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The Complete Planner Humour Collection

How to identify a Planner

Guidelines for successful Planners
Planning Jokes Planners Staff Structure
Planning Explained to the Uninitiated Planners Jargon Explained

Planning Complaint form

The Planning Administrator
Planner Harassment What Planners mean when they say . . .
Planning implications of Earth's creation and Hell The PLAN
What is a Planner - there are two views! The Rules of Planning
When Planners turn to prose - We have stories! First density Everything I've learned in a Planning Office

first, How to identify a Planner

Social Skills

Planners have different objectives when it comes to social interaction. 
"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

*  Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
*  Making important social contacts
*  A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to "normal" people, Planners have rational objectives for social interactions:

*  Get it over with as soon as possible.
*  Avoiding getting invited to something unpleasant.
*  Demonstration of mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.

Other problems stem from only having a non-technical vocabulary of less than 800 words

Fascination with Order

To the Planner, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories:

(1) Things that need to be sorted or rationalised, and

(2) Things that will need to be sorted after they've had a few minutes to play with them.

Planners like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept ; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Planners believe that if it ain't reviewed, assessed, and planned, it doesn't work yet.  To the Planner, the world is full of dis-order and unsustainable chaos.   A planner is someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had, in a way you don't understand.

Fashion and Appearance

Clothes are the lowest priority for an Planner, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the specific objectives of clothing have been met. Anything else requires too much unnecessary effort in decision making, and is unsustainable and a waste.  Many male Planners consider themselves well dressed if their socks match, and wear moustaches or beards for "efficiency", not because they're lazy.

Dating and Social life

Dating is never easy for Planners. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Planners are incapable of placing form above substance. Fortunately, Planners have an ace in the hole.

They are widely recognised as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, frequently employed, honest, and sometimes handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an Planner, most normal people harbour an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing sustainable children who will have high-paying jobs to sort out the chaos caused by their parents.

Despite it being long after losing their virginity, male Planners reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than 'normal' men; becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid to late forties.

Female Planners become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death; longer if it's a warm day.


Planners are always honest in matters of the environment and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep Planners away from politicians, developers, the public, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.

Planners sometimes bend the truth to sustain work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not so because nobody could be expected to believe them.

The complete list of Planners lies is listed below.

"You will be fully consulted before anything happens."

"That decision will be made shortly"

"I see no problem with that"


Planners are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation has to be approached as a  decision making exercise based on the specific objective of, "How can I decide what to spend while retaining the greatest amount of the little cash I have?"

Planners will never make as much money as business executives.   Here is a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.

As every Planner knows,

       ------ = Power

Since Knowledge = Power,

and Time = Money, we have

       ------ = Knowledge

Solving for Money, we get:

       ---------- = Money

Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done.

Conclusion: The Less you Know, the more you Make.   Since Planners are so clever, they will never have the chance of being really rich.  

Powers of Concentration

If there is one trait that best defines an Planner it is the ability to concentrate on only one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the universe. This can sometimes be mistaken for a paralysis of thought and indecisiveness that causes Planners to be pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes near planning offices have started checking career details before processing the bodies.


Planners hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an Planner makes one little mistake, the public, politicians, and the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.   Have you ever noticed that when a planning objective is implemented it's usually called a "architectural achievement", but when it doesn't, it's called an "planning disaster?"

The risk/reward calculation for Planners looks something like this:

RISK: public humiliation and the unhappiness of thousands of innocent people
REWARD: a certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame

Being practical people, Planners evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain. If that approach is not sufficient to halt the project, then the Planner will fall back to a second line of defence: "It's technically possible but it be unsustainable and will cost too much."

Examples of bad Planning

. . . . . . . . . .


Ego-wise, two things are important to Planners:

Nothing is more threatening to the Planner than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill in decision making.  'Normal' people sometimes use that knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the Planner. When an Planner says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not interesting to do", some clever normal people have learned to glance at the Planner with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines? "I'll ask the engineers or architects to sort it out as they know how to solve difficult technical problems."  At that point it is a good idea for a normal person to not stand between the Planner and the problem.  The Planner will set upon the problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.

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You might be a Planner if . . . .

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  1. When you do not know what you are doing, do it neatly, efficiently, and decisively.

  2. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.

  3. Do not just believe in miracles, rely on them.

  4. Past experience is always true, never be misled by present facts.

  5. Experience is directly proportional to the quantity of paper used or destroyed.

  6. A computer might help with most problems, if it doesn't, a hammer will.

  7. Vast quantities of paperwork are useful, they indicate that you have been doing something.

  8. The probability of an event occurring is in inverse proportion to its desirability.

  9. No matter what happens, there is always some smart ass who believes that it happened according to their plan.

  10. New plans must give reproducible results; they should all fail in the same way.

  11. No new plan is a complete failure, it can always be used as a bad example.

  12. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

  13. An interpretation may be considered good, if no more than half the research has to be discarded to obtain agreement with the plan.

  14. No matter what the result of a study, someone is always eager to misinterpret it.

  15. For neatness, always produce the plan first then carryout the research analysis afterwards.

  16. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.

  17. Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view

  18. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

  19. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

  20. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

  21. Teamwork is essential, it allows you to blame someone else.

  22. A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.

  23. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

  24. The planner who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.

  25. A Planner with a smile, is a Planner who knows who to blame when things go wrong.

  26. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

  27. Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the boss is watching.

  28. The first myth of planning management is that it exists.

  29. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

  30. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

  31. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  32. If something is confidential, it will be left in the photocopier.

  33. Important documents will demonstrate their vitality by moving from where you left them to where you can't find them.

  34. A pat on the back is only a few centimetres from a kick in the ass.

  35. To study a planning application best, understand it thoroughly before you start.

  36. If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.

  37. The quantity which, when added to, subtracted from, divided into, multiplied by the result obtained, will give the correct result, may be explained by selective use of legislation.

  38. There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.

  39. If you can't get your work done in the first 24 hours, work nights.

  40. Anything is possible if you don't know what you're talking about.

  41. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

  42. You can work hard and still fail.

  43. Never put a decision off until tomorrow that you can avoid altogether.

  44. The amount of planner expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.

  45. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say however,  will be misquoted; then used against you.

  46. Making a report is essential. Well, it indicates that at least you've been working.

  47. Accidents don't just happen. They must be carelessly planned.

  48. All you need is less to do, more time to do it and higher pay for not getting it finished.  Is that so much to ask?

  49. Be grateful that you are not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around you.

  50. If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done!

  51. If you can't solve  it -- document it.

  52. The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

  53. Be at one with your duality.

  54. Only a lack of imagination saves you from immobilizing yourself with imaginary fears.

  55. Gladly share experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so".

  56. Find humour in everyday life by looking for people you can laugh with or at.

  57. The better job you do, the more work you can expect to be handed ....

  58. In any planning office there is one person who knows what is going on. That person will be the next to look for another job.

  59. Nothing is impossible for the planner who doesn't have to do it him/ herself.

  60. The physician can bury his mistakes, but the planner can only advise his clients to plant trees.

  61. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

  62. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

  63. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

  64. If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you will get out of it.

  65. Always listen to experts. They'll tell what can't be done and why. Then do it.

  66. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

  67. You should not confuse your career with your life.

  68. The reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, is "meetings."


and remember; of course Planners are arrogant. The best people usually are!

In Summary;

When in charge  - Ponder

When in trouble - Delegate

When in Doubt  - Mumble

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Top Ten Things Planning School didn't teach you:

  1. There are at least 10 types of plans.
  2. Theory tells you how a planning scheme works, not why it does not work.
  3. Not everything works according to the details in the plan.
  4. Anything practical you learn will be obsolete before you use it, except the statistical analysis, which you will never use.
  5. Planning is like having an 8 a.m. class and a late afternoon tutorial every day for the rest of your life.
  6. Overtime pay? What overtime pay?
  7. Managers, not Planners, rule the world.
  8. Always try to fix hardware with software.
  9. If you like junk food, caffeine and all-nighters, go into development control.
  10. Dilbert is not a comic strip, it's a documentary.

