• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Hi, I'm Mugbub

mugbub

BANNED
Messages
67
Points
4
Well I've been in this lousy profession for about 10 years. Got my start clacking away at GIS maps back in the day- killed time by pursuing my fetish on the web ll day (hint: it's in my name).

Then got into "current planning" as you lifers call it. Hate that shit worse than GIS. God, why does planning suck so damn bad? Had a stint with a pathetic private sector firm with a couple dinosaurs running it. I had high expectations, but the workers were just as dumb as lazy as they were at the gvt. The business tanked when the boss had a nervous breakdown and retired.

Back to current planning in a dying city where white flight is rampant. Now their busting my balls about a residency requirement- looks I'll be grandfathered so I won't have to move to the 'hood. This place is on par with Buffalo.

What a terrible career choice. All you students should get the hell away from planning before you're trapped. You won't make any money. News Flash, $40k to $50k ain't alot of money no matter where you live. Don't let these people here tell you different. With a masters you should be making over US$60k a year. My job in life is to keep students from making the same mistake I did. No money in planning- just inaction and boated gvt. Thanks.
 

Glomer

Member
Messages
207
Points
9
Mugbub 1 , what sort of drugs are you on? Severe depression and bi-polar disorder isn't something to mess around with. You should really get yourself checked out.

You seem like a person who thinks they are better than everyone else......Always in the right........it was your superiors fault that their private business failed.....your job sucks because your city isn't going anywhere.....Basically what you are getting at is that it is everyone elses fault that you didn't have the guts to find a career that suited you.

Life is too short to waste time on people like you.....Someday, hopefully soon, you may realize this and change the way you think and act.....

Be Happy!
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
Maybe I'm missing something........if you hate this profession and your job THAT much, why don't you just change careers??? It sounds like you'll make a good parole officer or something along those lines.......
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Wow, it's nice to see that I no longer hold the title of "MOST NEGATIVE CYBURBANITE" If your single, I know this girl named Theresa....
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
You know, I was in the same boat as Muggie not too long ago. Planning is simply a dead end job in PA. It's more of a reaction to things that have happened as opposed to planning for them to happen.

Change sides like I did. The money is great, no governement hacks to deal with (except for when I want to fill in their wetlands and build in the floodplain HAHA :) )

No seriously, if you aren't happy leave. Life is too short to do something you are unhappy doing.
 

mugbub

BANNED
Messages
67
Points
4
Mike, are you a developer? Are you a planner by background? Ditto on the dead end thing. None of the others here are ready to admit that. I think many times planners are part of the problem. Planners have absolutely no power to change things in a town. They are pawns of the politicians. No win scenario.

I've been preparing for a switch to the development side. Then I can come back to this town and build the bare minimum crap and flick off the politicians as I leave my mess behind
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
Since when did "developer" become a dirty word in the planning profession? Not all of them are scumbags, except for Mike wanting to fill in the wetlands :)p). When I worked in the public sector, I never considered myself a politician's pawn but I was definitely frustrated at our (the planning staff) inability to affect any serious change without being forced to succumb to any of the elected idiots. Rather than sit around and bitch about it all day, I left and joined the private sector, and when I get tired of the crap from this sector, I'll move on to the next level. There will be no prolonged stays in the rut for me.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
I was in the same boat as mugbub too... in central upstate ny... now life is better... and I actually like my job... (although I work with GIS...worse than *&%!! as mugbub says.) You just need to find your niche. Any place that is economically depressed... is just depressing in general.....Usually a place where the politicians will pull down their pants and bend over just for development.. while you fight to have just one tree in a parking lot....

I'ld rather take my life into my hands, driving 75-85 on the Taconic Parkway for 30 miles with a bunch of other maniacs... instead of a 5 minute smooth drive drive thru a ghost town anyday! Work in a good city..or in a wealthy area... that's the place for planners...
 

Decay B

Member
Messages
19
Points
1
Fascinating stuff. I am a newby, so it gives me some perspective

I do discourage ambitious young students from going into planning, because it is such a relatively low-paying, disrespected profession.

