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Thread: Lost and confused (like so many others)...advice?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Where nrschmid is now? No way, no how, nuh-uh, fuhgeddaboudit. My better half is the same way (fortunately the same places).
    What do you have against Houston, TX? It's the fourth largest metro area in the country and I finally can do massive scale physical land planning (subdivisions, master planned communities, and town centers) which is my dream job. Will I ever return home to Chicago? Probably if I have to take care of my parents when they get older. Will I ever return to Wichita, KS? Absolutely not.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I lived in Dallas for 9 months and the first opportunity to get the h--- out of there I took it. Blech. I'm a westerner. We don't have humidity, bugs of the month, fire ants, heat, flat, and tons of other stuff that I can't mention because it will make folks mad.
    I think you're both saying the same thing. For some people, regardless of the job, they can just not live in certain places without it seriously affecting their quality of life. We shouldn't blame these people when it comes to their job search, but rather simply point out that it will limit their job prospects.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  2. #27
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    What do you have against Houston, TX?
    I think you're both saying the same thing. For some people, regardless of the job, they can just not live in certain places without it seriously affecting their quality of life. We shouldn't blame these people when it comes to their job search, but rather simply point out that it will limit their job prospects.
    Well, I'm fairly certain we aren't saying the same thing about Texas. ;o)

    Nevertheless, I moved somewhere for a planning job and struggled through it and got out. Not sure that can happen these days, but it is important to get a job if you want to be a planner. If it means moving somewhere you don't like, we should be up front about that. Not everywhere you work will you save the world.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  3. #28
    lol

    I'm currently in Dallas, but I'm strongly contemplating a return to the east coast. Other days, I'm just thankful to have a job. It's a love-hate relationship...
    The content contrarian

  4. #29
    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I think you're both saying the same thing. For some people, regardless of the job, they can just not live in certain places without it seriously affecting their quality of life. We shouldn't blame these people when it comes to their job search, but rather simply point out that it will limit their job prospects.
    It's not a matter of whether it will affect the quality of your life, but what sacrifices you are willing to make (and opportunities to explore) in order to be employed. I've moved coast to coast six times in ten years (California, New York, California, Florida, California, Maryland, California). I've stayed in one place and taken a job that wasn't exactly what I wanted, and then I've moved great distances to take a job that sounded good. I've lived in places that seriously affected the quality of my life, and in each instance, it was a matter of buckling down and focusing on the things that really matter in life. You know what? You end up looking back on the good times and a lot of those were when you lived in some Shitsville, because there are much more important things in life than if you're 50 feet from a bus stop and have 10,000 restaurant choices or your favorite hip downtown or whatever the hell floats your boat as a young urbanite. (You may very well not be an urbanite, but about 95% of young people who want to be planners are urbanites, so I will generalize).

    You can have a good life in Shitsville. You have to adapt and learn new ways of living and experiencing the world. Your success entirely depends on your ability to adapt to your new circumstances and thrive under any condition. That's the result of nurturing a career amidst the Great Recession and putting family and friends first.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I'm currently in Dallas, ... It's a love-hate relationship...
    I must say, however, that I was single at the time I lived in Dallas, and man was that place fun then!

    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    ...it is important to get a job if you want to be a planner. If it means moving somewhere you don't like, we should be up front about that. Not everywhere you work will you save the world.
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    It's not a matter of whether it will affect the quality of your life, but what sacrifices you are willing to make (and opportunities to explore) in order to be employed. ...it was a matter of buckling down and focusing on the things that really matter in life....You have to adapt and learn new ways of living and experiencing the world. Your success entirely depends on your ability to adapt to your new circumstances and thrive under any condition. ....
    Wish I woulda said that ^^ instead!
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    It's not a matter of whether it will affect the quality of your life, but what sacrifices you are willing to make (and opportunities to explore) in order to be employed. I've moved coast to coast six times in ten years (California, New York, California, Florida, California, Maryland, California). I've stayed in one place and taken a job that wasn't exactly what I wanted, and then I've moved great distances to take a job that sounded good. I've lived in places that seriously affected the quality of my life, and in each instance, it was a matter of buckling down and focusing on the things that really matter in life. You know what? You end up looking back on the good times and a lot of those were when you lived in some Shitsville, because there are much more important things in life than if you're 50 feet from a bus stop and have 10,000 restaurant choices or your favorite hip downtown or whatever the hell floats your boat as a young urbanite. (You may very well not be an urbanite, but about 95% of young people who want to be planners are urbanites, so I will generalize).

