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  1. #1
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Where is the job satisfaction in managing?

    I will try to make a long story short here... but don't count on it.

    Several years ago, I was promoted to the level of my incompetence, to what really is a project management role.

    My love in the workplace is coding. I could write programs, and watch them work. I could dig in and make the programs more efficient.

    I wrote a communication script back before wide area networks came along that took all the data entered during a shift, uploaded it, downloaded any updates (including zip code changes) and applied them, and in most places it was running at 1200 bps dial-up. Management decided it was taking too long (about 20 minutes at a busy office) so they called in the "experts" from the vendor and they found blazing speed improvements, like reducing the wait time between sending the attention signal to the modem, and dialing (which I had increased, because some modems failed at the default) and managed to shave off less than a second off of the 20 minute transmissions. I laughed when I thought of spending thousands of dollars to have that "work" done to improve my scripts.

    I could keep going, but you see that I found satisfaction in doing a good job. I could pat myself on the back all night about my programming achievements.

    Now, I basically do project plans, and wait for other people to do the real work. Like today, I entered a change request into the system, and then sent emails to 3 other people who did the real work. I had to update a status every hour starting at noon because it was turned into an urgent change... I profusely thanked everyone involved for doing a fine job, but I realized that I have no power to do anything if they didn't do the job. Some of the people I relied on don't share my management chain until we go up about 4 levels to the CIO.

    I got the job done, or rather coordinated other people in getting the job done... and it was stressful, and in the end, I feel virtually no job satisfaction.

    Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that I even have a job... I would just like to get some emotional benefit along with the financial benefit, if possible. I used to.

    Does anyone else working in a similar capacity have any secrets to job satisfaction as a project manager?

    I could sure use some.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
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    Well I am 24 so not quite at the project management level of my career , but prior to doing my current job (equipment validation scientist at a pharma company) I worked as a life guard > supervisor > office manager in a fairly large life guard company. I found it rewarding because I worked with a lot of different people and always had a good idea of "big picture" projects, which made me feel important, I also got to "fix" alot of problems and help people out.

    In my experience it is rewarding (or at least seems it) at the upper and lower ends of the spectrum. With the "middle management" region of a company being the no man's land where you are in charge of people, but not many. However you still report to people and can't really make changes or run things the way you want. This kinda sounds like the position you may be in... There is a guy at my current job that is a "project leader" that is in charge of one person but doesn't do any of the work...it is the most stupid thing I have ever seen. The "group" of 2 gets half the work done that could be because the "leader" doesn't do any work!

    Anyway you know your people and if you are as good at your job as you say I would suggest a more active role if you have time for it. As a peon in a company I never mind help/suggestions from a intelligent project manager.

  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Project management is so much more than just instructing people what to do. When you're truly managing a large scale project and not just a portion of it (which is what it sounds like is happening to you, unfortunately) you're responsible for not only timelines, but budgets, vendor contracts, materials, etc.
    Sure, you might be taking care of it all by delegation, but ultimately it's your responsibility to assure that the project runs smoothly. The key is to watch the big picture and hand out the minutiae for your teams to handle. That leaves you time to deal with any snags along the way.
    If it's running smooth, maybe it will seem like there's not much to do aside from updates. That alone is what I find to be a satisfactory portion of my day; when I'm not fighting fires left and right. It means I selected a good team, we designed an appropriate attack toward the project, and we'll end up with a good outcome.
    I agree with heckler, though. If you feel bored, then be more hands-on with your teams and get involved with things.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

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    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    I feel the joy in managing is developing the talents of others. I was always so obsessed with getting projects done on time, budget, and within constraints. Reflecting, I can safely say that all those accomplishments have not changed the course of human events one bit. The development of a person, or at least providing the pathway of development has certainly had a positive effect.

  5. #5
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    I always felt the joy in managing was having the ability to fire people.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  6. #6
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    The most rewarding management jobs are where you are told the outcomes you must deliver and you have a lot of flexibility on how you produce. Long term management means recruiting and growing/developing the right people.

