Today is the day I start my new career as a Project Manager.
I am nervous and anxious. A little scared. A lot excited.
I have been thinking about becoming a project manager for years. I started working on projects at State Farm Insurance way back when I was in my early 20’s. That was exciting and new. I loved it. I was my project managers’ right hand woman. I had about 5 project managers I supported at one time. 4 of the projects worked together, but separate (that is a LONG story). The 5th was a project manager that only worked projects of the utmost importance to the inner workings of the company. How cool is that?? I learned about the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) there. I followed the rules and learned what I needed to learn. This was a great job to learn from. I worked with some amazing people — a few of which I am still in contact. Yippee! I was really young then and didn’t have the training or experience yet, but it felt like it was the right path to take — in the future.
We moved to Saint Louis where I was granted an amazing opportunity to work for The Boeing Company on the F/A-18 AMC program. Another project based environment, but this time using Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), not the PMBOK. This was a new set of rules to learn in a “new to me” environment. I’m a process geek, but I don’t think I knew it until then. I really learned to love following processes, writing processes, and trying to get folks to adhere to the processes. CMMI and I become one. I supported several project managers, but life was very different than I was used to for the PjM. I stuck to configuration management — and was happy.
We moved to San Diego where I worked in a few places, all using CMMI. I found myself thriving in that environment, but also missing the PMBOK. Should I go to school, take a PMP course, learn more about the PMBOK again? I’ll admit it — I was scared and it intimidated me to even think about doing PMP work while I was a configuration manager. I worked with project managers that were PMP certified and they didn’t look like they were having much fun or enjoying themselves. They were stressed out over classes, work was demanding a LOT of their time, and the project never seemed to go anywhere.
What in the heck was I thinking wanting any of that?! Now that I have been away from that for a couple of years, I realized it was the environment, not the PMBOK, that was causing their problems. I had to remember: I have seen Project Management work — and work well! Following a methodology, when the boss / company / team are all on board, can be incredibly satisfying and successful.
I am sure I will have my ups and downs, we all do. I may not do it all right the first time, but I will learn from my mistakes and do it right (at least better) the second time around. I will ask for help. I will research and read more work “stuff” to become a better Project Manager. I am sure I will get overwhelmed some days — I think that is to be expected — I’ll turn to my rock and ask him for even more support than he gives me already.
I am excited to see where this path leads. It has been a long and winding road to get here, but I think I am where I finally belong.