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Thread: Where do I fit in planning-post internship experience?

  1. #26
    Raf, thanks again.
    I wouldn't say I'm getting totally turned off by the private sector.
    If anything I'm getting more confused because some aspects of what you are saying sounds appealing, others sound like they could be challenging.
    At the same time, if the work itself is something I like, it makes it almost worthwhile.
    Some of the things you described I'm having a hard time determining if they are planning specific or if just depends on the firm/company/boss you have.

    For instance, I probably would feel tremendous pressure if I had a boss who was constantly looking over my shoulder.
    I also would feel uncomfortable if I was in an environment where I couldn't do my work without constant interruptions either from people or the overall environment had sensory overload (constant chatter and phones ringing).

    I would be comfortable with a boss that tended to delegate and let you do the work on your own with interaction and supervision as needed.
    I'd also be more comfortable where I could have more privacy and quiet, less disruption, as I work.

    As far as teamwork goes, I prefer it where I have space and privacy, but am not isolated and have to have constant interraction.
    So from the teamwork you described it sounds better, where each person has delegated responsiblities.
    I don't know, what do you think of all this?

    I'll ask for clairifcation
    1)CAD-sim-city
    You keep referring to CAD. The aspect of planning which interests me is the creation of something tangible, the design aspect. However, as I have said, technical subjects are my weakness. I am not an engineer and GIS was the hardest class I ever took, it was really painful and by the skin of my teeth I eeked out a B.
    I guess I'm asking a two parter
    A. Is there an aspect of planning which IS more like my interest of being able to create/design something tangible?
    B. If so...what and where? Public/Private...Regional/Transportation?
    C. How much of a technical person do you need to be? Do you need to almost be an engineer to do what I like to do...or if not what are your options and how hard a time/learning curve for me would you expect?


    2) Predictable Hours
    In your experience did planning have generally set hours or was it hectic with a lot of overtime pressure and a heavy workload?

    3) Public Private
    What exactly is the difference between public and private planning?

    4) What kind of private planning did you do? Residential developement? I used to in my spare time do a lot "road doddling" and often I still am fascinated with the design of major roads, like highways.
    I read a lot for pleasure about big highway construction projects and like to observe the process and designs.
    Do you think transportation planning MIGHT be a fit...or is the interest I have....design/creation/tangible/sim-city...just too technical?

  2. #27
    Funny, I just read a post about somebody here in Landscape Architecture.
    I really think THIS is the aspect of planning I am into.
    I say this because as I've stated, this is the part which is more sim-city like were you create something tangible.
    I often will for pleasure sketch out a road-system just for fun.

    However, my background undergraduate is NOT in planning or LA.
    Grad school I am about to go into year 2 in planning and as I said, GIS was VERY difficult for me.

    I'd like to hear any suggestions and recommendations.
    Is there ANY niche in planning which is focused on design like LA but were somebody with my educational background and skills would fit?
    The zoning/policy aspect of planning is not passion, the design aspect is, but I am NOT of a technical background and that is not my strongest subject.

    I do assume that transportation/roads are where I fit as opposed to designing subdivisions, but again I almost feel helpless in that I have no background in LA or strength in technical skills.
    Any thoughts?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    You're really starting to come across as someone who wants it all, but doesn't necessarily want to put in the work. You don't want to work long hours. You don't want a boss lingering over your shoulder. You don't want to work in a noisy environment. You don't want to work with other people. Sorry, but welcome to the real world. You're not going to walk into that first job getting everything you want - that will come with years of perseverance and experience.

    You keep saying "I'm not this" "I'm not that" etc. etc. without opening yourself to these possibilities. You can't limit yourself and expect to find a niche at the same time, especially if you want to create and/or plan something tangible. What's the point in laying out a road system if you're not aware of how it will serve adjacent land uses? You can't escape the technical requirements of this profession.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    #1 I probably would feel tremendous pressure if I had a boss who was constantly looking over my shoulder.

    #2 I also would feel uncomfortable if I was in an environment where I couldn't do my work without constant interruptions either from people or the overall environment had sensory overload (constant chatter and phones ringing).

    #3 I would be comfortable with a boss that tended to delegate and let you do the work on your own with interaction and supervision as needed.

    #4 I'd also be more comfortable where I could have more privacy and quiet, less disruption, as I work.

    #5 CAD-sim-city

    #6 Is there an aspect of planning which IS more like my interest of being able to create/design something tangible?

