discussion with my PD about the budget -- noting that the trend is to re-hire retired planners at a lower wage so they can get their retirement pay and a wage, as well (it's legal in Ohio). I, too, was told everything was okay. But the clock ticks and the calendar reveals the next day as something which hasn't happened, yet.

    I worked for nine years for a private industrial company and was laid-off a number of times. I finally went to school and pursued a degree where I was able to work in television as a news producer then as a broadcast technician. Got laid off, again even though I was union. Since time is money and if they're not selling time... I took this round of lay-offs as a sign to attend college for another degree, which led to a Master's program and finally the county planner position just south of Dan.

    Our market for minor and major subdivisions has dwindled dramatically. Not just with the housing crunch the way it is, but with our State Legislature messing with the septic regulations (a long story, which will revert back to the new regs come 2009). So, many factors exist which play a part and it's hard to know just when the breaking point will be met.

    Good luck, Dan and everyone else who has met this wall -- leap above it and prevail!

  17. #67
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    I was just reminded of a guy I knew, my first tenant when I bought my two-family house. He was the director of the State of NJ's planning office, and had a Phd from the London School of Economics. Yes, I said London School of Economics! They were calling his agency the Office of Smart Growth or something at the time. He would go all over the state speaking to groups on why we needed smart growth. Christie Whitman's administration came in, decided they needed to make some cuts, and abolished his whole office! So it goes to show that not even a doctorate from a prestigious university can guarantee you a job. I heard he eventually found something again, but I imagine that was quite a shock to the system.

  18. #68
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I feel so depressed. I just applied for an entry-level job.

    I get occasional calls from the state employment board (or some such agency) with job referrals for ... industrial production planners. (Hey, it's the Rust Belt.) When I make my weekly unemployment claim, I'm asked whether I got any referrals. I have to answer "yes", and go through a lengthy process to justify why I didn't followup on them. "I'm an URBAN planner, not a production planner or financial planner or wedding planner or party planner or conference planner! URBAN! URBAN! URBAN!"

  19. #69
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    chin up dan! i'm also finding that the market is really rough right now, so don't feel like you're alone. don't give up!

  20. #70
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Found a watershed coordinator position in my Sunday paper. (Holland, Mich.) It's now on the job board.

    There might be other types of jobs that use planning skills but don't require that The Only Planner In Town have a fatal full arrest.

    Others include:
    • site acquisition (mucho zoning) for cell towers and big retail corporations
    • non-profit do-gooder agencies like the watershed council cited in that job listing
    What else?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 20 May 2008 at 3:44 PM.

  21. #71
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    sorry but I have to chuckle at the thought of Dan going into watershed planning.

  22. #72
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Jen View post
    sorry but I have to chuckle at the thought of Dan going into watershed planning.
    SAW - Isn't that his area of expertise ?

  23. #73
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jen View post
    sorry but I have to chuckle at the thought of Dan going into watershed planning.
    Elucidation requested. (Is he incontinent, or something??)

  24. #74
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    My hours in the ED's office were cut in half last fall which meant I had to pick up part time hours somewhere else at half the pay because few people pay well when you need flexible hours. Now I am back to work full time at the ED's office and it seems to be relatively stable for the time being but we are going through and acquisition by partnership in short order so I am a bit nervous if that is still going to be the case. Ultimately though I am very nervous about my prospects at a good paying planning job upon graduating in December since the job listings are getting scarcer by the day and the economy is in the bucket. Some hard choices are going to have to be made on my end when that time approaches because of living in a very high cost area.

    Good luck!
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  25. #75
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Elucidation requested. (Is he incontinent, or something??)
    No. His just recent former boss had a "fetish" for watershed planning, apparently.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

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