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Thread: So we can't be negative, err honest, about the planning profession?

  1. #76
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tarf12345678 View post
    I dunno about others' experiences, but in my experience, any engineer that attempts to do planning simply does engineering in water colors. I pity the agency staff person that has to review the text they write in support of such plans. I pity the attorneys that have to pick up the engineer's EIR after public review and have to deal with that mess. And I pity the community that has to live with that engineer's design. I also pity the developer that has to deal with all the messes that an engineer pretending to be a planner causes.
    Oh gosh, tell me about it. I feel like I'm the designated proofreader in the office, making sure all the reports engineers write make sense. I'm convinced some of these folks couldn't pass freshman level writing courses. My experience has been that engineers can't think qualitatively, but rather only quantitatively, thus leading to a lot of issues regarding communication - verbally and written.

    I was recently sitting in at a public workshop where I'm a subconsultant on a project to a major transportation engineering (and planning, so they say) firm. I was shocked at how many spelling errors were being written on the white board as one guy took notes. I mean, if you are going to take highly visible notes meant to educate people, please make sure you know how to spell. That isn't really going to make the already skeptical public think you are competent.

  2. #77
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    We talked about this already. Sure "it's bad everywhere." But I believe that planning has been permanently damaged, whereas other professions will continue to exist and thrive long after this hard time has passed. Also, the difference in how planning has been affected and how engineering has been affected is orders of magnitude different. Engineers have and will always be needed, from the dawn of civilization to whatever comes next and beyond. Planners, on the other hand, don't do anything that these other professions have done in the past, can do, and are being increasingly trained to do by their respective educational programs. (look into this, students).

    We need to take a long-term look at how things stand.
    The work that planners do is harder and harder to justify financially. If some of the work they do still needs to get done, they will be done by other professionals, who are already being trained to think about the environment, politics, and a more holistic awareness of the community and landscape. And even if they don't look at things like we do, the end result will probably be the same, because after all, we were never decision makers.

    Further, now that almost every intelligent person understands the damage done by sprawl and the decreasing chance of its resurgence due to permanently rising gas prices, the need for planners to raise awareness about the primary problem with the last 50 years of development is dwindling to nil.

    You should revisit the history of planning for civilizations. While the name "city planner" may be relatively new, the action and need of 'planning' has existed long before this modern era. The role of civil engineers (and related professions) and architects, have always related to central planning, but today the roles are more clearly defined. But that doesn't mean planning is dead, nor does it mean it won't be innovative in the future. The thought has always been around. And, as you pointed out, sprawl and it's impact upon civilization has created different problems that we must address. We need to plan for that. And remember, sprawl was a response to a previous era. Everything that happens, development-wise, is a response to something that happened before. Different zoning designations was a response to the growth of heavy industry; sprawl was a response to the car.

    The only difference today is the increased bureaucratic nature of government work. Which, regardless of your view, will still remain and provide a basic need for a planner. As I said: if planning is truly dead, we have to scrap the entire system.

    As one of the budding young planners, I have experienced, and seen room, for innovation and growth. No one said it will be easy though. I still get bummed out about the huge obstacles I have towards full time employment. But, lets take another passion I have. I am/was a semi professional drummer. I've done studio work and gigs to make some cash during college. The glamorous idea of a drummer is rocking out onstage. What you didn't see is the years of practice, the politics, and the late nights that went into those awesome moments. It was alot of work for a small bit of enjoyment. I didn't image that planning was going to be glamorous position. No job is truly glamorous anyways. But I've seen moments that make it seem like all the sweat and tears was worth it. I'll have to fight for what I want.

    But please, offer another suggestion for the young 'want to be' planners. I agree, the time is bad for a young professional. But it's like that for everything. My dad heard the same type of horror stories when he graduated with an engineering degree decades ago. If you can offer a suggestion though, please do .
    Last edited by dw914er; 01 Aug 2011 at 8:06 PM.