    #7 If so...what and where? Public/Private...Regional/Transportation?

    #8 How much of a technical person do you need to be? Do you need to almost be an engineer to do what I like to do...or if not what are your options and how hard a time/learning curve for me would you expect?

    #9 In your experience did planning have generally set hours or was it hectic with a lot of overtime pressure and a heavy workload?

    #10 What exactly is the difference between public and private planning?

    #11 What kind of private planning did you do?

    #12 Do you think transportation planning MIGHT be a fit...or is the interest I have....design/creation/tangible/sim-city...just too technical?
    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    #13
    Is there ANY niche in planning which is focused on design like LA but were somebody with my educational background and skills would fit?
    The zoning/policy aspect of planning is not passion, the design aspect is, but I am NOT of a technical background and that is not my strongest subject.

    #14
    I do assume that transportation/roads are where I fit as opposed to designing subdivisions, but again I almost feel helpless in that I have no background in LA or strength in technical skills.
    #1 Whether you are planning in the private sector or public sector, you will always have someone looking over your should. It's called your boss. Even if you were a planning director, you still have a boss. It's a City Manager and ultimately council. Don't want people to look over your shoulder? Start your own company.

    #2 You really need to get over this. Companies and Agencies will not go out of their way to accommodate you unless you have a disability (i.e. deaf, wheelchair, etc). If you want to work in planning your need to mold to the office environment that is given to you.

    #3 If you get hired you won't be delegated work, you will be heavily supervised until you can build trust and provide a quality work effort on your own. The exceptions are rural planning agencies with a one or two man shop or your own company.

    #4 See answer to #2.

    #5 Get over this whole "sim city" notion. Even in the design realm, you still have to answer to someone: your client. If they don't like what you design, they will make you change it until they like it. Trust me. I have been down that road where i designed something really good only to have it shat on by my client and told to redo it and go back to making "ticky tacky".

    #6 Yes, Urban Design or Design oriented firm.

    #7 Typically this is the realm of the private sector, however large municipalities and counties have their own in-house staff to do these tasks. Regional and Transportation planning have nothing to do with this.

    #8 Well depends. If you worked hard and tried you can learn. Definitely don't need to be an engineer, but you need to be design savy. You learn more on the job than at school. I have a BS in City and Regional Planning. My job has trained me to be a better designer than school ever did, however i knew the basics (i.e. how to freehand sketch, interpret zoning regulations into drawings, formulate land use bubbles into real work designs). I cant give you a learning curve because i don't know you. You seem to be very "i don't do this or that" and want the world handed to you. Well, in design, it won't be. Sink or Swim. You just learn it.

    #9 No and there is always something brewing around the corner. One day could be 8-5. The next day is 8-10 due to a night meeting, etc. Always busy dude.

    #10 search cyburbia the forums for this answer. Ton of material.

    #11 I work for a private design firm. I do land use planning, master plans, specific plans, policy writing, site plans and processing of projects for proponents. I also work as a "contract" staff person for processing of complex development proposals for some municipalities. My clients range from Cities/Counties to private developers.

    #12 No. You do not have the technical expertise to be a transportation planner. You think GIS is bad? Trying doing a SYNCRO model. Transportation planners tend to be very technical and hold engineering degrees or very concentrated transportation planning emphasis or degree or a combo of the two. You say you like doodling roads right? Well, I will throw this out: The traffic engineer tells me that the road needs to be 6 lanes wide. As a planner, I make it look pretty.

    #13 No. You have no technical skills in design, thus you have to learn them somewhere. A private firm would hire someone at this point with more experience with the huge job pool than risk training someone. It is feast or famine right now in the private sector.

    #14 See post 12.

    Surfer. I understand you have a learning disability. Planderella is right when she says maybe looking at "what can i do" rather than "what can't i do." We have a fella in our socal office who is deaf. The products that come out of him in terms of architecture our utterly amazing. He still gets on conference calls and participates in discussions. You need to open yourself and try. Really, start by doing some research in what transportation planners, regional planner, designers really do. Do the homework for yourself. Gather your thoughts, and lay out an action plan to hit your career goals. Jobs will not be given to you as a right, you have to earn them. Nor will you find the real world is as accommodating as the academic world. Good luck dude.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  5. #30
    Thanks for your help and comments.

    I understand how I have come off...however...this from my observation in past job experiences.
    I understand the idealist view I give...but I am more so trying to determine NOW if planning is something I can make work.

