When I Grow Up

<posted on it-toolbox.com>

There are a few "life" things that I've learned in school this week, but so I don't stray from the subject too often, I'm keeping those to myself for now. Instead, I'm going to look at why I am here in this community. When I requested this blog I wasn't sure what category (community) to use. I narrowed it down to a few, and finally decided on Project Management. A week or two ago, when one of my professors talked so much about being a Project Manager, I thought, that's what I want to be when I grow up. A Project Manager! Now, it seems to be a good fit for three reasons.

Creative and Detail Oriented
In describing myself to some potential employers, I say that I am detail oriented and creative. At least one person said that it seemed like an odd combination. I think that combination is essential for a manager of any kind. You don't have to be an artist or inventor, but you have to be able to solve problems, intuitively. It is very helpful to be able to approach a project with a fresh, creative perspective. Every new system is a unique creation with a set purpose.
From what I've gathered from my classes and past experiences, a project manager should also be detail oriented at such a level that he can see the forest AND zoom in on the trees. Failure to track every aspect of a project will lead to surprises, and more often than not, failure. Managing projects requires work. Shuffling papers will only make you look good for a short time.

Project Oriented
What I've done in IT has primarily been programmer/analyst type work that involved management and the users as my primary contacts. I've never been a project manager, but I am very project oriented. I like doing things that have a beginning, involve some development, and an ending. Life is that way.
I like accomplishing things. Just going to work everyday never did appeal to me, so in and outside of work I started projects, like publishing, writing, developing a software package, running tournaments. I did something. And when it was done, I could move on to something else.

Over the years, and I won't reveal my age, I've come to believe that I can do most anything. If I have the tools and the time, I can break things down into manageable pieces, develop a plan and carry it out. All of my certifications were earned that way. I didn't take any classes and had little experience, but by focusing on the plan, I studied, tested myself and accomplished what I set out to do. I learned the subject AND passed the tests. I used the same approach with automobile repair, gardening*, house-painting, and other areas that were new to me. After some research and hard work, I "figured it out." Most of my other programming skills were first developed through self study. Want me to do something? Tell me that I can't do it!

*I still have a lot to learn about gardening.

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