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Thread: Bottom of the Ladder

  1. #1
         
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    Bottom of the ladder... what would you do?

    I graduated (Undergrad) this weekend with a BA in American History and Minor in Urban Studies and Planning. I've applied to many entry-level jobs already (not all broadly planning related)...but I'm not getting anywhere. While I want to go to grad school, I want to work first. Any advice on what to do? I feel like I'm not even on the ladder... but instead have to climb another ladder just to get to the ladder...

    I have decent GIS skills. My last student job involved GIS work and I was able to sign up for several ESRI online classes through work. I plan to work on these this summer as I continue applying.

    Other than the GIS, I don't have work/intern experience in City Planning although I have completed several practical/community-based projects for courses. A part of me wonders if a volunteer internship might be in order for the summer (while I look for a full-time position). My parents will support me until August so, on one hand, I _can_ try to do that... but on the other need to be making money on my own to save up and begin supporting myself more fully. I am able to keep my health insurance as long as I work no longer than 30 hrs per week.

    For those of you who did not go straight to grad school, what types of jobs did you take after undergrad?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    When I graduated, with my BA - Planning, I went to work for a landscape architect, then unemployment for the summer, then into my career and have not looked back and only thought briefly of going to grad school.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    right now id say go to grad school-the planner job market SUCKS even for those ofus with a number of years under our belts.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Ditto on the job market. Another internship (paid or unpaid) and community volunteerism goes a long way towards making your resume stand out from the crowd.

    Best of luck to you.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    The job market up here is generally pretty good for all levels of planners. Depending on your exact qualifications and interests you may qualify for a NAFTA visa. A big bonus is that after 3 months your basic health insurance is free.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    I would agree with the other posters that said either go to grad school or grab an internship in Planning or GIS. I have seen a few GIS internships posted on Planetizen and the APA site in the past few weeks. If your GIS internship is with a CIty you will likely become involved in some aspects of planning, which will help down the road.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  7. #7
         
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    Thanks but...

    ... unfortunately, grad school isn't an option at the moment. I really wanted to save some money so that I wouldn't need as many loans...and get more experience so I might have hope of some funding...

    That said, though, even if I did decide to go back (believe me - it's very tempting - I took 2 city planning grad school classes last semester and loved them)... I'd have to wait until August 2004 at the earliest because of the application process.

    The way the job market is, I feel like I'd be lucky even to find an entry-level secretarial position right now... I've been applying to entry-level City Planning jobs, GIS, paid internships, and non-related positions at Universities (great perks for someone who isn't ready to stop learning) or Federal Government.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Re: Thanks but...

    Originally posted by crnflwrblu
    [BThe way the job market is, I feel like I'd be lucky even to find an entry-level secretarial position right now... I've been applying to entry-level City Planning jobs, GIS, paid internships, and non-related positions at Universities (great perks for someone who isn't ready to stop learning) or Federal Government. [/B]
    It's crazy out there. I've got $20.00 an hour laid off professionals applying for a $9.00 an hour intern position. (presumeably its to meet the job search requirement for unemployment comp. eligibility, but who knows....)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    If it is as bad as you all say, I guess I should be flattered that I have had a job interview in the States and a few up here over the past 3 months.

    Now if only I could land one of the jobs I've interviewed for....
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Re: Thanks but...

    Originally posted by crnflwrblu
    The way the job market is, I feel like I'd be lucky even to find an entry-level secretarial position right now... I've been applying to entry-level City Planning jobs, GIS, paid internships, and non-related positions at Universities (great perks for someone who isn't ready to stop learning) or Federal Government.
    Where are you looking for work? Not just in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area I hope - too much competition there. If you can be flexible in your choice of location, you might find more opportunities.

    Have you talked to the Student Services Manager at DCRP? When I was in grad school at UNC-CH, there were always postings for jobs and internships from all over the country.

  11. #11
         
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    Not just Triangle area...

    ...I'm concentrating on large east coast cities (DC metro, Philadelphia Metro, NYC area, Boston metro) mainly... but have looked at a few positions elsewhere when I see them. I haven't seen much in this area but have applied for some non-planning jobs with the University. I still don't drive and that is a limiting factor as several of the entry-level positions I've seen have required it because they involve more data collection or site visits than others. Learning to drive is on my list of things to do this summer...

    A grad school friend has been forwarding me some of the listings from the DCRP list... I should go by and see if I can get on the list (since I am an undergrad - now graduated - and not a grad student).

  12. #12

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    Can you manage to take an internship, even a temporarily unpaid one? When I graduated with my BA in planning, I didn't have the desire to immediately go to grad school. I talked myself into an unpaid internship in a Chicago suburb I really wanted to for. After two months, the internship became a paid one, and the work experience helped me when I applied for grad school a year later.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'll agree with the others. The job market is not good. State budget issues have impacted local governments as well, and they are slow to hire. At the same time, a number of experienced people are in the market, whether or not they are currently working. In Wisconsin, some of the most capable people I know are quietly sending out resumes. There is some tough competition out there, and it only gets worse when you don't have experience.

    Don't pass on an internship, even if it is unpaid. You can at least get your foot into the profession while you continue to search. Consider less-likely, planning-related organizations, where the hiring may be a little easier. Non-profit community and environmental organizations are often looking. While they do not pay well (usually) they can give you the experience you need. Main Street programs are another possibility.

  14. #14
         
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    Maybe, just maybe...

    The professor for my historic preservation planning course (which I LOVED - definately an area that I want to pursue) e-mailed me about a full-time administrative assistant position with the organization (one of the top in the nation) that he directs. This could be my in! We are going to meet to talk about the position when I return from vacation next week but as far as I know I'm the only one he's considering and he needs someone right away (I could start the next day).

  15. #15

    Registered
    Jun 2003
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    Massachusetts
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    10

    hear ya

    I hear that...I've just recently graduated myself and currently interning for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, conducting Planning and some GIS work...Grad school is not really option for me right now either..just want to find some sort of apprentice/entry-level position but its tough with the current market

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