    The last thing I want to do is take courses and prepare myself for a field that is going to stress me out and fail.
    At the same time, I don't want to write off planning only to realize too late this what I wanted.

    I basically would like to know

    1) Hours...I am somebody who does very well when there is structure and I can be on schedule.
    I do well being able to plan in advance as opposed to being somebody who can handle constant change.
    I'd like to know....does planning offer predictable, 40 hour a week jobs, or is this very much a job which requires and has constant overtime pressure and is unpredictable?
    -Does it depend on if you are a municipal planner v regional v transportation v public/private? I know municipal planners have a lot of night meetings, but was not sure if this was the same for all.

    2) Office Environment
    -Again...I do much better in a place, like in school, were I have some space to concentrate, focus, and do my own work.
    -I have worked in a standard cubicle environment before...and it just drove me nuts. The constant noise, interruptions, chatter, was like nothing I had been in before and made focusing really hard.
    I'm sorry but I just need a more relaxed office that isn't so fast paced and noisy with disruptions.
    Don't know if in planning this is possible.

    3) Team work
    -Similar to the above, I do like to work in a team, but am much better doing so when the tasks are delegated and you have some independence to do it yourself.
    I do much better this way as opposed to having to work constantly with people.
    Checking in a few times a day, meeting and collaborating a few times is fine, but to have constant interruptions and people looking over my shoulders is very uncomfortable and I've been more productive in the opposite setting.

    4) Field work
    -I worked before in a standard cubicle and it got old really fast. Like in school, I am used to being not in one space for eight hours, but being in several places. I really like the idea of not being stuck in an office all day...one of the reasons planning is what I considered....do most planning jobs usually include significant field work?

    5) Size
    -What's the usual size? I would be a better fit in a mid-sized place. A large company feels cold, like you are just another number, and quite bureaucratic. A small company gets old and stale with the same people.
    I prefer it were there are enough people there to have a variety of contacts, but still small enough were you do matter.

    6) Regional Planning/Transportation Planning
    -You mentioned the Sim-City aspect of planning/or design, is done by private firms.
    If this is the case, than what do regional and transportation agencies do?
    Aren't they the ones who study if an area needs more roads, and chooses the design?

  6. #31
    Cyburbian
    Registered
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    midwest
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    You will find a lot of these constraints in many types of careers, not just planning. You might want to consider running your own business. There are plenty of planners who are independent consultants. Most of them have extensive work experience working for someone else, though, which means you might have to put up with alot of your discomforts and inconveniences while building your track record before you decide to go it alone.

    See previous posts on independent consultants.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #32
    So I'm about to head into my final semester.
    I am very nervous about the future.
    Just wondering if I should be



    1) Still considering a career in planning...if given what I have described there is a niche for me


    2) If so...were?
    -What kind of planning (Regional/Public/Private??)

  8. #33
    Is it possible to obtain a position in the planning field which allows most importantly for a :
    * Highly structured and predictable environment.
    * Flexibility in schedule.
    * Quiet, not noisey and fast paced
    * Clearly defined rules, expectations, and roles.
    * Does not require a lot of interpersonal skills.
    * An environment with minimal office politics.
    * A place where the supervisor is open and understanding of differences and allows for flexibility in order to accommodate.



    I understand nothing is perfect, but a fast paced office with constant deadlines, customer service interaction probably would fail for both.

    Can this environment be found, and if so were?
    Public?
    Private?

  9. #34
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    Is it possible to obtain a position in the planning field which allows most importantly for a :
    * Highly structured and predictable environment.
    * Flexibility in schedule.
    * Quiet, not noisey and fast paced
    * Clearly defined rules, expectations, and roles.
    * Does not require a lot of interpersonal skills.
    * An environment with minimal office politics.
    * A place where the supervisor is open and understanding of differences and allows for flexibility in order to accommodate.
    1. No predictability. The work is dynamic.
    2. Maybe.
    3. Quiet and not noisy, no. Fast paced, yes.
    4. No. You better have interpersonal skills to survive in this profession.
    5. No. Politics is life.
    6. Maybe.

    But I could be wrong.

  10. #35
    Thanks for being honest.

    Damn...so if I work anywhere (public/private) no matter what firm chances are very high the work will be

    1) unpredictable and not structured
    2) require a lot of customer service interaction (no niches/positions were you can mostly focus on just the work?)
    3) it may not be fast paced but it will be quite hectic and noisey?
    4) very political?


    Are the hours 9-5...even in public sector?

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