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Top Ten Things You'll Never Hear from a Planning Consultant

  1. You're right; we're billing way too much for this.
  2. Bet you I can go a week without saying "synergy" or "goal scenario".
  3. How about paying us based on the success of the plan?
  4. This whole strategy is based on a RTPI magazine article I read.
  5. Actually, the only difference is that we charge more than they do.
  6. I don't know enough to speak intelligently about that.
  7. Implementation? I only care about writing long reports.
  8. I can't take the credit. It was Michael in your planning control section.
  9. The problem is, you have too much work for too few people.
  10. Your ideas seem okay to me. You really don't need me.

It takes two things to be a planning consultant - grey hair and hemorrhoids. The grey hair makes you look distinguished and the hemorrhoids make you look concerned.

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Planners Staff Structure:

Leaps tall buildings with a single bound. Is more powerful than a locomotive. Is faster than a speeding bullet. Walks on water. Makes policy.

Leaps short buildings with a single bound. Is more powerful than a switch engine. Is just as fast as a speeding bullet. Walks on water if the sea is calm.  Talks policy.

Leaps short buildings with a running start and a tail wind. Is almost as powerful as a switch engine. Is faster than a speeding bumble-bee. Walks on water in indoor swimming pools at the shallow end. Discusses policy if special request is approved.

Barely clears security-personnel huts. Loses tug-of-war with locomotives. Can fire a speeding bullet. Swims well. Occasionally hears about policy.

Gets injured when trying to leap buildings. Is run over by locomotives. Can sometimes handle guns without inflicting self injury. Dog paddles. Knows policy exists.

Runs into buildings. Recognises locomotives two out of three. Is not issued ammunition. Can stay afloat if properly instructed in use of Mae West. Pays premiums on policy.

Draws easy buildings for Planners to leap.  Knows when to get out of the way of a locomotive.  Is not issued weapons. Drowns.  Avoids policy.

Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter building. Says “look at the choo-choo.” Wets himself with a water pistol. Plays in mud puddles. Can’t afford policy.

Lifts buildings and walks under them. Kicks locomotives off track. Catches speeding bullets in teeth and eats them. Freezes water with a single glance. Explains policy to Director of Planning.

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Planner Sporting Interests

The Recreation Research Foundation announced the following study results on Planner recreation preferences:

  1. Sport of choice for Student Planners: bowling.
  2. Sport of choice for Graduate Planners: football.
  3. Sport of choice for Executive Planners: cricket
  4. Sport of choice for Senior Planners: tennis.
  5. Sport of choice for Planning Managers: golf.

CONCLUSION: The higher you are in the Planner career structure, the smaller your balls get.

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now some Jokes for or about planners . . .

Whose Profession Came First?

A Doctor, a Engineer, and a Planner are going out golfing. They are trying to decide whose profession came first.

The Doctor says, "My profession came first because when God removed Adam's rib he performed surgery."

The Engineer then says, "No, no, no. When the earth was dark and void God created light. That was engineering."

The Planner says, "You're both wrong."

The Doctor and engineer reply, "Oh yeah? What makes you think yours came first?"

The Planner replies, "Who do you think decided to grant the planning permission?"

alternatively . . .

There was a Doctor, a Civil Engineer, and a Planner sitting around late one evening, and they got to discussing which was the oldest profession.

The Doctor pointed out that according to Biblical tradition, God created Eve from Adam's rib. This obviously required surgery, so therefore that was the oldest profession in the world.

The Engineer countered with an earlier passage in the Bible that stated that God created order from the chaos, and that was most certainly the biggest and best civil engineering example ever, and also proved that his profession was the oldest profession.

The Planner leaned back in her chair, and with a sly smile responded, "Yes, but who do you think planned the chaos?"

Who is the greatest?

A judge, a bishop, and a Planner were having a discussion. All three were rather vain , and their talk soon turned to the question of which of them was the greatest.

"Well," said the judge, "my position is one of dignity and power. When I walk into the courtroom, the bailiff says 'All rise!' and all the people stand to pay me honour."

"That's very nice," said the bishop. "People stand in your honour; but when people have an audience with me they kneel, kiss my ring, and they address me as 'Your Eminence.'"

The Planner snorted and said, "I think I got you both beat; when I walk into any room as a consultant, the people look down, put their hands over their eyes, and say 'Oh, my God!'"

Who is the greatest - again?

An Engineer, an Architect and a Planner are standing before God at the throne of Heaven. God looks and them and says; "before granting you a place at my side, I must first ask you what you believe in."

Addressing The Engineer first he asks, "what do you believe?"

The Engineer looks God in the eye and states passionately, "I believe engineering to be for the good of all. Nothing else brings such unbridled joy to so many people from the slums of Rio to the bright lights of Barcelona. I have devoted my life to bring joy to people through good engineering."

God looks up and offers the Engineer the seat to his left.
He then turns to the Architect, "and you, my son, what so you believe?"

The Architect stands tall and proud, "I believe that good art and design are the fundamentals to an enjoyable life and I've spent my whole career seeking to be being a living embodiment of the the quest for the best of these."

God, moved by the passion of the speech offers the Architect the seat to his right.

Finally, he turns to the Planner, "and you, a planner, what do you believe?"
"I believe", says the Planner, "that you're sitting in my seat."

Considerate Planners

A Priest, a Doctor and an Planner were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

Planner: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!

Doctor: "I don't know,  I've never seen such ineptitude!"

Priest:   "Hey, here comes the Frank, the greens keeper.  Let's have a word with him."

[dramatic pause] "Hi Frank. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

Frank: "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind fire-fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment.

Priest:    "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

Doctor:  "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist friend and see if there's anything he can do for them."

Planner: "Why can't these guys play at night?"

Planning students learn about engineers!

Three Planning students were gathered together discussing the planning of the human body.

One said, "It must have been a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."

Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has lots of electrical connections."

The last said, "Actually it must have been a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Talking Frog

A young planning graduate happens across a frog in the road. The frog pipes up, "I'm really a beautiful princess and if you kiss me, I'll hang out with you for a week". The planner shrugs his shoulders, bends down and puts the frog in his pocket.

A few minutes later, the frog says "OK, OK, if you kiss me, I'll be your girlfriend for a week". The planner nods and puts the frog back in his pocket.

A few minutes later, "Turn me back into a princess and I'll be your girlfriend for a whole year!". The planner smiles and walks on.

Finally, the frog says, "What's wrong with you? I've promised lots of fun with a beautiful princess for a whole year and you won't even kiss a frog?"

"I'm a planner," he replies. "I don't have time for girls.... But a talking frog is pretty neat."

Measurement Techniques

A mathematician, a physicist and an Planner are each given 50 pounds (do the Euro conversion yourself) to measure the height of a building.

The mathematician buys a ruler and a sextant, and by determining the angle subtended by the building a certain distance away from the base, he establishes the height of the building.

The physicist buys a heavy ball and a stopwatch, climbs to the top of the building and drops the ball. By measuring the time it takes to hit the bottom, he establishes the height of the building.

The Planner puts forty pounds into his pocket. By slipping the doorman the other ten, he establishes the height of the building and heads for the happy hour in the nearest pub.

Planners and Howitzers

When considering the behaviour of a howitzer:

  • A Mathematician will be able to calculate where the shell will land.

  • A Physicist will be able to explain how the shell gets there.

  • A Planner will stand there to make sure it doesn’t land without permission!

Five surgeons discuss which is the best type of patient

The first surgeon says,
"I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second responds, 
"Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."

