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Thread: Planning sabatical

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plannibelle's avatar
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    Planning sabatical

    I may have an opportunity to work for a year for a small Austrialian city near Sydney. I am lucky that my city is generous in that they dont have problems with planners getting a year leave of absence and even more, if need be. It has to be a good reason and a working sabatical fits the bill.

    Has anyone gone on a sabatical to work as a planner for another city, perhaps outside of US? Has anyone ever worked or is working in Oz who could give me some insights?

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Sounds like a great opportunity! In a large city, you've got the flexibility to do "job swaps" and the like; there's usually someone who can fill your shoes for a while. Being the sole planner in a small town, if I leave for even a few days everything falls apart.

    The Australian planning system is, on the surface, quite similar to what you would see in the United States. There's comprehensive plans, subdivision regulations, zoning, PUDs, variances, and the like, and the built environment isn't that much different than what would be encountered on this side of the Pacific Ocean.

    States apparently exercise greater control over local planning than in the United States. I understand Victoria has a standard zoning code (called a planning scheme) that all municipalities must adopt, from there, there can be local amendments in certain cases but the overall format, zone names, definitions and some other features must remain consistent.

    I don't think you'll experience that much "planning shock" -- there's a few fundamental differences, but nothing that is too alien.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    I have never worked in OZ, but I have spent quite a lot of time there. I would do it if I were you. Australia is a really grreat place. The people are so nice, the climate is great, the planning is good. Not too much sprawl, and the big box stores are at a minimum. You should read a book, "The Australian Metropolis" -- it is a planning history of Australia. It could give you an idea about the differences between Australian planning and U.S. planning.

    How did you get the opportunity? I would love to work there, and I have looked into a job in Australia, but a working visa very hard to get.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plannibelle's avatar
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    I don't exactly have the opportunity *yet* , but I do have an in from by the help of an OZ friend Iliving in the area who I've known for years. Yes, getting a work visa in OZ is hard but I know it can be done. I recall when I was in the National Guard Reserves one person was hired for a full time job in OZ. Another person at my work got a job in OZ as an environmental planner.

    Basically, the standard from what my friend told me is you attempt to show OZ that your expertise and background is important in you can offer something different or needed. You have to go for the angle you posses qualities which makes you desirable and unique from their own homegrown citizens.

    Probably the first goal for me is to introduce myself in a letter to the mayor with an eventual followup call. Then I will pay a personal visit as a sort of vacation/job interview. Then I'll pray.

    Wouldn't it be grand if big cities created some sort of planner exchange program between international cities. That is what is great if you are a college professor. The universities encourage and even expect the professors go off on sabaticals to lands far and close in public or private endeavors. It gives one a fresh persepctive from the banal microcosm called the office politics of promotions.

    I really need the change of environment in many ways. Not that I don't love my job, I do. Rather i need a break from the office politics. To wit: I got a hire score on my promotional exam and interviw, but I work in a section that is considered a piriah. The city is so big we have three deputy directors. Under the deputy director in our section he is not much of an advocate for his people. So today after finding out I got passed over inspite of my score and the good quality of my work, I put in for a tranfer to the section where almost all of the people in that section land the promotions. The deputy director for that section pulls for his people. He is a bully (he has short man's syndrome methinks), but he does fight for his people to get promotions. Also, a little apple-polishing won't hurt either

    The sabatical would be great for me and something I need/want both personally and professionally.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plannibelle's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan Tasman
    Sounds like a great opportunity! In a large city, you've got the flexibility to do "job swaps" and the like; there's usually someone who can fill your shoes for a while. Being the sole planner in a small town, if I leave for even a few days everything falls apart.

    Very True...Also the perks of higher pay and such. We just had our semi-annual "planning day" where we toured areas in the city with keynote speakers. This time it was staples center and adaptive resuse areas (we have a new adaptive reuse ordinance). There are many, once vacant offices and industrial areas downtown being converted into apartments. Also we saw lots of incredibly ornate old theaters built in the 20's and 30's which are being restored and now begining to attract venues.

    [The Australian planning system is, on the surface, quite similar to what you would see in the United States. There's comprehensive plans, subdivision regulations, zoning, PUDs, variances, and the like, and the built environment isn't that much different than what would be encountered on this side of the Pacific Ocean.]


    It seems so to me too.

    [States apparently exercise greater control over local planning than in the United States. I understand Victoria has a standard zoning code that all municipalities must adopt, from there, there can be local amendments in certain cases but the overall format, zone names, definitions and some other features must remain consistent.]

    ]I don't think you'll experience that much "planning shock" -- there's a few fundamental differences, but nothing that is too alien.
    That's my take too. For me besides the new experience, I get to live in a litle town in an incredibly picturesque area situated right on coast. Oh yeah, I get to hear people talk funny

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by Plannibelle
    That's my take too. For me besides the new experience, I get to live in a litle town in an incredibly picturesque area situated right on coast. Oh yeah, I get to hear people talk funny
    You will still be psoting here of you head off to Oz, won't you?

    Although my house and general location is nearly perfect for a job exchange (Orlando is a favorite vacation stop among the Brits, and expats are everywhere), my current job isn't.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 16 Apr 2004 at 12:35 PM.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plannibelle's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan Tasman


    You will still be psoting here of you head off to Oz, won't you?

    why of course!

    Although my house and general location is nearly perfect for a job exchange (Orlando is a favorite vacation stop among the Brits, and expats are everywhere), my current job isn't.
    Maybe Oz might be a permanent change for you?

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by aerdona
    Maybe Oz might be a permanent change for you?
    Maybe I should word that a bit better. The job is great, but it doesn't lend itself well to a job exchange -- I'm the current planning department, comp planning department, code enforcement departmet, IT department and building department. The burden to the town would be disproportionately high if I swapped jobs with somemone for a few months, as opposed to a city where there are many planners that can fill the slack.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Planning Sabatical

    Originally posted by Dan Tasman


    I'm the current planning department, comp planning department, code enforcement departmet, IT department and building department.
    Hey! That's my job decsription too.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plannibelle's avatar
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    out of curiosty if one is the sum total of a planning department...what would happen if one became a bit.. well.. disturbed.. maybe she/he was beginning to become psyzhoid or with a personality disorder. Imagine if you now have a paranoid personaity disorder running the planning department...

    "Zone changes? Why do you want one? You're planning something illegal I just know it!"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    And what if one of your deputy directors went bonkers? Perhaps such a person would be 'discovered' quicker in a smaller agency. I have pondered the small town/metro area planning differences for some time, but never thought of it in these terms. Can there be checks and balances in a larger agency...more so than a one person office? I don't really think so; it has been my observation and experience that good planners with a not-so-good management leave when they can rather than make internal changes.

  12. #12
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Planning Sabatical

    Originally posted by Plannibelle
    out of curiosty if one is the sum total of a planning department...what would happen if one became a bit.. well.. disturbed.. maybe she/he was beginning to become psyzhoid or with a personality disorder. Imagine if you now have a paranoid personaity disorder running the planning department...

    "Zone changes? Why do you want one? You're planning something illegal I just know it!"

    Why, did someone tell you about me? I bet you have a camera in my computer monitor and are watching me, or maybe my phone is bugged. I think the City Council is plotting against me. The Mayor is an alien, you know, from outer space. In fact I think every mayor in the country is one too, and they were going to take over the world on Y2K, but they were foiled when the head of all aliens, Dick Clark made them stop, he never ages you know, that's why I know he is an alien. Ed McMahon maybe one too for all we know, when they bring the check from Publishers Clearing House they inject you with some zombifying substance.............
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 16 Apr 2004 at 12:35 PM.

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