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New planners: What is the biggest thing you've learned so far on the job?

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
408
Points
11
For all the young professionals/emerging planners/those new to the profession, what has been your biggest takeaway so far in your first few years of working in the field, in terms of career development?
 

mercdude

Cyburbian
Messages
235
Points
7
Pay attention to office politics! It's more important to get along with the team than be knowledgeable.
 

TheBostonian

Cyburbian
Messages
30
Points
2
My job may put me at odds with a local politician or resident for any particular project or initiative. I've learned that by placing a high value on the relationships I am developing with these people, our disagreements remain respectful and we can work well together on other projects where we are more aligned. I have found that the most effective active citizens take this approach too. Actually, these relationships are one of the highlights of my work!
 

jollyrancher

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
Be very careful what you say to the public. You need to think like an attorney when you become a planner. Know that the development code you are enforcing will not make much sense. Make sure you know what you are doing just 1 month into the job, even if there are bits of the code that conflict/do not make any sense.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
Messages
7,325
Points
30
You will not make everyone happy... you should not make everyone happy.

Treat administrative staff well.

Know your weaknesses and negative personality traits, and check yourself on them.

Be politically aware of the impacts of your decisions, but do not act in a political manner. When you know something has potential for controversy, let those above you know so that you can define the narrative.

No one likes a know-it-all. I hire for personality & fit over job knowledge, because you can't teach personality & chemistry.

Do the little things well. I've never seen a planner fired or pushed-out for a big project getting sideways--it is always an accumulation of small things. Doing the small things well puts "change in your pocket" to push for more aggressive policies, plans and actions in the future based on your built-up credibility.

Admit when you are wrong. That is key to being credible.
 

queenOdawg

Member
Messages
22
Points
2
When I started as a municipal planner I realized many applicants try to lie to you to skirt the rules. Its like being a middle school teacher catching your students in stupid lies.
 
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