The third surgeon says, 
"No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in, 
"You know, I like building workers ... those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed, 
"You're all wrong. Planners are the easiest to operate on. There are no guts, no heart, and no spine, and the head and ass are interchangeable."

Hard working Planners 1

The Chief Planner, two Deputy Chief Planners in a city Planning Department were walking through a park on their way to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."

"Me first! Me first!" says the first Deputy Planner. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."   Poof! He's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says second Deputy Planner. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life."

Poof! She's gone (yes, there are women Planners too!)

"You're next," the Genie says to the Chief Planner. The Chief Planner says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Hard working Planners 2

An Architect, an Artist, and an Planner were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.

The Architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The Artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there. The Planner said, "I like both."

"Both?" asked the Architect and Artist in unison.

The Planner replied, "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume that you are spending time with the other woman, so you can go to the office and get some work done."

Planners and Developers

In a recent WHO study, doctors who were conducting studies on test drugs administered weekly doses of VIAGRA to an equal number of Planners and Developers.

While the majority of the Planners achieved enhanced sexual prowess, the Developers simply grew taller.

The  researchers are at a loss to explain.

The first job interview

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Department person asked the young Planner, fresh out of University, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"

The Planner replied, "In the neighbourhood of £35,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."

The HR person said, "Well, what would you say to a package of eight weeks of holidays, fourteen paid holidays, full medical and dental, non-contributory retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a complimentary car leased every 2 years - say, a red Honda Accord?"

The Planner sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you joking?"

And, the Human Resources person said, "Of course, but you started it."

Another job interview

An Engineer, a physicist, and a Planner were being interviewed for a position as chief executive officer of a large Local Authority. The Engineer was interviewed first, and was asked a long list of questions, ending with: "How much is two plus two?" The Engineer excused himself, and made a series of measurements and calculations before returning to the boardroom and announcing, "Four."

The physicist was next interviewed, and was asked the same questions. Before answering the last question, he excused himself, made for the library, and did a great deal of research. After a consultation with the European Standards Authority and many calculations, he also announced, "Four."

The Planner was interviewed last, and was asked the same questions. At the end of his interview, before answering the last question, he drew all the shades in the room, looked outside the door to see if anyone was there, checked the telephone for listening devices, and asked, "How much do you want it to be?"

A very different job interview

The European Space Agency was interviewing professionals they were figuring on sending to Mars. The touchy part was that only one person could go and it would be a one way trip, so the person selected would never return to Earth.

The interviewer asked the first applicant, an engineer, how much he wanted to be paid for going.   "One million euros", the engineer answered. "And I want to donate it all to my alma mater--The Engineering School."

The next applicant was a doctor, and the interviewer asked him the same question.   "Two millions euros," the doctor said. "I want to give a million to my family and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research."

The last applicant was a Planner.   When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer's ear, "Three million euros."

"Why so much more than the others?" the interviewer asked. The Planner replied, "You give me three million, I'll give you one million, I'll keep a million, and we'll send the engineer."

More about Student Planners

One afternoon, a Planning student was riding across campus on a shiny new bike. He ran into a friend of his, also a Planning Student, who said, "Wow! That sure is a great bike. Where did you get it?"

"Well, the strangest thing happened," said the first Planning student. "A girl came riding up to me and got off the bike, threw off all her clothes, and said that I could have anything that I wanted."

"Wow," remarked his friend. "That's great. Good move. Her clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

Planners investigate

It had come to the attention of the Planning Department that there was a small town in the region where the birth rate was unusually high and there was a need for a lot of crèches, schools, etc.   The Chief Planner decided that the phenomenon had to be investigated.   A proposal was formulated for a special study.   This was sent to Brussels to get a special E.U. funding grant.  A very large heap of money was allocated, and a special project task force was set up.  The project team rented a large suite of offices in the town and acquired the latest expensive computer and other equipment.   On the  first day of operation the project leader decided to have a break, and went to a near-by coffee shop for refreshment.   There he explained to a waiter what the project team were up to.  "You wouldn't know why the birth rate is high in this town" he said.  The waiter replied that there was a train station in the middle of the town, and that every morning at about five-o-clock the first train came through, blowing its whistle, wakening everyone up.  "Well at that time, its to late to back to sleep again, and too early to get up . . .!"

"The Cannibal Planners"
(warning, this one's reeeeeally bad)

Five cannibal planners are appointed as assistant planners in a Dublin Planning Consultancy (no names). During the welcoming ceremony, the boss says: "Right mateys, you're all part of our team now. You can earn good money here, and you can go to the staff canteen for something to eat. But whatever you do, don't trouble the other employees." Fair enough, say the cannibals, and they promise not to trouble the other staff.
Four weeks later, the boss returns and says: "You're all working very hard, and I'm very satisfied with all of you. Great stuff, lads. But one of our cleaners has disappeared. Does any of you know what happened to her?"
The cannibals deny all knowledge of the missing cleaner. After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibal planners says to the others: "Right, which one of you eejits ate the cleaning lady?" 
A hand raises hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals says: "Jimmy [for that is his name], ye feckin' fool! For four weeks we've been eating Team Leaders, Task Leaders, Engineering Consultants and Project Managers so no one would notice anything, and you have to go and eat Mrs O'Brien."

Doggy Planner

This Mafia Godfather, accompanied by his planning consultant, walks into a room to meet with his former accountant.

The Godfather asks the accountant, "Where's the 3 million bucks you embezzled from me?" The accountant does not answer.
The Godfather asks again, "Where's the 3 friggin' million friggin' bucks you embezzled from me?"
The planner interrupts, "Sir, the man is a deaf mute and cannot understand you, but I can interpret for you."
The Godfather says, "Well ask him where my damn money is!"
The planner, using sign language, asks the accountant where the 3 million dollars is.
The accountant signs back, "I don't know what ye are talking about."
The planner interprets to the Godfather, "He doesn't know what you are talking about."
The Godfather pulls out a 9 millimetre pistol, puts it to the temple of the accountant, cocks the trigger and says, "Ask him again where my damn money is!"
The planner signs to the accountant, "He wants to know where it is!"
The accountant signs back, "OK! OK! OK! The money is hidden in a brown suitcase behind the shed in my back yard!"
The Godfather says, "Well....what did he say?"
The planner interprets to the Godfather, "He says... 'go to hell, you don't have the guts to pull the trigger'."

The Smartest Hunting Dog

A doctor, an engineer, and a planner go out hunting in the forest one day. Each of them brings along his hunting dog, and they spend most of the morning arguing about which of the dogs is the smartest. Early in the afternoon, they discover a clearing in the forest. In the middle of the clearing is a large pile of animal bones.

Seeing the bones, the doctor turns to the others and says, "I'm going to prove to you two that my dog is the smartest. Watch this!" He then calls his dog over and says, "Bones! See the bones? Go get 'em!" The dog rushes over to the pile, rummages around for a bit, and then proceeds to build a replica of a deer skeleton, perfect down to the last detail. The doctor grins smugly; after all, his dog has just built a deer skeleton from the pile of animal bones.

The engineer, however, is totally unimpressed. "That's nothing," he says. "Watch this." He calls his dog over, and points out the pile. "Bones! Get the bones!" The dog rushes over, tears down the skeleton, and in its place builds a perfect replica of the Eiffel Tower.  It even has a little French flag waving at the top. The doctor is forced to agree that the engineer's dog is, in fact, smarter than his own.

The planner, however, is still not impressed. "My dog is smarter," he says. "Watch." He then calls his dog over, points to the pile, and says simply, "Bones." The dog rushes over to the pile, tears down the tower, eats half the bones, buries the other half, and takes the rest of the afternoon off.

Another Planner with a smart dog

Five men were bragging about how smart their dogs were. One was an engineer, the second man was an Accountant, the third
man as a Chemist, the fourth was a Computer Tech and the fifth was a Government Planner.

