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The unemployed planner support thread

Joe Iliff

     
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#21
Dan, I can totally sympathize with your situation. I too was the victim of a layoff a few weeks back, and am still looking for my next position. Don't want to move so I can stay close to my son and girlfriend. Hang in there. There may be an opportunity out there just waiting for you.
 

Dan

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#23
Dan, I can totally sympathize with your situation. I too was the victim of a layoff a few weeks back, and am still looking for my next position. Don't want to move so I can stay close to my son and girlfriend. Hang in there. There may be an opportunity out there just waiting for you.
Joe, are you having any luck finding another job?

Veloise: tried site acquisition. I'm good at the zoning part, of course, but at the real estate end, negotiating lease terms and whatnot ... nope. I'd consider GR, though; I was impressed with the city, and really like the area.
 
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#24
Dan,

OMG was my first reaction.

I've never been laid off, but I was fired several years ago from a planning position, and at the time I was extremely angry. The timing, at first, seemed real bad - just before Christmas. However, a couple of days later my sister found out she was going to need surgery, so I went to help her out for 2 weeks. When I got back, I got a retail job, working full time, while I tried to figure out if the reason I was unhappy was the type of job - planning - or the place I had been working.
I ended up working two jobs - one full time, one part time - just to be able to pay the rent, make car payments, and eat ramen noodles. That lasted about 8 months total before I moved to Houston and got a planning job. Turns out it was the place, not the job, that made me unhappy.

Where I am right now is in a budget crunch. It's not a crisis situation yet, but open positions are not being filled. We're losing somebody at the end of the month, someone else retired, and both will not be replaced. My boss thinks that next year will be bloody, but that we've cut enough for now. However, I am the newest outside hire, so I have a big target on my back right now. Bossman says he really wants to get rid of the non-working person first, but he does not have the final say - it's the department director. I haven't told my hubby yet about the budget issues. He would freak.

Being laid off/fired is not the end of the world, but it sure does feel like it for a while. I agree with the others that taking time each day to do tasks, job hunt, and do some soul searching will help you in the long run. Maybe you could work somewhere outside of the planning field for a little while, just to keep some $$$ flowing, and also volunteer. You'll keep busy, and maybe network with the right person.

Good luck staying upbeat. It'll be tough, but you have several people to lean on here, and we'll all be pulling for you.
 
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#25
Planning.org has a job in Youngstown. The MPO in Toledo is not hiring. You might want to check with SSnyder in Sandusky and see if he knows of anything in the Sandusky/Port Clinton area. You might be stuck driving for a while.

Dan,

I know what you're feeling. I've had lots of those worries myself regarding what would happen if I need to bug out as the economy here in Detroit is probably worse than it is in N Ohio. I have both a cottage and home I could not sell or leave on vacant too long as they would no doubt both be vandalized.

I will keep my eyes open on the western side of Lake Erie for you; at least that is only about an hour+ drive to work should something become available.

I watch the financial market, and have seen some positive movement over the last week. I am starting to feel a little more secure than I was. Hopefully we are pulling out from the bottom.
 

Dan

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#26
Being laid off/fired is not the end of the world, but it sure does feel like it for a while. I agree with the others that taking time each day to do tasks, job hunt, and do some soul searching will help you in the long run. Maybe you could work somewhere outside of the planning field for a little while, just to keep some $$$ flowing, and also volunteer. You'll keep busy, and maybe network with the right person.
While I occasionally posted from my former place of work, I didn't do any kind of work related to monetary issues on Cyburbia during work hours or using their resources. Being laid off, though, I can work more time on monetization. I'm also considering volunteering at some organization such as my synagogue (I'm not extremely religious, but it'll keep me busy) or some advocacy group.
 

Gedunker

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#27
Indiana is in the throes of trying to fix a property tax system that is just flat out broken. As a result, the General Assembly has, in its infinite wisdom, decided that eliminating local government expenditure is the way to clear this fiscal mess. By 2010, we'll be getting about 13% less money from state taxes. Something is going to have to be eliminated. When it comes to community support, most folks would rather keep patrolmen on the beat and firemen on the trucks. Planners, sadly, are expendable to the average walking aorund taxpayer.
 
