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Thread: Listless wandering planner

  1. #1
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Listless wandering planner

    Iíve been a full time planner for 4 years now, almost 3 of them have been in project development type positions. I run our agencyís EPA brownfields program, the rural transportation organization, assist with CDBG administration, ED projects, and SEPA/NEPA compliance issues. Before this Iíve had internships with neighborhood groups, a stint with the Active Army, and a brief six year career with the US Navy Reserves. I have been actively searching and applying for jobs across the eastern seaboard and I canít seem to get an interview for any of these jobs.

    The general feedback seems to be:
    • Need Masterís Degree to be considered
    • Under qualified
    • Overqualified
    • Didnít graduate from <insert local university>
    • Carpet bagging Yankee
    • Southern backwards hillbilly (I do work in Appalachia)
    So what this all boils down to is: Where do I go from here? My current workplace has become a hostile warzone. I know budget cuts are coming soon and I am the only non local that works here. My pay is somewhere below what a planning tech should make. Should I just hang in there and wait for the ax to fall? I'm sure I am not the first or only person going through this.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by joshking2 View post
    Iíve been a full time planner for 4 years now, almost 3 of them have been in project development type positions. ... I have been actively searching and applying for jobs across the eastern seaboard and I canít seem to get an interview for any of these jobs.

    The general feedback seems to be:
    • Need Masterís Degree to be considered
    • Under qualified
    • Overqualified
    • Didnít graduate from <insert local university>
    • Carpet bagging Yankee
    • Southern backwards hillbilly (I do work in Appalachia)
    So what this all boils down to is: Where do I go from here? My current workplace has become a hostile warzone. I know budget cuts are coming soon and I am the only non local that works here. My pay is somewhere below what a planning tech should make. Should I just hang in there and wait for the ax to fall? I'm sure I am not the first or only person going through this.
    There will be many more people going through this in the coming months and years. There are hundreds of applicants for every position and this won't change until development picks up, and there is no guarantee that development will pick up. You are better off than many as you are working. If you are single, you should look across the country for work & maybe you'll get some interviews.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Maybe we should start a support group for those of us that are left in the field?

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by joshking2 View post
    So what this all boils down to is: Where do I go from here? My current workplace has become a hostile warzone. I know budget cuts are coming soon and I am the only non local that works here. My pay is somewhere below what a planning tech should make. Should I just hang in there and wait for the ax to fall? I'm sure I am not the first or only person going through this.
    Keep looking. I don't think you should stop searching. Widen your net, and network. As you have found out, this economy is tough. We had 350 people apply for a zoning inspector position. It isn't you, per se, it is the environment we are now living in.

    Keep doing what you are doing, and apply to all the positions that you feel you are qualified for. I wouldn't waste your time with jobs you aren't qualified for, as the applicant pool is so large right now, that you will probably be cut out without ever having your resume reviewed.

    Keep your head up. Persistence is 50% of success. 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
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    midwest
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    Hey bud I haven't seen you on here in a while. I remember you were very excited when you took the job a few years ago and hopefully you have some great experience. I "think" we chatted in private quite a while back although I'm not sure if I reviewed your resume/cover letter.

    Search through the previous posts. It's a hostile market right now and it's not going to get any better. There ARE jobs out there but be prepared to relocate (maybe even outside of your comfort zone). Tailor everything you can and network as much as you can. One word of caution (and I learned this the hard way in Wichita) IF you DO take a job in a smaller city/rural area make sure that you have a good access to a local professional network (if there is one). I traded in my access to Chicago business/planning contacts and networking opportunities when I took the job in Kansas and had to start from scratch. Then I was laid off from the that job in January and I now live in Houston.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Hey bud I haven't seen you on here in a while. I remember you were very excited when you took the job a few years ago and hopefully you have some great experience. I "think" we chatted in private quite a while back although I'm not sure if I reviewed your resume/cover letter.

    Search through the previous posts. It's a hostile market right now and it's not going to get any better. There ARE jobs out there but be prepared to relocate (maybe even outside of your comfort zone). Tailor everything you can and network as much as you can. One word of caution (and I learned this the hard way in Wichita) IF you DO take a job in a smaller city/rural area make sure that you have a good access to a local professional network (if there is one). I traded in my access to Chicago business/planning contacts and networking opportunities when I took the job in Kansas and had to start from scratch. Then I was laid off from the that job in January and I now live in Houston.
    I started getting more phone calls once you reworked my resume a couple of years ago! I still owe you a beer if we ever happen to be within 150 miles of each other! Its been an interesting ride so far, but I'm ready to move on from here.
    My dogs and I are relocating pro's. We've spent many a nights coming up with relocation plans, moving quotes, household inventories, thorough research on locations, expected rents/utilities, daycare options, etc. They don't call me a planner for nothing!

    The most important thing to better my career has been to fill a Rolodex (electronic of course) with professional references and casual contacts from local and national firms/agencies. But its good to hear there is hope out there!

    Every now and then I've logged in here to see what was new, but working my way up from the floor hasn't left me with a whole lot of free time (today being the exception). I remember hearing about your layoff earlier this year and I'm glad to hear you found something. I'm equally thrilled to hear that there is hope out there!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    My initial thought was your resume might need to be reworked or you are applying for jobs that are outside your skill set. Working in ED I rarely don't get an interview for jobs I apply for unless I am grossly underqualified. There are not that many people with ED experience. Given your background in brownfields and CDBG I am shocked that you have not gotten at least a phone interview. Are you applying for jobs that fall within your skillset or are you trying to branch out to other areas?
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  8. #8
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Yes and Yes

    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    My initial thought was your resume might need to be reworked or you are applying for jobs that are outside your skill set. Working in ED I rarely don't get an interview for jobs I apply for unless I am grossly underqualified. There are not that many people with ED experience. Given your background in brownfields and CDBG I am shocked that you have not gotten at least a phone interview. Are you applying for jobs that fall within your skillset or are you trying to branch out to other areas?
    I've been applying for positions that are at my grade (Mid level planner) or near it. My resume is weak at the development review/code enforcement level which might be knocking me out of the running for most local governments. Perhaps when the situation in DC stabilizes and grants start flowing again I might find a position I'm better suited for. Thanks for the advice!

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