To show off, the Engineer called to his dog, "T-Square, do your stuff". T-Square trotted over to a desk, took out some paper and a pen and promptly drew a circle, a square and a triangle. Everyone agreed that it was pretty incredible.  But the Accountant said that his dog could do better. He called to his dog and commanded, "Spreadsheet, do your stuff". Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen biscuits. He divided them into four equal piles of three biscuits each. Everyone agreed that that was good. But the Chemist said his dog could do better. He called to his dog and said, "Measure, do your stuff". Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a litre of milk, got a pint glass from the cupboard and poured exactly a pint without spilling a drop. Everyone agreed that it was more than a little impressive. The Computer Tech knew that he could top them all. "Hard Drive, do it". Hard Drive crossed the room and booted up the computer, checked for viruses, upgraded the operating system, sent an e-mail and installed a cool new game. Everyone knew that it was a tough act to follow.

Then the four men turned to the Government Planner and said, "What can your dog do?" The Planner  called to his dog and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff boy". Coffee Break jumped to his feet, ate the biscuits, drank the milk, erased all of the files on the computer, sexually assaulted the other four dogs, claimed he injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for workers compensation and went home for a six month sick leave.

Riddle me this

Q: What is the difference between a Planner and a toilet?
A: The toilet only has to deal with one asshole at a time.

Q: How many Planners does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. They are all too busy trying to plan the perfect light bulb.
A2: Only the one with the approved plan
A3: None. "According to the plan, the problem doesn't exist."
A4: Two. One to change the light bulb and one to crack under the pressure.
A5: None, but it takes 15 to prepare the plan for coping in the dark.

Q1: How many first year Planning Students does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. That's a second year subject.
Q2: How many second year Planning Students does it take to change a light bulb?
A2: One, but the rest of the class copies the plan.

The Planning Consultant

Once upon a time there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the side of a deserted road in the Wicklow Mountains.

Suddenly a brand-new Porsche screeches to a halt.   The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, TAG-Heuer wrist-watch, and a Pierre Cardin tie gets out and asks the shepherd; "If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?"

The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the large flock of sheep grazing on the hillside and replies, "Okay."

The young man parks the car, connects his laptop to the mobile-fax, enters a EU Commission Website, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms and pivot tables.   He then prints out a 150-page report on his high-tech mini-printer, turns to the shepherd and says; "You have exactly 1,586 sheep.”

The shepherd smiles, "That's correct, you can have your sheep."

The young man takes an animal.   He puts it in the back of his Porsche.

The shepherd looks at him and asks, "If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?"

The young man answers, "Yes, why not?"

The shepherd says, "You are a Planning Consultant."

"How did you know?" asks the young man.

"Very simple," answers the shepherd. "Firstly, you came here without being wanted. Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew, and thirdly, you don't understand anything about my business... may I have my dog back?"

A Seasonal Offering

Consider the following:

1) You never actually see Santa, only his "assistants".
2) Santa keeps his job until he decides to retire.
3) Santa doesn't really do the work; he directs a bunch of helpers to do all his work for him, but he's the one who everybody credits with the work.
4) Most grown-ups think he doesn't exist.
5) Santa doesn't work anywhere near a 40-hour week.
6) Santa travels a lot.

Yup, exactly, elementary dear Watson: Santa is obviously a Director of Planning.

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Planning Explained to the Uninitiated

Planning is a marvellous adventure which starts when we Planners climb on to our vessel, a “raft of issues” and set sail across the “tide of public opinion.”   We “take on board” a “bag of strategies,” carefully chosen from a “menu of possibilities.”

We do not drift around aimlessly because an immediate “groundswell of activity” gets us up to speed” and enables us to keep to the “critical path.” We produce a “bow-wave of positive impressions” which more than offsets the “flood of objections” which always come our way. These floods shake our raft but it never breaks up because we’ve supported it with a "sound professional structure" put it in a strong “legislative framework.” 

On our journey we encounter “brain-storming sessions,” a peculiar feature of the "power-dynamics" of the craft and the “political climate.” But we maintain our “comfort level” by adopting a “stand-alone” position under a “legislative umbrella,” wearing “warm fuzzies” and eating “political hot potatoes” cooked during “kitchen workshops.” 

So with our bag of strategies in hand we set off on our raft of issues across the tide of public opinion and undertake “risk management” by dodging “fish-hooks” and using our “environmental indicators” every time we change direction. By following the “professional directions” we stick to our critical path and go in search of our ultimate goal: the “moral high ground” where we “ground truth” our raft by tying it up with an “ecological bottom line” and having it “set in concrete.” We then undertake some “team building exercises” to make sure everyone is fit and healthy for the task ahead. The task is to climb the “steep learning curve,” pass through our “comfort zone,” measure its height using a “statutory yardstick” and focus on our “desired outcome”: turning the moral high ground into a “level playing field.”

We achieve the “critical success factor” by “networking” to becoming a “working party” which uses some “management tools” such as “economic instruments.” We then clean up the “externalities” using a “legislative vacuum.” This is known as “internalizing the externalities.” After this, we run along the “paper trail,” jump “regulatory hurdles” and end up at the “one stop shop” where we buy some “stakeholders.” These hold the foundations of our “planning framework” upon which we build our “policy platform.” From the platform, we issue a “bundle of recommendations” which address a “cascade of effects” within the “statutory time-frame,” thus enabling someone to set up a “core business.” When we are further “downstream in time” we strip down to our “work briefs” and go swimming in the “pool of expertise. Finally, we get into a “policy vehicle” and drive off into the “sunset clause,” sending out “clear signals” about our comfort level as we lean out the “legislative window.” This is not “plandemonium.” It’s “planacea” which makes the world a great place for everyone. So now that you understand us better not come near us and ask any questions. We’d of course love to tell you more. Don't worry, we're likely to become “pro-active” and tell you anyway!
by Allan Turner, NZPI, Hamilton, New Zealand

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Planners Jargon Explained (Based on 'Plannereese' from the IES-APA website at - soon to be published with some UK slang!)

Build Absolutely Nothing Anytime Near Anything

Negative Traffic Impact:
Traffic jam.

Any collection of hitherto unacquainted individuals with physically proximate homes who find themselves suddenly united in vigorous opposition to unpalatable change, especially a rezoning, development, or road. (See "Nimbyism", "LULU", and "Community")

Nobody ever tells me anything.

New Settlements:
Places built especially to keep planners in a job.

DANYs = Developers Against NIMBYs.
GOOMBY = Get Out Of My Back Yard. 
KIIMBY = Keep It In My Back Yard. 
NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard
NIMC = Not In My Constituency
NIMEY = Not In My Election Year.
NIMFYE = Not In My Front Yard Either.
NIMTOO = Not In My Term Of Office. 
PIITBY = Put it in their back yard.

Nine Circles of Hell (from Dante's Inferno)
Circle One: Limbo - Good projects that died in bad places.
Circle Two: Technical Torture - When legislative interpretations confront good sense.
Circle Three: Inherited Sins - Old approvals implemented today.
Circle Four: Unmet Expectations - Projects that meet standards, but community tastes have changed.
Circle Five: Neighbour vs. Neighbour (I) - Conflicts between legal, conforming uses.
Circle Six: Neighbour vs. Neighbour (II) - Conflicts caused by illegal uses.
Circle Seven: More Than One Master - Inter-Departmental projects.
Circle Eight: Mobile Homes - (enough said!).
Circle Nine: Potential Chaos - Ballot box planning in extremis. 

Not on Planners Earth.

Politicians Against Planners or Planners Against Planners

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Please circle the appropriate entries

Chairman/Madame Chair, Members of the Planning Committee, Chief Planning Officer:
Hello, I'm
[your name] of the [local place name] [a]______________[b]________________
More than one a or b possible)



Farm / Rural area
Woodland /Highlands
Mountains / Uplands
Lake / Seaside
Road / Street
Town / City
[name] District

Our chief concern is the proposed __________.

