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Thread: The unemployed planner support thread

  1. #926
    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post
    Don't be sorry, because you're not "breaking" anything to anyone. You're offering an opinion. I don't mean to condescend (which means to talk down to someone), but your opinions are not facts. They are instead the way you see the world, not the way the world is. I don't accept your opinion.

    I don't know how you perform/-ed your job, but my job is very "hands on": I attend meetings with individuals where I educate them about various town building theory, concepts, rules & regulations; I attend and sometimes moderate hearings to assist in gathering public sentiment and guiding principles to channel public input into ordinances and plans; I visit job sites before, during and after development projects to ensure compliance with accepted and approved policies & procedures; I present both technical and conceptual proposals to citizen boards in a manner that can be comprehended by all, both savvy and laymen; and I'll often have to chronicle my activities in the form of technical staff reports, comprehensive plans and/or illustrative plans for construction.

    Does that mean I can build rocket ships which visit moons or planets? No, but neither can a desk jockey fresh off the street walk into a room of 300+ angry residents and convey to them a sense of professionalism, experience, calm and reason; or decide the best course of action to retrofit an existing land use pattern into a new development in a financially responsible and mutually beneficial manner; or protect stable residential neighborhoods while still fostering the business community along major thoroughfares.

    Finally, I don't think anyone mentioned graduate education as a prerequisite for adequate performance, but this much is patently obvious: graduate-level instruction, followed by several years of job experience should trump 2.75 years of data entry and answering phones, or any other completely unrelated job experience before any person begins a career as a P II.
    Quit bloviating. The chief assets of any good planner are reason and communication. The development of those qualities are not limited to your particular path to this glorious, highfalutin world of planning. And neither do planners contain any great body of specialized knowledge, like medicine. You do not belong to an elite club.

  2. #927
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Friendly Reminder

    [Mod Hat] This is a friendly reminder that this is the Unemployed Planner Support Thread! Please keep it friendly and true to its original intent which is to offer encouragement, support, advice, job search and networking opportunities for the unemployed amongst us. [/Mod Hat]

    Thank you!
    "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

  3. #928
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    I love to witness crash and burn. On the other hand, it's to bad, this was a very valuable and interesting thread to many folks for a very long time. Take your blame, mature, and move on. I pity some of you.

  4. #929
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    The most important qualifications for a planner are being a good writer, a good speaker, taking direction from your boss without him/her having to detail it, and knowing how to write an analysis intuitively. Yes, it's NOT rocket science, but you have it or you don't. I've worked with people who have grad Planning degrees or an MPA who can't write a decent analysis to save their lives. They want to do good in planning but they just can't pull all the aspects together.

    As for an idiot getting a good job with no qualifications, yep, it happens all the time. I have seen it over and over. Buddy of developers: he's in. Shops with director: she's in. Screws director: wow, big promotion for that guy. They usually get shunted into some role like "trails opening planner" or "economic development planner" (not to diss qualified econ dev people, but it's as easy role in in a big county to hide somebody).

  5. #930
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post

    As for an idiot getting a good job with no qualifications, yep, it happens all the time. I have seen it over and over. Buddy of developers: he's in. Shops with director: she's in. Screws director: wow, big promotion for that guy. They usually get shunted into some role like "trails opening planner" or "economic development planner" (not to diss qualified econ dev people, but it's as easy role in in a big county to hide somebody).
    True, but that can happen in any field, not just planning. There was a post on the APA group on Linkedin a few months ago about an out-of-work planner complaining that he was passed over all the time. He also said employers should give preferential treatment to unemployed planners. Well I'm not working and thought that argument was ridiculous. More often than not, the best person for the job is hired. If you think they hired an idiot, keep it to yourself and move on to the next job.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #931
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Personally, I find my graduate education valuable many days of the week as a practicing planner. Could I do what i do without it? Sure. But it helps me be more successful at what I do by giving me tools I might not have otherwise.

    I know of some planners in smaller towns that worked their way up from administrative jobs after other, grad-degreed planners didn't last. That's because they understood the politics of the town (they usually were from there or worked there a long time.) They also didn't rock the boat much, which can be good but can also be bad.

    Planning is as much a profession as any other liberal-arts-based professions are. Like writer, editor, lawyer, etc. Lawyers just have high barriers to entry that they created for self-preservation.

