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Relocation (?)

thewholething

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
I was wondering, is relocation for a job possible as a Planner? Everytime I browse through job postings outside of where I live, the ads always ask for "experience with state or local blah blah blah"

Are there any planners on the board that relocated elsewhere without any problems? If so, do you work in a public or private sector? And is that what made the difference?

Hmm, I ask too many questions...!!

Np_f
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,716
Points
46
Apply any ways.

I went to School in Michigan, moved to PA, then moved back to Michigan. This is my first job in Michigan, but it asked for experience in the state. The only thing that I had to do was get a Michigan Drivers License before I could start. If you apply what is the worse that they can say, No? But at least you tried.
 

martini

Cyburbian
Messages
679
Points
19
You're not the only one! I see this and wonder as well. I see myself as a reasonably intelligent person, and know that I could easily learn and know the individaul state rules in a decent amount of time. Frankly, this whole job hunting thing is frustrating. Every one wants expereince, but with out being hired, how are we supposed to GET that experience?

Riddle me that!
 
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thewholething

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
Thanks for the ressurance, Michael!! Here's hoping!

Martini, I know exactly what you're talking about and where you are coming from!! I consider myself a fast learner, and if I were given the chance I could learn the ins and outs of the local/state. So,

Thank goodness before I graduate I'll be required to complete a 3-month internship. In grad school, I was told I will be required to do another one- which is great!! But at the same time, soooooo many job postings want 5+ years experience! <Bleah>

Plain and simple: I want a good job, regardless of which state, county, city, town, or village it's in.

Ok I'm off the soapbox.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I'm having a hard time relocating based on knowledge of the law.

The last three job interviews I've had questioned my ability to learn their act. My response always is that I know the section is in there, it may just take me a bit longer to find it. I also add, would you prefer someone who knows why the section is in there and how to make it work or a person who only knows exactly where to find the section, but can't think for themselves.

Maybe I have to change my answer.

Hopefully Dan will wade in on this subject.
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
I think it also depends on where you are looking. In California, for instance, the myriad CEQA and other regulations make experience in that state more desirable. I suspect that cities in CA favor grads from CA planning schools because they probably include CEQA, et al, in their curricula. Florida with its planning laws is probably similar. Places like Portland and the Twin Cities, with their metropolitan systems, likely prefer locals who can navigate those additional bureaucracies. However, every place needs its entry level planners who can learn on the job, since more experienced planners demand higher pay and many cities don't want to pay them or can't afford them.

If you look in most other parts of the country, however, I suspect that you will be able to find work. I have worked in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin and never found as I moved to each state that a lack of prior experience there was a barrier. Good luck.
 

Seabishop

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Messages
3,838
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25
michaelskis said:
...The only thing that I had to do was get a Michigan Drivers License before I could start...
Why do employers care what state your license is in? I am in commuting distance of 2 other states, and I've seen this requirement. Should I somehow have 3 drivers licenses? Or is the point to hire in-state residents and not hire out of state workers like me even though I might be closer than other applicants in their state?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Decatur hit it right on. I actually did manage to get interviews in California, and found that CEQA appears to dominate their thoughts. In most other states the questions I was asked were more oriented to theory than to any specifics of state law or local ordinances. The other qualifiers that I will add is that 1) consultants prefer to hire people with knowledge of laws applicable in the states in which they do most of their work, and 2) current planners have more need to know local and state regulations than do long-range, transportation, redevelopment, or other types of planners.

Donk, I would not change your answer much. Anybody moving to a new community is going to have to take some time to learn the city's ordinances. There is little real difference in the planning theory or legal foundation of the regulations. The only difference is how each individual code is written and organized.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Apply, apply, apply. That is the only way to find a planning job, unless you are lucky enough to secure a position in a place you've interned.