Child/Adult Entertainment
Communications Tower
Off-licence / Take-away
School / Church
Factory / Office
Home for __________
Homeless Shelter
Social Housing
Halting site
Day Care Centre
Senior Citizen Centre
Shopping Centre
Youth Centre
Treatment Centre

I have a petition here from the __________ of the [above group].

Home/Property Owners
Concerned Citizens
Concerned Parents
Concerned Voters

And while we sympathise with the need for such facilities, we feel our area is not the place for it because of __________.

Child/Senior Safety
Cultural Resources
Endangered Species
Noise/Glare/Air Pollution
Open Space/Steep Slopes

In addition, we really hate __________.

Bad Roads
Beer & Stronger drink
Construction / Noise / Dust
Local Authorities
People not like us
Children/Old People
Poor/Rich People
People like us
Estate Agents
Solicitors or Lawyers

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What Planners mean when they say . . .

What the Planners say What the Planners mean What the Developer hears / understands
“I wish more projects had this feel.” “I wish more projects had this feel.” They like it so much maybe they’ll give us more.
“Lets review this” I don’t like it. It’s taken their breath away!
“Does this meet the regulations?” Can we kill it through technicalities? We’re OK, it meets the regulations...I think
“Well...?” We don’t like it, do we? They have some minor questions.
“What do you think?” You don’t like it either, do you? We’re in trouble, they’re thinking.
“I have some concerns.” I don’t like it. Well, Planners are only one vote!
“It’s... too...” I don’t think I could ever like it. Maybe we overdid the gargoyles.
“Is the applicant here?” Can we talk, or do we have to be diplomatic? No! After spending all of this energy, to say nothing or a King’s ransom in fees, the applicant decided to go to the racetrack where the odds are better.
“Have you tried...?” This doesn’t work. There’s not enough in the budget to do it once, let alone twice.
“Let’s look at the landscape plan.” Maybe we can just hide it. There goes the landscape budget!
“That’s an...‘ interesting’ approach. What planet did this come from? He likes it.
“Lets get other staff involved.” Maybe the other staff can tell you what we’ve been unable to communicate. Who do they think got us into this mess? There goes another month.
“It’s” There’s no way I can teach them what’s good design, so I’ll get technical. He doesn’t like the gargoyles.
“Yes, we’ve heard the argument that planners breed design mediocrity.” We’d be happy if this was even mediocre. They know we’re going to blame this “camel” on them.

Go on, - have a look at !

The Rules of Planning
Found on a wall in a Planning Office.

  1. Good Planning analysis is best done with numbers. Analysis without numbers is, at best, only an opinion.

  2. Planning is an iterative process. The necessary number of iterations is one more than the number you have currently done. This is true at any point in time.

  3. Everything is logical if drawn with a fat magic marker.

  4. When in doubt, estimate. In an emergency, guess. But be sure to go back and clean up the mess when real numbers come along.

  5. The odds are greatly against your being immensely smarter than everyone else. If your analysis says everything needs to be changed, the chances are better that you've screwed up.

  6. At the start of any planning project, the person who most wants to be team leader is least likely to be capable of it.

  7. In nature, the optimum is almost always in the middle somewhere. Distrust assertions that the optimum planning solution is at an extreme position.

  8. Not having all the information you need is never a satisfactory excuse for not starting the analysis.

  9. Your best efforts will inevitably wind up being useless in the final plan. Learn to live with the disappointment.

  10. Sometimes, the fastest way to get to the final plan is to throw everything out and start over.

  11. There is never a single right solution. But there are always multiple wrong ones.

  12. Planning is based on requirements. There's no justification for planning something one bit "better" than the requirements dictate.

  13. "Better" is the enemy of "good".

  14. The ability to improve a plan occurs primarily at the reviews. This is also the prime location for screwing it up.

  15. The previous people who did a similar analysis did not have a direct pipeline to the wisdom of the ages. There is therefore no reason to believe their analysis over yours. There is especially no reason to present their analysis as yours.

  16. The fact that an analysis appears in print has no relationship to the likelihood of its being correct.

  17. Past experience is excellent for providing a reality check. On the other hand, too much reality can doom an otherwise worthwhile design.

  18. A bad plan with a good presentation is doomed eventually. A good plan with a bad presentation is doomed immediately.

  19. Half of everything you hear in a classroom is crap. Education is figuring out which half is which.

  20. When in doubt, document. Documentation requirements will reach a maximum shortly after the termination of the project.

  21. All Planning offices operate  a "Work Breakdown Structure" because the Work remaining will grow until you have a Breakdown, unless you enforce some Structure on it.

  22. The first 90 percent of the project takes 90 percent of the allotted time. The last 10 percent of the project takes the other 90 percent.

  23. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

  24. If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you will get out of it.

  25. Keep your boss's boss off your boss's back.

  26. When management smiles at you, be very, very afraid ...

  27. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

  28. The perfect planner for the job will apply the day after that post is filled by some semi qualified idiot.
    Corollary: You hear about the perfect job the day after you accept another one.

  29. And the Catch-22 of Planning is:
    If you're running around horribly busy, you're unorganised and need to prioritise, but if you're not running around horribly busy, you're lazy and need to find more work to do.

and, did you know?

  1. To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the Planner, the glass is twice as big as it should have been planned.

  2. Carelessly planned projects take three times longer to complete  than expected. Carefully planned projects take four times longer to complete than expected, mostly because the planners expect their planning to reduce the time it takes.

  3. No major project is ever prepared on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it. Yours will not be the first.

  4. Plans progress rapidly until they become 90 percent complete; they then remain 90 percent complete forever.

  5. One advantage of fuzzy planning objectives is that they let you avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.

  6. When things are going well, something will go wrong.
    When things just can't get any worse, they will.
    When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something serious.

  7. If Planning policy content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.

  8. No system is ever completely debugged; attempts to debug a new system inevitably introduce new bugs that are even harder to find.

  9. Planning project teams detest progress reports, because these reports vividly manifest their lack of progress.

  10. The primary function of the Planner  is to make things difficult for the Speculator and impossible for the Developer.

nearly the end now.   If you have been through all of the above, you will realise that Planners and Planning is anything but straightforward, so . . .


Planning can be somewhat of a controversial profession.   Some of the controversy is whether it is a profession at all.  I won't comment on the details of the controversy, but needless to say its the Planners who find themselves at the centre of it all the time.   Here I'll present two views.

First there is A Planner as seen by the public!
Followed by A Planner as seen by a Planner!

If you've ever had dealings with planners, or are related to one, you'll know where you stand!

A Planner as seen by the public:

A planner is a close relative of the Revenue Commissioner.   Planners have no personal relatives since their parentage is doubtful.

Planners come in three sizes:- thick very, thick, and bloody impossible.   A planner is difficult to recognise.   They have no face whatsoever, but might be spotted by their dress sense, which for the men usually comprises jeans, yellow shirt and pink tie; while the women usually prefer long skirts that pay no deference to post-eighties fashion trends.   Because of the planner's vague affinity to the Arts, most local authorities will allow them to wear a higher percentage of mod gear than an engineer or a clerk.   There is an unspoken agreement between authorities and planners as to how much they should support the image of the establishment.

Most planners are employed by local authorities solely to create problems in order that they might justify their existence.  The planners’ efficiency in doing so is equal only to their powers of multiplication once appointed.

Having entered into local government service the planners are immediately let loose on the most important work in hand.    They are encouraged to converse with all manner of people on all topics and within a few short weeks is able to engage in long conversations without understanding a single word.   Here they learn to develop their technique.   The broad smile, the confidential grin, the nervous giggle and the elementary standard assurance of non-committal openings to each remark.

Once they have been successful in creating a few minor crises they can expect rapid promotion and a series of pay rises.

