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Sarah MHi my name is Sarah and I work for a multi-disciplinary consultancy, Beca, in Auckland. We are a pretty big company in New Zealand but for those of you from Aussie (and afar), we are still pretty small fish out there. I work as a town planner and I love it.

The best thing about my workday is that it’s ALWAYS different to the day before. Beca is constantly challenging me, as a graduate I am involved in a really wide range of work and even on days where the process might be similar I am always learning heaps. The people sitting around me are the same so I’m never far away from fascinating (if not distracting) conversation about transport or stormwater or what some outspoken residents are saying about ‘X project’.

Whilst Planning is a varied job, a lot of our time is spent either writing or processing resource consents. This has me play the pesky-council-planner telling property owners what they can and can’t do on their property – but it also lets me consent some fantastic things in my city, which is a lot of fun. I like formulating arguments for my clients as to WHY their development is a good idea and should get the green tick at Council.

Usually, after my alarm has shaken me out of my nightly coma, I walk to work and grab a coffee and breakfast at my desk for 7:00am. Then I get to reading over the projects for the day. Right now I’m working on a big transport project in Auckland, and my role is to help organise the public consultation side of things, so my day might start with checking what feedback we have had on the project and whether there is anything that stands out for me to be aware of.

Mid-morning I’m usually on the phone with a client chasing their consent, itching to start their project and I’ll have to tell them I’m still waiting on a technical expert to get back to me. This time is useful to double check the outcomes of what I’m consenting, since whatever I do consent will stand for decades and I want to get it right.

Auckland skylineMidday
Around lunchtime my mind wanders and I find myself on reading up on national and local news. While I can easily convince myself that keeping up-to-date with current events is somewhat Planning related, I should probably be completing that report with a looming deadline. I try and avoid having lunch at my desk so I make my way to the ‘heart-space’ – a common area on our floor where geotechnical engineers, HR specialists, environmental scientists, planners and architects all come to eat their lunch.

The afternoon passes by as I jump between different reports on my to do list, chat to my colleagues on vairous work topics and race off to a training seminar on (recently) public consultation techniques.

My day would end at 3pm if I couldn’t make my way back to the heart-space and give my regular donation to the chocolate bar fund. I need something to keep me going!

6 o’clock rolls around and 20minutes later I’m home, in my fat pants and cooking lasagne, loving life. Although I’m pretty tired from the day I am still looking forward to tomorrow.

It’s all going according to plan.

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Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

3 comments on “A Day In The Life Of A Town Planner”

  1. Sarah,
    Thanks for letting us know about your job as a town planner. My friend Emily is headed to grad school for planning in the fall and I have been wondering what is ahead for her. Now I feel like I have a better starting point for when we talk about her studies. Great post!

    • I had no idea about town planning either Olivia! It’s good to get the insight 🙂
      Best of luck to your friend Emily and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I never realized that town planners had to go to training seminars. I like how you say that they are very organized people. If someone was looking into town planning, I would assume that they would keep this post in mind.

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