So as I'm looking for jobs with graduation fast approaching, I'm finding certain jobs that are professional caliber jobs but not necessarily planning oriented. For instance, a planning firm where I'd love to work is hiring a document production associate who would focus on graphic design, map/visuals production, project document layout, etc.
My focus area has been urban design/physical planning, and I really enjoy producing infographics, maps, etc. However my real goal is to do planning work.
Given the economy, does it make sense to apply for a position like the document production associate one in which I'm not doing actual planning work but would at least be within the firm and have the chance to take on a planning position down the road? Those of you who work in the private sector, how strong is the separation between planners and support staff like GIS techs, document production folks, etc? Would you think it realistic for one of those people to step into more of a planning role eventually or would be a step backward for someone graduating with a master's degree (and some experience before grad school) to take on a job like that?