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Thread: The (past) career change thread

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The (past) career change thread

    Most of us work in connection with the field of planning, but for some this is not their first career. Who has changed careers...what did you do before you do what you currently do?

    We're not talking about working at the car wash or Kentucky Fried Chicken or enlisting for one hitch in the military right after high school, or waiting tables while attending college. Nor are we talking about changing jobs/getting promoted within a field, but rather, a radical departure from one profession (or 'job' if it's what you intended at some point to do long term) to another.

    They say now the average person will change careers as many five times in their life. Who has changed careers? and if so, why did you change?
    Last edited by Maister; 11 Aug 2011 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Ohh interesting topic. A lot of discussion has went into *leaving* planning for other careers, but I don't think we have talked about what we have left to come into planning.

    As for me, I purposefully went into planning. So no other career pre-planning.
    For what it's worth, I've been doing it since right after grad school (12 years), and on my second position. It seems a lot of friends of mine that went thru grad school with me are on their 5th, 6th, 7th job.

  3. #3
    I'm pretty much a lifer. I've been in planning since a month after graduating college. 23 years as of June 20th.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    I didn't really have a career before planning but I did have some professional jobs. My last para-professional job before graduate school was as a paralegal at an IT consulting firm in NYC. Before that I worked in the accounting department of a NYC law firm. Before that I was a personnel coordinator at a retirement community.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I was a restaurant manager in the fast food industry. Not as easy as most people think that it is, but the skills I learned there have carried forward into planning. I worked myself up the ranks from cashier to general manager and supervised operations that had 35-50 employees and $1.5-3.0 million in annual sales. I took advantage of the various tuition assistance programs to attend college part time and while it took me 6 years to complete the undergraduate degree it was largely paid for.

    Then I went to graduate school and became a planner
    "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

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Before I got into the fringes of planning I was on track to work in political offices doing constituent work, policy work, and a bit of campaigning. Good thing I got out when I did, the congressman that I worked for did not make it long and was not re-elected!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I have never been a planner, but as an historian interested in social history, I have always been interested in settlement patterns. However, jobs for historians, except as college professors, paid next to nothing back in the 1970s (still do), so I was a middle school teacher before I returned to college part time to pick up the coursework to become a computer programmer, which I have been for almost 25 years.

  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I seriously considered Culinary School, but have always been a planner. Undergrad, grad, and work are all in the planning world...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    always been a fellow planner since college myself but i did work as a baseball umpire for little league/babe ruth league in high school.

    I have also worked at Macy*s for my first real paying gig. I was a damn good sales person
    No Signature Required

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    1. Military - One tour but counting because I seriously considered making it a career.
    2. Planner
    3. Programmer/Analyst/Manager
    4. Niche market commercial real estate
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    1. Military - One tour but counting because I seriously considered making it a career.
    2. Planner
    3. Programmer/Analyst/Manager
    4. Niche market commercial real estate
    And here I was expecting your list to include careers such as:
    ship's chandler
    cooper
    phrenologist
    steam engine repair

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Like a lot of people, I graduated college with not much of a plan. I had an undergrad degree in geography, but never considered planning. I worked 3 years in university fundraising, first as a decently paid secretary, then later in donor research- trying to identify the wealth and philanthropic tendencies of various successful alumni and corporations. I went to grad school for planning from there.

    Incidentally, up until year 5 here, I earned more per year as a university secretary than I did as an AICP-certified planner with a master's degree. And we had more holidays!

  13. #13
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Been a planner since graduating from college.

    Previous jobs (non-career) included:

    Paperboy
    Babysitter
    Retail (sporting goods, then a housewares store)
    Summer Camp (kitchen staff, then counselor for 2 summers, then division head for 2 summers, then land/sports director)
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  14. #14
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Since college it's been all planning, but people are often amused by the variety of jobs I've already had even for such a young age:

    In chronological order:
    -Janitor
    -Tennis Instructor
    -Piano Teacher
    -Math Tutor
    -Inventory Manager at a Car Dealership
    -Garbage Can Delivery Guy (that's right, I used to be one of the guys who would roll your brand new garbage can up your driveway off a moving trailer!)
    -Telemarketer
    -Server

    And yea, a few of these paid more than Planning , although I never really considered any of them careers
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  15. #15
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    1. Roofer
    2. Conveyor Manufacturing Plant
    3. Tool Box Manufacturing Plant
    3. Engine Re-manufacturing Plant
    4. Rock Quarry (including blasting)
    5. Grain Elevator
    6. County Park Vegetation Manager
    7. Planner
    8. City Manager

    These are only full time positions, I also did some part time things in between gigs:

    Drove Bus
    Mowed Parks
    Hazed Geese
    Hauled Feed
    Sprayed Roadsides
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57 View post
    1. Roofer
    2. Conveyor Manufacturing Plant
    3. Tool Box Manufacturing Plant
    3. Engine Re-manufacturing Plant
    4. Rock Quarry (including blasting)
    5. Grain Elevator
    6. County Park Vegetation Manager
    7. Planner
    8. City Manager

    These are only full time positions, I also did some part time things in between gigs:

    Drove Bus
    Mowed Parks
    Hazed Geese
    Hauled Feed
    Sprayed Roadsides
    I think you win the prize for most RUGGED former jobs.

  17. #17
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57 View post
    1. Roofer
    2. Conveyor Manufacturing Plant
    3. Tool Box Manufacturing Plant
    3. Engine Re-manufacturing Plant
    4. Rock Quarry (including blasting)
    5. Grain Elevator
    6. County Park Vegetation Manager
    7. Planner
    8. City Manager

    These are only full time positions, I also did some part time things in between gigs:

    Drove Bus
    Mowed Parks
    Hazed Geese
    Hauled Feed
    Sprayed Roadsides
    I declare your man-card exempt from future removal.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  18. #18
    Well, I didn't consider it a career, but I did drive a Kenworth K100E around the country for quite some time.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  19. #19
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Definitely not a career but a fun temp job that I held for awhile - the secretary at a coal power plant in Alma, WI.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Prior to graduate school, I worked as a pest control researcher for the USDA. We counted bugs, followed their migrations, tracked what types of diseases they were spreading and how, and worked on finding effective and nontoxic solutions to pest control on export crops.

    For months after I accepted the position I would have dreams about giant assassin bugs or green scales. After looking at them through magnifying glasses for about 8 hours per day, I suppose your view of the little guys gets warped. There is something really awesome about working with insects.

  21. #21
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    I declare your man-card exempt from future removal.
    When I roofed, I didn't shingle houses, I mostly put roofs on buildings like this:



    I could carry two bundles of shingles to the top all day long. Of course I was 18 years old at the time. I won two arm wrestling tournaments that summer.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Taught high school science and biology for two years in the Los Angeles Unified School District before going back to grad school to get my MCRP and subsequently becoming a planner.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    After 2 yrs of regional planning out of college, I took and detour and managed a bookstore for 5 years, then went back into local planning for 20 years.

  24. #24
    1. Religious minister (now Apostate)
    2. Painter
    3. Planner

    Am now working in the flooring business and going back to school after 6 years planning.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Dot com Entreprenuer
    Stock Broker
    Economic Developer

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