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Thread: No work, need help!

  1. #26
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    I think if you are really serious about planning (and you don't have major baggage), you would take a job anywhere...especially if you are really new at it. Put your time in and move up and away. I think the expectations of paychecks fresh out of school are overblown. Having the right attitude helps also... There is a job for you out there.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by expat123 View post
    Hawaii is extraordinary expensive. Local government planning positions in the US have fierce competition and many only prefer locals with experience and knowledge of the issues. Not many are open to outsiders and you pretty much have to know somebody to get your application on the desk of the hiring manager.
    Why do the counties pay so low if the cost of living is so high?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Pay in Hawai'i (in the private sector anyway) is higher than average. Cost of living in Hawai'i is high but I don't think it's worse than some other US markets such as the Bay Area and NYC.


    However, I would not recommend moving there if someone has more than one of these factors:

    entry level
    supporting a family on a single income
    carrying a large amount of debt
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian
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    Its all about supply and demand. No point in paying them more if they get a flood of applicants. Planners get 50-60k typically in Hawaii. A gallon of milk can cost $7 in Hawaii. I just read in a UK publication building global that Civil Engineers are seeing there pay drop (http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?...de=3150679&c=1). And Engineers pretty much could walk into a job anywhere in the world. Should only get worse for planners.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    Alaska sounds good, but I don't think I could handle six months of darkness and living in isolation. Its funny too that several posts suggest moving out of urban areas. Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't that where urban planning takes place? I'll try the best I can to apply for jobs outside of D.C., but again I don't want to waste too much time looking for and applying to jobs elsewhere that I have no shot of getting. Right now I'm trying to strategically apply for jobs in planning and other professions that I may have a chance with. Again, I'm not going to uproot my life for 25k a year.
    Planning takes place in areas outside of metro areas (well, it should!). Townships and counties need planners. One of my jobs was in a twp with a population of about 5,000. The clerk (equivalent to a mayor) said that he'd hear from constituents while in line for groceries; everyone knows your name there. The cost of living in an area that's not "hot" is much less; take a look at housing prices outside of major metros.

    Just yesterday I was discussing job-hunting with a pal whose specialty is customer service. I said that I can't take a $25k job, and she said that she has never earned that much in her working years. (She's 60 next week, and I'm an AARPie as well.)

  6. #31
    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Just yesterday I was discussing job-hunting with a pal whose specialty is customer service. I said that I can't take a $25k job, and she said that she has never earned that much in her working years. (She's 60 next week, and I'm an AARPie as well.)
    That's great, but I would go into debt earning only 25k a year. I would take an entry level planning position that paid that where I live now just to get my feet wet, while I look for other work, but in no way shape or form would I move to another state for a 25k a year job. That means I'd be earning $13 an hour with a masters degree. Migrant workers with no education can earn that much. Someone else posted something to the effect of, why are graduates so hung up on getting a paycheck?-Are they serious? I'm not expecting some high paying job, but I need to at least be able to afford to eat and pay rent. So, in effect they are really saying that people with masters degrees should learn to just accept the "new America" and live in poverty.

    Quote Originally posted by expat123 View post
    Hawaii is extraordinary expensive. Local government planning positions in the US have fierce competition and many only prefer locals with experience and knowledge of the issues. Not many are open to outsiders and you pretty much have to know somebody to get your application on the desk of the hiring manager. Add to this baby boomers with depleted retirement funds and they could care less about someone with a masters.

    Young planners have to outside the "traditional" planning roles. A good place to start is attending local ULI events. Although commercial real estate and development isnt really going off either, its much better than government planning and private consultants. Seriously I would never move to a hole in the wall town just for a planning role, unless it was in management or offered some serious dough. Its the same political BS for low pay and social networks.
    I completely agree with everything you wrote.
    Last edited by Maister; 12 Oct 2009 at 11:19 AM. Reason: sequential posts

