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Personality types and planning jobs

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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30,844
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While it's possible for many different personality types to succeed in various occupations (or even subgroups within professions), let's face it, some are better suited to certain work than others. One doesn't, for instance, see too many shy attorneys. One might be more apt to find shy lawyers in specialized niches like tax or patent law, but as a general rule attorneys tend to be more about extroversion, intelligence, moral flexibility, and aggression.

What personality types/characteristics do you see thriving in the planning profession? What roles or specializations do they tend to occupy? Is there, for instance, a personality type better suited for, say, transportation planning vs. other areas? Management vs 'labor'? Public sector vs private? What personality qualities do you think it takes to succeed?
 

hilldweller

Cyburbian
Messages
3,863
Points
23
Patience, patience, patience.. and humility for local government.

Appearance and likeability for private-sector planning.

Total generalizations.:-|
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Stereotypes, for sure, but in my travels I've found them to be generally true. Of course, there's exceptions.

* Crunchy women: environmental, natural resources or watershed planning, agricultural preservation, and parks plannning.

* Type A personalities, usually men: economic development
 

Jazzman

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Points
17
Maister, you read my mind. I was just about to start a very similar thread, except I was going to call it "Type A Personalities in Planning". Sometimes I wonder if I could be a planner (or at least a public sector planner who has to attend planning commission meetings and get chewed out all the time). Though working in service industry jobs has certainly given me more patience, by nature I'm a person who likes to voice his opinion. I can definitely be aggressive in the workplace, mostly because I feel like I have to be. A lot of people tell me that I'm cool outside of work, but on the job not so much. I like to be challenged, I like to compete, I like to be pushed. I don't like mediocrity or being a part of anything that is mediocre. The personality traits that you described for most lawyers fits me pretty well, and so I guess it's no surprise that before I wanted to be a planner, I wanted to be a lawyer. In high school I was on the debate team and I loved it. I excelled in it because it was something I absolutely enjoyed. I still want to be a lawyer sometimes. But who knows, maybe I'll practice land use law one day and merge the two disciplines (law and planning).

In any case, sometimes I wonder if my strong political views and constant desire to get up on my soapbox will hinder me as a planner. We have a professor in our department who spent six years as a planner, then began teaching. She is also has her own consulting firm. Maybe that's the route for someone like me? She says all of the time she could never be a typical public sector planner because she lacks the patience for it and her political views would not allow to perform the job in a sane manner, and I have found over the last couple of years that our personalities are very much alike. So what are the personality traits and personality types that make a good planner? I think this is a very interesting thread, and I would love to hear more from others.
 

beach_bum

Cyburbian
Messages
3,427
Points
21
What the heck is a "crunchy" woman?

I think Dan means crunchy like crunchy granola.

All the women planners in my department are slightly introverted, no one is parks, ag, environmental or the like thought. I would say all of us are very politically savvy and good project managers.
 

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,303
Points
35
As an INFP, I am majorly not equipped for this job.


Probably why I am pickle my liver so much. :b:
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
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7,498
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38
Probably why I am pickle my liver so much. :b:

No, no... the liver is evil and must be punished! :D

I have discovered that my extroverted, gregarious nature is not particularly well-suited to a state agency. I tend to be aggressive & assertive, and that doesn't always jive well with the politics of state government... particularly my state. On the other hand, the agency has used me very effectively as a "fixer" for some of our complex projects and problematic grantees precisely because I'm able to force answers and find creative solutions.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,699
Points
24
No, no... the liver is evil and must be punished! :D.

ABSOLUTLY! SOMTIMES 3 TIMES PER DAY!


I like planners a lot. I just find them to be kind of soft and bougie. Like they have read to much of their own crap ala health welfare and community morals BS. As a group they tend to positively BEG to be respectable middle class.... way to much. Like they don't know it would happen without the false attempts to make it so.

I love the work. I don't always believe in it.

Also, planners seem to be very good at denying realities of human nature.

I am not sure I will ever be a department head. I may never be politically savvy enough.