On the other hand...the self-pity routine is so tired. Move on if it stinks so much
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,754
Points
58
Planning pay seems to vary from region to region, and a lot of that variance isn't necessarily attributed with the cost of living.

I'd like to make a possibly unpopular statement ... it's our fault that planners get paid squat, relative to the education that is needed to get into the profession.

The APA performs an annual salary survey, but is anything done with the results? Are planning directors in areas where planners make notoriously low salaries (Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) working to get higher salaries for their professional staff? Why aren't the Louisiana or Pennsylvania APA chapters up in arms?

I'm also wondering if low salaries can be attributed to market economics ... supply and demand. We know how hard it is to find a planning job; that our resumes will probably be one of 20 or 30, if not many more, that will land in a prospective employer's lap. Planners couldn't identify with the boom of the late 1990s, where jobs in other professions went begging. There were more planning jobs around, but salaries weren't skyrocketing like in other professions. Even in rural areas, local government agencies can find planners; there's always some recent grads who are willing to put in time in Purgatory to build their resumes. Planners in the US compete with Canadians who can look south of the border for jobs; it's much harder for Americans to head north of the border, where many more agencies restrict employment to Canadian citizens only.

(APA planner salary survey)
 

mugbub

BANNED
Messages
67
Points
4
I am not a troll- just an honest guy

You're right Dan. I find that Planners generally are highly intelligent, but underpaid- yet there is a heavy flow of planning students pouring out of the colleges. The supply is too high.

In the GIS field the technology is putting the techs out of business because of the intro of software anybody can use. Knowing ArcView is like a death sentence.

Planners historically were engineers and politicians. There was no real need for planners until the urban crisis. Then came CDBG, which perpetuates the cycle of low funding for planners in many cases. Sucking the government tit has caused us this problem of crap pay.

When we invade Iraq and get in over our heads watch for domestic programs like CDBG get axed. There may be more of us packing up our coffee makers like that one dude on here.

STUDENTS IN PLANNING: GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN. THIS IS AMERICA- DON'T WASTE YOUR YOUTHFUL OPPORTUNITIES. GET OUT OF PLANNING- IT IS WORTHLESS.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
As far as PA goes I can speak for my 2 previous jobs (both in county gov't). Salaries are controlled by a bunch of politically appointed wingnuts who don't have a clue. The Human Resources department is told by these dirtbags when the union contract is up, that we are getting a 3% raise and that is it.

See the thing with PA is, you could virtually get rid of all the professional planners and nobody would ever notice. The comments they make regarding development plans are thrown in a circular file by developers, and the townships never read them because the developers have met with the townships so many times before the planning commission sees the plan that, 9 times out of 10, the preliminary plan is pretty much what the township wants to see. Throw in a couple comments from the twp. engineer and then you have your conditional plan approval.

When I worked for the county planning commission we looked at the building footprints and if the lots met the zoning requiremtns for that district, plus some other stuff here and there. But the fact of the matter is, the township engineer looks at all that and a whole lot more!! Stuff that really matters, like willl the detention basins work, will the inlets in a particuar drainage area handle all the flows that will occur, will the sewer system work, lot grading, etc. This is stuff that we never looked at, and is the most important stuff that goes on in a development.

Mugbub, I'm not a developer perse, I work for one. One of the biggest in the country, doing design engineering (lot grading, basin design, road design, etc). all the stuff the PC doesn't look at. Granted I do set the houses on the lots right before I grade them, simply a matter of inserting blocks between the building setback lines. I did go to school for planning and GIS but I thank God I got out. I now make more in OT per week than my paycheck from my last job.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,754
Points
58
Re: I am not a troll- just an honest guy

mugbub1 said:
I am not a troll- just an honest guy
Honest ... but you have to remember that this is a place where we tend to get along, despite our different opinions. Typically, there's three types of posts that will get folks here ticked off.