    Probably the best thing I ever did in my career was having the entire office go off site for three days for a strategic planning session. Half of that was an "outward bound" team building experience. That turned an office of individuals coming to work for the day into a cohesive group that worked towards a collective vision.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mr. Fly's Avatar
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    What kind of management are you talking about? A "people" manager (also known sometimes as a functional manager) or a project manager? Those are completely different things. A PM is essentially an individual contributor since he/she contributes the skill of trying to get the project done on time, on budget, on scope. There's a lot of people skill involved but ultimately, you don't determine anyone's review. A FM is a totally different beast since the job is not so much a successful object, as it is a successful team of individual contributors, who themselves may be PMs. An employee's success or failure can be significantly influenced by his/her FM.

    Being a successful individual contributor takes a very different mindset than being a successful (functional) manager. A successful individual contributor basically needs to be good at what he/she does, and can get along at least OK with the rest of the team. At the end of the day, he/she can check out and leave the work day behind.

    Being a successful FM means that you get blamed for almost everything that a lot of times isn't even within your control. For example, you get blamed for lack of promotions, pay rises, etc even though your hands are mostly tied by either the higher ups or HR. Or you may get snide remarks behind your back about how you're just a heartless slave driver who has no technical know-how to understand the work. And you have to do this amongst the office politics that some FMs like to play. But, if you're a good and true FM, you still worry and fret about your people all the time. Sometimes, it's like parenting a group of adults who act like teenagers, in that they think you're against them, when you're really not. What can you do? For the most part, their future in the company literally lie in your hands.

    However, every once in a while, seeing one or two of your employees blossom into successful individual contributors that get great recognition across the department or even company is that addictive drug that keeps you coming back for more. You've made a difference in those people and they know and thank you for it. That makes it all worthwhile. I've never been a full-time teacher, but I imagine that's how they feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    I always felt the joy in managing was having the ability to fire people.
    That too.

  8. #8
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    I always felt the joy in managing was having the ability to fire people.
    But not out of a cannon... into the sun.

  9. #9
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    For me the joy was teaching others what I know so that they can take care of the place should I need them to. I love to give others all that I can, especially if it's learning. To be able to help the company grow, and to instill pride within the employees, knowing that the company is successful because of THEM. It was very rewarding to step back and show the employees what their effort has done to improve our company.



    But when the company bars you from doing just that (teaching) then it's time to step down.


    They didn't like that very much.
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    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  10. #10
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    A few years back, I thought I might want to consider project management. Lots of people at work with less experience than I have were doing it. It seemed to be the pathway into management and more money. With that job code and "skills" I could move from opportunity to opportunity.

    Well, I didn't do it, and while I still get irritated seeing people I used to be peers with showing up higher on the org chart than me, and it kind of pisses me off to think they got raises that I didn't, I realize how much I would hate the job function. If I could guarantee I was working on something I appreciated the value of, and if I knew that the customers would be competent in laying out their requirements and coordinating their testing, and if I knew I'd be working with people with sufficient knowledge to get the job done without constant micro-managing, I might enjoy it. Then again, pigs could fly.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  11. #11
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Reason 1: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukEjumdmJWE&feature=related"]YouTube - Ari fires[/ame]

    Reason 2: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5uC3HXNm28&feature=related"]YouTube - The Best "Ari" Monologue Ever[/ame]
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  12. #12
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid View Post
    But not out of a cannon... into the sun.
    Where is the fun without that?
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

  13. #13
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Some good points here that I will try to use.

    I am dealing with other frustrations, but thanks for the help!

    BTW - I have nobody working for me... If I need something done, my first step is to ask the developer how busy he is, since his primary work is on other projects.

    I have no authority to hire, fire or discipline those in my own office, and can barely get those outside of the office to respond to emails.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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