I like working with rural people. You hear some of the most incredibly messed up, sometimes downright rude, ugly, and repulsive things. At least they are who and what they are and they let you know that. No guessing.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Stereotypes, for sure, but in my travels I've found them to be generally true. Of course, there's exceptions.

* Crunchy women: environmental, natural resources or watershed planning, agricultural preservation, and parks plannning.

Similar to "Crunchy frog?" - My favorite Monthy Python bit?

Praline: Next we have number four, 'crunchy frog'.
Milton: Ah, yes.
Praline: Am I right in thinking there's a real frog in here?
Milton: Yes. A little one.
Praline: What sort of frog?
Milton: A dead frog.
Praline: Is it cooked?
Milton: No.
Praline: What, a raw frog?
(Superintendent Parrot looks increasingly queasy.)
Milton: We use only the finest baby frogs, dew picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.
Praline: That's as maybe, it's still a frog.
Milton: What else?
Praline: Well don't you even take the bones out?
Milton: If we took the bones out it wouldn't be crunchy would it?
Praline: Superintendent Parrot ate one of those.
Parrot: Excuse me a moment. (exits hurriedly)
Milton: It says 'crunchy frog' quite clearly.
Praline: Well, the superintendent thought it was an almond whirl. People won't expect there to be a frog in there. They're bound to think it's some form of mock frog.
Milton: (insulted) Mock frog? We use no artificial preservatives or additives of any kind!
Praline: Nevertheless, I must warn you that in future you should delete the words 'crunchy frog', and replace them with the legend 'crunchy raw unboned real dead frog', if you want to avoid prosecution.
 

MacheteJames

Cyburbian
Messages
1,055
Points
27
Patience, patience, patience.. and humility for local government.

Appearance and likeability for private-sector planning.

Total generalizations.:-|

What he said. The ability to work hard without the privilege of taking credit for any of the good you've done. That's for the politicos.

I'm an INFJ and have big doubts about whether or not my personality is right for planning. Very difficult to be an advocate for your principles in a field where compromise and pragmatism are the operative words. I do pretty well for the most part but am well past any notions that planning is a place to push one's own idealistic agenda.
 

GISgal

Cyburbian
Messages
277
Points
10
Hehe. This thread is only too appropriate for me right now as I am looking at a career change...

The local tech college suggested a career assessment. Mine came out ISTJ.

Top career chosen by the assessment software City Planning Aide...
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,832
Points
25
I always wonder about this issue because I see a lot of successful planners who are very outgoing and pursuasive. I'm much more comfortable getting the work done behind the scenes and prefer to keep my mouth shut. Every public meeting is a struggle against type but being even-keel might be a benefit in the long run because there are a lot of people who don't want you to preach about Jane Jacobs every time you get the chance.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,699
Points
24
INTP and a Socrpio (The profiles are pretty similar)


I just want to see the system work and design new parts for the machine when it makes that weird and unhealthy punkity punkity paKApOWW! noise! :6:
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,403
Points
37
I'm an ESTJ, and I'm a very happy planner. As long as I have my deadlines, professional contacts, public speaking opportunities, deadlines, challenges, inter-department meetings, political manuvering, and oh, did I mention deadlines? - then I'm happy with the work.
I admit, I like things to run smoothly, I appreciate a well-run department, and efficient procedures are a must. In my last position, I liked what I did a lot, but I didn't like the environment at all. In my new position, the process and procedures are more lenient, but the environment is great.
Perfect planner position for me - well run department, lots of work, efficient and compatible employees, deadlines to meet, and throw in some politics.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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16,140
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61
I am ISFP, and I think I am well suited to the planning profession.

I don't have much trouble with the public speaking/social interaction part of the job (although after a heavy "talking" day I do long for quiet personal time to recharge). I can also easily put myself the shoes of the hapless property owner getting unnecessarily screwed by some goofy regulation.

I am also pretty good at the detail part of current planning, although full-on minutia focus can escape me at times (sorry, but whether the setback is 4.5 feet or 4.2 feet isn't that big a deal).

