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Thread: Can emergency management experience relate to urban planning?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zaphod's avatar
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    Can emergency management experience relate to urban planning?

    Hello All!
    I am in an interesting (though far from bad) situation that I would like some advice about.
    During my first year of graduate school (MUP program) I was fortunate enough to secure a full time position in city government in emergency management. I believe my time here has been a very valuable learning experience. I will be graduating in may and I do not think that EM is the long-term career I see myself in. I understand how extraordinarily lucky I am to find a job in this economy. That not withstanding, I wonder how this experience will be viewed if/when I decide to jump over to something that is more interesting to me and with more long-term career potential. I will of course not be leaving any time really soon given the current economy etc.

    My work experience is mostly strategic planning and grants management. My question is how will this experience be viewed in the land-use planning, development context? While I am interested in hazard mitigation it is a very niche field with very few jobs (or at least that is how it looks). I am also thinking more public sector than private.

    Thanks a ton!
    Last edited by zaphod; 20 Jan 2010 at 2:20 PM. Reason: Experience. Why oh why can't I edit the subject line. /sigh.
    "He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." Douglas Adams

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally posted by zaphod View post
    Hello All!
    That not withstanding, I wonder how this experience will be viewed if/when I decide to jump over to something that is more interesting to me and with more long-term career potential.
    I would like to think that it's better than no experience, and would have tremendous value if you were interviewing with a firm or agency interested in Safe Growth and the like.

    That being said, I just interviewed with an Emergency Management agency that stated that they saw no relationship between urban planning and emergency management and discounted most of my career and education to my face.

  3. #3
    Yes.
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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zaphod View post
    I wonder how this experience will be viewed if/when I decide to jump over to something that is more interesting to me and with more long-term career potential. I will of course not be leaving any time really soon given the current economy etc.
    !
    Not a problem.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian MazerRackham's avatar
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    With an MUP, I'd give you a shot. I had an emergency management director apply for every opening I had a couple years ago, but he had no education or practical planning experience. So, he didn't get that shot.

    That said, the short and long term outlook for emergency management planners appears quite a bit more stable than land use...you know, homeland security and all. I might suggest hanging in there until we are headed out of the storm (pun intended).

  6. #6
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    Hi All,

    I would like to revive this thread b/c I have a similar conundrum to the original poster. So, I graduated from an MURP program this past spring -- no job yet. Urban planning was a career switch for me, so I don't have any substantial professional experience working in land use, transportation, etc. That being said, I've been proactive and took on internships with a municipal planning office, a regional transportation agency, and I am currently interning with a major city's redevelopment agency.

    Now to my current situation. I am dangerously close to being offered a position with a large city's emergency management office as a regional planner. Mind you, as the original poster expressed about his/her position, this position is more Homeland Security grant management, some community outreach, but really no land use or traditional urban planning. My thinking is, with the economy the way it is (especially for planners) and with an opportunity potentially coming my way with a significant public office (albeit not planning), I have to take this job if it's my only option. I'm just a bit down on the thought of having shelled out the dough for a planning degree, taking a position I'm luke warm about, and potentially finding myself mired in a career path that has very little to do with what I really want to accomplish.

    Does anyone have thoughts on this? Have people seen a growing nexus between emergency management and traditional urban planning that may present interesting opportunities? Would it be too challenging to extricate myself from a position like this and get back into real planning down the line (even with a master's and significant internship experience)? Any/all thoughts are appreciated.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Double019 View post
    Hi All,

    I would like to revive this thread b/c I have a similar conundrum to the original poster. So, I graduated from an MURP program this past spring -- no job yet. Urban planning was a career switch for me, so I don't have any substantial professional experience working in land use, transportation, etc. That being said, I've been proactive and took on internships with a municipal planning office, a regional transportation agency, and I am currently interning with a major city's redevelopment agency.

    Now to my current situation. I am dangerously close to being offered a position with a large city's emergency management office as a regional planner. Mind you, as the original poster expressed about his/her position, this position is more Homeland Security grant management, some community outreach, but really no land use or traditional urban planning. My thinking is, with the economy the way it is (especially for planners) and with an opportunity potentially coming my way with a significant public office (albeit not planning), I have to take this job if it's my only option. I'm just a bit down on the thought of having shelled out the dough for a planning degree, taking a position I'm luke warm about, and potentially finding myself mired in a career path that has very little to do with what I really want to accomplish.

    Does anyone have thoughts on this? Have people seen a growing nexus between emergency management and traditional urban planning that may present interesting opportunities? Would it be too challenging to extricate myself from a position like this and get back into real planning down the line (even with a master's and significant internship experience)? Any/all thoughts are appreciated.

    A job is a job. Take it if it's your best opportunity.

    Also, emergency planning is planning. You have a problem, you get the facts, you identify alternatives for dealing with the problem based on the facts, and you create a plan (hopefully with teeth) that reflects your best option for dealing with the problem. If your plan doesn't work, you adjust it. That's planning Just because you're not making buildings doesn't mean it's somehow taboo or something.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    All planning isn't urban planning, however I believe you could make the job into what you want. After some time you will use your urban planning skills and knowledge to make the emergency management planning better, especially when you do community outreach. You could possibly get into design review prior to approval.

    In this time take a job, experience is experience. I used to be in much more of an urban planning role and have shifted to more military, natural resources, and other planning, however I find ways to work in my urban planning and emergency management background often.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I agree withTarf and Tide.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys! I appreciate the encouragement.

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