1) Spam. I don't need to make money any faster, and I'm already quite satisfied with my you-know-what, thank you very much.

2) The alt.planning.urban-style "Why are you commies trying to control every aspect of our lives? Why can't you stop being social engineers and leave us alone?" post.

3) The "You're just a bunch of lazy bureaucrats!" post.

Really ... any absolutes directed towards planners are looked at in a bad light.

Yes, there's some lucky planners I know who have real offices where all the furniture matches, on the upper floors of Class A buildings, with workloads where even the French would think "that's light!" and salaries that engineers are jealous of. They're in the minority ... a very, very small minority, compared to the rest of us basement-dwellers. Right now, I'm in the "50 to 60 hours and still feeling like I'm not getting anything done" category, and looking for an environment where I can "work to live," and not "live to work." Yup, much of this is my own damn fault, because I took on more work even in the face of exponential growth; I didn't say "no." I don't do well when I'm being pulled from all angles; instead, I break down. Others do fine in such environments.

Yeah, I'll get mad and frustrated. In recent weeks, I've been battling depression, much of it situational. I've been scarce on the boards because of it; I don't want to drag everyone else down with me. I've posted some things that reflect my currently cloudy mood. I'm not too proud of them, when I re-read them through saner eyes. Your posts are a reflection of you. If everything you post is negative, well .. you know.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Perspective, people

Sorry to be a bit of a "Troll" but you (we, let's be honest) are spoiled and a bit whiny. You don't get no "respect" in your job? $40K is not enough money? Come on, give me a break.

I suggest you (we) all quit our cushy jobs and join a roofing crew or landscaping company in a desert city. Or, ride in a patrol car in a drug-infested city. Or, join a patrol outside Kabul. Or work for a Chinese-Army-owned factory on Saipan earning 25 cents per hour to produce "Made in America" baubles for Wal-Mart or Target.

Middle Class Americans are the most spoiled group of people in human history.
 

mugbub

BANNED
Messages
67
Points
4
BKM, I brought up the idea of planners needing more of blue collar work ethic, but it was laughed at. Most government workers think they're entitled to their cushy job. I believe in earning your keep daily. Sounds like you do too.

The $40k a year after working for a Masters is a different story though. Where is the return on investement?
 
Messages
22
Points
2
Enjoy Your Life!

No one works in the public sector to get rich, and if that was your plan, it was a foolish one.

You work for the public sector because you feel as though you can make a differece and you are not simpily trying to make a profit or meet the next quarters expectations.

I dont care how well respected you are, or what kind of community you work for, as a planner you can make a positive iimpact on your community with the right attitude.

I wish all of you who are so bitter with the planning profession would just quit and make room for those who still give a damn.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Re: Enjoy Your Life!

elandon said:
No one works in the public sector to get rich, and if that was your plan, it was a foolish one.

You work for the public sector because you feel as though you can make a differece and you are not simpily trying to make a profit or meet the next quarters expectations.

Really? I'm just here for the free coffee and office supplies.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,401
Points
32
Re: Re: Enjoy Your Life!

bturk said:


Really? I'm just here for the free coffee and office supplies.
Not to mention the perpetual xerox benefit.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Ohh- and sign me up for the hot chocolate packets! I personally love the ability to oder ANY wall calendar I want..

I live the life out here-
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Elandon and Mugbub

Elandon: On a serious note, I think many (most) planners did go into it for public service reasons. That very idealism is why there is such a degree of burn out in the profession. Heck, despite my nasty notes, I myself feel the same sense that what I do has less value than I hoped.

Unlike Mugbub, I am less willing to blame others-the system, corrupt politicians, etc. I blame myself at least as much, because there are alternatives for those willing to take risks and who have developed skills that I doubt that I have.

And Mugbub:

As I've said before: I am much less ready to agree that private sector employees are any more hard working or diligent than their public sector equivalent. Particularly if management is somewhat lax. Go to any mall or work with contractors.

Read the posts about workloads.
 
Top