  7. #32
    Cyburbian
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    Traditional urban planning roles are pretty much dead in this economy and the salaries are getting lower and lower. Hit up ULI and expand into a related field such as commercial real estate, development, etc.. Your planning skills will come in handy, but you need to learn a different field. I think its foolish to take all the continuing education classes in planning as they dont really pay off except for the networking possibilities.. If I took all those continuing GIS, planning law courses, etc that APA advertises Id be in some serious financial trouble. If an employer pays thats another thing. Look at the bright side, you are young and can learn a variety of related fields. Better than being a veteran with 20 plus years only in urban planning that never expanded out. Your resume will show that you are capable of many different aspects in the development industry. Also the UK, OZ and NZ will let you be a young planner and give you a livable wage, you dont even need a masters. This is the time not to "follow the crowd" and be creative. Questions are the answers.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    That's great, but I would go into debt earning only 25k a year. I would take an entry level planning position that paid that where I live now just to get my feet wet, while I look for other work, but in no way shape or form would I move to another state for a 25k a year job. That means I'd be earning $13 an hour with a masters degree. Migrant workers with no education can earn that much. Someone else posted something to the effect of, why are graduates so hung up on getting a paycheck?-Are they serious? I'm not expecting some high paying job, but I need to at least be able to afford to eat and pay rent. So, in effect they are really saying that people with masters degrees should learn to just accept the "new America" and live in poverty.
    Realistically you can expect between 30k to 35k, maybe a bit more if you are in an area with of higher cost of living. You really have to be willing to move.

    I respectfully disagree that development firms are the way to go right now. In my area, private firms are still losing positions as the credit markets are still slow. Local governments still need people to enforce ordinances and some places are using this slow period to rewrite ordinances and long-term plans. Government positions seem to be SLOWLY be turning around. Check the State APA chapter sites as well as the state's version of the League of Cities or Municipal League. Texas municipalities seem to still be hiring. Positions are still hard to come by, but keep at it. It took me 6 months of applying for jobs before I landed my first job when I graduated at the end of 2007. The rest of the job market is in the crapper right now, so switching careers especially after just finishing school may not be the best strategy.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian
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    The point I was trying to make is that one shouldnt pigeon themselvesfor a government planning job and that there are other areas to explore. The ULI job board has more openings than the APA or APA chapters, have a look. Why would anyone be happy with 30-35k with a masters? Especially after going into debt for a masters. Government planning positions in metro areas are very competitive for somewhat above average wage. Need I add that when a recession comes planning positions are the first to go in local governments? The average wage for someone with a masters is 45-50k for entry level. And its not like this profession has any bonuses or incentives for performance in most cases.

    Disgruntled Grad obviously has some employment standards, which is good because I have them as well. I understand paying your dues, but when there is no carrot to chase it defeats the purpose. Until planners stop taking these lowly paid positions and set some standards these positions will be the norm. Im just saying planners can think outside the box and use the knowledge of planning in related field. Teachers get paid more in urban areas and also have more time off. Why? Because they stood up for a decent standard of living that comes with their qualifications. I only wish planners would do the same and stop taking these slave labor wages.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian zaphod's avatar
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    I am currently a graduate student in planning who was also lucky enough to find a job in emergency management. It wasn't exactly how I wrote it when I started but the work is interesting and it uses a lot of relevant skills from planning (more strategic-less land use). Most of the graduates from last years class ended up getting more policy oriented jobs in DC and the like. It seems that if you are willing to use your MUP more like a MPA or MPP it could really open some doors. From what I have seen the money for land use planners just starting out was never good, even before the economy went south. It's rough, but it is a trade off for doing something that you love and that you hope makes a difference. I mean I could still be in retail sales management right now making more than the average entry level planner... but then, well, I would be working in retail sales management... ick. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
    "He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." Douglas Adams

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    On the issue of salaries, $25,000 is not much but it will let you live in an urban or rural area where you can find inexpensive housing. You may not have much left after paying for the essentials, but the trade-off is that you will be getting experience that will help you move to the next job. In fact, many of these positions provide better experience to help you move upward more quickly. In this economy you need to give these positions some thought.

    With a masters degree and no experience you really should not expect more than $30-35,000 for your first job. I know plenty of planners with 20 years of experience who are still making salaries only in the $50,000's. Again, remember the economy. You are competing against an incredible number of highly-qualified planners with many years of experience.

