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Working in Planning? Quit Your Job!

It’s Thursday! Sounds like a perfect day to quit your job.

Stuck in the doldrums of office work? Itching to get outside as summer rolls around and the blue skies start looking more and more appealing? There’s never been a better time to pack up and leave, planners. Do it. Quit today.

Jeffrey Barg | June 18, 2009, 7am PDT
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It's Thursday! Sounds like a perfect day to quit your job.

Stuck in the doldrums of office work? Itching to get outside as summer rolls around and the blue skies start looking more and more appealing? There's never been a better time to pack up and leave, planners. Do it. Quit today.

Don't do it for my sake. Just a month ago, I finished my first year of a two-year city planning program, so my classmates and I won't be looking for full-time jobs for another year or so. Right now we're all ensconced in our summer internships, where we attend public meetings, give input on projects our employers are working on, and in one person's case, learn how to avoid being eaten by wild bears. (She's interning in Homer, Alaska.) As long as we don't call in sick every Friday, we should remain gainfully, interningly employed through the end of the summer, at which point we'll return to campus and get to start paying tuition again.

But last night, at one of those public meetings that interns are wont to attend (the promise of free soft pretzels and soda can make us show up just about anywhere), I talked with a couple of friends who just graduated last month. All of them great, nice, talented people. None of them with jobs.

Help a brotha out, would you? Quit hogging all the employment.

Why do you think they were at the public meeting in the first place? Because they're interested and engaged and concerned with all things planning-related in the city. Uh, no. Did I mention the free pretzels?

Ignore reports of skyrocketing unemployment and economic doldrums. Go start a vegetable garden. Write that novel that's been kicking around in your head since college. Best of all, make yourself doubly useful by starting your own firm at which you need to hire some new (cheap!) labor.

No time like the present, planners. Fire off that resignation letter.

Remember, it's not for me or my classmates. We're fine with the Xeroxing, the grunt work, the "funny" pranks. It's for those hapless recent grads who could use a break. A couple have found jobs, but the vast majority are still looking, or are working unpaid, or are taking up in non-planning-related fields. After a couple years in grad school, some are back where they started. Smarter, but back where they started. Most of the time, you can look at the sunny city planning headlines and feel all chipper about the state of the field. But as these grads are quickly learning, chipper don't pay the rent.

If they don't find jobs soon, we'll be competing with them a year from now once we graduate. And nobody wants that.

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