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#28
Indiana is in the throes of trying to fix a property tax system that is just flat out broken. As a result, the General Assembly has, in its infinite wisdom, decided that eliminating local government expenditure is the way to clear this fiscal mess. By 2010, we'll be getting about 13% less money from state taxes. Something is going to have to be eliminated. When it comes to community support, most folks would rather keep patrolmen on the beat and firemen on the trucks. Planners, sadly, are expendable to the average walking aorund taxpayer.
Yup, in our Town we are looking at not getting our first Property Tax disbursment until Fall. Things were rough about a month before I started here, they weren't sure they were going to be able to follow through on their offer. Luckily, they were able to bring me aboard, but I do worry I might be let go if time get rough. They went almost 9 months between planners here.

The only saving grace is we are located in a fairly fast growing suburb, BUT we have noticed the case load dropping over the last few months. While it is nice to not have Plan Commission meetings that go until midnight, I hope things do pick up soon again. Government used to be a fairly safe bet, even in rough economic times, but now no sector is safe. :-( I hope we can see some real change in this Country soon.

Hang in there Dan, you will get through this!
 
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#29
I just quit my job today. It was a senior-level position in a municipality of roughly 100k. Remember this thread? http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=33523
Well, that was the beginning of the end for me. Only it got worse. In the end, I decided it wasn't even worth showing up most days. The values I thought would be shared by the people I worked for- professionalism, integrity, and transparency- were in fact feared.

I've decided to call it quits on my planning career at the rip old age of 28. There is nothing lined up for me, and I am basically laid off, minus the unemployment benefits. I do hope there is a silver lining in this, and I hope to seek it out. After a long vacation.

On a lighter note, Dan: pm me if you want to play online poker sometime. Do you have xbox live?;-):-c
 

Dan

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#30
A question: is it typical for layoff notices to be so terse? Mine had nothing thanking me for my work or service, and no other niceties whatsoever. Reading between the lines, it seems to hint that something isn't quite right.
 
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#31
A question: is it typical for layoff notices to be so terse? Mine had nothing thanking me for my work or service, and no other niceties whatsoever. Reading between the lines, it seems to hint that something isn't quite right.

i didn't even get a layoff notice. a group of "them" just came into my office and told me that i was being let go. they'd pay for for the rest of the week, here's my severance package, sign this....

i was one of 3 who got laid off. we were all supposed to be laid off on monday, but i called in sick b/c my out of town BF was in town visiting. :p so on tuesday i showed up for work, put in a couple of hours before they laid me off. that's what pissed me off. they should've done it first thing in the morning rather than eeking a couple more hours out of me.

so on the upside, i had a lot more time to spend with my BF. we even took some unexpected trips with our new found free time. :)
 

Veloise

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#32
...Veloise: tried site acquisition. I'm good at the zoning part, of course, but at the real estate end, negotiating lease terms and whatnot ... nope. .
Zoning specialists don't negotiate no steenkin' leases. (I sent you a link to another position, similar to mine, at another carrier's metro Cleveland office.)

I'd consider GR, though; I was impressed with the city, and really like the area.
K'zoo is closer. Maister, you found a new body yet?

Also, there's that City of Deetroit position I posted a while back. ain't no politics nor controversy in that town, nope, not at all.
 

btrage

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#33
When people are extremely updside-down on their mortage, it is often a rationale decision to just walk away from the house and let the bank take possession. What's the point of throwing money at a house that is decreasing in value? Sure - you may have to rent and work on your credit for a few years, but that may be better in the long run than throwing money away on a house.
 
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#34
Dan, you didn't want sympathy but I can't help to indulge. I wish you the best, and hope the situation in your personal life can find some kind of resolution. If there were an easy answer, someone would have already mentioned it or you would have figured it out. But as I am finding out, choices that pit career vs. personal life are gut-wrenching and I hope that you come through it.

I wonder whether talk of this situation brings up a larger crisis in the employment market for planning. The credit crunch and deflating home prices could decrease the urgent need for certain types of urban planning. I wonder whether this industry waxes and wanes with the overall economic situation. Considering that many planners are saddled with grad school debt on top of the typical family obligations, the prospect of unemployment, hanging like the Sword of Damocles, must be so unnerving as to make one wonder whether the "thrill" of the work makes up for it.
 

wahday

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#35
Geez, this all really sucks. For Dan, AND the others that have either left in frustration or were just fired. WTF?

Fortunately, I think I am pretty secure in my current position, but we'll see what this next year brings. Things are getting tough all over (although Albuquerque seems less economically strapped than places in the midwest and the Great Lakes region).

I was "let go" from a job where I served as Interim Director for 9 months (when it was only supposed to be 3). It was not a planning position, though. After prodding the board to get on with the selection process, they all sent very clear messages to me that I was the top choice and, should I decide to apply for the permanent position, I would most certainly get it. Well, I wasn't going to apply, but did...and then they gave the job to someone else! There were two people on the board that I think did not appreciate my comments about issues I felt needed addressing in the organization and they sort of poisoned the well by saying that I was being obstructionist and unwilling to do the board's bidding. The irony is that most of the community here still thinks the organization is largely irrelevant, which was essentially my point. But I digress.