    Don't get discouraged, but at the same time, don't close yourself off to opportunities because of where the job may be located or how little it may pay. Remember that your career is going to be 40+ years long. Don't expect to start out several rungs up the ladder just because you have a masters degree, and think strategically about how one job may lead to another. Occassionally you will need to sacrifice some of what you want to be able to get more later. This is one of those times.
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  12. #37
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post

    With a masters degree and no experience you really should not expect more than $30-35,000 for your first job. I know plenty of planners with 20 years of experience who are still making salaries only in the $50,000's. Again, remember the economy. You are competing against an incredible number of highly-qualified planners with many years of experience.

    Don't get discouraged, but at the same time, don't close yourself off to opportunities because of where the job may be located or how little it may pay. Remember that your career is going to be 40+ years long. Don't expect to start out several rungs up the ladder just because you have a masters degree, and think strategically about how one job may lead to another. Occassionally you will need to sacrifice some of what you want to be able to get more later. This is one of those times.
    I've already established that the market is too saturated with overqualified people, which is why I'm not holding my breath on finding work in the planning field. The one thing many people on here are not acknowledging is that there are virtually no entry level positions. If you know where to find these magical jobs please let me know, because I'm not finding them. Entry level has now been replaced by internships because nobody wants to pay someone a salary. Again, I'm not going to move to another state for the equivalent of an internship. What do I do when they don't feel like keeping me on anymore? If that happens I'll be stuck in an even worse situation. Look on the APA website, Planetizen, Careerbuilder etc., and you'll see nothing but postings for mid-senior level positions.

  13. #38
         
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    I've already established that the market is too saturated with overqualified people, which is why I'm not holding my breath on finding work in the planning field. The one thing many people on here are not acknowledging is that there are virtually no entry level positions. If you know where to find these magical jobs please let me know, because I'm not finding them. Entry level has now been replaced by internships because nobody wants to pay someone a salary. Again, I'm not going to move to another state for the equivalent of an internship. What do I do when they don't feel like keeping me on anymore? If that happens I'll be stuck in an even worse situation. Look on the APA website, Planetizen, Careerbuilder etc., and you'll see nothing but postings for mid-senior level positions.
    I'm not sure that 'entry level has now been replaced by internships' is really true. I think what has happened is this: Cities are in budget crunches and downsizing; the number of people graduating from planning schools is increasing; thus, the availability of jobs is limited, giving cities the ability to demand more out of candidates. Many of those 'mid-level' jobs you see advertised are not 'mid-level' at all. They're entry-level, but the laws of supply/demand have taken over, and cities are demanding 'mid-level' credentials for those jobs because they can get people with 'mid-level' credentials to take them.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    The one thing many people on here are not acknowledging is that there are virtually no entry level positions. If you know where to find these magical jobs please let me know, because I'm not finding them....
    You have a good point there. This has never been a profession with a large number of "entry level" positions. It was true in the late 80's and it is true today. Most communities have no need for a large planning staff. If one or two planners is enough, then they will want somebody with a few years of related experience. Others here have suggested looking into related fields like community development. I have always found that there are positions in downtown revitalization. As a Main Street manager or downtown revitalization program director you may not get to devote all of your effort to planning. You may have to do administrative work, build membership in the organization, conduct marketing, coordinate events, etc. You may also get to manage downtown planning, put together redevelopment projects, coordinate streetscaping or riverwalk investments, write grants, etc. In smaller communities a very large number of these positions go to recent graduates because the community is probably rural and the salary is probably low. They are a great stepping stone. Two years in one of these organizations, with a great deal of effort put into networking within the state APA chapter and with other communities, and you should be able to move into a good planning position somewhere.
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  15. #40
    Cyburbian PrahaSMC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    The one thing many people on here are not acknowledging is that there are virtually no entry level positions
    Exactly. I mentioned the same thing to one of my advisors in school and, without missing a beat, he told me "Not with that attitude!" Gee, thanks... so helpful

    The other thing I get all the time is, "try something in related field." Again, if I can't find employment in the field for which I earned a pre-professional master's degree, took an unpaid internship, and volunteered for a year, on what planet am I going to walk into another field, in which I have zero training or experience, and find a job? Hey listen, I know I've never worked in <inster related field> and I know you have a stack of more qualified applicants, but please hire me; I'll try really, really hard

    The last thing I'd like to get off my chest is that older people tend to think, generally, that the under-30 generation has some air of arrogance or entitlement. In reality, most of us have been humbled and scared by the new economic reality we face. When I talk to my friends, the truth is most of us would just like to believe that the opportunity to strive to a middle class existence hasn't completely evaporated (Link).

