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Thread: Public to Private Sector Advice

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Public to Private Sector Advice

    I've been trying to get a private sector planning job for over a year now in the RI/Boston area. I've got a recent Masters and have been working at a city for 3 years and have some experience at a RPA before that. From what I've seen the private sector is where the actual planning gets done (and the money is better). Such jobs are few and far between and I've been on a handful of interviews with no luck. I guess I'm looking for advice as to what private planning firms want to see.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    I work in the private sector.

    How do you reply to the following question from your private sector interviewers? Inevitably, you will always get this question:

    "Why do you want to work in the private sector? It is quite different than working for the government"

    I have replied, in one form or another, in the past with:

    "Things move faster at private sector. I like the fact that there are always new and different projects coming in - the variety of the communities that you work with is what interests me. Further, I want to work with landscape architects and engineers because I am interested in how their services intersect with planning projects."

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Sea:

    I work for a developer. One of the reasons they liked me was due to my experience and relationships with the local juristiction, having previously worked there in current planing.--ie I knew the system.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Ditto with me. My firm liked me because of my experience with working for the city as well as the number of contacts I had made because of it as well as my involvement in the local chapter of APA.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I might cough up the $800 to take an AutoCad class it seems like the jobs I'm most interested in demand more graphic skills than I have. I've should also rejoin APA (just couldn't flip the $100+ bill). I thought of my town's planning board but they meet at the same night as the town I work for. I never see any openings for developers.

  6. #6
          Downtown's avatar
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    Sea -
    My first job was gov't, then moved to private (and back again) - although one can never be too technically skilled, be careful because you don't want to get pigeonholed with Autocad - you may wind up doing mucho drafting work.

    One of the main reasons I was hired by the consulting firm was that I had so much GIS experience from my first job. I agree with Beaner about the "Why" question that you'll be asked.

    Also remember that while the money is a lot better in private, you're going to be really shaking your money maker for it - we've debated which is better on these boards forever and it ultimately comes down to your personality. If you really like the faster environment, lesser degree of politics and wider variety of projects, go private. You can always go back to gov't. But if you prefer more interaction with people, more family - friendly work hours and environment, and need the security of planned retirement, think really hard about this decision.

    Good luck
    Kelly

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    We need to make this a permanent topic on this board somewhere...

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Why do it?

    I work in the public sector in the Boston area, before that had some private sector experience. Based on my experience, the "real" planning does not get done in the private sector; they do all the heavy lifting but they take their leads from the public sector planners and politicians who pay their bills and end up doing half the work themselves anyway because the consultant decided they were "done" with a project.

    With respect to how to get a job in the private sector, I think it helps to have a lot of specialized skills and to be willing to do almost anything that is billable for the firm. It doesn't hurt to not worry too much about whether you are actually changing the world or just getting paid to do what you are told...

    As you can tell, I have enjoyed the public sector a lot more than the private. There is a lot of dead weight in the public sector, but not much less in the private, and at least the public sector ones don't cost as much. If you are a motivated individual who can handle politics and not always getting your way, you can really make a difference working for the right municipality or RPA.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Re: Why do it?

    Originally posted by Masswich
    If you are a motivated individual who can handle politics and not always getting your way, you can really make a difference working for the right municipality or RPA.
    I don't think I'm in the right municipality. I would just apply to other towns but for this jump I definitely want a change. I lack real specialized skills which is why I'm considereing autocad. I'm most interested in the urban design end of the spectrum - but i'd do anything.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike DeVuono
    We need to make this a permanent topic on this board somewhere...
    All of us asking the question should start our own firm . . . or go on Dr. Phill.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop

    All of us asking the question should start our own firm . . . or go on Dr. Phill.
    The collective talent, knowledge, experience, firepower, skills, creativity, temporary insanity and professional networks of Cyburbians would make a formidable consulting team. Is this practice limited to the US or do we go international? Either way, count me in.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf


    The collective talent, knowledge, experience, firepower, skills, creativity, temporary insanity and professional networks of Cyburbians would make a formidable consulting team. Is this practice limited to the US or do we go international? Either way, count me in.
    ...and given our collective and individual political differences, our firm (Cyburbanite Associates Incorporated?) would have, from a strategic perspective, a number of strong niche service areas. To start, we should stick to North American planning & design clients. Once we have produced award-winning work and dominated the Americas, we expand to Western Europe.

    ...then the world!

    Who has some start-up cash?!!!

    $ $ $

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    This is a great idea. A nation-wide planning firm who's employees and owners only know eachother as cute nicknames and little pictures of porn stars and simpsons characters.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    This is a great idea. A nation-wide planning firm who's employees and owners only know eachother as cute nicknames and little pictures of porn stars and simpsons characters.
    This is sounding better than most of the firms I know.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    $ $ $

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Beaner
    $ $ $
    So how much do we need? $100,000 US? (equal to $32,956,194 Canadian). The money will be flowing in quickly once we start. No doubt, we'll run them all, DPZ and Calthorpe included, out of business inside of a year.

    I propose a web site. Ask people to send us cash or checks. We can auction off Cyburbia shwag.

  17. #17
    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf


    So how much do we need? $100,000 US? (equal to $32,956,194 Canadian). The money will be flowing in quickly once we start. No doubt, we'll run them all, DPZ and Calthorpe included, out of business inside of a year.

    I propose a web site. Ask people to send us cash or checks. We can auction off Cyburbia shwag.

    33 million? You are generous - I would have through much higher.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Originally posted by Plan Man



    33 million? You are generous - I would have through much higher.
    I nominate you to lead the Capital Research & Development committee. Know any real estate developers who want to get in on the first wave of our cutting-edge expertise and servives?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    This is a great idea. A nation-wide planning firm who's employees and owners only know eachother as cute nicknames and little pictures of porn stars and simpsons characters.
    Time theft ha

    It would all be billable time, research you know.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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