[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]
"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
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.
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).
"This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
"M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."
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.
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?
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.
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.
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."
"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
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!
"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"
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.