  16. #41
    Quote Originally posted by PrahaSMC View post
    Exactly. I mentioned the same thing to one of my advisors in school and, without missing a beat, he told me "Not with that attitude!" Gee, thanks... so helpful

    The other thing I get all the time is, "try something in related field." Again, if I can't find employment in the field for which I earned a pre-professional master's degree, took an unpaid internship, and volunteered for a year, on what planet am I going to walk into another field, in which I have zero training or experience, and find a job? Hey listen, I know I've never worked in <inster related field> and I know you have a stack of more qualified applicants, but please hire me; I'll try really, really hard

    The last thing I'd like to get off my chest is that older people tend to think, generally, that the under-30 generation has some air of arrogance or entitlement. In reality, most of us have been humbled and scared by the new economic reality we face. When I talk to my friends, the truth is most of us would just like to believe that the opportunity to strive to a middle class existence hasn't completely evaporated (Link).
    I concur. Some of the people posting on here seem to think your expecting too much to want a job with some security that pays enough for food and rent.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    I concur. Some of the people posting on here seem to think your expecting too much to want a job with some security that pays enough for food and rent.
    After I got laid off from my first planning job while I was in graduate school, my wife, daughter and I moved in with her dad. We lived there for 2.5 years before I found another planning job. I worked full time at KFC. It sucked. My marriage went through considerable stress. I questioned what I was doing and even thought about going full steam ahead with a career slinging chicken.

    What some of the people posting on here are saying is that sometimes the going is completely shitty, but if love planning, something will come along.
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  18. #43
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    I concur. Some of the people posting on here seem to think your expecting too much to want a job with some security that pays enough for food and rent.
    It is simply because we have been there. Most of us started a career with the same expectation and have been burned once or more by reality. We have seen it happen to most of our friends and co-workers. I don't mean to disallusion anyone, but there comes a point when you no longer take for granted that hard work and talent are going to be rewarded with promotion and job security. I guess what I am trying to say is take your opportunities where and when you find them.
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  19. #44
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ok.....

    Start picking out places and communities nationwide between 5,000 and 25,000 population. Google their web sites directly and search for a position in their parks or planning department. Go state by state, community by community searching primary web sites for County and City/Town jobs. Many of these places don't have the budget to advertise in the standard places. If done correctly, this will take you a day or two, assuming you have a decent road atlas on hand.

    I chose Clarksville Ten. completely at random and found this job just a second ago:
    http://www.cityofclarksville.com/hum...plannerRPC.pdf

    and;

    http://www.cityofclarksville.com/hum...rector2009.pdf
    Skilled Adoxographer

  20. #45
    Cyburbian
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    Lets look at the reality old timers. College tuition has gone up while entry level job salaries have gone way down. I was lucky enough to get a next to free education in the UK. I'm all for paying your dues and agree some gen Yers were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Job security? Ive never heard the terms job security and urban planning go together. In Oz we went from a massive shortage in the construction industry to oversupply in less than 1 year.

    Seriously you are in DC. There are plenty of public policy positions and think tanks around that use alot of the same skills as planning. I dont think you seriously wanna go to B.F., Tennessee for a community development position?

  21. #46
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I think the point many 'old timers' are making is that planning very specialized and has limited employers and it is not always possible to find the position you want or qualify for, even in a large metro area, especially in these trying economic times. If you are set on a certain type or quality of a planning position, you may not find it in the exact place you want to be/work. If its ok with you to do a related field like policy research, etc, do it, if that satisfies you and staying in the place you is more important to you. There's no right or wrong, it simply boils down to lifestyle and preference.

    I moved 500 miles and found my perfect position, but I could have stayed home and taken a planning position that was in specialization I didn't really love and working in the very unstable private sector. I have an intern right now who is looking for a transportation planning job in the metro I live in, there hasn't been anything open for months, but he chose to move here for personal reasons and applies for any entry-level planning jobs that come up, transportation or not.

