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Thread: Looking for a transition

  1. #1
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    Looking for a transition

    I'm a young professional who recently graduated with an BS in urban & Regional Studies, Communication studies, as well as a certificate in GIS. I've been working as a planner for an planning district in South Dakota for the past year and 8 months. While I'm overly grateful for the opportunity I've been given, I still feel like I'm reaching the ceiling of what I can learn in my current position, and the other stressors in life/work aren't worth the little development that is left.

    I guess my biggest question is how I should approach my job shift. With limit upward mobility in my immediate market, I don't see much of a chance coming soon, my eyes have been on another state, and am wondering how difficult of a time I should expect getting a job while being so geographically separated. Some of my friends say that I'm best off being in the City to expect to get a job, how true do you believe this is from your experiences?

    Any feedback you could provide me would be greatly appreciated, I just stumbled onto the community searching for colleges, I look forward to being a member for a long time to come.

    Thanks again,

    Jotsea

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There are more jobs in metropolitan areas, but don't let that be the reason to move to one. If you want to continue to be a small town/rural planner there are opportunities. As far as looking in another state, I would not be much concerned about that. I have never seen too much preference given to a "local" candidate, except where that person is known by those doing the hiring, or in just a couple states that have idiosyncracies that favor hiring in-state.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I can certainly relate to the situation you're in. At this point, I'd just start sending out resumes and see what comes up. It could be a long process to get what you want but you have the ability to be more selective since you're already employed. Also I wouldn't stress about being a non-local candidate since quite frankly there's nothing you can do about it if it does somehow become an issue. You just have to keep on sending out resumes with the expectation that most people won't care about it.
    Last edited by Blide; 28 Nov 2012 at 9:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Local governments can be notorious for blocking upward mobility of younger planners as senior planners stay in their positions for decades. You could end up just barely able to reach your mid-career level and then spin your wheels eternally thereafter. I say break out and go where the wind takes you, move around, experience other types of planning and jobs in different areas... just don't move around too much, put in good strong stints that allow you to advance your career.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Local governments can be notorious for blocking upward mobility of younger planners as senior planners stay in their positions for decades. You could end up just barely able to reach your mid-career level and then spin your wheels eternally thereafter. I say break out and go where the wind takes you, move around, experience other types of planning and jobs in different areas... just don't move around too much, put in good strong stints that allow you to advance your career.
    Bingo. I spent five years in a Planner I position for this very reason, even when my skills had advanced way beyond my job title. My boss - the only other planner in the office - had no plans to leave in the foreseeable future, and most communities in the area do not even have planners on staff at all. I wasn't about to move long distance again and become a planning nomad for a field that is not lucrative and fails far too often at recognizing and preparing young professionals for the next stage in their career.

    If you do make an exit from public sector planning, I can tell you that our particular skills and ability to speak government-ese are very much in demand by nonprofits as so many rely on government funding at all level to run their initiatives. I work for one now and am able to stay in the planning fold without being a planner per se.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys, your insight is very valuable to me as I'm beginning to formulate a strategy. As of now, I'm feeling that I can begin to send resumes/applications to jobs that interest me in cities that I want to live in, while approaching the completion of a full 2nd year here. With little to no professional development expected in my current organization, I think I'm going to leave in good standing when my 2 years is up and see where I end up. I'm confident I can get a job doing something somewhere , even if it holds me over as I re-examine what I want to do with my career. Any more advice is always much appreciated, but thanks again anyways!!

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