When I finished my grad school coursework, I got a six-month job with the state Dept. of Commerce to write a planning board handbook. After finishing that contract, I had a long, long wait before I secured another position. I applied for every entry level planning board I could find - as far east as Iowa and as far west as the Pacific Ocean and as far south as Colorado. Finally I found a position in Ketchikan Alaska, and yes, that is a heck of a relocation. Then I bided my time, better learning my craft, until I was able to relocate yet again to Helena, Montana. I am very lucky because I now work in the place I wanted to work in all along.

So, yes. Apply for whatever suits your needs and wants. You will probably have to relocate. Make sure your car runs well and get your camping equipment in shape. I camped out in a couple KOAs while running to and from interviews.

I've only worked in the public sector.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,259
Points
24
np_f said:
But at the same time, soooooo many job postings want 5+ years experience! <Bleah>

Plain and simple: I want a good job, regardless of which state, county, city, town, or village it's in.

Ok I'm off the soapbox.
You have to apply for any job you see that you meet the qualifications. My first job was in Montana. Last in the nation for average planner pay with 1-5 years experience. Just get your foot in the door. You have some intern experience which is great. Hard to get a job without it. All places know that entry planners usually don't stay around long. Use it to your benefit and the benefit of your resume. Who knows? Maybe you will like where you start and there will be room for advancement.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,716
Points
46
Seabishop said:
Why do employers care what state your license is in? I am in commuting distance of 2 other states, and I've seen this requirement. Should I somehow have 3 drivers licenses? Or is the point to hire in-state residents and not hire out of state workers like me even though I might be closer than other applicants in their state?
I had to because we have to drive a city car, and the insurance requires that everyone who uses it has a Michigan Divers License. I picked one up the day before I started.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
michaelskis said:
I had to because we have to drive a city car, and the insurance requires that everyone who uses it has a Michigan Divers License. I picked one up the day before I started.
Insurance, of course! It may make sense in some places but in others near state lines it cuts off some potential applicants.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Cardinal said:

Donk, I would not change your answer much. Anybody moving to a new community is going to have to take some time to learn the city's ordinances. There is little real difference in the planning theory or legal foundation of the regulations. The only difference is how each individual code is written and organized.
I'll let you all know how the answer goes over this time, I have 2 interviews next week outside my current jurisdiction.

EDIT adding

Just a further update, I will definitely be the expert on this after next week, 3 interviews in 3 different jurisdictions (2 provinces and 1 state).

Now to just close the deal on any of them.
 
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Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,309
Points
44
DecaturHawk said:
CA favor grads from CA planning schools because they probably include CEQA, et al, in their curricula.
I graduated from a California planning school and, yes indeed, CEQA, the state subdivision map act, and state planning & zoning law is part of the curricula. I was in CA for 17 years and only worked with one other planner not from CA. He was a dept head in a relatively large planning dept so it wasn't essential that he had a working knowledge of CA development regulations (he was initially brought on to head the General Plan update). However, in smaller CA jurisdications, all planners need that training and knowledge.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
I find this sad. When I hire, I am interested in someone who can read, understand, and apply statutes and regulations. If you can get through the bureaucratic legalize in one area, you can do it anywhere. I ask for this ability, but not geared to a specific state.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,309
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44
mike gurnee said:
I find this sad. When I hire, I am interested in someone who can read, understand, and apply statutes and regulations. If you can get through the bureaucratic legalize in one area, you can do it anywhere. I ask for this ability, but not geared to a specific state.
In some respects I agree with you Mike. But when I was managing in California, I prefered to invest my time in training my new hires in the local land use regulations. MQs of everywhere I worked required knowledge and training in state regs including CEQA, map act, and state planning and zoning law. I confess that I never hired someone who wasn't from CA.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
My experience in California is slightly different. My education was at the University of Virginia-a state with a legal/regulatory environment/philosophy quite a bit different than California. My first job was in Tennessee.

