Eleanor Gingell, principle planner at Bidwells, says that finding balance is essential to a successful career. She tells us about her career journey.
Where do you work and what does it involve?
I work for Bidwells, which is a multidisciplinary practice. I’ve learnt quite quickly that there is no such thing as a typical day. I could be managing technical consultants to help to pull together a planning application, meeting with local planning authorities to discuss applications or their plan, appearing at examination, helping colleagues to prepare presentations for new or existing clients, and undertaking research.
Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role?
I have always maintained an up to-date professional development plan(PDP); reflecting on my long-term goals, it was apparent that I was not going to gain the breadth of experience in my previous role.
Initially, I explored different options to achieve my goals with the head of planning. However, it became apparent that to get the experience I had identified I would have to leave. One of the things that swayed my decision in favour of consultancy was being able to work across different geographical areas on a variety of different projects.
What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects?
I have always been open to different challenges. Not all of these are based in the office. Getting involved with the RTPI, be this through Planning Aid, Young Planners and now the Regional Activities Committee has opened different doors for me.
What's your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs?
Use your PDP to match roles to your own goals. Talk to other planners and professionals about their roles. Do your research about the company and role. What you can bring to them is as important as what they can do for you.
Finally, be realistic about commuting times and other benefits –a great package on paper, but miles away may mean you have to make sacrifices in your personal life.
To read more from the Planner 2015 Guide to Career Development please click here.