    You can have a good life in Shitsville. You have to adapt and learn new ways of living and experiencing the world. Your success entirely depends on your ability to adapt to your new circumstances and thrive under any condition. That's the result of nurturing a career amidst the Great Recession and putting family and friends first.
    I agree wholeheartedly. But we shouldn't treat people as being horrible humans if they do not want to make those sacrifices. Simply explain how it will dramatically affect the job search and perhaps nudge them in another direction.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #32
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    I'm surprised by the amount of moving around you guys are all so willing to do. I guess we just don't have that many options here in Canada, many people I know are born, raised and will die in the same city (such is my own general plan ). Anyhow, this raises the question of your personal lives? Myself, I am constantly tied down by the people I love here. What do those of you with spouses on their own job searches do? I'm young and have never quite understood how that dynamic works... Sacrifice by one or the other? Separation? Avoiding becoming attached to someone all together? Is everyone on here single!? Sorry if this question is a bit silly or off-topic but its something I genuinely wonder (and worry, A LOT) about.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    I'm surprised by the amount of moving around you guys are all so willing to do. I guess we just don't have that many options here in Canada, many people I know are born, raised and will die in the same city.
    I had to grin when I read this. I was born in Toronto. Bounced around the U.S. and I'm currently in Dallas. You do what you gotta do.
    The content contrarian

  9. #34
    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    I'm surprised by the amount of moving around you guys are all so willing to do. I guess we just don't have that many options here in Canada, many people I know are born, raised and will die in the same city (such is my own general plan ). Anyhow, this raises the question of your personal lives? Myself, I am constantly tied down by the people I love here. What do those of you with spouses on their own job searches do? I'm young and have never quite understood how that dynamic works... Sacrifice by one or the other? Separation? Avoiding becoming attached to someone all together? Is everyone on here single!? Sorry if this question is a bit silly or off-topic but its something I genuinely wonder (and worry, A LOT) about.
    I'd say I've just figured it out as I go along. Sure, I grew up somewhere and have a hometown (which I've recently moved back to, although never thought I would), but one by one my family moved away long ago. Now I'm the only one of my kind here, and I'm fine with that. Me and my wife have always supported each other, she's moved with me when I took jobs or went to college, and with this latest move I sort of followed her. She went back to work and I was a stay at home dad for a year and a half. Life just goes up and down, things don't always go exactly as planned, but you roll with it and try to make the most of what you have. There's nothing else to do.

    Some people can and/or are willing to make sacrifices to get their career going and I can see a difference in people who have done that and people who have not. For example, at my latest job back in my home town, I see people my age who never got bachelors or masters degrees, never moved to get a step up on their careers, and it's taken them a lot longer to gain what they have. Whereas me, I like to think that the sacrifices I've made have given me a better foundation for my career trajectory over the long term. But it wasn't without cost. If I had stayed in one place, I probably would have more money to buy a house and maybe would have had kids sooner.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian
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    For better or worse, the built environment professions (arch, planning, civil engineering, etc) tend to have a guild and journeyman-aspect to them, unless you're able to land the perfect job with a single firm or agency and stay there, which is rare these days. This means that moving around may be required when the economy changes or other opportunities emerge... at least up to the point when you suddenly wake up and discover that you're now an acknowledged senior practitioner, and thus can set up shop wherever you want.

    This seems to apply less to San Fran, LA and maybe Chicago, where there are a lot of planning jobs and alternatives.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    For better or worse, the built environment professions (arch, planning, civil engineering, etc) tend to have a guild and journeyman-aspect to them, unless you're able to land the perfect job with a single firm or agency and stay there, which is rare these days. This means that moving around may be required when the economy changes or other opportunities emerge... at least up to the point when you suddenly wake up and discover that you're now an acknowledged senior practitioner, and thus can set up shop wherever you want.
    How would you define/describe this
    perfect job ? doing what you like/interested in ?
    acknowledged senior practitioner ? That could apply to me - 20 yrs same county ?
    Oddball
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    How would you define/describe this
    perfect job ? doing what you like/interested in ?
    acknowledged senior practitioner ? That could apply to me - 20 yrs same county ?
    I think I was defining it as whatever the person holding the job thinks is "perfect"... if you're happy and the job is stable, then you can stay there forever, and you won't be a journeyman anymore. My point is that few of us are so lucky to find such a job, and when we do find something that we love and can last, it's often in a different city. In my corner of the profession, there just aren't too many firms that do what I do outside of NY, San Francisco, and, to a lesser extent, Chicago... so I'm pretty much stuck with those three cities, none of which I really want to be in, unless I 'settle' and go do something else closer to where I want to be. Well.. at least until I feel comfortable going off on my own, if an opportunity should present itself.

