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.


How to create a movement

I’m currently on a 3 1/2 day course for work. I won’t go into what it’s about, apart from that it involves Project Office methodologies and that I should end up accredited! And in consideration of that, I do have an exam in the morning and I really shouldn’t be on the internet (especially because I have a head cold and I should be resting!).

Anyway, half way through day 1 the Facilitator, in an effort to pep up her ailing students, played the following You Tube video for us. I had actually already seen it but I had forgotten how good it was. I also hadn’t thought about using it within the context of what I do as a career (which I only realised 2 months ago that what I am doing now can actually be a real career!).

I hope you enjoy it – it made me smile, and it made me think again about what my perception of leadership was, and about how important ‘followers’ actually are in creating any kind of change!

You’re a leader. Really?

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

The word ‘leader’ is bandied about a lot these days, at times blurred by the muddied waters of labels, titles and job descriptions – ‘manager’, ‘supervisor’, ‘director’, ‘chief’, ‘head’, ‘guru’, ‘prime minister’, the list goes on. But just because you have worked yourself into a position to be called one of these, it does not mean that you are automatically deserving of being called a ‘leader’.

A leader earns their label, and they get it because of the work they do, the humility and integrity they continue to hold, and the people they help and take along with them on the way.

What are your thoughts?