  3. #78
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Idealistic people are more prone to making irrational decisions. And unfortunately this profession attracts naive, idealistic kids.
    I admit that I was one of these naive, idealistic kids. My father is an urban historian and I fell in love with planning on my ideal city. I'm no better or worse than any of the other hundreds of hard-working, idealistic, and passionate students coming out school. I was just lucky to get my foot in the door before it was too late.

    I have a pretty general idea of where I want to take the next step in a new career, and am slowly coming to terms that my next career will probably not be my passion. The recession has forced me to look at need and practicality first and foremost, and pursue my passions in other ways besides my job. I am not self-inflicting pain and suffering on my life but I don't think I can be as carefree. I have ALWAYS been very suspicious about the planning profession's stability from day one over a decade ago.


    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    What do you suggest? While you, and the TS, strongly feel that young planners should look elsewhere, the reality is that any young professional is going to have a tough time. I have fellow recent grads in engineering (mechanical, to EE, to software), architecture, business, etc, that are struggling to find employment
    I strongly disagree with this. Planners have always struggled to get their foot in the door. While I am busy on my own job search, I come across dozens if not hundreds of positions requiring engineering backgrounds, financial backgrounds, IT backgrounds, in big cities and small ones. Jobs requiring direct planning skills or even transferable skills pale in comparison. THEN I have the added task of informing an employer what I do. Sorry, but if these engineers, tech geeks, finance wizards can't get interviews, maybe they need to work far harder at developing their people skills. I have no sympathy for them. MOST professions in MOST cities are hurting but certainly not equally.

    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    We talked about this already. Sure "it's bad everywhere." But I believe that planning has been permanently damaged, whereas other professions will continue to exist and thrive long after this hard time has passed. Also, the difference in how planning has been affected and how engineering has been affected is orders of magnitude different. Engineers have and will always be needed, from the dawn of civilization to whatever comes next and beyond. Planners, on the other hand, don't do anything that these other professions have done in the past, can do, and are being increasingly trained to do by their respective educational programs. (look into this, students).

    We need to take a long-term look at how things stand.
    The work that planners do is harder and harder to justify financially. If some of the work they do still needs to get done, they will be done by other professionals, who are already being trained to think about the environment, politics, and a more holistic awareness of the community and landscape. And even if they don't look at things like we do, the end result will probably be the same, because after all, we were never decision makers.

    Further, now that almost every intelligent person understands the damage done by sprawl and the decreasing chance of its resurgence due to permanently rising gas prices, the need for planners to raise awareness about the primary problem with the last 50 years of development is dwindling to nil.
    We planners have never really had any true bargaining chips to keep us on the clock. Do we need a cardiac surgeon to perform most heart surgeries? Yes. Do we need a nuclear engineer or physicist to design a particle accelerator? Yes. Do we need an ordained priest to anoint the sick? Yes. Do we need a planner to write a zoning ordinance? Do we need a planner to write a comprehensive plan? No. Do we need a planner to work the counter? No. Do we need a planner to write a TIFF district? No, no, and no.

    Too many of us put our profession on a pedestal and convince among ourselves that we are the caretakers of better communities, yet there is a wide swath of people who STILL don't know what we do. The profession in its current form has been around for roughly 60 years and we are still "waiting" for a messianic day when our profession will be appreciated and respected, if we need to blame anyone for lack of awareness we should look at ourselves. Planning does not have any significant intrinsic/tangible value in the way a properly designed dam can prevent flooding. Planning has perceived value based on social and cultural mores. Cities have come and gone for millenia before "planning" came about.