    Yes, I would definitely rate you as a senior practitioner if you've been around that long. In the parlance of yore, you'd be a guild master, instead of a journeyman required to travel the roads looking for their next meal My point is, many planners and architects and civil engineers are basically journeymen.. at least for the first 15 years or so of their careers, always looking for the next best thing and moving between jobs, taking their professional skills with them each time, and building on their self-sufficient library of skills each time. Like it or not, many in these professions follow that most ancient model of tradecraft, It's probably as it should be.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian
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    Much of the discussion on page 2 of this thread simply boils down to this:

    If you want to be picky about what work you do, then you cannot be picky about where you want to live.

    If you want to be picky about where you want to live, then you cannot be picky about what work you do.


    However, if you are so lucky as to find yourself in a situation where the two coincide, then be humbly content and live happily ever after.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    For better or worse, the built environment professions (arch, planning, civil engineering, etc) tend to have a guild and journeyman-aspect to them, unless you're able to land the perfect job with a single firm or agency and stay there, which is rare these days. This means that moving around may be required when the economy changes or other opportunities emerge... at least up to the point when you suddenly wake up and discover that you're now an acknowledged senior practitioner, and thus can set up shop wherever you want.

    This seems to apply less to San Fran, LA and maybe Chicago, where there are a lot of planning jobs and alternatives.
    Definitely agree, we are a small profession, you have to be willing to go where the job you want is, unless you are content with where you are. I was explaining to a colleague of mine (other development professional) about the Planner hierarchy. She was surprised that I (currently a Planner II, AICP, with almost 5 years experience) was wanting to move up to a Senior level position and that to do that I would probably have to go to a different organization. My organization will probably not be able to move me up for 3 years and the staff expansion rates are not keeping up with our population increases. It is too bad because I really love what I do and like the community I work for, but I can't stick around forever if there aren't some opportunities for advancement.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  15. #40
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    I'm in one of those really top heavy departments. There are 7 planners here currently and I'm the only one who isn't at senior level or above. I'm honestly curious how they even intend to retain young talent with that situation. The place has been a revolving door for entry and mid-level planners over the years.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by beach_bum View post
    Definitely agree, we are a small profession, you have to be willing to go where the job you want is, unless you are content with where you are. I was explaining to a colleague of mine (other development professional) about the Planner hierarchy. She was surprised that I (currently a Planner II, AICP, with almost 5 years experience) was wanting to move up to a Senior level position and that to do that I would probably have to go to a different organization. My organization will probably not be able to move me up for 3 years and the staff expansion rates are not keeping up with our population increases. It is too bad because I really love what I do and like the community I work for, but I can't stick around forever if there aren't some opportunities for advancement.
    I was a public sector planner for 5 years and left for the nonprofit world last July. Having spent so long in the planning trenches, I have to question whether or not a niche field with middling pay (at best) like planning is worth uprooting one's life for. When you're 24? Sure, why not. See the world. But at 34, potentially with a family and roots in a community? Questionable at best. I did it once but could never do it again and would never have done it at all had it meant moving to a rural area or somewhere in which I didn't feel culturally compatible.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    Wow, I have chosen planning because I began a BA in Geography not knowing what I want to do. I moved to my current city and fell in love with it. I thought... "how can I ensure I have a stable job here for the rest of my life, and still contribute to this place I love... with a useless geography degree? Oh I know! I'll go into planning." Looks like I may have been mistaken.

    Sidenote: My decision to pursue planning came about after taking a few planning courses and loving them. I havn't chosen it entirely on a whim.

  18. #43
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    Vancity, I'm not sure that stability is ordinarily the first goal that most people who enter the built environment professions on the private sector side have. The construction and property cycle is, by definition, volatile, and it doesn't matter whether you are a real estate agent, developer, architect, project manager, planner, etc. If banks stop lending and people stop buying in our given market, our industry stops building and we're out of work and have to move onto some other market. Like it or not, our professional lives in the US are governed by the Case-Schiller Index, and that index does this over time:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VnDuLb7lUJ...YoYNov2012.jpg

    Ours is a highly cyclical industry, but, fortunately, one where national or even regional cycles are seldom aligned. This means that it is possible for a journeyman to choose which markets to work in around the world, recognizing that no one market keeps on doing well year-after-year.