    I wish the OP the Best of Luck in their pursuits, whether they go for a planning job in another area, stay in DC and wait it out or find a job in a related field.
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  22. #47
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Firstly, I have a masters in Planning, I have a bachelors in planning and I am 25. I happen to also have a job... in the government planning field.

    I am not in anyway an old timer. But I also believe that there are many people in my generation who believe that they deserve more than they do. If you want to be fair, a master's degree wasn't needed for any jobs in the "old time". Today a master's degree doesn't do much more than get your foot in the door. It will allow you to go higher on the food chain in the future, but starting out, it does nothing compared to experience.

    Does every person who enters the planning field deserve to find a job and get paid better than $25k per year? I honestly don't believe they do. A master's degree was a choice that every person that gets one makes. They are betting on the future. You just as well could have spent two years getting experience, which would probably get you a job just a well. But your future wouldn't have been as bright.

    I do not feel that I got "lucky" to get a job. I worked hard in school, got great grades, and made sure that I had references that could speak to the type of worker I would be in the real world. I took internships (4 years worth), I volunteered at local planning agencies to build up my networking group, and I am active in my local and state planning chapters. These are easy ways to get your foot in the door.

    I can understand the frustration of not being able to find the job that you think is perfect, or of getting the type of salary you deserve. But the truth is, this economy is going to make it twice as hard to find a job, let alone the job you want. Sacrificing now will probably pay dividends in the future.

    expat123 I think going to "B.F. Tennessee" (which is really quite unfair to Tennessee, as it is a great state to work in) would be the best move someone could make. The cost of living goes down, the job will cover more of the required costs, and you might be able to eek out a living.

    If you wanted to make tons of money, why did you go into planning? You will be able to cover costs and live on $25k a year. You do realize there are many people who do that now? Look I wish you the best of luck, but the world economy is rough now. Work hard at making connections, network with local groups, volunteer in the time you have now, and sacrifice some to land that first job. You can only go up from there. Good luck.
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  23. #48
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DisgruntledGraduate View post
    Again, I'm not going to move to another state for the equivalent of an internship. What do I do when they don't feel like keeping me on anymore? If that happens I'll be stuck in an even worse situation. Look on the APA website, Planetizen, Careerbuilder etc., and you'll see nothing but postings for mid-senior level positions.
    Then you are not willing to get into the profession. You are being a little self obsessed here, and you are not to blame for that, these are trying times. I know many people who moved to a different state to a small town to get the year or two experience they need in order for them to get a position in a large metropolitan area. In DC, NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, LA, etc, there are excellent planning schools. They put out 40+ graduates per year. The competition is extreme.

    Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager for a second, you have a choice between someone with a Master's degree who has been working for a few years (regardless of the location, it is still planning) and someone right out of school with no experience other than an internship. Who would you pick, both people have potential, but one has shown the fortitude and desire to get the experience they need to succeed. Their experience in B.F Tennessee (as someone so aptly called it) provided that person with real world experience, it got them out of the theoretical world and into the real (political) world, and gave them some skills that you can further mold for your organization.

    So if you are serious about wanting to be in this profession, you will do what you need to always keeping in mind your goals and ethics. We have all been there. I have been unemployed in many recessions. It sucks, but if you sit here and whine about it, you won't be doing yourself any good. You will only get yourself worked up and bitter so that when you do have an interview you will be uptight (which isn't good).

    Sorry, I just think you needed a little sprinkling of reality. The world isn't always fair, but if you want to succeed, you will do what is necessary. This is a fantastic profession once you get a few years under your belt. We have all put our time in to get where we are. Nothing was given to us, nothing is expected. Use the system to get the skills you need to shape your career.
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  24. #49
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I am certainly not an old-timer, I am 25 and just started in this field about 2 years ago. I know that for my first job I had to look near and far for my first job. I ended up having to move 500 miles from where I went to school. I am not telling anyone to settle for a less than ideal salary. I am making in the mid-30's now and doing alright for myself. Working in the public sector, my benefits make my total compensation closer to 45k (8% retirement contribution, insurance, etc.). Sure, I would love to make more money, who doesn't, but I don't feel like I am making slave wages. It is PRETTY rare to find an entry-level position for less than 35k, especially if they are asking for a Master's. Sure there are some out there, but most of my classmates, once they find a job, are doing alright for themselves. Once you get established in this career you are pretty solidly middle to upper middle class. Hell look at our message boards, we have whole threads dedicated to wine and beer (and not the cheap stuff), lol.

