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Thread: Career movement

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Career movement

    Hi everyone,

    So in starting out my job search I've had a couple of bites which is making me feel pretty god about myself right now.

    The thing is some of the jobs are in pretty rural/low density areas. It doesn't bother me too much, but I am worried because:

    In the long run I want to work in urban areas with problems. I worry that it'll work against me in long run to achieve my goals. But I also can't starve and I need to get real tangible planning experience.

    Will I be hurting my chances for planning jobs down the road or since the technical planning stuff is largely universal the experience will not burn me too badly?

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Take any job you can get. Experience is gained by working. That experience can be used to get other jobs. It will be up to you to make the job what you want of it in a rural setting. When I took my current job I had no idea that it would be what it is today. Tides change, jobs evolve. Take the job you can get and use it as a stepping stone.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Take any job you can get. Experience is gained by working. That experience can be used to get other jobs. It will be up to you to make the job what you want of it in a rural setting. When I took my current job I had no idea that it would be what it is today. Tides change, jobs evolve. Take the job you can get and use it as a stepping stone.
    ^^^This.

    It took four jobs changes after landing my first professional gig to get to where I probably would have said I ideally wanted to be coming out of grad school. It's an interesting journey. Enjoy it.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I work a rural job now, I think I will have no issues going back to a bigger city. I look at it this way, a planner with a few years experience in a small town is better than one with no experience. Besides, just because it's a small town doesn't mean it gets away from the problems of the world. You just might not get the really big exciting projects as often like a big city.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  5. #5
    If you want to work in an urban area, I would focus my search on cities. Rural or urban, doesn't really matter just starting out. As stated above, just get your experience and some familiarity with the issues. And yeah, "rural" areas have issues, too.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ddomin4360 View post
    In the long run I want to work in urban areas with problems. I worry that it'll work against me in long run to achieve my goals. But I also can't starve and I need to get real tangible planning experience.

    Will I be hurting my chances for planning jobs down the road or since the technical planning stuff is largely universal the experience will not burn me too badly?
    It will be up to you to translate your skills for a prospective job accordingly. The most pertinent factor (at least early on) should be what it is you're doing, not where. Getting a job in a big city is easy enough, but if it isn't what you want to do, you're much better off finding the right job in a rural area to get your feet wet. The key advantage to applying for entry level jobs in smaller cities is that you are competing within a smaller applicant pool; it gives you a much better chance of getting noticed.

    FYI, I started right out of school in a very very small suburb --> then used that experience to land a position in a slightly larger town --> then used that experience to land a position in a very large suburb --> then used that experience to land a position in one of the top 10 largest cities in the U.S. The skills I learned in my first position a few years ago are still applicable to what I do today.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Tough to add to what has already been said. I actually consider some of the issues you encounter in small town/rural places to be more challenging than some urban issues.

    One nice thing about the rural/small town position is that you will develop a lot of skills & experience a variety of issues, while an entry position in a large city might have you pigeon-holed somewhere where you only review residential subdivision plats between 5 and 20 acres in the southwest quadrant of the city. In the small town you'll get to deal with more current & long range planning issues as well as gain a better understanding of the politics that so often (too often) underlays the decisions of elected & appointed officials. You'll end up with a ton of skills that are easy to apply in a larger setting.

    I would recommend targeting rural/small towns that have metros nearby, simply because that will give you some additional networking opportunity.

    Also, you might discover that you like working in rural/small towns and decide to stick with that. That's what happened to me.

    "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)

  8. #8
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    I agree with the below wholeheartedly. I started in a larger city and have found it difficult to move around laterally within the department and that I am not competitive for advancement opportunities in other areas within the department due to inability to crosstrain. I feel that starting in a smaller department would permit you to have your hands in many processes which will build your resume and provide versatility when looking for a job with a larger city because you might then be qualified for positions in several areas within the department.

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Tough to add to what has already been said. I actually consider some of the issues you encounter in small town/rural places to be more challenging than some urban issues.

    One nice thing about the rural/small town position is that you will develop a lot of skills & experience a variety of issues, while an entry position in a large city might have you pigeon-holed somewhere where you only review residential subdivision plats between 5 and 20 acres in the southwest quadrant of the city. In the small town you'll get to deal with more current & long range planning issues as well as gain a better understanding of the politics that so often (too often) underlays the decisions of elected & appointed officials. You'll end up with a ton of skills that are easy to apply in a larger setting.

    I would recommend targeting rural/small towns that have metros nearby, simply because that will give you some additional networking opportunity.

    Also, you might discover that you like working in rural/small towns and decide to stick with that. That's what happened to me.

  9. #9
    Suburb Repairman is spot-on. In a small establishment, you will gain greater exposure, learn to be resourceful, and have a much wider range of experience doing different things. Then, when you do apply to that Big City in the Sky, you'll have a more attractive skillset than the pimply-faced kid who's done nothing but make maps in some half-cubicle.

    I have never had an interviewer say to me, "We really like you, Chocolatechip, but we have a problem with you having worked at such a small [firm/city/county]. Can you really hack it here in the Big City in the Sky?"

    Every kid wants to make it big. Once upon a time I wanted to work in the big city. Then I did, and I realized that I hate most people. Well, I don't hate them per se, I just hate changing my own behavior to fit all the forced clausterphobic social norms of city culture and the inherent social diseases ever present. Like you walk to work at a flashy glass building, but have to step over vomit-covered drunks laying on the sidewalk to get there. I just can't ignore that shit; it's inhumane, disgusting, and absurd. I like fresh air, open spaces, and as I grow older I get more and more conservative, with less patience for people who forego self-reliance. Someday I imagine I'll live in Alaska, killing reindeer with my bare hands, with a four-foot long beard; a true ex-planner misfit.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Someday I imagine I'll live in Alaska, killing reindeer with my bare hands, with a four-foot long beard; a true ex-planner misfit.
    Whoah. You just described my dream in a nutshell.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  11. #11
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I'm halfway there.
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    I'm halfway there.
    Have the four-foot long beard? That's awesome!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post

    Every kid wants to make it big. Once upon a time I wanted to work in the big city. Then I did, and I realized that I hate most people. Well, I don't hate them per se, I just hate changing my own behavior to fit all the forced clausterphobic social norms of city culture and the inherent social diseases ever present. Like you walk to work at a flashy glass building, but have to step over vomit-covered drunks laying on the sidewalk to get there. I just can't ignore that shit; it's inhumane, disgusting, and absurd. I like fresh air, open spaces, and as I grow older I get more and more conservative, with less patience for people who forego self-reliance. Someday I imagine I'll live in Alaska, killing reindeer with my bare hands, with a four-foot long beard; a true ex-planner misfit.
    Ron Swanson, is that you?
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  14. #14
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Have the four-foot long beard? That's awesome!
    I'm in Alaska and I've got a family of barn swallows living in my beard. Now all I need is to be fired from my job and to start chasing, killing, and devouring ungulates.

    Living the Dream, people.
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    I'm in Alaska and I've got a family of barn swallows living in my beard. Now all I need is to be fired from my job and to start chasing, killing, and devouring ungulates.

    Living the Dream, people.
    Rock on, brother.

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