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Field Work

Do you get outside, or are you an officebody?

  • I stay inside by choice. It's dangerous out there.

    Votes: 1 2.7%
  • They've chained me up and I never see the sun.

    Votes: 11 29.7%
  • I'm regularly sent out into the field to do something.

    Votes: 25 67.6%
  • I'm never in my office, always out there knee deep in something.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    37

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,441
Points
28
I regularly do field work, including certificate of occupancy inspections, taking pictures of sites, delivering something somewhere, etc..

Am I the only one, or do other planners do this too? Is everyone else chained to their desks? Does anyone else have to brave the elements to bring home a paycheck?

What do you do about field work in less than ideal conditions, like mud, odor, or less safe areas. Does your work have a policy that you don't go out there alone? Do women have issues with doing fieldwork that men don't?
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
5,726
Points
28
I was an erosion and sedimentation inspector - I went out in just about any weather, and of course, mud. I am female, and often was accompanied by local code enforcement. It wasn't so much a safety concern as it was to make sure we didn't contradict each other when dealing with developers and contractors (we had agreements with municpalities regarding plan requirements, etc.).

As far as personal safety, the only person I would not take into the field with me was an intern who gave me the willies. My boss understood and supported me; there was even someone that he wouldn't allow any of the staff to be out with.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,153
Points
51
Can't be acting building inspector or acting code enforcement officer without soending a bunch of time out in the field. Last job, though .. there was only one city car for a department that had 15 current planners, if that's a sign of how often we left our cubicles.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,941
Points
28
Ah......Field Work

As the career progresses the field time recedes. I used to love to stop and watch the crop dusters fly in the spring and fall. I tried to time my field work to when Rush was on the radio. I loved being in the other end of the county around lunch time. I miss having the time away from a phone. I liked playing "can I get across this field without sticking the truck." It was the best of times.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
elGuapo is right about longevity in the career. These days I make excuses to get out, which is rare. I do know that if you are working on a neighborhood plan or project, you do not know the area by driving around. Get out and walk the streets to get a good feel for things.

I used to enjoy doing traffic studies with a co-worker many jobs ago. We always wanted to see the rush hour on Friday afternoon. Always took our own car. Sometimes we bothered to watch traffic.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,850
Points
38
I'm in the field less than my previous job, but still go out in the lovely Ford Escort with the Town Seal on the side about 2-3 times a week.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
Field Work like the tides, but without the influence of the moon

Like El Guapo, there is an inverse relationship between field work and rank. However, I do try to get out into the community 2-3 times a month to observe projects and get a feel for how things are going "in the field". It's important not to lose that connection to the residents and developers.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
In the winter, I'm out maybe 3 times a week, but once the good weather rolls around, I usually spend about 25% of my time out inspecting, making sure everyone is up on their landscaping and doing escrow release inspections. If the drycleaner happens to be on the way to my inspection, well then, all the better.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
34
I had a lot more fun in my first job, where I got to cruise around in the ex-cop car, checking up on traffic operations, lazy students, and sneaky developers.

I get out maybe once a month now...not including meetings outside the office.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
A missed category.

How about:

_ I go out when I want, depending on the weather.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Yep - I fit better into Mastiff's category. There was a two week period this winter where I refuse to go inspect due to the negative windchill that would make scraping 2 inches of ice encasing my crappy C.E. vehicle under 2 inches of snow pure hell. In dress pants no less. Funk Dat. Chick's Auto Repair can wait.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Unfortunately, those of us on the economic development side of things don't ge out much at all. "Field work" is usually a visit to a business or a nice lunch. Once every couple of weeks I drive around the city to check up on things.

I worked for a (very) short time as a site analyst for a retailer. Three or four days every other week was spent at a prospective site. There was a bias in the office (among other issues). If the site was in a bad location, one of the guys was sent. The women got all of the nice sites. OK, so who was being discriminated against? The women were not getting the opportunity to evaluate and become familiar with bad locations. I had the experience of Chamber presidents cringing and telling me "Don't go there at night."
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
office work?

well i'll bet half of my time is in the field.

my long list of respobsibilities are:

1. surf the web to cybrubia read posts and respond to them
2. run Historic Presrvation Commission/Enforcement
3. Zoning Enforcement for my third of the town (about 50,000 residents)
4. new this year: Community or NEighborhood specific enhancement sweeps. those kill me, we sweep about 3 city blocks for any and all violations and give me about 20-30 new zoning violations to process, ticket, take to court, blah
5. issue zoning permits for buildings, fences, parking lots, etc.

i listen to wscr-670AM out of chicago whenever i'm in the field. Best sports radio station ever.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Working Community Development, I tend to spend most of your time at my desk. The only time I really "officially" go out is to meet with a contract group or to visit a construction site. That's the one thing I miss about working as a private sector consultant is being able to spend lots of time outdoors doing stuff like environmental studies and building inventories. I especially miss it in the in the spring and fall.

I've heard, however, that there's a chance I may be tapped to pick up some of the slack caused by the lay-offs and start working some of the more "hands and and physical" planning projects in the department. Something I would ordinarily be happy about but under the circumstances...:-$
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
38
I get out fairly frequently:

Take pics for website, displays, etc
Check out trail conditions, complaints
Research trail corridors
Check zoning sites that could impact trails
Planning for trail events (the most fun!)
Ride down trails in County truck, thereby annoying the decent, law-abiding trail users
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I'm at my desk most of the time with drive-by visits about once a week.

My old job required doing traffic counts twice a week in all types of locations - hammering nails into pavement was a real contrast to the office work. It sucked in the heat but it was fun to get out. I could go for it now.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Moderator
Messages
10,908
Points
31
We are such a small staff (2) that it is almost impossible for even one of the two of us to get out regularly to keep up with all the miscreants. We set aside time every other week to inspect upcoming PC/BZA sites and visit the busiest/most troublesome sites along the way.

No city vehicle, though. Strictly personal vehicles (and a paltry 28.5 cents/mile at that)!
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
24
Women issue

[ot]I know that being an insensitive male, I have no clue how women feel, but they really should get over the victim routine. Fact is that men are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than women are. The chances that a women would get into trouble doing a site inspection even in a "bad" location are so negligable that it is ridiculous for it even to factor into if she goes and does it or not.

I've had more than a few conversations with women where I talk about a particular neighborhood (my own, for instance) and she responds "oh I'd never go there," or something similar. So I point out that the statistical liklihood of victomhood is just above that of winnig the lottery and she responds with "yeah, but you're a guy" as if that makes any difference.[/ot]
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,038
Points
22
Just got done scrambling around one of our historic buildings, got to drive around the city yesterday afternoon and the day before. It's good to be low-ish on the totem pole, on a beautiful day, with gorgeous weather. We do lots of site visits, probably a couple a week. And yes, I am female, and no, I generally don't feel threatened in any of the neighborhoods. It's mostly common sense, usually.
And women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, by the way. It depends on the form of violent crime. There are a few neighborhoods where I take my photos from inside the car and cruise around once or twice and leave. Again, common sense.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
24
[ot]
Plannerbabs said:
And women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, by the way.
Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be concerned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.

There are a few neighborhoods where I take my photos from inside the car and cruise around once or twice and leave. Again, common sense.
The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.[/ot]
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,038
Points
22
jordanb said:
[ot]

Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be conserned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.[/ot]


I don't like to tempt fate, having known several people who were victims, and not just of acquaintances, either.


The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.[/ot]
Fear of violent crime is also rational when you're strolling around a neighborhood that is known--statisically, not hearsay--for drivebys and other acts of random violence, toting a $300 digital camera, and driving a nice car. I don't consider myself paranoid, I actually walk around more neighborhoods than several of my coworkers. It's just common sense, when in a neighborhood you obviously don't belong in, to exercise a little caution. It's sad, I don't like sitting in my car taking photos because it's easier to see the neighborhood on foot, but I also don't want to explain to my boss why the camera is gone and I have no photos.
Besides, I have enough to worry about with that morning commute and spilling hot coffee on my lap.
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
jordanb said:
[ot]

Criminal Sexual Assult is almost always perpetrated by an aquantence of the victim, not by some random guy she meets on the street. The odds that you'll happen to meet the incredibly rare random rapist in the twenty minutes it takes you to take pictures of a "bad" area are so low that it's not at all rational to even be concerned about it. Do you avoid doing site visits because you're worried about a serious car accident? The chances of that are much greater.