    Quote Originally posted by tarf12345678 View post

    If there's an engineering firm doing well with planning tasks, it's usually because they have a full time planner on board (if not several). More often than not, engineers (in my experience) are glad to have planners on board.
    Not really, bud. I busted my but at an engineering firm last year and was thrown out the back door without so much as a thank you. I will work with engineers again but don't expect me to enjoy doing it. I had a much better working relationship over 7 years with LAs and SOME architects.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 01 Aug 2011 at 11:18 PM. Reason: seq. replies
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  4. #79
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I strongly disagree with this. Planners have always struggled to get their foot in the door. While I am busy on my own job search, I come across dozens if not hundreds of positions requiring engineering backgrounds, financial backgrounds, IT backgrounds, in big cities and small ones. Jobs requiring direct planning skills or even transferable skills pale in comparison. THEN I have the added task of informing an employer what I do. Sorry, but if these engineers, tech geeks, finance wizards can't get interviews, maybe they need to work far harder at developing their people skills. I have no sympathy for them. MOST professions in MOST cities are hurting but certainly not equally.
    Compare available entry level jobs to the amount of applicants they have trying to get that position. It's slim pickings for alot of careers. I'm not saying that starting in planning is easy. It's far from it. But I'm just setting the stage that "the grass is not always greener on the other side." But if it's not what you want, then seek other options. You've seem pretty much done with the job for several years. Re: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=39036

  5. #80
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    You all make very valid points. Our profession is shrinking, whether it is temporary or permanent remains to be seen. I am currently an employed planner, with only a bachelors degree in planning and some military time under my belt. Since day 1 my job has been a struggle. We never have enough money, never enough resources, and not enough time. My workload has tripled since I started work four years ago and with the recent departure of my supervisor I expect it to double again. My pay has remained rather stagnant in the upper $30's with our benefits reduced and support staff eliminated. I'm all for doing more with less and creating a better community, but there will be a time when I leave this job for something that pays a living wage, like a truck driver or McDonalds Fry cook.

    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Yes, there ARE exceptions to the rule that you just described (and I have similar such stories on the private sector side). I would say roughly 75-80% of the planners, both public and private, did not have the same war games to trade.
    I banked 1,600 hours of comp time last year. I stopped counting by the end of this January when every week ended close to 65 hours and the chances of me EVER leaving before 6:00 PM were dim at best. So yes I am an exception, but I know of several more local planners whose hours are just as bad.
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  6. #81
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Compare available entry level jobs to the amount of applicants they have trying to get that position. It's slim pickings for alot of careers. I'm not saying that starting in planning is easy. It's far from it. But I'm just setting the stage that "the grass is not always greener on the other side." But if it's not what you want, then seek other options. You've seem pretty much done with the job for several years. Re: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=39036
    Well I was already looking to leave the planning profession in the Fall of 2009. A fellow Cyburbian convinced me to stay in planning and offered me a job in a far-off state. I relocated in December 2009, worked my tail off for the firm, put together an entire state planning conference, while he couldn't do his job and bring in more billable work. I was thrown out the back door without so much as a thank you this January, and thanks to him and that awful company I have permanently lost all interest in working as a career planner.
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  7. #82
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    #1. Many other professions, including technical and well-paying, etc. require a high level of commitment, which comes down to manpower and hours, whether it is medicine, law, engineering, business, finance, accountancy. Is credibility measured by the amount of time spent in the office? That depends on where you place your values. Are you a workaholic like me without kids or do you seek a work-home balance? We planners want the best of both worlds. We want to be taken seriously by our counterparts (who go through FAR more rigorous training and expectations than planning) and yet many of us strive for a balance in our field. Many of us have been battling this recession for years, and to get ahead many of us HAVE to put in the extra time, whether we like to or not. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    I will admit that I''m coming across as harsh and unsympathetic. However, I got into this profession with only a BUP and have had to battle it out for internships, full time jobs, and contracts from day one. I was fortunate to get into the profession before the bust, but I will never have the opportunity to work a more pleasurable 45-50 hour work week. Non stop from college, I have pounded the pavement, knocked on the door, and worked the room. Non stop for most of my short planning career, far more doors have slammed in my face than opened, hours have been cut back, budgets cut, never had comp or flex time. I really don't know anything else, so I have always been somewhat on the defensive, if not survival mode. I'm not so much complaining at this point: that's the price I paid sticking in this battered and dysfunctional profession.

    #2. Cardinal, when was the last time I had a paid day off for Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, etc. in the private sector? NEVER. Go to What are your Weekend Plans thread over the past few years, and more often than not MANY of you in the public sector have enjoyed those days off. Yes, there are exceptions, but c'mon, we in consulting still have FAR fewer days off in general.

