The short story is I am lucky to have a job in this market. I once asked a professor what were the qualities of a good planner, I received the lame response of, “What, other than being smart and hard working?”– I thought this was a given in any career.
So, IMHO, a Top 10 of qualities (and advice):
1. No when to shut up
2. Learn the art of making your ideas become someone else’s such as the City Council, this means also being okay with not getting the credit.
3. Regarding the aforementioned, learn to be okay with you will not get credit and will get blame.
4. Be a good team player– I have been surprised at how many people can’t play well with others.
5. Know when to “keep your eye’s on your own paper” or “stay in your own sandbox”– aka pick your battles wisely, really really wisely
6. See rule #1
7. Listen more, talk less
8. Be as fair and objective as possible, don’t treat someone differently because you didn’t have your Wheaties that day.
9. Sometimes the best you can do is, “BS it, but be prepared to prove it”– this assumes you have some idea of what you are talking about, never lie or mislead, it is always okay to say “I don’t know, but I’ll get you an answer”, and whatever you do say, know enough to know where to get your information if asked for.
10. Get to know your community and stakeholders, I’ve also been surprised at how many planners seem at best uninterested.
And, what was useful from an MCRP? GIS, jargon, planning theory (not the social theory), how to write an ordinance and read a plat