My co-workers have mostly worked in California, though. However, I agree that you can learn CEQA and California Planning and Development law. The reality is, it is continuously changing anyway, so we, and the current planners in particular, in my midsized department are constantly attending classes and workshops on changes in planning law.

However, you are right that California-trained people will have an edge when there is competition for California jobs. But, that is true elsewhere-I applied for a job in Washington State and the letter listed that as one of the reasons.

Good Luck!
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
The answer and philosophy that I understand planning and can learn law is still not working. :(

One more PFO for the pile, the verbage used "Not enough experience with our planning legislation"

It could also be that it is easiest to say that to an out of province person.

Hear back from the other interview sometime in January.

Cancelled the third interview, just could not face the drive(10 hours in one day).

I'm thinking it it is time for a career change (0 for 11 since March)
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
I know where I work there is a concern of hiring out-of-staters for land use planners. NYS is heavy into home-rule and from what I understand it much different than other states.

NJ also requires that you take a test in their state to be certified.... and add PP to the end of your name!

As for other avenues of planning.... environmental,,, transportation...etc... out-of-staters are fine.

As for experience... get an internship to get some experience under you belt...or start at smaller city where they hire with no expereience.
 
Messages
11
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I have somewhat of the opposite question to this thread.

Many people are talking about how they apply for jobs in other parts of the country and have lived in several different states and so on.

My question is what if I dont want to relocate at all? I am from Chicago and I want to stay in Chicago no matter what. Why? because I have a life with attachments here, my family has lived in Chicago for generations and all of my family, friends, and loved ones live here. They are more important to me than money or my career. There is no way I could apply for a job in some random place that I have no attachment to at all. Chicago is a very large city and if I applied for every planning or pseudo planning job in downtown Chicago I am sure I would find something, I would be willing to even look for jobs outside of planning, anything that pays enough money to rent a studio apartment in downtown Chicago where I live now. In addition people talk about driving 10 hours to interviews, well I dont even own a car and dont attend to. In fact I probably wont even apply for a job that cant be reached via public transportation unless the job makes enough money to completly offset the cost of car ownership and have more disposable income than living without a car which is unlikely. I actually quite loathe the whole idea of relocation.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Chicago said:
...I dont even own a car and dont attend to.
Jordan? ;)

You are really limiting yourself by 1) looking only in one metropolitan area, 2) limiting yourself to essentially a handful of communities, and 3) not having a car, where planning is a profession that requires people to be mobile. Your chances of finding that first job are really not good under these conditions. I also grew up in the Chicago region and found very few entry-level positions, with more competition, as compared to other parts of the country. Of the positions in the Chicago region, an overwhelming number are in the outer suburbs.

If you are serious about a career in planning, you should reconsider your locational requirements. Have you thought that a couple years as an entry planner in another part of the country (where jobs are more common) might give you the experience to get a job back in Chicago? You might look at a job in the outer suburbs or still further out, where you would be within 2-3 hours of family and friends. You would still need a car, but I think the cost would be mitigated by the lower cost of housing. If these things are not an option and where you live is still the only consideration, I would seriously think of a different career.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
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30
A former professor and mentor always said: The place you really want to be should be your last job, not your first. Build up your credentials so they will want you.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Chicago --

Well, as cardinal has alluded to, I feel pretty much the same way. However, I know a lot of planners in Chicago, many of them anti-car advocates, and you'd actually be suprised at how many of them haven't had any trouble getting a job in the city with a planning degree. There are numerous agencies that need planning who are based in the city, like the CTA and CATS. Plus there are a ton of planning firms located downtown. I know a guy who's currently angling for a job at CNU, for instance.

As to if I'm going to get a planning degree or not, I don't know. But I'm still an undergrad so I have a bit of time to decide. ;) The way I figure, there are plenty of planning jobs in the city if you look hard enough, but the majority of them are in the suburbs, and like all professions, it's often hard to find an opening. If you're willing to invest in a postgraduate degree that might not open up any jobs that fit your criteria, then have at it.