A planner has many talents.   Planners are extremely skilled in the art of delay.   Any planner worth their salt can produce a six-month delay with contemptuous ease.   A skilful manipulation of meetings, sickness, holidays and the democratic process, coupled with assistance from the law, can be devastating.  Decisions can be avoided for years on end, and a quick transfer to another authority can enable the process to be repeated ad infinitum.  A planner's dearest wish is to send everything back first time to see whether the applicant really means it.

A sense of humour is also a vital asset to the planner.   Immense hilarity is gained from selecting all the refined clever, worthwhile, exciting and profitable aspects of any proposal - and then objecting to them.   The ordinary, mundane and dull bits are of course praised or passed without delay.

This highly specialised form of humour can be seen in a number of ways.   The planner will take great delight in bringing the full weight of the law to bear down on you if dare to use your telephone for business purposes of if your wife is wicked enough to run a mail-order catalogue from your home.   Your neighbour's newly created car-breaking and worm-shredding business in their back garden remains untroubled as being 'quite different'.  Other variations of the planner's mirth can be seen in the choice of road lines, pubic buildings, children's play-lots and recreational areas; not that those ever get built of course, but the humour is always there.    Basil Fawlty himself would be proud of the planner's reasons for refusing most planning applications.  Only a planner could really appreciate the logic of refusing your modest extension to your outside loo as being detrimental to the blood boiling factory and multi-storey chip shop next door.

The planner's written word is sheer poetry - or something.   The vocabulary and language are unique and completely unintelligible.   It is not difficult for the planners themselves of course since it is never meant to be understood - that being a mere detail of no possible importance.  All planning language is simply made up on the spot as it is being spoken.   The greater number of likely sounding words and phrases that are coined, the higher the status becomes.

Among local government officials generally the planner reigns supreme as 'not dealing with it myself '.   The planner never, under any circumstances, deals with anything directly.  Colleagues, assistants, the boss, their opposite number, the Committee, the Council, the Board, the Minister, the Government or even the E.U. Commission might be dealing with the matter m hand, but the planner never 'happens to be dealing with this directly'.

Yes - the planner is a very special person indeed.

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A Planner, as seen by a Planner:

All planners are direct descendants from Solomon and are closely related to Einstein, St Jude and Jack Charlton.

Planners come in four sizes - very clever, brilliant, magnificent, and ecstatic.   A planner is difficult to recognise since it is well known that genius comes in many guises.   However, if you happen to see any distinguished, benevolent, intelligent, humble, well dressed and thoroughly likeable staff wandering through the local corridors of power, the chances are - you've encountered a planner.

Whilst all planners could become millionaires within a very short space of time if they cared to, most of them dedicate their lives to humanity by choosing to serve society though local government.   Without this magnificent sacrifice all local authorities would of course collapse instantly the public would run riot and anarchy would reign within a few months.   Sadly, and incomprehensibly this dedication goes unnoticed by all but other planners.

A planner is called by divine power into the profession.   Anybody who does not measure up to the incredibly high standard required is quickly weeded out by the Lord above and is simply not called.   As an added safeguard I.P.I. (Irish Planning Institute) membership is made five times more difficult than any other two professions put together and only real professionals of learning are allowed to battle through

A planner's training is enlightened.   Gentle but firm supervision goes hand in hand with an encouragement to develop original ideas and imagination. In this way a sound technique is built up with the emphasis on clear, simple, straight forward communication

A planner's progress and promotion are slow, but with such high-class competition from other planners this is inevitable.  Fortunately all planners are always completely satisfied.   A planner never moans, complains or bleats about extra money. A crust of bread and a cup of fluoride water are more than enough food and drink to the planner.  (Curiously most property developers, and others who frequently encounter planners, support this view and some would even add a ball and chain for luck.)

The planner is indeed rich in talent;- speed, decisiveness, clarity, eloquence, diplomacy;- the list is endless.   Perhaps the two most valuable assets are an ability to shift three times more work than any other officer, and a unique gift for spotting other people's stupidity, instantly.    It is truly amazing how a planner can read, digest analyse and confidently dismiss six months' work as being "a load of bXXX"!

A planner's sense of humour is highly refined.   Other officers’ frailties, personal abuse, unfortunate Committee decisions, and petty jealousies are all met by a benevolent smile and inward laughter.    This control does cause a certain amount of mental pressure that is released occasionally by planners being the life and soul of the party as they got stoned out of their minds.

The planner's language is perhaps the finest achievement.   All planners are fully agreed that their work is so complex and complicated that it is quite impossible to communicate in the present language.  To overcome this problem the planner has risen to the occasion and has invented a series of brilliantly clear phrases that express a mountain of technical meaning.   Far from trying to educate the rest of society before its time, the planner is quite content to let the rest of the world catch up at its own pace.

Yes - the planner is a very special person indeed.

A PLANNER  may be someone who makes beautiful plans, but unaffordable realities, BUT
An accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
An actuary is someone who brings a fake bomb on a plane, because that decreases the chances that there will be another bomb on the plane.
An auditor is someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
A chemical engineer is a man who is doing for a profit what an organic chemist only does for fun.
A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.
A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
An editor is a person employed on a newspaper whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
A journalist is someone who spend 50% of its time not saying what he knows and 50% of its time talking about things he doesn't know.
A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a "brief".
A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there.
A modern artist is one who throws paint on canvas, wipes it off with a cloth and sells the cloth.
A philosopher is a person who doesn't have a job but at least understands why.
A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.
A programmer is someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.
A psychologist is a man whom you pay a lot of money to ask you questions that your wife asks free of charge.
A schoolteacher a is disillusioned woman who used to think she liked children.
A sociologist is someone who, when a beautiful women enters the room and everybody look at her, looks at everybody.
A statistician is someone who is good with numbers but lacks the personality to be an accountant.
A topologist is a man who doesn't know the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut.

, even a Planner, does It

ACCOUNTANTS are good with figures.

ACTORS do it on cue.

ADVERTISERS use the "new, improved" method.



ARCHITECTS have great plans to do it.

ARTISTS are exhibitionists.

ASSEMBLY LINE WORKERS do it over and over.

ASTRONOMERS do it with Uranus.

AUDITORS like to examine figures.

BABYSITTERS charge by the hour.

BAILIFFS always come to order.

BAKERS knead it daily.

BAND MEMBERS play all night.

BANKERS do it with interest - penalty for early withdrawal.

BARRISTERS make better motions.

BARBERS do it with shear pleasure.

BARTENDERS do it on the rocks.

BASEBALL PLAYERS make it to first base.

BASKETBALL PLAYERS score more often.

BEEKEEPERS like to eat their honey.

BEER BREWERS do it with more hops.

BEER DRINKERS get more head.

BICYCLISTS do it with 10 speeds.

BIN MEN come once a week.

BOOKKEEPERS do it with double entry.

BOSSES delegate the task to others.

BOWLERS have bigger balls.

BRICKLAYERS lay all day.

BRIDGE PLAYERS try to get a rubber.

BUILDING WORKERS lay a better foundation.

BUS DRIVERS come early and pull out on time.

BUTCHERS have better meat.

CB'ers do it on the air.

CAMPERS do it in a tent.

CARPENTERS hammer it harder.

CARPET LAYERS do it on the floor.

CHEERLEADERS do it with more enthusiasm.

CHEMISTS like to experiment.

CHESS PLAYERS check their mates.

CHIROPRACTORS do it by manipulation.

CLOCK MAKERS do it mechanically.

CLOWNS do it for laughs.

COACHES whistle while they work.

COBOL PROGRAMMERS do it with bugs.

COCKTAIL WAITRESSES do it with highballs.

COMPUTER GAME PLAYERS just can't stop doing it.

COMPUTER OPERATORS get the most out of their software.

CONSULTANTS tell other how to do it.

COWBOYS handle anything horny.

COWGIRLS like to ride bareback.

CRANE OPERATORS have swinging balls.

