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Thread: The Great Recession's Lost Generation

  1. #1

    The Great Recession's Lost Generation

    excerpt - Meghan O'Halloran...She left Cornell University with a degree in architecture and six summers of internships at top firms in New York, Milan and London.

    "I thought getting a job would be a snap," she said."

    But after graduating in December 2008, just as job losses in the economy were reaching a high point, she was confronted with a very cold reception into the labor force. -

    http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work...ation-cnnmoney

    Question of the day: Is it any better now?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SchoolsForFools View post
    Question of the day: Is it any better now?
    Not in my neck of the woods. Of the graduate planning school class that finished after me (5 years ago), only one has a job in planning. Its the same with the architects I know - largely they get hired for short-term projects and then laid off when they are done.

    The best part of the article for me was that right in the middle of it is a link (nestled cleverly between paragraphs) saying "[Click here to find an online degree program]"

    Yeah, cause if this Cornell grad can't get a job, certainly a degree from a for-profit online "university" is going to be the ticket to employment...

    Good luck everyone!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SchoolsForFools View post
    Question of the day: Is it any better now?
    Define better. I would say that there are more openings now then in 2008. Although those openings are MUCH harder to get. I have no idea about architects - since there are few public sector architects it isn't really tied to how the planning job market is faring.

    At least in our State, the fear of a governor who wants to privatize everything, keeps departments slim and agile, in case we have to cut more of our budget. Which means we can't hire.

    I don't know that it is better. I don't think it is worse.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    the backlog of unemployed planners and recent grads generated since 2008 far outweighs the the number of listed openings out there right now, even though though these appear to have grown since 2008 by a bit.

    in essence, while the supply of openings has increased a little, the demand for those openings has increased a lot.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Alright, I am going to jump in here. I graduated from undergrad in 2009. I was and am constantly bombarded by the perception that finding a job is impossible, a general sense of hopelessness and despair. To be blunt, I find that sentiment to be complete and total bullshit.

    Since graduating, I have not had trouble finding work. Granted, I was a little flexible with what I was looking for, but I think that is kind of the point, and I believe it is applicable to planners/any graduates entering the workforce in tough economic times. Sure, you are less likely to land your ideal job, ideal location, ideal salary, but if you are persistent and flexible I don't think it is an issue.

    In a way, this capacity to adapt and be open minded is a good thing. It may force one down a new and exciting path that never would have appeared had work come easily. There is a reason that a complimentary sentiment to the one of hopelessness and despair is that times of great innovation often accompany lack of traditional economic opportunities. I say, embrace the times, be open-minded and persistent and all will be well.

    Note: I am headed off to get my masters in planning, but not because I could not find work (I am currently gainfully employed, full-time)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with the "bad timing" logic. This article also talks about the generational (long-term impacts) of students graduating during a recession. We would all love to hit all the green lights and cruise right through downtown. However, if we just start even one second too late we are stuck hitting all of the red lights, one after another, after another, after another, until we finally get to our destination, whatever/wherever it may be.

    Many of my friends are older than me, some by 10-15 years. They told me how bad it was when THEY graduated school. I try to stay optimistic, but the quality of life has deteriorated so much and not just in the big ways. Airplanes no longer offer free pretzels, stylish furniture is made with cheap fiberboard, elementary schools no longer teach music or art, and yet we are fighting with each other for another shot of victory gin. It just seems disappointment and failure have become so much of our lives in this recession that we just accept it for what it is.

    I'm unemployed right now, and I have gone on a few interviews in the past few months. I'm not stressed out or worried but extremely relaxed. As a planner I have faced this recession everyday since November 2006 without a break and it's not going to improve for another few years. Well, I'm not going to sit back and wait for that to happen. I am making changes now in my life for the better.

    I am sympathetic for these students. I know they are having a tough time and I wish I could help. BUT some of them haven't been practical. You can learn French in a community college. How is it any different at an Ivy League? Parisians STILL won't talk to you.

    -scratches head-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by lamarr04 View post
    Alright, I am going to jump in here. I graduated from undergrad in 2009. I was and am constantly bombarded by the perception that finding a job is impossible, a general sense of hopelessness and despair. To be blunt, I find that sentiment to be complete and total bullshit.

    Since graduating, I have not had trouble finding work. Granted, I was a little flexible with what I was looking for, but I think that is kind of the point, and I believe it is applicable to planners/any graduates entering the workforce in tough economic times. Sure, you are less likely to land your ideal job, ideal location, ideal salary, but if you are persistent and flexible I don't think it is an issue.

    )
    I'm sorry, but this is complete BS. If you graduated college 2009 then you have no perspective on what a normal job market even looks like. I got into the field back in 2006, before the gauntlet came down, and can say without hesitation that the planning job market is horrendous. You do a disservice to new grads with your platitudes of 'persistence and flexibility' as some magic keys to success.