Also mike makes a good point. I wouldn't rule out moving from Chicago entirely. I love the city for similar reasons you do, but spending five years or so in some other city wouldn't be unthinkable, and actually might give some interesting new perspectives.

Right now, I'm thinking ether teaching or law for my postgraduate. Teaching because I love the idea of spending those long breaks traveling, I'd like to raise kids eventually, and my schedule would coincide with theirs, there are many employers in the city, and the pay really isn't as bad as people make it out. Law not because I'd like to be a trial lawyer (I wouldn't) but because there are so many things you can do with it. It's like the swiss army knife of postgraduate degrees.

By the way, about the car thing, a good interview tatic would be to just not even mention that you don't have a car. If it's a job downtown, they won't assume you have one anyway, but in the burbs they'll probably assume you commute via car and will have it available. Don't let them think differently. If you do, it'll be a mark against you when they're looking at fifteen different applicants. Once they hire you, just wait for it to come up. The longer you've been around, the less likely they'll get rid of you for that little thing and the more likely they'll just plan around it.
 
Messages
11
Points
1
Thanks for the input everyone, I was curious what people thought of my preferences. Perhaps I should give a little more background about myself to clarify

For one thing I am very firm about my desire to stay in Chicago for reasons I will explain shortly, I dont think anyone will be able to convince me otherwise, I just want advice about the best way to go about doing it. Besides the genuine reasons I stated about me having a life here with friends, family and loved ones there are career goal reasons as well. I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Urban Planning and Policy Program at UIC. It is not my desire to go into traditional planning jobs per se, I am just using it as a background to learn as much as I can about urban issues. It is my career goal to run for political office in the city of Chicago one day, I would very much like to be an Alderman in fact. I am passionate about Chicago, have been since I was a child. This is the main reason I desire to stay in Chicago in order to establish myself more into the political community, I already have some connections in city government and politics, if I move elsewhere I dont know anyone and would have to start my life almost from scratch. People talk about moving to a city for a few years but I am very wary of that because I already have a bad experience with relocation. When I was about 6 my dad had a job transfer to downstate Illinois and all he kept saying was how "we will return to Chicago in a few years this is just temporary. Well guess what it has been 17 years and my parents are still there, it is only the fact that my dad is retiring that they are moving back to Chicago. I dont mean to tell you people my life story, but I am just want you to understand where I am coming from.

I am willing to make sacrafices to stay in Chicago, I will not move for money or any other reason. I have spoken to carrer counselers in my planning department and while they tell me some ot the things you said they didnt make it seem like it was that unreasonable of a desire. To cardinal who said I should consider a different career well if necessary I will just market my undergradute degree in political science instead of my urban planning degree. I am willing to look for jobs in the suburbs as long as they can be reached by some form of public transportation. I will only accept a position that must be reached by car if it pays enough extra money to completly offset the cost of owning a car, so that I would have more disposable income than another job which does not require a car. I intend on pretty much applying for every single job in downtown Chicago that I even remotly qualify for. I hope you dont think I am crazy or nieve for saying all this but I feel very strongly about it and know the risks and sacrafices to be made and willing to do it. Relocation does not float my boat, (I do not like green eggs and ham), if you like it then great and I am happy for you but I should be allowed to live my life as I see fit. Even though I am quite liberal in almost every way, this is one area in which I am quite old fashioned. I just believe in staying in the same city my entire life, there are many things that I dislike about this modern mobile society where the concept of hometown has no meaning, but that is another rant.

Dont get me wrong however I do really appreciate your input Cardinal, Mike Gurnee, and jordanb. Thank you.

BTW, jordanb I believe you are the same guy I know from skyscraperpage.com except I am Chicago103 on that board.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
Yes, it is me.