CREDIT MANAGERS always collect.

DANCERS do it in leaps and bounds.

DEADHEADS do it with Jerry.

DEER HUNTERS will do anything for a buck.

DENTAL HYGIENISTS do it till it hurts.

DENTISTS do it in your mouth.

DETECTIVES do it under cover.

DIETICIANS eat better.

DIRECT MAILERS get it in the sack.

DIVERS do it deeper.

DOCTORS do it with patience.

DRUMMERS do it in 4/4 time.

DRYWALLERS are better bangers.

ELECTRICIANS check your shorts.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS are shocked when they do it.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS do it on an impulse.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS do it with large capacities.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS do it with more frequency and less resistance.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS do it with more power and at higher frequency.

ENGINEERS charge by the hour, or

ENGINEERS do it with precision.

EXECUTIVES have large staffs.

FARMERS spread it around.

FIREMEN are always in heat.

FISHERMEN are proud of their rods.

FOOTBALL PLAYERS are measured by the yard.

FOUR-WHEELERS eat more bush.

FURRIERS appreciate good beaver.

GARDENERS have 50 foot hoses.


GEOLOGISTS are great explorers.

GOLFERS do it in 18 holes.

GYMNASTS mount and dismount well.

HACKERS do it with fewer instructions.

HAIRDRESSERS give the best blow jobs.

HAM-RADIO OPERATORS do it with frequency.

HANDYMEN like good screws.

HORSEBACK RIDERS stay in the saddle longer.

HUNTERS do it with a bang.

INSURANCE SALESMEN are premium lovers.

INTERIOR DECORATORS do it all over the house.

INVENTORS find a way.

JANITORS clean up afterwards.

JEWELLERS mount real gems.

JOGGERS do it on the run.

LANDSCAPERS plant it deeper.

LAWYERS do it in their briefs.

LIBRARIANS do it quietly.

LOCKSMITHS can get into anything.


MACHINISTS make the best screws.

MAGICIANS are quicker than the eye.

MAINTENANCE MEN sweep 'em off their feet.

MANAGERS supervise others.

MARKETING REPs do it on commission.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS do it with stress and strain.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS do it with less energy and greater efficiency.

MILKMEN deliver twice a week.

MILLIONAIRES pay to have it done.

MINERS sink deeper shafts.

MINISTERS do it on Sundays.

MISSILE MEN have better thrust.

MODELS do it in any position.

MODEM MANUFACTURERS do it with all sorts of characters.

MOTORCYCLISTS like something hot between their legs.

MOVIE STARS do it on film.

MUSICIANS do it with rhythm.

NON-SMOKERS do it without huffing and puffing.

NURSES call the shots.

OCEANOGRAPHERS do it down under.

OPERATORS do it person-to-person.

OPTOMETRISTS do it face-to-face.

PAINTERS do it with longer strokes.

PARAMEDICS do it to those in need.

PHARMACISTS fill your prescription.

PHOTOGRAPHERS do it with a flash.

PHYSICISTS do it with uniform harmonic motion.

PILOTS keep it up longer.


PLUMBERS do it under the sink.

POLICEMEN like big busts and have bigger guns..

POLITICIANS do it for 5 years then have to get re-erected.

POSTMEN come slower.

PRINTERS do it without wrinkling the sheets.

PRINTERS reproduce the fastest.

PROCTOLOGISTS do it in the end.

PROFESSORS do it by the book.

RACERS like to come in first.

RACQUETBALL PLAYERS do it off the wall.

RADIO and TV ANNOUNCERS broadcast it.

REAL ESTATE PEOPLE know all the prime spots.

RECYCLERS use it again.

REPAIRMEN can fix anything.

REPORTERS do it daily.

RESEARCHERS are still looking for it.

RETAILERS move their merchandise.

ROOFERS do it on top.

RUNNERS get into more pants.

SAILORS like to be blown.

SALESPEOPLE have away with their tongues.

SCIENTISTS discovered it.

SECRETARIES do it from 9 to 5.

SKYDIVERS are good till the last drop.

SOCCER PLAYERS have leather balls.

SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS are oral specialists.

SPELUNKERS do it underground.

SPORTS COMMENTATORS like an instant replay.

STEWARDESSES do it in the air.

STUDENTS use their heads.

SURGEONS are smooth operators.

TAILORS make it fit.

TAXI DRIVERS do it all over town.

TAXIDERMISTS mount anything.

TELEPHONE CO. EMPLOYEES let their fingers do the walking.

TELLERS can handle all deposits and withdrawals.

TENNIS PLAYERS have fuzzy balls.

TRUCK DRIVERS have bigger dipsticks.

TRUCKERS carry bigger loads.

TYPISTS do it in triplicate.

VETERINARIANS are pussy lovers.


WAITRESSES serve it piping hot.

WATER SKIERS come down harder.

WELDERS have hotter rods.

WRESTLERS know the best holds.

WRITERS have novel ways to do it.

Density is a Seven-Letter Word
based on a story by Dan Coleman

She walked into my office without an appointment one dark and stormy day. She said she had something important to show me. My headache was still pounding like a jackhammer from last night’s public meeting. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the mood for another developer on a fishing expedition. She made the fatal mistake of thinking I was a sucker for her pitch to bring us a quality project.  I took one look at her sketches and knew she was only after one thing: density. That’s right, as much density as you could pack into the little worthless parcel of land she called “the site.” The kind of density where you can reach out and adjust your neighbour's TV from your kitchen window. I wasn’t buying, not today.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she had about a snowball’s chance in hell of her dream coming true in a Planning Authority area   like this. Everybody in the county except her and her estate agent broker knew there was good reason nobody had ever developed that infill property. The site was a developer’s nightmare: no infrastructure, flooding problems, and hazardous waste. To top it off, some insect on the site was just listed as an endangered species. No wonder that parcel had been passed over by every developer looking to build some houses and make a quick profit.

She looked at me with a hopeful stare waiting for my reply. What could I say? That her project stunk? That it had about as much appeal as yesterday’s canteen coffee? This was the worst part of the job. I can deal with the politics, the press hounds, even the engineers, but I hate telling people their dream is dead. In the end I did what any self-respecting planner would do, I told her to start over. Wipe the slate clean and get some new ideas. Hire a real architect. Her eyes met mine and she asked if there wasn’t some way to make her project work.

I couldn’t refuse her plea for help. Suddenly I became a man possessed. Whipping out my biggest red permanent marker, I began frantically making notes on her drawings. Huge ‘X’s obliterating the worst parts, and pointed arrows leading to cryptic suggestions for those parts I deemed salvageable. When I was done it looked like her plans had played a victim in Friday the Thirteenth Part XX.

She rolled up her plans, thanked me, and walked out of my office. I wondered if I would ever see her again. Did she have what it takes to fight, deal with the Planning Department, the manager, even the councillors, and hang in there despite the odds? Something inside me knew that I hadn’t seen the last of her.

You are one of three people on a malfunctioning airplane with only one parachute. How would you react?

Pessimist:         you refuse the parachute because you might die on the jump anyway.
Optimist:         you refuse the parachute because people have survived crashes just like this before.
Procrastinator:   you play a game of Monopoly for the parachute.
Bureaucrat:     you order them to conduct a feasibility study on parachute use in multi-engine aircraft under code red conditions.
Computer Scientist:   you design a machine capable of operating a parachute as well as a human being could.
Mathematician:   you refuse to accept the parachute without proof that it will work in all cases.
Engineer:     you make them another parachute out of aisle curtains and dental floss.
Psychoanalyst:   you ask them what the shape of a parachute reminds them of.
Doctor:     you tell them you need to run more tests, then take the parachute in order to make your next appointment.
Lawyer:     you charge one parachute for helping them sue the airline.
Judge:     after reminding them of their constitutional right to have a parachute, you take it and jump out.
Economist:   your only rational and moral choice is to take the parachute, as the free market will take care of the other person.
Statistician:   you plot a demand curve by asking them, at regular intervals, how much they would pay for a parachute.
TAX auditor:   you confiscate the parachute along with their luggage, wallet, and gold fillings.
Manager:   as you jump out with the parachute, you tell them to work hard and not expect handouts.
Consultant:   you tell them not to worry, since it won't take you long to learn how to fix a plane.
Salesperson:   you sell them the parachute at top retail rates and get the names of their friends and relatives who might like one too.
Advertiser:   you strip-tease while singing that what they need is a neon parachute with computer altimeter for only  €39.99.
Philosopher:   you ask how they know the parachute actually exists.
Teacher:   you give them the parachute and ask them to send you a report on how well it worked.