The kicker was that: the new person is pretty universally disliked even 7 years after the fact AND they paid all of her moving expenses for her to relocate to New Mexico. And what did I get? 2 weeks notice. No severance, no nothing (and our first child was due in a month). Oh, wait, they told me I could have my old job back (but that I would have to fire the person I hired to fill it first!). I had worked at the organization for a while, too. When the ED stepped down, they asked me to fill in and that's when the trouble began.

My thoughts are that organizations, departments, companies, corporations, are all vague entities comprised of many people. When something ugly goes down, there is no one face to the group and so everyone rallies to protect the organization (pay out as minimal as possible, cover up any potential for lawsuits, etc.) and turn away from the individual getting screwed. Its sort of like being disowned, or kicked out of the cult. Oh, you don't work here anymore? Well, good luck with that...

Anyway, this is why I think parting letters and the like are often so bleak and business like,. If we said he did a good job, we might get sued and asked to defend why we laid them off to begin with. Or something like that. Anyway, my thoughts go out to Dan and the others.
 
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#36
Oh man, I'm really sorry to hear this. I've been there. My first job out of grad school was at a Community Development Corp. and was funded via a grant. We didn't get the grant for the second year and thus I was out of a job after less than a year. I was fortunate in that I had already started interviewing beforehand, found something, and was hired prior to them letting me go - it did require me to move 220 miles from MA to NY, however. I had to give up friends and family but was fortunate that this all took place just after a breakup... I wasn't as tied down as I might have been.

As for my current position, there have been vague rumblings of staff cuts, but nothing solid and I'm not worrying (yet). Best of luck with everything.
 

Cardinal

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#37
Most of us will probably go through this experience at least once in our career. I was laid off from one job and had another employer go bankrupt. I got out of a grant-funded job just before the cash ran out. While I personally feel secure here right now, we have had layoffs in our company, including one of my planners. This is an unusual recession in that it is laying off more than production workers and IT workers. This time there are professionals whose jobs have always been secure in the past, like engineers and attorneys.

I don't see a quick improvement of the economy as it affects planners and others in the development sector. Housing is going to take a long time to recover. Retail construction is down 55% from last year, and a record number of retailers are expected to go out of business. With plenty of dark space, nobody is going to be building commercial for a while. Tourism and travel are being crippled by fuel costs. The only sector with any life in it yet is industrial.

The competition for consulting work has gotten to be extremely fierce. We are seeing everybody applying for any project that is announced. Consultants from other states, who normally do not look at projects in this area, are showing up more often. Everyone is also cutting prices to be more competitive, but then that does not really pay the bills.

Even though I paint a bleak picture, you have some exceptional talents, Dan. I would really consider looking for ways to consult. I'll PM you with a couple thoughts on that.
 
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#38
I'm sorry to hear about your situation, Dan. It's all new for your and your GF so you're still processing; I hope she will understand that a long-distance relationship, while frustrating, sometimes is the only option, and can work on an interim basis.

Just got work that my former jurisdiction today authorized 71 layoffs and the elimination of 29 vacant positions. LadyBuc advises that 5 people in her/my former division will be let go. They're on pins and needles until 8 a.m. tomorrow. I have no doubt that had I stayed, I would have been on the list, after a funding referendum for the program I worked on failed to pass a year and a half ago.
 
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#39
A question: is it typical for layoff notices to be so terse? Mine had nothing thanking me for my work or service, and no other niceties whatsoever. Reading between the lines, it seems to hint that something isn't quite right.
I didn't get a letter. Just a sticky note on my desk to see the VP. Got there, got the declining business lecture, and said they were giving me 2 weeks severance.

As much as it sucked, it was better than just a letter. Did anyone talk to you about it?
 
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#40
One thought...can the GF take the credits earned and transfer them to another college? What colleges would she consider transferring to?

I don't know if that is the best course of action...maybe you should do what you need to and if she can't deal with it, then maybe it was not the relationship you had hoped for.

I can offer this...if you want to move to Florida, I will actively look for possible positions for you. I know I have heard on the forums that Florida seems to be cutting a lot of planners....but I think it is temporary and I believe that there is still a lot of opportunity in places like Florida. (Places that have growth management regulations).

If I can do something Dan, PM me.
 
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