    C. Wright Mills and the dichotomy between personal troubles and public issues speaks to this predicament:

    "When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. "

  8. #8
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    entrepreneurialism is crucial

    One of my biggest quarrels with the planning profession is a lack of entrepreneurship. This seems especially problematic now, as planning departments are being gutted and no one is building anything. It seems like many planners are not sure how to transfer their skills to the private sector or to allied professions, or to leverage their skills in an entrepreneurial capacity.

    Not always, though. I know some recently graduated classmates who are working together to purchase homes at sheriff sales, renovate them, and place them in service as rentals. The ability to leverage planning skills and relationships here is very real - permitting, approvals, variances, rehabilitation tax credits, community relations - and the additional skills gained (finding financing, project management) are useful no matter the subsequent job taken.

    It's not 9-5, and there's no guaranteed paycheck every two weeks...but as others have mentioned, planning departments aren't exactly desperate to hire. I have accepted that when I graduate, doing something on my own (and taking a big risk in doing so) might be the way to go. I'm okay with that.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    I'm sorry, but this is complete BS. If you graduated college 2009 then you have no perspective on what a normal job market even looks like. I got into the field back in 2006, before the gauntlet came down, and can say without hesitation that the planning job market is horrendous. You do a disservice to new grads with your platitudes of 'persistence and flexibility' as some magic keys to success.

    C. Wright Mills and the dichotomy between personal troubles and public issues speaks to this predicament:

    "When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. "
    I think you are both a little wrong here. You are correct that lamarr04's perspective on a good job market isn't useful. However, his experience in getting a job is. While I agree that the current state of planning and related fields is far from ideal, I don't feel that all is hopeless. Just as lamarr04, I was able to find a job in planning(or at least related to) by keeping an open mind and being flexible with what type of job I would consider. Did I find my dream job, pay, location, etc.? No, but I did find gainful employment in my desired field. I think a problem with some new grads is that they lack that flexibility. Many have too narrow of a focus in where they want to live, how much they want to be paid, what specific job title, etc.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vanderlyn View post
    One of my biggest quarrels with the planning profession is a lack of entrepreneurship. This seems especially problematic now, as planning departments are being gutted and no one is building anything. It seems like many planners are not sure how to transfer their skills to the private sector or to allied professions, or to leverage their skills in an entrepreneurial capacity.

    Not always, though. I know some recently graduated classmates who are working together to purchase homes at sheriff sales, renovate them, and place them in service as rentals. The ability to leverage planning skills and relationships here is very real - permitting, approvals, variances, rehabilitation tax credits, community relations - and the additional skills gained (finding financing, project management) are useful no matter the subsequent job taken.

    It's not 9-5, and there's no guaranteed paycheck every two weeks...but as others have mentioned, planning departments aren't exactly desperate to hire. I have accepted that when I graduate, doing something on my own (and taking a big risk in doing so) might be the way to go. I'm okay with that.
    This is an excellent point, I think, and the circumstances certainly call for this kind of thinking. Our whole society is going through a massive transition right now. We know what we are transitioning from - consumer-based economics, for example - but not necessarily what we are going toward. And I think the very nature of "work" may be shifting as well. For folks with a creative mind and some resources at their disposal, I do think there are some entrepreneurial opportunities to be had out there. I also think that the non-profit sector (nestled conveniently between the private and public sectors) is one area planners have not ventured into in large numbers. There is a lot of potential for work that municipalities are too cumbersome to take on, but which private firms are not interested in.

    By way of example, I currently work (one and a half weeks until that changes...) at an art center doing community development, capacity building, implementing aspects of a city re-investment plan, and some campus planning. Its not squarely in planning (as the APA makes me very aware of...) but these are the times we are in. I bring my planning skills to bear on this stuff and we do implement aspects of a planning document. But it ventures into other territory as well. We manage a community garden located in a formerly abandoned lot as a strategy to curtail blight and negative activity like drug dealing and illegal dumping. We organize and host an annual parade and fiesta to help build social capital among the local low-income neighborhoods. We are developing our campus with affordable, legible, "green" solutions for historic structures to serve as a teaching facility for what is possible.

    Am I a Planner? Not enough to qualify for AICP, but if I am going to be employable, these are the kinds of creative ways I need to use my skills.

    Times ARE tough out there. As someone in their 40s, I can attest to the dramatic changes that have taken place since I graduated college (when things were already getting difficult - jobs were easier to find, but the pay was dropping significantly, especially compared to grads of just 5 or 10 years earlier). This crisis has been brewing for a long time. I am accepting now of the fact that I will not make as much money as my parents (even just my father) did and that doesn't bother me. Anymore. But it used to - it was very jarring to hear form the older generation that we "should" be doing better, making more money, etc. It made us feel like we were failures. But our reality was different from our parents' reality and neither of us could really understand that at the time. Now that these trends are clearer and the data from that period paints a fuller picture, I see that things were just in decline. And they still are.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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