I suppose you're already in planning, but since you were thinking about politics, I think law might have been a better choice. Plus it opens more employment possibilities for before the election. ;)

Also, I'm involved with a political organization you might find interesting. It's called "Break the Gridlock," and its focus is on reducing car dependency in Chicago by promoting alternatives. Here's the website: http://www.breakthegridlock.org/
 
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11
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jordanb said:
Yes, it is me.

I suppose you're already in planning, but since you were thinking about politics, I think law might have been a better choice. Plus it opens more employment possibilities for before the election. ;)

Also, I'm involved with a political organization you might find interesting. It's called "Break the Gridlock," and its focus is on reducing car dependency in Chicago by promoting alternatives. Here's the website: http://www.breakthegridlock.org/
I considered law but I dont really want to be a lawyer, I would only be doing it because alot of politicians are lawyers. One should not go to a super competitive place such as law school just for a background. I was drawn to planning because of the urban issues that are being discussed. I am already in my second semester of grad school so I might as well just finish up, I still feel I made a good decision with planning.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,089
Points
54
np_f said:
Are there any planners on the board that relocated elsewhere without any problems? If so, do you work in a public or private sector?
Moved within Colorado - Breckenridge to Denver to attend graduate school,
Moved from there to SW Indiana.

Big problem was Identity Theft - mail not being forwarded.

Work in the public sector.

Problem for me now is relocating after 10 yrs being here.
if I relocate
how easy is it to be covered for health benefits, so there is no lapse/gap?
is vacation time ever negotiable in the public sector?
is PERF / vesting transferable?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
JNA said:
how easy is it to be covered for health benefits, so there is no lapse/gap?
is vacation time ever negotiable in the public sector?
is PERF / vesting transferable?
The answer is not simple.

In my current and previous positions, I was covered by insurance immediately. Before that, it took six months. My current employer will allow me to use unused sick leave to continue buy into my current plan if I leave.

Vacation can be negotiable, depending on the employer and part of the country. Employers in some states (Wisconsin, for instance) seem to be more flexible on this than others. More senior positions also seem to have greater flexibility. Large cities are the worst in this regard.

Retirement programs tend to be transferable within state, but that is all. My employer currently pays in both the employer and employee share - a total of 10% of my salary. If I change jobs to another city in state, I can still be a part of the plan (almost all cities are part). If I leave the state I can leave the funds in the plan and still collect when I retire. If I withdraw the funds, I only get the employee share.
 
Messages
11
Points
1
Hi, I have thought a little bit about what people have said and asked a few questions from people in my program and elsewhere. The problem is there seems to be no sraight answer on this issue. So I ask you, is Urban Planning a very relocation intensive field? I decided to enter planning in large part because I thought it was not a very relocation intensive field. I entered this field in large part because of my passion for my hometown of Chicago and my desire to serve its citizens, if I went elsewhere the passion would not be there, my political ambitions are the most mitigating factor though. The good news from what I could gather is that my program here at UIC is a heavily policy based program as opposed to just the traditional physical planning aspect in many other planning schools (The degree is called Masters in Urban Planning and Policy in fact), my concentrations are in Community Development and Economic Development both heavily policy based fields. I was told that because of this diverse background I could easily apply for many non-traditional planning jobs such as public policy, etc. of which there are plenty in the city. My counselor told me there are many people who graduated from our program 20 years ago who have never left Chicago and never had trouble finding jobs here. Also since we are the only planning school in Chicago employers here are very familiar with the curriculum and it is well respected, we are by far the biggest producers of professional planners in Chicago. Also I am taking a class called "Chicago Planning" which teaches many of the ins and outs of planning here, the professor refered to the class as a "boot camp for future Chicago planners", he talked about how many of his former students now have successful careers here in Chicago. I was taken a little aback by comments some people made on this thread, but after speaking to various people I see no reason to drop out of school and leave the profession in fact I am just as happy as ever for choosing this urban planning program. If anyone has any advice about how to make myself more competitive in a large local market as Chicago it would be greatly appreciated.
 
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