The only time that fear of violent crime is ever rational and ever common sense is if you've got an abusive boyfriend, you're gangbanging, peddling crack, or if the godfather is asking you for a favor. Otherwise, you'd do better to worry about your morning commute and the structural integrity of the trees you walk under.[/ot]
I, like Plannerbabs, have gone into neighborhoods where I felt exactly like her. I'd hate to think someone is telling me that my fear is not RATIONAL because of some statistics. I turn on the news just about every morning to hear about some kind of violent crime that has occured, many times in those same neighborhoods where I performed site visits. Now, are those statistics telling me not to worry or the cold hard facts??
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
27
I get out once or twice a week. Fortunately, I am also a planner in a mostly rural county, so my site visits are often quite nice. See lots of deer and antelope playing. Occasionally elk or a coyote. Once played hide and seek with a grey fox (he hid and I sought). Get to go up in the mountains to Lincoln, MT a couple times a year (it's real pretty but they don't like planners much). It is delightful in the spring and summer. When it is winter and 20 below, it is much less delightful. Driving 40 miles back to the office in a blizzard last winter is not an experience I want to repeat.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,850
Points
38
Re: Women issue

jordanb said:
[ot]I know that being an insensitive male, I have no clue how women feel, but they really should get over the victim routine... {snipped}.[/ot]
Maybe I'm being an irrational moderator, but what in this thread possibly spurred this OT discussion? Other than trolling and inciting flames, jordanb, what did you expect to accomplish with this post?
 

Richmond Jake

Cyburbian
Messages
18,206
Points
41
I'm scheduled for field work one day a week. We're an average size county so most of my visits are completed in half-days or less. I agree with otterpop, nice to get out in the country and see deer, elk, and moose.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
24
Re: Re: Women issue

NHPlanner said:
Maybe I'm being an irrational moderator, but what in this thread possibly spurred this OT discussion? Other than trolling and inciting flames, jordanb, what did you expect to accomplish with this post?
Three posts (by my count) discussed the differences between issues for men and women, two of which discussed fear of crime.

Irrational fear of crime has been one of my "issues" for a while, as I think it's one of the most destructive problems in our society.

I can see, however, that when people make statements as ludicrious as Planderella's about the difference between "statistics" and "cold hard facts," as if the statistics were pulled out of somebody's arse and the morning news is 100% balanced, it's obvious that I'm not going to change any opinions.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,038
Points
22
I'm an empiricist. I believe what I see and what I feel, not so much what I read or hear. Having taking statistics, I know how easy it is to manipulate them, even when the initial measurements are true. I used to live in a neighborhood where gunshots, especially on weekends, were a nightly thing. Common sense dictated no evening strolls, because they could be cut short by stray bullets. That was a fact, not a statistic. If "irrational fear" is one of your issues, fine. Everyone has issues. Just please don't discount other peoples' experiences and choices based on your issues.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,850
Points
38
Re: Re: Re: Women issue

jordanb said:
Three posts (by my count) discussed the differences between issues for men and women, two of which discussed fear of crime.
Fair enough.

Irrational fear of crime has been one of my "issues" for a while, as I think it's one of the most destructive problems in our society.
Fair enough.

I can see, however, that when people make statements as ludicrious as Planderella's about the difference between "statistics" and "cold hard facts," as if the statistics were pulled out of somebody's arse and the morning news is 100% balanced, it's obvious that I'm not going to change any opinions.
Personal attack uncalled for. I don't think that anyone is really going to change a personal perception about safety in certain areas....through either statistics, cold-hard facts, or the morning news. I applaud your enthusiasm on the issue, but your method for expressing it is, well, counter-productive at best. The way you phased your OT post is going to incite the wrath of female cyburbians, and little else. I suspect you knew that when you posted it.

plannerbabs said:
If "irrational fear" is one of your issues, fine. Everyone has issues. Just please don't discount other peoples' experiences and choices based on your issues.
I couldn't have said it any better than that. Keep it civil, please.
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
22
Re: Re: Re: Women issue

jordanb said:
I can see, however, that when people make statements as ludicrious as Planderella's about the difference between "statistics" and "cold hard facts," as if the statistics were pulled out of somebody's arse and the morning news is 100% balanced, it's obvious that I'm not going to change any opinions.
What qualifies you as the expert to say such a thing about another person's comment? Oh, BTW, you misspelled, "ludicrous."
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
Planderella said:
That's a mighty tall order for a self-described "insensitive male."
*in moderator attempted defense and unmoderator related poke*

Well consider the background. Like me and Prudence, jordanb seems to fit the mold of a middle class, white bread, suburbia raised honkey kinda guy, brought up in an insular environment.