My favorite part of development review is the initial review and analysis of proposals. I tend to tire of the project once we get to the public process part. By this point, I would love to pass it to another person and start on the next new proposal.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,547
Points
24
I'm an INTJ, like a few others here have said. Just took the test again to confirm it.

Some of the INFP types wondered whether they were in the right field, but I think planning attracts introverted types, and specifically introverted-intuitive types.

Plus, from what I've read about INFPs, they're always wondering if any career is right for them. ;)
 

Masswich

Cyburbian
Messages
1,303
Points
23
I think there's room for many types in planning, as long as you know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. I'm not big into stereotypes. But I will say that public sector planning offices are often like an "Island of Misfit Toys" because they tend to attract odd balls who find a niche, stick with it, and don't get pushed out when they're ripe...
 

Jazzman

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Points
17
I think there's room for many types in planning, as long as you know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. I'm not big into stereotypes. But I will say that public sector planning offices are often like an "Island of Misfit Toys" because they tend to attract odd balls who find a niche, stick with it, and don't get pushed out when they're ripe...


I hope so........I'm an ENTP.
 

Tresmo

Cyburbian
Messages
873
Points
20
I've never worked in an office with stereotypical planner types. One was full of more conservative people who I think just enjoyed a predictable career. Another was a melting pot of psychos and people who I'd rather watch paint dry than talk to. I have no idea why they were planners. Probably because they couldn't find anything else to do. Another was more on the go-getter side, with hard-charging younger people with no real supervision.

My favorite part of planning is not knowing who will come in the door or be at the end of the line when I call. Combine that with a love of digging for information and investigating and it's a good job. I need a healthy mix of locals, though. Gotta stay on my toes.

I'm an ESTJ, bordering on an ISTJ. I used to be more of a P but really prefer structure and deadlines and being on time, that sort of thing.
 

btrage

Cyburbian
Messages
6,428
Points
29
I'm not into the whole EKSJIEJRF personality thingy, but how about "stubborn bastard"?? Seems to have worked pretty well so far. I've also down well with "arrogant SOB".





:D
 

southsideamy

Cyburbian
Messages
451
Points
14
ENTJ here. I'm probably more suited for being a Chamber president or rah, rah, Economic Development, but planning pays better and I'm a liberal. Not crunchy, though. I do not own any long skirts and I shave my legs.

I'm not into the whole EKSJIEJRF personality thingy, but how about "stubborn bastard"?? Seems to have worked pretty well so far. I've also down well with "arrogant SOB".

I like it! Don't forget "Big Bitch" -- that seems to be my subtitle these days.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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Based on the number of introvert types we've got around here lemme ask - is it just me or dontcha hate it when you get done with a busy day interacting socially with lots of people and you come home and you just want to take in a few minutes of solitude to decompress, to exhale, to catch a breather....but invariably get ambushed the second you walk in the door with pleas for attention from kiddos and bombarded with comments, complaints, reports, and questions from spouse?

Lemme get my freakin' coat off first fer crissakes!:-@
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
14,623
Points
57
Based on the number of introvert types we've got around here lemme ask - is it just me or dontcha hate it when you get done with a busy day interacting socially with lots of people and you come home and you just want to take in a few minutes of solitude to decompress, to exhale, to catch a breather....but invariably get ambushed the second you walk in the door with pleas for attention from kiddos and bombarded with comments, complaints, reports, and questions from spouse?

Lemme get my freakin' coat off first fer crissakes!:-@

Yep and I use my 25 minute communte to "detox" from work and get ready for the homefront.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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30,844
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74
Yep and I use my 25 minute communte to "detox" from work and get ready for the homefront.

These days (when I drive) I've got a 6 minute commute, but I've had other jobs that involved a commute. For me being alone while commuting never quite filled the bill as far as detox/decompression time goes. Often I found myself spewing lots of anger at all the nimrod drivers swerving around cluelessly at glacial paces. Better than nothing as far as transitions go, but still far short of anything resembling 'quality solo time' IMO.
 