    I made a decision to pursue planning and architecture back in secondary school, when the index entered a freefall, graduating from university during the mid-90s nadeer into an utterly non-existent job market.. and thus immediately went to work in Asia, then Europe, instead of the US. After working on a long series of amazing projects abroad, in many countries, I eventually came back to the US in the early 00s, went to grad school in both arch and planning, and graduated right right before yet another freefall began. Fortunately, I was able to establish myself in the years before things fell apart again and I somehow survived once the sky fell in the US - again by working mostly on international (Canadian, as their economy boomed while ours disintegrated, and Chinese) projects. I ended up doing very well during this past cycle, again working on a series of amazing projects around the world even while the American suburban dream - long the driver of new development in this country - evaporated forever-more into the dustbin of history. But I remember watching the index through round-after-round of layoffs for people working domestically from 2007 to 2011. The recovery will be a long road, but it seems to be real now. It won't, however, stop the next downswing, as the perpetual cycle continues to roll downhill.. at which time I'm sure we'll all have to go to move again and work in yet another country or market, and, I suspect, the next time, many people won't even bother to return.

    If anything, one can expect the upswings to become shorter and the downswings to become deeper as our political elites continue to fail - and fail miserably - to address the causative drivers of American decline - namely income inequality, structural deficits and dysfunctional credit markets, and consequently diminishing ad valorem tax receipts... unfortunately, all factors out of our control and all factors likely to continue to worsen as the clock ticks toward midnight on the American century. But the Chinese boom shows no structural signs of abating anytime soon although their risks are increasing, Canada and Australia are still prospering, we're starting to see a lot of work coming out of Brazil and even Mexico, the UK is starting to show signs of life, and eventually Europe will begin the long, slow path to recovery.. and they will all need planners when they do

    If you want stability, I suggest mortician or accountant, since death and taxes are the only constants.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 29 Jan 2013 at 11:33 AM.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Moving is hard. Its a balance between quality of work and stability of lifestyle. For me, moving has to involve a compelling reason, and, most likely, a fairly local move (within a few hours.) With kids and spouse, the stakes are especially high.

    But you also don't want to wonder "what if" your whole life...

  20. #45
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Reefe View post
    Much of the discussion on page 2 of this thread simply boils down to this:

    If you want to be picky about what work you do, then you cannot be picky about where you want to live.

    If you want to be picky about where you want to live, then you cannot be picky about what work you do.


    However, if you are so lucky as to find yourself in a situation where the two coincide, then be humbly content and live happily ever after.
    Could not have said it better. Life is about trade offs and priorities. If you find yourself where the personal and the professional actually coincide, dig in like a tick on a deer and don't let go. Say thank you to God for blessing me with every other breath.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  21. #46
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I had to grin when I read this. I was born in Toronto. Bounced around the U.S. and I'm currently in Dallas. You do what you gotta do.
    I grinned at this as well. I was born in southern Ontario. Bounced around Ohio, and I'm currently in Texas as well, a couple hours to your east. Just graduated in June...Texas is about the ONLY place that is hiring.
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    Ours is a highly cyclical industry, but, fortunately, one where national or even regional cycles are seldom aligned. This means that it is possible for a journeyman to choose which markets to work in around the world, recognizing that no one market keeps on doing well year-after-year.

    If you want stability, I suggest mortician or accountant, since death and taxes are the only constants.
    Don't government employees have a tonne of job security? I thought that was the whole upside of working for the Government. A guaranteed salary and a guaranteed job, once you have one, you're in, you're done, you can stay until you choose to leave or die? lol.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    Don't government employees have a tonne of job security? I thought that was the whole upside of working for the Government. A guaranteed salary and a guaranteed job, once you have one, you're in, you're done, you can stay until you choose to leave or die? lol.
    That is the stereotype. I suppose you have a bit more security, but I've met enough laid off goverment employees to know that no one completely safe when budget cuts happen.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  24. #49
    Quote Originally posted by Kingmak View post
    I grinned at this as well. I was born in southern Ontario. Bounced around Ohio, and I'm currently in Texas as well, a couple hours to your east. Just graduated in June...Texas is about the ONLY place that is hiring.
    Small world - I was speaking with a counterpart in Fort Worth about a housing related issue not too long ago. She stopped me mid-sentence and asked if I was Canadian. I replied, "are you?" She said yes! It turns out she lived in North York, not too far from where I grew up. We're slowly taking over.
    The content contrarian

  25. #50
    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    Don't government employees have a tonne of job security? I thought that was the whole upside of working for the Government. A guaranteed salary and a guaranteed job, once you have one, you're in, you're done, you can stay until you choose to leave or die? lol.
    When I worked for the state, it took about six months for me to become a senior staff person do to sky high staff turnover. I'm happy I left when I did as the planning agency was eventually abolished and more than half of the employees were pink slipped.
    The content contrarian

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