  7. #932
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'll have to weigh in to say that I also believe our profession requires specialized knowledge. Does that mean people can't learn it? No. But it takes some combination of experience and education to be a good planner. Would you hire somebody with no credentials to be an accountant or human resources specialist? If not, why is it then alright to hire an unqualified person as a planner?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #933
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I'll have to weigh in to say that I also believe our profession requires specialized knowledge. Does that mean people can't learn it? No. But it takes some combination of experience and education to be a good planner. Would you hire somebody with no credentials to be an accountant or human resources specialist? If not, why is it then alright to hire an unqualified person as a planner?
    I don't think anyone believes an unqualified person can be a planner. The nature of being unqualified means you are not fit for the job.

    One can become qualified, however, through a different path than we became qualified. The best aspects of a good planner are qualities that can be developed through a range of career paths. The bits of knowledge you may need like coastal zone management laws, basic understanding of NEPA, zoning code conventions, and all the rest of it, are things you can pick up as you go along, depending on the seniority and responsibility of the position.

    But a person can have all this knowledge memorized and still be a shit planner if they suck at communicating, or can't work in a team environment and support or lead others as needed, or listen well and read between the lines and understand the politics of a situation. Those are the best qualities of a planner, but unfortunately, common hiring practices emphasize the superficial aspects of the job (e.g. knowledge of specific zoning ordinances of a jurisdiction), which, in my opinion, highlights the parochialism (and stupidity) of the particular hiring manager. Countless employers are too stupid to understand basic aspects of human nature, and end up hiring incompetents. Or, very often a human resources department will look for these superficial things, not understanding what really makes a good planner.

  9. #934
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    new non-planning career!

    Hi everybody! It has been awhile since I posted. my last few posts were pretty depressing, but I have good news. I recently got an entry-level career as a geospatial compilation tech with a remote sensing/GIS company. It isn't my dream planning job, but it is full-time with benefits. getting this job actually helps motivate me to break into the planning profession once again and i hope the job experience i gain will help me secure a planning job 1 or 2 years into the future.

  10. #935
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Congrats queenO!

  11. #936
    Cyburbian
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    Congrats on the new job. If you are interested in pursuing AICP down the road, GIS work will not count towards professional planning experience, just keep that in mind.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  12. #937
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by queenOdawg View post
    Hi everybody! It has been awhile since I posted. my last few posts were pretty depressing, but I have good news. I recently got an entry-level career as a geospatial compilation tech with a remote sensing/GIS company. It isn't my dream planning job, but it is full-time with benefits. getting this job actually helps motivate me to break into the planning profession once again and i hope the job experience i gain will help me secure a planning job 1 or 2 years into the future.
    Congratulations! While it may not be your dream job, it does get your foot in the door for future positions. And having full-time with bennies is great!
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  13. #938
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Update

    For the past four months I've been working in Montana training to be a Conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. I passed all my tests and am now a railroad conductor! WOO HOO!!
    It feels good too. With any luck, I'll be able to transfer back to Arizona/California soon. I've already had to explain to Brocktoon that the primary job of a conductor is NOT riding his brakeman's caboose!
    Skilled Adoxographer

  14. #939
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    For the past four months I've been working in Montana training to be a Conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. I passed all my tests and am now a railroad conductor! WOO HOO!!
    It feels good too. With any luck, I'll be able to transfer back to Arizona/California soon. I've already had to explain to Brocktoon that the primary job of a conductor is NOT riding his brakeman's caboose!
    Sounds very exciting!! Congratulations!! I bet you get to see some gorgeous country.

    I was without a car and away from family for quite some time...I was so grateful to be near a train station...especial in the snow/ice.
    "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me
    I turn around and I'm back in the game
    Even better than the old me"

  15. #940
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    For the past four months I've been working in Montana training to be a Conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. I passed all my tests and am now a railroad conductor! WOO HOO!!
    It feels good too. With any luck, I'll be able to transfer back to Arizona/California soon. I've already had to explain to Brocktoon that the primary job of a conductor is NOT riding his brakeman's caboose!
    That is awesome. You will have to post some pictures of your journeys. Glad to see you back in the workforce. Congrats!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  16. #941
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let me get this right... You are working on a train... in Montana... and you would want to go back to Arizona? OK, at least tell me it is eastern Montana. Maybe Havre? Glendive? If you tell me you are riding a train through the mountains every day....
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  17. #942
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes....

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Let me get this right... You are working on a train... in Montana... and you would want to go back to Arizona? OK, at least tell me it is eastern Montana. Maybe Havre? Glendive? If you tell me you are riding a train through the mountains every day....
    Yes, my seniority district is Eastern Montana/Western North Dakota and Northern South Dakota right now. Many of the conductors from my class want to work out of Whitefish Montana for obvious reasons.

