So what is it exactly that an Environmental Planner does? After almost a month on the job I’m still not entirely sure, but I’m at least starting to get a handle on my position.
Things I do know… I work four 10-hour days per week in order to get a three-day weekend. I haven’t decided if this is worth it yet though. It always seems worth it by the time I get to Thursday, but certainly not on the three days prior. This schedule means that wake up at about 5 AM to make sure I’m walking through the front door by 6 AM so that I can leave work by 4:30 PM. That’s a long day. And also a very early day. I know it sounds insane (5 AM?!), but really I’ve been having no problems getting up, usually waking before my alarm goes off. A strange thing about this latitude seems to be an early rising summer sun (I often wake at 4:30 AM to sun starting to peak through the blinds). So the early morning obviously isn’t great, but I am functioning at this point. At some point I’d like to start biking the five miles to work, but that will just add to the insanity of the morning, so we’ll see.
I also know that I work in a cubicle staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Here’s a very sterile picture of my office. I’ll need to add some more homey pictures and trinkets one of these days.
So office life isn’t ideal, but I run around on my breaks and always make sure I print things to the farthest printer so I have to run up and down stairs to get my documents. And so far the work has been fairly interesting. I’m learning a ton and am particularly enjoying working with mapping software. I’m told that this is a particularly good project to be a part of. We’re working jointly with the Washington State Department of Transportation on a $400 million project to rework a five-mile stretch of I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass (there are also plans to continue the project for another ten miles or so). Here’s a picture that I did not take of part of the first phase of the project.
Anyway, right now I really don’t have much responsibility, which is kind of nice. There is some level of ingenuity required, but really I spend most of my time helping out the other planners with their functions. Creating documents as needed, tracking down information, running copies, nothing too tough.
In other news the company I work for, URS Corp, just acquired a rival engineering firm for $2.6 billion, adding 25,000 new employees to the current 30,000. Those are some mammoth numbers. And no end to the future potential job openings I suppose.