    #3. I have no problem working a longer work week provided I am compensated fairly, and I agree no planner should have to put in the extra time and headaches for low pay. Maybe that's one of the reasons I am considering other occupations in the near future, even if its a complete break from planning.
    You have a huge ass hard-on against gov't; my god, I have NEVER had a paid off Columbus Day (nobody in the South has even heard of that, BTW) or Good Friday, like many northern Planners. Yes, Veteran's Day and President's Day. Sometimes. What you don't seem to GET is that public planners,for the most part, get WAY lower salaries and can work extremely longer hours, than private planners.

    Why don't you get a public sector job for those days off? Duh, you'd lose 40% of your pay, right?

  8. #83
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Well I was already looking to leave the planning profession in the Fall of 2009. A fellow Cyburbian convinced me to stay in planning and offered me a job in a far-off state. I relocated in December 2009, worked my tail off for the firm, put together an entire state planning conference, while he couldn't do his job and bring in more billable work. I was thrown out the back door without so much as a thank you this January, and thanks to him and that awful company I have permanently lost all interest in working as a career planner.
    And you think your experience is exclusive to planning?

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You have a huge ass hard-on against gov't; my god, I have NEVER had a paid off Columbus Day (nobody in the South has even heard of that, BTW) or Good Friday, like many northern Planners. Yes, Veteran's Day and President's Day. Sometimes. What you don't seem to GET is that public planners,for the most part, get WAY lower salaries and can work extremely longer hours, than private planners.

    Why don't you get a public sector job for those days off? Duh, you'd lose 40% of your pay, right?
    Excuse me? I had two competing entry-level jobs, one for a city and another for a private firm. The city job paid about 5-6K more than the private dig. In the four years I was at that company, while doing the entire planning work for the firm, I never ever made more than 4-5K more than my starting salary. I did some digging around and found out that the planner who took that public sector job was now making 15K more than when he started.

    Try putting in a 75-80 work week for 3 months on two expert witness cases, driving across 5 counties for aerial photos on my own car, and netting a 200 buck bonus and a 500 dollar raise at the end of the year. Oh yeah, I also didn't have Veterans Day, MLK's birthday, or President's Day off, whereas the county planning and assessors offices did.

    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    And you think your experience is exclusive to planning?
    No, but that doesn't mean I have to put up with it either. Life is too short, and I'm generally an optimist, it just won't be a planning career, that's all.
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  10. #85
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Notwithstanding the fact some of you folks have little or no respect for the public sector planner, including the trials and tribulations we experience, I'm finding this thread entertaining.

    Thanks for the shits and giggles, you private sector whores.

    Still feel good about yourselves? Go out and look at some of those projects you whored yourselves for. Then consider the projects the public sector planner(s) forced design changes to conform with the comp plan and surrounding community. Yea, we're good for nothing. Gold.
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  11. #86
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Not really, bud. I busted my but at an engineering firm last year and was thrown out the back door without so much as a thank you. I will work with engineers again but don't expect me to enjoy doing it. I had a much better working relationship over 7 years with LAs and SOME architects.
    ...and I just had an engineering firm try and recruit me As I said in my post, "more often than not" engineers are happy to have planners... meaning not all engineers are so enlightened.

    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You have a huge ass hard-on against gov't; my god, I have NEVER had a paid off Columbus Day (nobody in the South has even heard of that, BTW) or Good Friday, like many northern Planners. Yes, Veteran's Day and President's Day. Sometimes. What you don't seem to GET is that public planners,for the most part, get WAY lower salaries and can work extremely longer hours, than private planners.

    Why don't you get a public sector job for those days off? Duh, you'd lose 40% of your pay, right?
    Now now, let's be fair... public sector retirement + holidays + salary is *usually* comparable to an equivalent private sector position. At least that was the case when last I was looking around at comparable public/private sector positions.

    At upper tiers, that's generally not the case (in that you make more in the private sector, unless you make Planning Director or perhaps even City Manager).

