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Thread: Progression of titles

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Progression of titles

    So I have been an assistant planner in my current position for nearly 18 months now. This is my first position out of college. I work for a new (incorporated in 1995) suburb, The Planning Department is small (my director, an admin ass't., a P/T code enforcement officer and myself.) I don't see much of a future for myself here, the ability to move up, etc.; the last two assistant planners didn't last longer than 6 months. I deal with most of the current development, permit processing, day-to-day supervisor of CE officer and some public relations.

    Recently I just saw a posting for an associate planner in my metro area. This position is in a larger community, has a bit of a higher salary and would have more opportunities that align my interests (i.e. historic preservation, downtown revitialization). Would taking this job be seen as a progression or more of a lateral move? I know it is just a title, but I have always thought of an assistant planner as similar to a Planner I, with and associate planner similar to a Planner II. How is the classification system in your experience?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    An associate planner is a step up. My experience is that an associate planner has more duties and more complex assignments than an assistant planner. Associate planners are also expect to work without as much supervision.

    Personally, I like a title more than a number. My department went from titles to number designations and I still don't like it.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    An associate planner is a step up. My experience is that an associate planner has more duties and more complex assignments than an assistant planner. Associate planners are also expect to work without as much supervision.

    Personally, I like a title more than a number. My department went from titles to number designations and I still don't like it.
    Ditto what ottopop said. Typically my experience with these positions is that you need typically 2 to 3 years experience. Because of the economy (and the fact that my current employer has yet to move up) i have been stuck at an associate level for almost 3 years now. I have little to no supervision. Take a careful look at their requirements and see if you meet them at a minimum. I don't know how your labor market is, but out here, competition is fierce with folks that have many years of experience applying for those types of positions.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    My title is "Landscape Architect Grade 1" even though I am in no way a landscape architect. I've found that at my job the only titles that matter are "Project Manager" and "CEO."

  5. #5
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    An important note about this position, I applied for this position last year and got an interview. I later found out the position was pulled because of funding concerns. Hopefully I will be as fortunate again and get another interview.

    Would this be considered a mid level position? I don't want to be seen as a slow moving career in the future.

  6. #6
         
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    A fairly typical progression in larger municipal planning offices is Assistant - Associate - Senior - Principal. Associate is higher than Assistant in every city with which I am familiar. Associate is typically considered low-to-mid level.

    Best wishes.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    I later found out the position was pulled because of funding concerns.
    That's another thing to consider, besides the title. You'll be leaving behind some seniority, even if minimal and putting yourself as the low man on the totem pole in the new jurisdiction. If funding is an issue there, you maybe the first to go, especially if you're on probation.

    Also, don't get hung up on titles. As you've probably noticed there aren't standard titles based on specific experience. They fluctuate with the different employers. And a move up in a community can also be viewed as a promotion since the type of duties and responsibilities is likely greater in a larger jurisdiction. I'd view a move from a planner 1 position in a town of 5000 people to a planner 1 position in a metro area of 1 million a promotion, even if the title doesn't suggest it.

    Remember, sometimes you have to move across in order to move up!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by azmodela View post
    That's another thing to consider, besides the title. You'll be leaving behind some seniority, even if minimal and putting yourself as the low man on the totem pole in the new jurisdiction. If funding is an issue there, you maybe the first to go, especially if you're on probation.

    Also, don't get hung up on titles. As you've probably noticed there aren't standard titles based on specific experience. They fluctuate with the different employers. And a move up in a community can also be viewed as a promotion since the type of duties and responsibilities is likely greater in a larger jurisdiction. I'd view a move from a planner 1 position in a town of 5000 people to a planner 1 position in a metro area of 1 million a promotion, even if the title doesn't suggest it.

    Remember, sometimes you have to move across in order to move up!
    All really good things to think about. I think I will throw my resume in the ring and see what happens. If I am offered the position, I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

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