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Thread: Rewards of being a planner

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Rewards of being a planner

    Let me begin by saying this is not intended to be an invitation to express cynicism or snark.

    What do you feel are the "rewards" of your job? I mean, do you ever look at, say, a parking lot in your community and give yourself a mental pat on the back for a job well done? Do you find yourself leaving public meetings feeling good about the role you played for your community? Are you in a position where you get to see much in the way of tangible results for your labors?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I do this when I see a sidewalk or pedestrian path that I fought hard for. I also do this when I see buildings looking a certain way because of the way we wrote our code.

    Mostly though I just see all the crap we couldn't fix...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    It's kind of cool knowing about things that are going to happen before the public knows.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    It's kind of cool knowing about things that are going to happen before the public knows.
    That's the one part I really enjoy. I like being in the development "know".
    Last edited by mendelman; 23 Oct 2012 at 2:21 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    1. We get to help people
    2. We get to play an active role in bettering our communities
    3. We provide a necessary service
    4. We largely get weekends and holidays off
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    There's a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing that a number of developments didn't happen because we intervened but it's hard to drive by and say, "Look kids, there's no strip mall there because Daddy stopped it." OTOH, I've seen many of the parks and nature areas that I recommended in the county's first recreation and open space plan actually happen. I'm proud of that.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    When my kids ride the train or see it downtown and think it's cool, I'm reminded that - with all due credit to engineers and politicians - it was planners in the SLC area that pushed and pushed for multi-modal transit until it happened. And now everyone loves it. That doesn't happen with every cause we champion, but it worked in this instance. I was a shiny, new, un-jaded planner in the middle of Salt Lake county when those pushes were made and the rail was designed and built.

    I miss those days, but I'm proud of what was accomplished and it's rewarding to see people use it and enjoy the changes it's brought.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    1. We get to help people
    2. We get to play an active role in bettering our communities
    3. We provide a necessary service
    4. We largely get weekends and holidays off
    1. that also includes other city/county departments and non profits.
    2. my example - through the Flood Insurance CRS program 10% discount on their premiums - working toward 15%
    3. usually through state law.
    4. indeed.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Maybe what we do isn't terribly sexy and much of our work happens 'behind the scenes'. Maybe at times we're even cogs within a larger mechanism, but I guess we do ultimately perform a service that benefits the public.

    Kinda like the Bailey Building & Loan
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Working on interesting stuff on a day-to-day basis is enough of a reward for me. It makes the day go by much faster.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    "That's my wireless flagpole. I built that."

    It's by the Wally World in Gaylord, Mich.

    Traveling around town, I feel proud seeing the results of a good BZA decision, and sometimes reflecting back on the applicant's presentation to wonder, "why did they not say this and that? we'd have approved it right away."

    As a citizen planner, I'm using my skills for good. Picking a windmill to tilt at and using public comments, the bureaucratic maze, and some mad GIS and photosim skilz to effect positive change.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Although my degree is in planning, I work in affordable housing. I get a great deal of satisfaction when we get folks into their first home and also when I walk the 27 acres of our infill development here. I am a recent hire (a year and some change) so a lot happened before I came on board, but it still makes me very proud to be part of. We also have parks and a plaza and more being built. Seeing all of that actively used, families having a good time, special events in the park and so on, I feel warm inside. Or maybe its the whiskey I'm swillin'. Either way, its a good feeling...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  13. #13
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Working on interesting stuff on a day-to-day basis is enough of a reward for me. It makes the day go by much faster.

    I like what others have said but I feel like I agree most with this sentiment. The actual process at work or the "product" of my labor may be fairly monotonous (and it's pretty hard to name a job where that isn't the case), but the topics discussed can vary widely. Having so many different types of challenges come up daily really does make the job more interesting.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    1. Reasonably good hours
    2. Better pay than most
    3. Very good benefits
    4. Not likely to get shot or injured
    5. More stable than private sector
    6. Having input into the development process
    7. Contributing to the vibrancy and economic well being of the community
    8. Inside tours of cool businesses
    9. Getting to point to a project and say "I helped make that happen."
    10. Helping small business owners/entrepreneurs succeed
    11. Sure as hell beats hard manual labor
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    When my kids ride the train or see it downtown and think it's cool, I'm reminded that - with all due credit to engineers and politicians - it was planners in the SLC area that pushed and pushed for multi-modal transit until it happened. And now everyone loves it. That doesn't happen with every cause we champion, but it worked in this instance. I was a shiny, new, un-jaded planner in the middle of Salt Lake county when those pushes were made and the rail was designed and built.

    I miss those days, but I'm proud of what was accomplished and it's rewarding to see people use it and enjoy the changes it's brought.
    The way Robert Grow tells it, he was responsible for the multi-modal transit in SLC and the Wasatch Valley.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  16. #16
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Although my degree is in planning, I work in affordable housing. I get a great deal of satisfaction when we get folks into their first home and also when I walk the 27 acres of our infill development here. I am a recent hire (a year and some change) so a lot happened before I came on board, but it still makes me very proud to be part of. We also have parks and a plaza and more being built. Seeing all of that actively used, families having a good time, special events in the park and so on, I feel warm inside. Or maybe its the whiskey I'm swillin'. Either way, its a good feeling...
    I work in affordable housing as well. I love being able to see a family become first time homeowners and assisting them on that journey.

    I think wahday and I have about the same amount of time logged with our current positions, and many things under my purview I took over midstream.

    Send me a shot, I need it today.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    The way Robert Grow tells it, he was responsible for the multi-modal transit in SLC and the Wasatch Valley.
    He was a big part. His push for Envision Utah gave a platform to what the planners had been saying, and a platform that people were willing to get on. We actually owe a lot to the timing of the Olympics as well - as far as getting the citizenry to act on proposals. It provided a real sort of "urgent deadline".
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  18. #18
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    When I can help a resident with no knowledge of planning go through what is sometimes a very insane process. I am also working with local architect on a corridor redevelopment plan that will have an impact on several families, including ours since it is very close to where we live.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Besides the paycheck, in my current position, the greatest reward is the free coffee.
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus View post
    Besides the paycheck, in my current position, the greatest reward is the free coffee.
    Crap, we have to bring in our own coffee

    I actually really love my job. I know we deal with a ton of crap, but I love having a part in how things happen. Might not be overnight, but they do. I was at my previous job for almost ten years and involved in quite a few projects and applied for/received grants with the projects coming to fruition. I am not a boastful person, but it gives me a lot of pride to be able to see what I did has had, and continue to have, community wide positive impacts.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    1. Reasonably good hours
    2. Better pay than most
    3. Very good benefits
    4. Not likely to get shot or injured
    5. More stable than private sector
    6. Having input into the development process
    7. Contributing to the vibrancy and economic well being of the community
    8. Inside tours of cool businesses
    9. Getting to point to a project and say "I helped make that happen."
    10. Helping small business owners/entrepreneurs succeed
    11. Sure as hell beats hard manual labor
    1. Specially if you don't have to attend night meetings.
    2. depends on your location.
    3. Yes agreed - see my previous postings on vacation time.
    4. Specially when the Sheriff's Dept runs security with a metal detector.
    5. So I have heard and observed.
    6. Yes both by application review and writing new code.
    7. Indeed
    8. hasn't happened for me.
    9. Indeed
    10. both helping them with Census data to write their business plan and their permit to start operating.
    11. Manual labor is ok when you are in your 20's, it's a job not a career.

    I have to bring in my own coffee too.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    Send me a shot, I need it today.
    On its way! Cheers!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Your planning rewards are in the mail...

    Click image for larger version

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    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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