    Western North Dakota deserves its own thread on cyburbia and major discussion about boom bust economics and the disaster that is Williston ND right now. I haven't spent enough time on Cyburbia to know if this thread already exists. I have some pictures for you rail heads out there......also known as foamers (as in foaming at the mouth for all things trains) in the business.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #943
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Yes, my seniority district is Eastern Montana/Western North Dakota and Northern South Dakota right now. Many of the conductors from my class want to work out of Whitefish Montana for obvious reasons.

    Western North Dakota deserves its own thread on cyburbia and major discussion about boom bust economics and the disaster that is Williston ND right now. I haven't spent enough time on Cyburbia to know if this thread already exists...
    You are right. "The North Dakota Miracle" does deserve its own thread.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  19. #944
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Congrats on the career change The One! I think that's one of the coolest jobs/industries out there. I often keep an eye out locally at CN, who has a large presence here, to see if they have any openings working with land use or policy.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  20. #945

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    Laidoff Friday 3-8-2012

    So I was laidoff last Friday from a community in Southeast Massachusetts. This is my second layoff since August 2010. I am so grateful that they let me go as I was going to leave eventually anyway. I am going to head back to graduate school in the Fall. I am very excited about it, despite the additional debt I will take on I think that my future will be brighter when my degree is completed. No offense to those who work as municipal planners in the State a Massachusetts but the small town attitudes that many selectman and town councilers have are holding back communities. Without a more open mind I consider my job prospects in the Northeast bleak. I will head back to the South. I always felt valued as a Planner in The South but not so much so in the Northeast. Maybe I just got hired by the wrong community but after school I plan to move back to the South. The weather is nicer and the attitude toward the profession is a little more positive.

  21. #946
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Sorry to hear, that, ugh. It's an odd time to get let go, though - was it the end of a fiscal year?

    I grew up in and went to school in Massachusetts but had to leave the state to enter this field as job opportunities were few and planning salaries were very low as compared to elsewhere. The experience of my colleagues who managed to stay and find employment in the planning field has been that Mass can be a highly difficult place in which to plan, with its venal and provincial local politics.

    Best of luck.

  22. #947

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    I know it is an odd time. That is because my former Town Manager was supposed to reappoint the department heads like three months ago but has a problem with confrontation so he but it off to the very last second. The Town Council members were questioning why he had not reaapointed the department heads as required under the Town Charter. You are not missing anything planning in Mass was not as fun as it is elsewhere. I grew up in Massachusetts but I will be leaving and not returning this time. I thought when I lost my job in Florida in 2010 due to restructuring that I should go back to the northeast where I had family but it has been nothing but disappointment so I am looking for positions elsewhere and hoping that I end back in the Southeast. Politics are politics but when they are holding a community back from change that would bring great opportunity it is just sad. I found that a lot in Mass. Everybody has the right to protect there community character but when people in the community are obviously hurting due to repressive policies then some voice of reason has to appear and at least try to make things better.

    Anyway thank you for the good wishes. I can only hope that either a great job will come my way or I will go back to school get my MURP degree to go along with my AICP. I have already been accepted to Graduate School in Albany. I would love to work for the city of Albany they are doing some really interesting work with Climate Change. But I will likely just settle for volunteering as I applied a few weeks ago but turth is I have a lot of experience and the position was entry level. It is not the money but rather what the city that is doing that interests me. Anyway right now I am just waiting to hear that I am entitled to unemployment compensation. That is always a stressful time. All my best to everyone who is dealling with unemployment. I know it can be very difficult.

  23. #948

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    So I just got a rejection letter from Clark University. I guess I should not be surprised. Between losing my job in Masschusetts and getting rejected from graduate school I guess I should take the hint and leave the Northeast. So I am off to University at Albany this Fall, which by the way has a better program than Clark University.

  24. #949
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    I'm surprised that a practicing planner would get rejected from any graduate-level planning program. You'd think that someone with in the trenches experience would have their choice of schools as long as one could afford the tuition.

  25. #950
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    I'm surprised that a practicing planner would get rejected from any graduate-level planning program. You'd think that someone with in the trenches experience would have their choice of schools as long as one could afford the tuition.
    A graduate certificate program rejected me because my undergrad GPA was below their limit even though I have a Master's Degree with a 3.7 GPA from a peer institution. We of all people should understand and advocate a waiver process for situations like MacheteJames.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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