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Reactions

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
I'm curious as to the types of reactions folks get when they tell someone what they do i.e. "I am an urban planner" usually meets with the "curious dog" look, you know the one, their heads cock to the side and they go "huh?"

Input from others?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I always got a ...huh??

You do what??

Oh you're the zoning guys right?? Yeah, exactly, the zoning guy.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Yeah, that's pretty typical. Usually it's the vacuous stare and the "oh... well, what's that?". I have found that advanced planning is easier to explain than current planning.

Whenever I would explain current planning (reviewing proposed developments for conformance with city bylaws, policies, etc... making sure that developments don't harm the environment, etc...) I would usually get the following response: "so you are the one that reviews plans and then inspects buildings to make sure they are safe?" Depending on who it is I am talking to, sometimes I would just be like "yeah, sure"... if I actually thought this person cared about what I do, then I would go through the process of truly explaining it (maybe I've been through this too many times and I've gotten sick of explaining it over and over).

My father went to some business function recently and met some colleague's daughter who had just graduated from UCLA's planning program. When she said that she started work as a city planner, he replied that I had been working in the field for many years. Her response: "Thank God I don't have to explain what I do for once!" So I guess it really is universal.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
"So you are the people who made <insert business name here> take down their sign"

"Oh, you mean like redevelopment and stuff?"

"So you tell people what they can't do with their own property"

With people around here (Milwaukee Area) I can usually tell them some of the projects that are going on in the City where I work (like a major mall redevelopment) and then they go "ahhhhh...I understand"
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
I get the blank stare. It was easy for me to say that I worked for the city. Now that I'm in the private sector, it's much different. I just cop out and say that I work for an engineering firm, but "I'm not an engineer."
 

sal95

Cyburbian
Messages
65
Points
4
I always get the huh? What kind of degree do you get for that? After trying to explain they ask "So, when is the City going to bring in a Red Lobster, Target, Best Buy, etc., etc." Sorry, don't work for the Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Department.
 

OhioPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
304
Points
11
Typically get what's a city planner.

My response a person who plans cities (hence the name). Then usually respond with we decide where the streets go and where the businesses should locate.

This is always followed by we really do need people like you around (insert whatever city I happen to be in).
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,753
Points
69
sal95 said:
I always get the huh? What kind of degree do you get for that? After trying to explain they ask "So, when is the City going to bring in a Red Lobster, Target, Best Buy, etc., etc." Sorry, don't work for the Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Department.

Same thing. There's usually the inevitable three questions.

1) What's that?

2) What kind of degree do you need for that?

3) "So, why are you letting them put a gas station over there? Why can't you put a nice restaurant over there?"
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Either I get a rundown of every problem that exists in their neighborhood that they think government should solve,
or... the usual "Huh?",
or... the other usual (from the new exterminator, new hairstylist, and most of the other parents I meet at my son's school) "Oh, I know you. I've seen you on t.v." (at commission meetings). I'm pleased that a lot of them become interested in the cases they see and ask intelligent questions, but on the other hand I wonder what they're doing watching local government t.v. in the first place.
 

Floridays

Cyburbian
Messages
769
Points
21
Them: "What does a planner DO?"
Me: "Oversee the development of a community...platting, site plans, zoning, infrastructure...."
Them: "Oh, so you're an ENGINEER!"
Me: "Not exactly...."
Them: (Eyes glaze over)
End of conversation.
 

adaptor

Member
Messages
123
Points
6
I can glaze eyes in seconds flat:
Census data, thematic maps, redevelopment plans, neighborhood revitalization, government reports...
Almost as bad as my last job: Annual reports, newsletters, annual apeals, grant proposals, media relations...
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
Points
26
I get a lot of the "OH really....that's um....pretty cool!" (all while displaying a blank ass stare on their face).

Unless I want to start a lengthy conversation that most people don't care to hear, I change the subject. There are a lot of people that think it really is cool once they understand, and I then have no problem talking about my job.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
THEM: "...Well then maybe you can help me with my drainage problem..."

ME: "No, those are civil engineers."

THEM: "...Okay then, what size joists do I need to span my 24' wide deck..."

ME: "No, those are building inspectors."

THEM: <blank stare>
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Them: So, what do you do?

Me: I'm the Community Services Director.

Them: Oh, I see... Erm, what exactly is that?

Me: Well, I'm like God... only on a municipal scale.

Them: *blink*



I don't get invited to many parties anymore. Actually, since my job is so very varied, I use this line:

"I work for the City... If it isn't bleeding, speeding, or on fire... it's my job."
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Mastiff said:
...I use this line:

"I work for the City... If it isn't bleeding, speeding, or on fire... it's my job."

*shamelessly steals that line and tucks it into long term memory for future use*
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Rough Crowd

I went to an Indian (Asian) get together of about 100 couples and their families with my wife this weekend. Doctors, doctors wives, academics, some pre-med students and hotel owners - that was about it. I know that sounds stereotypical but it is true none-the-less. No Indian welders in attendance.

Everyone seemed to want to know what the white guy that married the Indian Hottie does for a living. This was our first time at the annual Diwalli (festival of lights) dinner. There were only two of us "mixed" (indo-Anglo) married couples. So we get descended upon in the patented kind and gentle Indian probing your shields way. I explain I'm a masters grad geographer working as an urban planner in a rural regional planning district. I do my best to see that small justidictions have a planner's assistance when working on land use issues.

I might have well said I sack groceries or mop porn halls to gain about the same level of respect for my chosen profession. If you ain't got that MD you are nothing in this crowd. I'm still sore from all the grimaces, defensive body language and overly polite "Well, I imagine that is a very nice job to have, I must go now and talk to someone who is educated please" -(Say it as APU would for more dramatic effect).

Rough crowd.
 
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