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Still feel good about yourselves? Go out and look at some of those projects you whored yourselves for. Then consider the projects the public sector planner(s) forced design changes to conform with the comp plan and surrounding community. Yea, we're good for nothing. Gold.

    Well obviously, your opinion of the private sector isn't so grand, either

    And I take issue with your comment... I have FAR more influence over my projects than any public sector person. That's not to say I'm better - I'm just the one who has to tell my client how to minimize the chances for legal challenges (and I use that lever VERY often to get changes to horrible plans, when possible). I'm also the one who tells my clients they need a complete redesign to comply with current agency policy, etc. etc.

    Let's be fair - neither is better, neither is worse; we're two sides of the same coin.

    The primary difference? In the private sector I can show up to work with jeans and a t-shirt (assuming I have no meetings). Nah nah nah nah boo-boo :P

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Notwithstanding the fact some of you folks have little or no respect for the public sector planner, including the trials and tribulations we experience, I'm finding this thread entertaining.

    Thanks for the shits and giggles, you private sector whores.

    Still feel good about yourselves? Go out and look at some of those projects you whored yourselves for. Then consider the projects the public sector planner(s) forced design changes to conform with the comp plan and surrounding community. Yea, we're good for nothing. Gold.
    Well I can't drive out to a comprehensive plan or a zoning ordinance. However, if I were still in Illinois I could spend over a week driving past the +200 projects in 13 communities I reviewed. I also worked on behalf of the communities, so I wrote a few of the guidelines and zoning ordinances AND forced the design changes to conform with the comp plan (that I also helped write) and surrounding community (which I also reviewed).

    And just how are we consultant wh&res supposed to earn our keep if we don't charge an hourly rate?
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  13. #88
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    No, but that doesn't mean I have to put up with it either. Life is too short, and I'm generally an optimist, it just won't be a planning career, that's all.
    "The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter."

    If you're done with the career, then you're done. But being overly pessimistic (in your advice) is just as bad, if not worse, as being overly optimistic. I'm not saying you haven't brought up good points, but your judgement is clouded by a bad experience at a bad firm.

  14. #89
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    It was two terrible experiences at two planning jobs in a row in two different states. Despite my hard efforts, extensive work on behalf of 2 APA chapters, and general optimism it was generally a gut-wrenching awful work experience for 4 straight years putting up with this economic mess. I would hardly call that clouded judgement.

    I'm siding with Chocolate, we have an obligation to deter would-be planners into other professions. Planning has a disproportionately large reliance on government dollars (federal, state, county, and local) compared to other career fields, so no I don't think each industry is suffering equally. The threat of federal default, and the looming fear of a credit downgrade, can have disastrous consequences on the planning profession for a long time. Some consider our current mess is just politics and not as serious as some might say. It is not a joking matter, and I think planners/students need to think very hard about their willingness to battle it out for better times.
    Last edited by nrschmid; 01 Aug 2011 at 11:28 PM.
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    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    It was two terrible experiences at two planning jobs in a row in two different states. Despite my hard efforts, extensive work on behalf of 2 APA chapters, and optimism it was generally a gut-wrenching awful work experience for 4 straight years putting up with this economic mess. I would hardly call that clouded judgement.

    And if all of these industries are equally suffering, I should stay in planning because...why?
    Because you need a change of scenery. You have a bad taste in your mouth so it's just better to try something different and see if you find a better fit. It's your life, and your career, so they should somewhat align so you can be happy. The market is tough all across the board, but it doesn't mean you still can't find a suitable career.

    Me, on the otherhand, see potential in the future of planning. Who knows, I may end at the same conclusion as you. But since I'm pretty young, I'm ready to tackle the future and make my own mistakes. Of course, I've been shaping my experience to help guide myself to areas that I enjoy.

  16. #91
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I'm siding with Chocolate, we have an obligation to deter would-be planners into other professions.
    Which is absolutely fine. As long as there is a BIG asterisk next to the advise that states these people don't like the planning field already, so take the advise with a grain of salt.