When combined, those traits tend to breed "insensitivities"
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
38
All I can add to this is: sit in on a rape support group and see how 99% of the victims were assaulted by a stranger, usually in a usually non-scary place, like a mall parking lot at Christmastime. It happens often enough, and women, who actually discuss emotional and personal issues a lot with each other, hear enough to know how it can happen to anyone, anytime.

I never go into lonely areas without a male co-worker along, and in all my years in the planning field, have never, ever, had a boss or co-worker question my concerns. They usually walk me to my car after night meetings, too, without being asked.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Irrational: afraid to walk down the streets of Winnetka

Rational: not wanting to be on Lower Wacker at 3 a.m.

I'll grant that the chances that any of us would be the victim of a crime in any neighborhood on any given day are slim. Still, there are places where the odds are more favorable than others. A couple of days ago I walked into Over-the-Rhine. Along the main street, there were times when I felt uncomfortable, but I took precautions to stay on a heavily trafficked street and to be aware of what was going on around me. Two or three streets over, things appeared to be far worse (boarded-up buildings, etc.) I played the odds, and did not go there. Fear? Yes. Irrational? No. It comes down to a question of risk. I see nothing wrong in Plannerbabs taking her pictures from inside her car. There is risk in being in a bad place. She lowered that risk. It is a perfectly rational response.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
RichmondJake said:
Duck ev'body...the sh*t's hit the fan!!
well said... I think that we should agree to disagree... and get back to the lighter side of how many see the light of day vs. being chained to the desk or meeting hopping.

Me,, I used to be chained to the desk.... GIS slave. But due to a sparkling personality ;) they are sending me out to communities to preach to the choir about regional planning issues... and state doctrine.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
29
I am white, fairly tall male and I've been on a few site visits that I would not get out of the car. (Dogs, guns threats and just plain scary places to be).
 

Richmond Jake

Cyburbian
Messages
18,206
Points
41
donk said:
I am white, fairly tall male and I've been on a few site visits that I would not get out of the car. (Dogs, guns threats and just plain scary places to be).
We must have worked in the same community.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
29
I should add that these are rural areas, with only fair cell phone coverage. It would take awhile to find the body if things went bad.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
tsc said:
........they are sending me out to communities to preach to the choir about regional planning issues... and state doctrine.
[ot] We have a state planning doctrine, now? Damn, they never tell us nothin'! ;) [/ot]
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
While I am not trying to rekindle what was going on earlier, I just came across this thread and want to add my two cents. My experiences parallel jordanb. On another note, I know two women that have been raped. In both cases, it were former boyfriends.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,153
Points
51
What NHPlanner said.

Jordan - although I agree with your initial post, to some extent, I have to ask "what was the point in bringing it up in this thread?" It's a sensitive issue, and it really couldn't do anything else than veer the rest of the thread off in a completely different direction.

If you want to discuss the perception crime and victimization in the US, and its effect on the nation's collective mindset, I suggest you start a new thread.

If there's something that you're dying to say, it's potentially controversial, and it's only remotely related to the topic at hand, start a new thread.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Re: Women issue

jordanb said:
[ot]I know that being an insensitive male, I have no clue how women feel, but they really should get over the victim routine. Fact is that men are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than women are. The chances that a women would get into trouble doing a site inspection even in a "bad" location are so negligable that it is ridiculous for it even to factor into if she goes and does it or not.

I've had more than a few conversations with women where I talk about a particular neighborhood (my own, for instance) and she responds "oh I'd never go there," or something similar. So I point out that the statistical liklihood of victomhood is just above that of winnig the lottery and she responds with "yeah, but you're a guy" as if that makes any difference.[/ot]
I hope at some point some big man takes a liking to you, grabs a broom handle, and you have to squeal like the pig you are. You really don't know how women feel, jorDUMB, you don't, so knowing that you know nothing: POST NOTHING, it may do you some good.

*throwing quarters at you because you are a FREAK SHOW*
 
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