PLANNER: You refuse permission for change of use of the parachute from standard airplane safety equipment to escape device without a prior full impact assessment.
Comparative Literature post-graduate:   you read the parachute instructions in all four languages.
Dramatist:   you tie them down so they can watch you develop the character of a person stuck on a falling plane without a parachute.
Modern Painter:   you hang the parachute on the wall and sign it.
Motor Mechanic:   as long as you are looking at the plane engine, it works fine.

Everything I need to know I've learned in a Planning Office

  1. Indecision is the key to flexibility.

  2. You can't tell which way the train went by looking at the track.

  3. There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.

  4. Happiness is merely the remission of pain.

  5. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

  6. Sometimes too much to drink is not enough.

  7. The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.

  8. The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.

  9. Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.

  10. Things are more like they are today than they ever were before.

  11. Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.

  12. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

  13. Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

  14. I have seen the truth and it makes no sense.

  15. Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.

  16. If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

  17. If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

  18. One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.

  19. By the time you make ends meet, they move the ends.

  20. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

  21. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

  22. This is as bad as it can get, but don't count on it.

  23. Never wrestle a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

  24. The trouble with life is, you're halfway through it before you realize it's a do-it-yourself thing.

  25. Youth and skill are no match for experience and treachery.

  26. No amount of advance planning will ever replace dumb luck.

  27. Anything you do can get you fired; this includes doing nothing.

  28. Money can't buy happiness; it can, however, rent it.

  29. If you can smile when everything goes wrong, you probably don't understand the problem.

  30. Morning people: "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

  31. Night people: "Anybody who goes to bed the same day they got up is a quitter."

Useful Expressions for those high stress days in a Planning Office

  1. Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are we?
  2. Don't bother me. I'm living happily ever after.
  3. Do I look like a people person?
  4. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
  5. I pretend to work. They pretend to pay me.
  6. You! Off my planet !!
  7. Therapy is expensive, popping bubble wrap is cheap! You choose.
  8. Practice random acts of intelligence & senseless acts of self-control.
  9. I like cats too. Let's exchange recipes.
  10. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
  11. And your cry-baby whiny-assed opinion would be...?
  12. I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 30 years.
  13. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
  14. Do they ever shut up on your planet?
  15. I'm just working here till a good fast-food job opens up.
  16. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
  17. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
  18. Stress is when you wake up screaming & you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.
  19. I can't remember if I'm the good twin or the evil one.
  20. How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
  21. I just want revenge. Is that so wrong?
  22. I work 40 hours a week to be this poor.
  23. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #2?
  24. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
  25. Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done.
  26. Earth is full. Go home.
  27. Is it time for your medication or mine?
  28. Aw, did I step on your poor little bitty ego?
  29. I plead contemporary insanity.
  30. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
  31. I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.
  32. When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you
  33. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view
  34. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't give a damn
  35. Ahhh....I see the f*ck-up fairy has visited us again........
  36. I see you have set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public
  37. Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject
  38. You sound reasonable, time to up my medication
  39. How about never? Is never good for you?
  40. I'm not being rude, you're just insignificant
  41. I don't work here. I'm a consultant
  42. I don't know what your problem is but I bet it's hard to pronounce
  43. The fact that no-one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist
  44. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid

and finally, just for you planning students from UCD etc who are currently looking for work-experience stint in planning offices, let's have a SUNSCREEN moment!!!

to Planning School  graduates of the class of 2004 (and after):

Drink alcohol.
If I could offer you only one piece of advice for maintaining your sanity as a planner, alcohol would be it.
Writers ever since the birth of the printing press and since a Gutenberg device arrived in Mullingar have attested to alcohol's time-honoured value, whereas the rest of my advice is no more valid than the ranting of any other cynical planner.
Enjoy the freedom and opportunities of your youth. No matter how jaded you may think you already are, in just a few years you'll look back and miss that time in your life when the world seemed so fresh and full of possibility.
Don't worry about writing enough reports or working enough hours to satisfy your boss. You will never write as many reports or work as many hours as your boss did. You are not as lazy as your boss thinks.
Write poetry and fiction. It's the only opportunity you will have to exercise your creativity. Just don't do it on the computer at work.
Do not gossip about your colleagues' personal lives. Be careful of anyone who does, since they will gossip about yours as well.
This should effectively rule out socialising with your entire planning office. If you can succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Frame your IPI Awards. Save your job rejection letters. That way, when you make it big, you can write to the those more 'experienced' planners who snubbed you and tell them what big (expletive deleted) idiots they were for not hiring you.
Get a MBA degree if you like. But remember that one year at a fancy University up in Dublin will not look half as good on your resume as one week on a tribunal stand naming the source of a bribe.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know the names of all the Baltic states. Most planners I know don't know the names of any of the Baltic states.
Despite what you were told last term, it just doesn't matter. (Unless, of course, you decide to work in one of the Baltic states.)
Within three months you will have forgotten everything you were told last term.
Maybe you'll stay a planner, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll be promoted to a consultants London office, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll be running a consultancy by the time you're 30, maybe your reports will be edited by a spotty young planning turk  when you are about to retire.
Whatever the case, you will never get rich working for in a planning office unless you own it.
Your reports are never as good as you think they are. If you do not believe me, pick one up in six months and take another look at it.
Doing this on a regular basis is a healthy reminder never to rest on your laurels. Read vacancies on Web recruitment sites every week, even if you do not apply for them.
Beware of lengthy job classifieds. The quality of a planning office is inversely proportional to the number of words it spends promoting itself.
Send out your CV as soon as you arrive at your new job. It will take twice as long to get out of there as you expect, and when it's finally time to leave, believe me, you will appreciate every single day that you no longer have to work there.
Be nice to the work experience kids. They just may go further than you.
Accept certain inalienable truths:
Planning offices will never live up to their potential.
You cannot regularly work more than 60 hours a week.
Planners will complain.
You too will pass your prime. And when you do, you'll fantasise that when you were young, planning offices were great and planners worked 100 hours a week without complaining.
Complain. Go to the pub, get online, see that psychiatrist from Cork if you must.
It is always better to vent in private than to do a "Kevin My Arse" on some reality TV show or Radio 'phone-in'.
But do not waste time complaining to your boss. No matter how right you are, no matter how much your office purports to be a watchdog for the plain people of Ireland, managers hate nothing more than whining. They will only hold it against you. Especially if your employer happens to be the wrongdoer.
Don't worry, senior staff and the IPI awards judges understand the constraints you're working under.
Big offices are not always better than small consultancies, but they are usually more tolerable places to work.
The most important thing to look at in any prospective employer is its track record. Unlike Vodaphone shares, a planning office's recent performance is a reliable indicator of its future potential.
But wherever you go, do not expect happiness. It stinks everywhere.
Everyone in the planning business will offer you advice. Most of it is useless, however, since success in planning has less to do with effort or talent than it does with fate and circumstance.
Advice is a form of catharsis. Dispensing it enables planners to connect with a captive audience in a way that they never could with the public.
But trust me on the alcohol.

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Last updated: Wednesday 13 December 2006   -  Collection copyright © 2001 N. O'Byrne