    Since the concept of this thread is to sh!t on planning, I will stay out, but for anyone who actually reads this thread hoping for advice, I would go elsewhere.

    This is more of a let me tell you something thread then a true advisory thread. Why argue about it?
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  17. #92
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Slideruler View post
    Not a few of them want to leave engineering behind in pursuit of more socially friendly careers. If engineering were so easy, over half of us would have pursued it as a career and be far richer and in demand right now.
    I have to be honest that comments like this really piss me off. The whole notion that planners are engineers who couldn't handle the education is outright insulting and I generally find people who have this mindset are the bottom tier of planners - just as they would be the bottom tier of engineers. I'm not directing this at you personally and certainly don't want to comment on your abilities in your profession. Planning covers a wide range of knowledge and some planners may not have the correct skill set to be an engineer. However, there are others of us that made the decision to pursue planning instead of engineering because we found the work/field more interesting and/or rewarding. Planning is not engineering nor is it the work that engineers don't want to do. Planning and engineering as complimentary fields can result in a process that gives very good results.

    End rant, and again, nothing personal toward you or your abilities.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  18. #93
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    I must say that while this has turned into a bit of a circular firing squad, there's far more candor, honesty, and 'keeping it real' in this thread alone than you'll find in a year's worth of APA magazine. I hope that some of the movers and shakers within the field are tuning in because THIS is the conversation that the field, collectively, needs to be having at this moment in time.

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    What about non-profit jobs? While private and public entry level planning jobs are scarce, I've seen a decent amount of NPO job listings (in the North East) that utilize planning skills. Project management, GIS analyst, grant writer, policy researcher, ect.

    I haven't seen much discussion about this sector. Is the pay too little for seasoned planners? Not offer enough job security? I only applied to grad programs that are on the inexpensive side because I care more about not being crippled by debt than having a renowned name on my resume. I'd be happy to take a job with a NPO that pays 35k to start so long as I can apply some planning skill to the job. It sure beats doing manual labor for the same amount of money...

  20. #95
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TastyKakes View post
    What about non-profit jobs? While private and public entry level planning jobs are scarce, I've seen a decent amount of NPO job listings (in the North East) that utilize planning skills. Project management, GIS analyst, grant writer, policy researcher, ect.

    I haven't seen much discussion about this sector. Is the pay too little for seasoned planners? Not offer enough job security? I only applied to grad programs that are on the inexpensive side because I care more about not being crippled by debt than having a renowned name on my resume. I'd be happy to take a job with a NPO that pays 35k to start so long as I can apply some planning skill to the job. It sure beats doing manual labor for the same amount of money...
    This is often the career gateway I recommend to beginning planners. Non-profits let you get experience in planning when other entry level jobs are not available. The non-profit sector may not be the best choice for more senior planners. Part of this is the poorer pay often associated with the work. Also, more senior non-profit jobs tend to be administrative, as well as dealing with issues like fundraising, with less of the "planning" work that we tend to enjoy. Still, it is an option.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  21. #96
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You have a huge ass hard-on against gov't; my god, I have NEVER had a paid off Columbus Day (nobody in the South has even heard of that, BTW) or Good Friday, like many northern Planners. Yes, Veteran's Day and President's Day. Sometimes. What you don't seem to GET is that public planners,for the most part, get WAY lower salaries and can work extremely longer hours, than private planners.

    Why don't you get a public sector job for those days off? Duh, you'd lose 40% of your pay, right?
    Hey I am a northern public sector planner.. I don't get any of those days off! His or yours! Not only that I work in the City that has the HQ for the UAW and the Teamsters. Maybe my bosses didn't get the memo that as northern planners we should have more days off. Then again, if you bring it up under this economy they would say "be glad you're still workin'"
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  22. #97
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TastyKakes View post
    What about non-profit jobs? While private and public entry level planning jobs are scarce, I've seen a decent amount of NPO job listings (in the North East) that utilize planning skills. Project management, GIS analyst, grant writer, policy researcher, ect.

