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Thread: Career path advice

  1. #1
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    Career path advice

    Hi there- I just need a little perspective from other planners. I have worked in planning for over 7 years in various locations in the US and have worked up to a senior staff position in my current job. For the past 5 years, I have worked solely on Long-Range Planning. The other 2 years were a mix of internships and very little current planning. Thus, I have very little experience in reviewing site plans, zoning cases, etc. My family has recently decided to relocate to a different area (we're trying to get jobs there first, though). However, the only jobs available so far are jobs in current planning, and they're entry-level or just above entry level.

    Assuming that the pay is within my desired range, do you think it looks bad to take a step back in my career to do a current planning job? My thinking is that it might be good to get more current planning experience under my belt if I want to eventually be in a director type of position. Maybe I should just hang out until the economy picks up?

    Opinions are appreciated!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    If your needs are met with a current planning job, then take it. I'm in the opposite boat - I have no long-range planning.

    You have a leg up on the competition, since you have municipal experience and proven skills. Good luck with the job serach and move! - I hope to be doing that soon, too.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by yippityskippity View post
    Hi there- I just need a little perspective from other planners. I have worked in planning for over 7 years in various locations in the US and have worked up to a senior staff position in my current job. For the past 5 years, I have worked solely on Long-Range Planning. The other 2 years were a mix of internships and very little current planning. Thus, I have very little experience in reviewing site plans, zoning cases, etc. My family has recently decided to relocate to a different area (we're trying to get jobs there first, though). However, the only jobs available so far are jobs in current planning, and they're entry-level or just above entry level.

    Assuming that the pay is within my desired range, do you think it looks bad to take a step back in my career to do a current planning job? My thinking is that it might be good to get more current planning experience under my belt if I want to eventually be in a director type of position. Maybe I should just hang out until the economy picks up?

    Opinions are appreciated!

    Thanks!
    The pay more than likely will not be in a desired range, but I took a step back 2 years ago. In a similar situation I had tons of long range planning and design, but little experience in current planning. I took a pay cut and now have a stable job in the public sector. I am glad I made the move because I look back at some of the ordinances and plans I wrote and ask myself, what was i thinking. It doesn't look bad on a resume per-se, there are ways to mask it such as:

    No-Name Design Firm - 2003 to 2010, Urban Planner
    Insert Municipality - 2010 to Present, Planner
    I just left off my "title" and made things more generic. Problem solved Good luck!
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have never had much interest in current planning and have managed to go 20+ years without ever being a current planner. (I have provided some current planning services to clients, making up perhaps 10% of my time.) You don't need it to be a well-rounded planner, but it won't hurt either. The better question may be what you want to do with the bulk of your career. If long range planning is where you want to be, then taking a couple years to do current planning won't hurt, but you do not want to spend many years away from long range.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    You don't need it to be a well-rounded planner, but it won't hurt either.
    I disagree with you here Cardinal. I think having skills in current planning is pretty essential to being a well-rounded planner. IMO planners should be capable of reading/interpreting subdivisions and site plans, and dealing with the implementation of various codes and regulations (zoning/subdivision/design standards/landscaping/clearing, etc.) in addition to basic land use law. I think most planners learn comprehensive/long-range planning in school but they often lack an understanding of basic issues in site design, and these skills become pretty critical when it comes to implementing projects.

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