    Sure, I would have loved to have been able to stay in Minnesota for my first job after I got my Master's, but there was nothing available in my area when I was looking for jobs. Instead I moved to another state and have been lucky to work for a smaller community that has let me work in many facets of planning. I have been able to take the experience I have received in my current position and I'm lucky enough to be starting a new position next month. It's all about supply and demand, you have more planners applying for positions in Portland, DC, Chicago, etc. Because of this, these positions can ask for higher qualifications.

    In any field you are going to have to pay your dues. Many new lawyers do document review and legal research, working 60 to 80 hours a week. Yes they make more than entry level planners, but they also never see their family. Many new teachers end up teaching in inner-city schools. New architects design HVAC systems, not grand buildings. In the planning field, many new planners have to work in smaller communities in the beginning. The trade-off is for the most part you will prob. only work 40 to 45 hours a week. Except for twice a month, when I have public meetings, I am home by 6 pm. I currently have 17 vacation days a year, plus 12 holidays (29 business days, almost 6 weeks off a year), granted I work in the public sector. For the most part I enjoy my job. It's challenging and always something new. Sure, sometimes I just want to pull my hair out when dealing with an angry citizen, but all-in-all I enjoy my work.

    I am not telling anyone to settle, I am just letting everyone know that sometimes you may have to move out of your comfort zone to establish some roots in this field. Right now, I am not aware of any field that is immune to this economy. My sister is a teacher and she wasn't sure if she would have a job this year. My g/f's mother is a science teacher and she had to move to Texas from Minnesota to find a job. I have college buddies who went to good law schools and had great grades who have been looking for a job for 6 to 9 months.

    Whether someone takes a job is a personal decision. Only you know what salary you would be comfortable with. In the end, you have to look in the mirror and remember why you went to planning school. If you don't want to be a planner, then look for a new field. Life is too short to be unhappy. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do!

  25. #50
    Cyburbian PrahaSMC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Start picking out places and communities nationwide between 5,000 and 25,000 population. Google their web sites directly and search for a position in their parks or planning department. Go state by state, community by community searching primary web sites for County and City/Town jobs. Many of these places don't have the budget to advertise in the standard places. If done correctly, this will take you a day or two, assuming you have a decent road atlas on hand.

    I chose Clarksville Ten. completely at random and found this job just a second ago:
    http://www.cityofclarksville.com/hum...plannerRPC.pdf
    These were exactly the type of jobs I focused on applying to when I finished grad school. Unfortunately, these positions are still highly competitive... I had one phone interview, but was otherwise passed over despite casting an extremely wide geographic net. A major factor, I was told, is that it is easier to tap into the local pool of applicants, especially for jobs that do not advertise nationally.

    Again, most of us who are frustrated aren't passing blame on anyone, or saying "woe is me." My credentials (an MUP, two internships) aren't enough to make me competitive in this job market-- plain and simple. Bottom line: It's my fault that I am in this position. But, let's not pretend like it is some universal right of passage in this profession to be unemployed for five years after you graduate. I've worked with many planners who landed jobs less than six months out of undergrad and have been gainfully employed ever since. I have a short-term position right now, but the extended lapse in employment that will follow is going to permanently impact my long-term career potential. Regardless of how difficult things may have been in the lean Reagan years, you cannot deny that the cost of higher education is exponentially more expensive today, the employment outlook is worse (and prorated for last month's employment numbers, this economy could lose another 3 million jobs next year), and the competition is more intense.

    I don't mean to get on a rant; it's just nice to have a place to vent my frustrations in the company of other people who are in/been through similar circumstances. A lot of people have said "go find work off the beaten path" or to be willing to move to some less-than-glamorous place... and I guess this is a round-a-bout way of saying that has been my approach all along. Six months ago, I would have taken any job in any location in the country just to get experience.

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