Goodbye Project Management

I was asked last week why I was no longer a Project Manager. Interesting question, one of which I have given a lot of thought.

I quit being a Project Manager in 2009. I’d just been awarded a top award in Project Management, and had a wealth of opportunities ahead of me. It was a big decision, one that I did not take lightly. And when I finally bit the bullet and handed in that letter, I was met with some confusion, some understanding and a whole lot of gossip and innuendo as to why I was leaving, and how dare I, since I had just been given an award? I mean, I needed to stay and give even more – right?

The fact of the matter is that I was exhausted. Being a Project Manager is hard work, and comes with a lot of stress and sleepless nights – especially if you care about your job, your clients and your projects. Sure, I could have tried to NOT care, as I’ve seen quite a few Project Managers do – but then again, I don’t know how they slept at night with the mess that was often left behind them.

That is one of the reasons I quit. The other – well. That’s a long story for another time. All I am going to say is that the sudden death of a colleague, who virtually dropped dead from what I perceive as the stress from one of the projects we were working on, had provided me with a wake up call. And so I walked. No career was worth that sacrifice.

So, I’m now working in the field of Project Governance, of which I kind of fell into as a sideward move away from being a Project Manager. I now deal with other Project Managers and their projects. I think I may be a sucker for punishment.

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13 thoughts on “Goodbye Project Management

  1. Janine,
    I found myself at that same juncture in 1992. I was in the military at that time, we had been back from the Gulf for almost 18 months and I had entered my final enlistment to retirement. One of the friends I had was 6 months away from retirement when he passed away. The current statistic at that time was that 60% of military retiree’s were dead within 12 months after retirement. Now, I’m not certain that this was true, but the opportunity came for me to walk away and not have to deal with that stress any longer. I took it and I could not be happier for the decision. Again, that is a story for another time, but I can appreciate and applaud your decision.

  2. Knowing when to walk away because of your own expectations for yourself, and not others, shows greats strength. It’s a risk, but you need to do it to keep healthy, body and mind. Good for you.

  3. Janine, Makes all the sense in the world. It’s called Self-preservation. Too many people, like your colleague, err in the opposite direction and hang on until it’s too late. Some jobs, like vampires, literally suck the life out of you while others turn you into a robot. Unfortunately, given current economic circumstances, many people are willing to sacrifice their lives at the altar of that unseen god, corporative profits.

  4. Janine, I am so glad you listened to that voice inside your spirit saying that you needed a change.
    Everything happens for a reason.
    When one door closes, another door of opportunity will open.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Dropping dead from /because of work…now that is ONE wake up call indeed!! I think you made the right choice (not that you need any affirmation). Good luck on the new post!

  6. It is hard to make decisions that have a career choice riding on it. Looking forward should always be the focus. I have heard the term-“falling forward” and I like that thought of pushing to the next project, challenge and business venture or career.

  7. Janine your decision to leave the other position sounds like it was because of an associates unfortunate ending. But I believe you still love what you do so staying within that industry but in a different capacity might be the best thing for you.

    Give it your best shot, stay healthy and keep pushing forward!

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