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Thread: Stagnation

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    May 2003
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    Texas
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    Stagnation

    Has anyone else dealt with a dreaded feeling of career stagnation?

    I work for a city that only pays lip service (if that) to planning. I don't want to be here for my entire career but family obligations are keeping me here for now. I don't want to be here too long and then, as I am trying to move on, be looked at as someone who has a high quantity but low quality of experience. I have a pretty good job title here and awesome pay compared to the fairly low level of responsibility that I have. In fact, another impediment to me moving on is finding a job in a more planning friendly place that can pay me what I make here but that I am also qualified for.

    I see peers and those with less experience than me doing things that appear to be interesting and unique - projects with a level of complexity and innovation that won't be happening here anytime soon.

    If anyone has advice or thought on this please enlighten me.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    The Gig City
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    For the moment be happy you have a job that pays well. While cities are trimming staff and many of us are looking now is the time to just tough it out. Times should be turning around in another 6-18 months and then you might have more opportunities elsewhere. It also sounds like whatever family commitments you have need to also be settled first.

    As for finding more "Interesting work" can you make your job more interesting? What about small area plans or rewriting sections of the ordinance? When it comes time to look for a new opportunity in the future be sure to look at their planning websites first.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I think the hard part is the concept of taking less pay for a more interesting or strategic move. Its always hard to do, especially in the current job climate and when you start to have obligations like kids. But it should always be considered possible.

    I can relate to your situation. In the meantime, what about supplementing your day job with volunteer work related to planning? At least that might keep your edge a bit sharper.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Northern Utah
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    I totally relate. Fortunately, I work with great people here who also feel a little "stagnant" at times. If nothing else we can complain about it together and every once in a while raise a hackle or two by suggesting things we know will be feared and shouted down. That essential function of the planner must be adhered to, if nothing else.

    I'm in exactly the same boat, though. I know I could do more, and I plan to one day but I know it will have to be elsewhere, really.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lyburnum View post
    I have a pretty good job title here and awesome pay compared to the fairly low level of responsibility that I have..
    Not to doubt your abilities or experience, but do you think you are overpaid for your skills? Check the APA salary survey. It's not the best indicator, but might give you a ballpark figure as to what you should be earning. If you are being overpaid, it "might" mean taking slightly less pay for more interesting/rewarding work.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    May 2003
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    Texas
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    Thanks for the advice and perspective, all.

    I am thankful to have a job and thankful that I can think of myself as getting paid as much as, if not more than, I am worth. I checked the APA survey and I'm actually right in the middle for an AICP in Texas with my years of experience.

    Maybe I have overly glamorous views of what other planners do on a day-to-day basis in other cities and states. I do have one big project I am doing, which is producing a Unified Development Code. Code writing is what I consider my biggest strength, so I do like that. Otherwise, my daily work is pretty bland.

    Its nice to know I'm not the only person with these thoughts!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Jul 2008
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    Illinois as of 1/1/09
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    Wow. After checking the salary survey I'm getting depressed!
    Based on my salary I'm in the 25th percentile!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by paiste13 View post
    Wow. After checking the salary survey I'm getting depressed!
    Based on my salary I'm in the 25th percentile!
    I just checked and now I am in the same boat as you! Oh well, a job is a job at this point.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  9. #9
    Cyburbian notabigcitygirl's avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    Southern California
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    I have experienced the same staganation as you in my small bedroom community city and I have stayed put for similar reasons. The city is built out and no new building is ocurring in this economy for the foreseeable future. The community is conservative, somewhat "anti-planning" oriented and not interested in more visionary plans. However, "Tide" is correct - find interesting things to do. This could be a good time for research, long-term planning, re-writing the zoning code, getting out of the office and outreaching to various community groups to assess the pulse of the community and find out what is working for them and what is not. Who knows, by inviting participation, you may indirectly motivate policymakers to engage the future more proactively, thereby allowing you to to initiate plan-making. Good luck!
    Last edited by notabigcitygirl; 10 Jun 2009 at 5:59 PM. Reason: spelliing error
    I'm not cute enough to have a tag line. :r:

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