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Thread: Specialized or generalized internship and does $3-an-hour matter?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Signature's avatar
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    Specialized or generalized internship and does $3-an-hour matter?

    I need advice, sages of Cyburbia. If would you please comment.... By the way, it s been long time no see. Last time I was here (frequently) was pre-Planning master's program. I've since graduated and have been pandering my wares to cities. And living at home with my mother. (Not exactly what I had in mind when I went back to school for a 2nd degree. Hahhaa.)

    So I am in the lucky position of having two internships (almost) at the offering stage. I will have to pick one, but there's a catch....they are apples and oranges. And I already currently working a part-time paid internship that is housing-related at a nearby municipality. This internship I am already working, available until Spring, is not full time, thus it leaves me a hypothetical 20 hours a week. So which of the two 2nd internships do I give my precious 20 hours?

    Internship A: better paying. highly specialized, technical, growing area of the field. possibly tedious. very reliable funding. will be partially from home (saving me gas $ to boot). will be 4 months. will have a deliverable at the end. will be on first-name basis with either the big wigs in a fringe city or a well-to-do suburb. sciency and environmental.

    Internship B: tight-fisted, but may last 12 months. steeped in the zoning code, which I happen to like, and more general planning instead of so highly specialized. also quite close by. have yet to meet the city manager, this one is farther from an offer, but seems quite promising. I could play a role in really shaping the future in a big way!

    About me: sciency and environmental interested in general planning as well as efficiency. Prefer working directly with Municipalities, consulting interests me less. Does make more sense to prepare for the future and take the technical job? Or does it make more sense to go for a job that might last a year? Finally, should I worry so much about the $3 a hour difference between A and B?

    Thanks
    Sig
    "Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

    ~ Helen Keller

  2. #2
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    I find this scenario very similar to my own. I am currently doing a very technical internship for an MPO, before I was in an internship more focused on application of the zoning ordinance and variance requests etc. Honestly, this is one of those Catch-22 situations (whatever decision you make, you'll have wished you went with the other haha). I like the internship i'm doing now because the research is very interesting and I am gaining valuable skills in software like GIS. But, it can be reaaaaaalllllyyy boring at times, and the lack of interaction with other people can make the day seem a lot longer. The former internship was exciting because I would deal with new people every day. However, not every person I had to deal with was... easy to deal with, to put it gently.

    I suppose the best thing you can do is picture yourself in both positions, and really think about which one you could see yourself doing. After all, you never know when it could turn into a full time job, better make sure it's something you enjoy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Signature View post
    I need advice, sages of Cyburbia. If would you please comment.... By the way, it s been long time no see. Last time I was here (frequently) was pre-Planning master's program. I've since graduated and have been pandering my wares to cities. And living at home with my mother. (Not exactly what I had in mind when I went back to school for a 2nd degree. Hahhaa.)

    So I am in the lucky position of having two internships (almost)
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you take whatever is offered. Gladly. It does not matter which one.

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you take whatever is offered. Gladly. It does not matter which one.
    I agree. If you have the opportunity at both, then go with the job you think will grow your interests most. Money isn't everything. Unless you really need money, then go with that. Good luck.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    You seem much more confident and excited about Internship B...if the money isn't that big of a decider, than go for the one you would want on your resume and shaping a future career choice.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  6. #6
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Yeah, I agree with taking whatever is offered, but if both internships are actually offered and you have to decide, I would go with Internship B. I find generalized planning to be better because you can get a lot more experience in multiple areas and you aren't limiting yourself by choosing just one specialty. And it sounds like you don't like the tedious nature of technical, specialized jobs. Also, I would choose B because it is for a longer duration. 12 months would be great. I'd rather make slightly less but have a job for a whole year than make a little bit more money but only have a job for 4 months. Chances are, I'd blow through that money in 4 months and be living on a prayer for the rest of the year. Also, you will likely get more experience in a longer internship and it will look better to future employers that you have a year of experience rather than just 4 months.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Signature's avatar
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    ...i live in California...and I took the higher paying job which was more technical and has a brighter future.
    "Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

    ~ Helen Keller

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    When I was trying to decide on grad school offers, a prof who wrote one of my recommendation letters gave me this advice, which works any time you're trying to make a bigger decision, as long as you have enough time. Go through one day as if you'd picked Choice A. Don't think about Choice B that day. Just imagine what it feels like to have gone with Choice A and pay attention to how that makes you feel. Then the next day, do the same with just Choice B. Don't think about Choice A that day. Part of what makes deciding difficult is the going back and forth between the two. Doing this really helped me with my decision since I was really stuck in trying to choose between two very different places/schools/offers. Good luck with your decision if you end up in the situation of having to make it.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Signature View post
    ...i live in California...and I took the higher paying job which was more technical and has a brighter future.
    imho that was the best choice, congrats!

    the second choice sounded like more of a dead end, use an intern to produce a document that may sit on a shelf thereby saving the cost of a consultant to do the same thing. IANAP

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