    I haven't seen much discussion about this sector. Is the pay too little for seasoned planners? Not offer enough job security? I only applied to grad programs that are on the inexpensive side because I care more about not being crippled by debt than having a renowned name on my resume. I'd be happy to take a job with a NPO that pays 35k to start so long as I can apply some planning skill to the job. It sure beats doing manual labor for the same amount of money...
    I work for a non-profit dealing with housing and though my title does not have "planner" in it, I consider myself one (and went to school for it...). I'm not sure how "seasoned" I am. I'm in my 40s, so I have a lot of work experience, but I went back to school and got my planning degree 6 years ago, so I don't have as much experience doing plannerly things.

    I think non-profit work is an aspect of the job market often overlooked. Its true that the pay is often less, but I am very happy and engaged with my work. Its certainly never dull or repetitive. I do a lot of community engagement, visit/oversee jobsites, meet with city planners, architects and others in the design field, etc. So, it hasn't even been a stretch to apply my planning skills to these situations.

    I will also say that this current economic climate, combined with the rapidly changing age we live in, essentially requires successful people to be creative and adaptive with their skills. At its foundation, "planning" is really just that - how to plan for things. In a way, the "thing" is immaterial so long as you apply the same process to it. We engage with a constituency, we chart a course (in broad strokes) and then use that as a basis to guide future work, filling in the details and refining the implementation as we go. This is as true of a wedding planner or non-profit consultant on strategic plan development as it is of a municipal planner.

    I'm not saying to go out and become a wedding planner, but just pointing out that, to get a job and also to do work that is engaging, may require finding creative ways to adapt planning skills to a diversity of circumstances. And doing work and performing well draws notice, meaning its important to be out there doing SOMETHING - even if it is not necessarily called "planning." I used to work at an art center doing community development related activities that drew on my planning background. Then, I was poached, so to speak, by another area organization that I had collaborated and which had watched me work for a few years and felt me skills would be a good fit for their organization. But none of that would have happened if I had not taken that job in the arts and worked to adapt what I learned in planning school.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  23. #98
    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    You should revisit the history of planning for civilizations. While the name "city planner" may be relatively new, the action and need of 'planning' has existed long before this modern era. The role of civil engineers (and related professions) and architects, have always related to central planning, but today the roles are more clearly defined. But that doesn't mean planning is dead, nor does it mean it won't be innovative in the future. The thought has always been around. And, as you pointed out, sprawl and it's impact upon civilization has created different problems that we must address. We need to plan for that. And remember, sprawl was a response to a previous era. Everything that happens, development-wise, is a response to something that happened before. Different zoning designations was a response to the growth of heavy industry; sprawl was a response to the car.

    The only difference today is the increased bureaucratic nature of government work. Which, regardless of your view, will still remain and provide a basic need for a planner. As I said: if planning is truly dead, we have to scrap the entire system.

    As one of the budding young planners, I have experienced, and seen room, for innovation and growth. No one said it will be easy though. I still get bummed out about the huge obstacles I have towards full time employment. But, lets take another passion I have. I am/was a semi professional drummer. I've done studio work and gigs to make some cash during college. The glamorous idea of a drummer is rocking out onstage. What you didn't see is the years of practice, the politics, and the late nights that went into those awesome moments. It was alot of work for a small bit of enjoyment. I didn't image that planning was going to be glamorous position. No job is truly glamorous anyways. But I've seen moments that make it seem like all the sweat and tears was worth it. I'll have to fight for what I want.

    But please, offer another suggestion for the young 'want to be' planners. I agree, the time is bad for a young professional. But it's like that for everything. My dad heard the same type of horror stories when he graduated with an engineering degree decades ago. If you can offer a suggestion though, please do .
    You haven't really read what I've said, have you?

    1) My comments were not about the act of planning itself, but the relevance of the profession as it stands today, which is different. This isn't a discussion where you can parrot ideas you read in planning 101 textbooks.

    2) I have offered suggestions, ad nauseam. Mainly, change majors or look into different careers. And comparing being a drummer and rocking out on stage with the highest moments you're likely to encounter planning shows just how little you've experienced.