JK2K21

Cyburbian
Messages
115
Points
6
As an INFP, I am majorly not equipped for this job. :

Also an INFP. I have to spend at least one day to myself (and the dogs) to do nothing but hang around the house. I also down a bottle of gin while doing it.
But I found an ENFP at work, we make a REALLY REALLY good creative team. So find a person who can be your mouth piece and/or a potential liver donor you'll be all set!
 

rosierivets

Cyburbian
Messages
244
Points
9
My favorite part of development review is the initial review and analysis of proposals. I tend to tire of the project once we get to the public process part. By this point, I would love to pass it to another person and start on the next new proposal.

Like Mendelman, I'm another ISFP, although when I was younger I frequently came up as an INFJ. I think I've become a bit more jaded and jerky as an adult. Alas.

I couldn't agree more with his statement above.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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19,594
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I'm an ENFP, but barely an E. Those that have ADD/ADHD very often tend to be *NFPs, from what I've been reading. That basically means we're creative as hell, but need a push to finish a plan or project. I hyperfocus on projects I'm very interested in, usually comp plans and coding, and have a hard time focusing on repetitive, routine tasks.

I'll say I've been happiest when my work was mostly comp planning or coding. Development review with no other responsibilities ... forget it.

I'm not a hyper ADDer, though, but rather more of a daydreamer type. I've been told I have "girl's ADD."
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
Based on the number of introvert types we've got around here lemme ask - is it just me or dontcha hate it when you get done with a busy day interacting socially with lots of people and you come home and you just want to take in a few minutes of solitude to decompress, to exhale, to catch a breather....but invariably get ambushed the second you walk in the door with pleas for attention from kiddos and bombarded with comments, complaints, reports, and questions from spouse?

Funny you should mention this. I'm an ISFJ - you won't find too many of them in Cyburbia, as far as I know. I'm attending a regional APA conference, and socializing does wear me out after awhile. I'm actually taking a break in my hotel room to decompress before the next event.
 

stroskey

Cyburbian
Messages
1,212
Points
17
ENTP here.

It's nice being the only planner in my department because I can try new things, present them to the Commission, and see if they work - there is no time when I hear "No, that won't work" before public meetings. That really helps shape career development - trying things on your own. Plus it fills the Extrovert part of the Jung assessment.

I've also wondered why so many planners are so dry. You're talking about the future! Get excited! Get out there and start shaping things!
 

ursus

Cyburbian, raised by Cyburbians
Messages
5,070
Points
27
I'm an ENFP, but barely an E. Those that have ADD/ADHD very often tend to be *NFPs, from what I've been reading. That basically means we're creative as hell, but need a push to finish a plan or project. I hyperfocus on projects I'm very interested in, usually comp plans and coding, and have a hard time focusing on repetitive, routine tasks.

I'll say I've been happiest when my work was mostly comp planning or coding. Development review with no other responsibilities ... forget it.

I'm not a hyper ADDer, though, but rather more of a daydreamer type. I've been told I have "girl's ADD."

Hey, also an ENFP and I also have "girl's ADD". I just have to work harder than most other professionals to make myself FINISH projects. Once they're 75% complete they're boring as hell. Maybe I need an intern or something....
 

MacheteJames

Cyburbian
Messages
1,055
Points
27
ENTP here.

I've also wondered why so many planners are so dry. You're talking about the future! Get excited! Get out there and start shaping things!

If you have not had this beaten out of you yet, you will. Just a matter of time.
 

beach_bum

Cyburbian
Messages
3,427
Points
21
If you have not had this beaten out of you yet, you will. Just a matter of time.

I started that way too, then the assistant city manager told me to stop being a cheerleader for my projects...things have been going alot better! I found if council is bored by my presentation then they dont have anything to pick on or get excited about and just approve it ;)
 

MacheteJames

Cyburbian
Messages
1,055
Points
27
Heh. Don't mind me, I'm stuck in budget hell right now. TPTB are looking to cut all overtime from the department's budget as a cost saving measure. The implications for this are... not good, as the various board meetings still have to happen one way or another.
 
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