    Hink:
    Which is absolutely fine. As long as there is a BIG asterisk next to the advise that states these people don't like the planning field already, so take the advise with a grain of salt.

    Since the concept of this thread is to sh!t on planning, I will stay out, but for anyone who actually reads this thread hoping for advice, I would go elsewhere.

    This is more of a let me tell you something thread then a true advisory thread. Why argue about it?
    I hear what you're saying. But I have yet to hear a solid argument refuting my core beliefs about where the Profession is heading, as stated throughout this thread. And I am honestly trying to be as objective about this as I can. I am trying to see the overall trend of the profession, and I see no reason why the classic APA-approved (TM) Planner will last another 10 years. As was in the past, most real planning will be accomplished by other professions, and those remaining will continue to become more specialized, like GIS, transportation, and environment, where they will become more and more imbedded in the bureaucracies they serve. The days where planners were planners are quickly fading. You need to diversify your skillset into other areas, re-naming yourself, re-situating yourself, re-valuing yourself, to justify your existence in a world with fewer resources. These kinds of things don't bode well for the sanctity and respectability of a profession. These are things can destroy how things stand, things that aren't happening to other professions to the degree they are happening to us. Please, someone, tell me why I'm wrong. I'd love to hear it as much as the next planner. After all, this is still my chosen profession, and I am in the same boat as you. I am just saying things no one on here wants to hear. You can tell me to shut the fuck up if you want, but the ship is still going down. And if I sound arrogant or whatever, please forgive the manner of my speaking and focus on the substance of it. If there is anyone out there who is confident that things will not be as I say they likely will be, I want to hear it. And I promise not to argue just for the sake of arguing.
    Last edited by chocolatechip; 02 Aug 2011 at 2:24 PM.

  24. #99
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    You haven't really read what I've said, have you?

    1) My comments were not about the act of planning itself, but the relevance of the profession as it stands today, which is different. This isn't a discussion where you can parrot ideas you read in planning 101 textbooks.

    2) I have offered suggestions, ad nauseam. Mainly, change majors or look into different careers. And comparing being a drummer and rocking out on stage with the highest moments you're likely to encounter planning shows just how little you've experienced.


    Hink:

    I hear what you're saying. But I have yet to hear a solid argument refuting my core beliefs about where the Profession is heading, as stated throughout this thread. And I am honestly trying to be as objective about this as I can. I am trying to see the overall trend of the profession, and I see no reason why the classic APA-approved (TM) Planner will last another 10 years. As was in the past, most real planning will be accomplished by other professions, and those remaining will continue to become more specialized, like GIS, transportation, and environment, where they will become more and more imbedded in the bureaucracies they serve. The days where planners were planners are quickly fading. You need to diversify your skillset into other areas, re-naming yourself, re-situating yourself, re-valuing yourself, to justify your existence in a world with fewer resources. These kinds of things don't bode well for the sanctity and respectability of a profession. These are things can destroy how things stand, things that aren't happening to other professions to the degree they are happening to us. Please, someone, tell me why I'm wrong. I'd love to hear it as much as the next planner. After all, this is still my chosen profession, and I am in the same boat as you. I am just saying things no one on here wants to hear. You can tell me to shut the fuck up if you want, but the ship is still going down. And if I sound arrogant or whatever, please forgive the manner of my speaking and focus on the substance of it. If there is anyone out there who is confident that things will not be as I say they likely will be, I want to hear it. And I promise not to argue just for the sake of arguing.
    You------------- (hundreds of miles)----------------- my point

    I may be young, and you may try and insult me for that fact, but in my few years of experience (yes, outside of planning theory 101), I have seen that planning is still alive. So far, the biggest obstacle I have run across is adequate funding for the projects and staff.

    And how about this, what you doing with your life?

  25. #100
    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    in my few years of experience (yes, outside of planning theory 101), I have seen that planning is still alive. So far, the biggest obstacle I have run across is adequate funding for the projects and staff.
    But where do you see the profession going?

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