Good to report in from Manchester UK. I have been following Manager Tools for 5 years but only recently got a role which meant that I could afford to subscribe. My career has taken an interesting path and one that should have kick started many years ago if I had got my act together sooner.
I have managed staff since the mid 90's mostly as an unqualified management accountant. My last decent role was at the University of Manchester where I stayed for 9 years. Previous to that I tended to hang around in roles for about 5 years before drifting into the next one. A good mentor of mine asked me once whether I was a ‘career elephant or a career flee’ and I guess that I had to admit to rather liking the stability of 4 sturdy legs (I resist any temptation to compare myself to other parts of an elephant). This was a wake up call for me. Career progression is not going to come and find you, you have to proactively seek it out.
Suddenly, I was in for a bit of a shock as my career path veered off my normal track. My next two roles didn’t make it through the year. Various reasons including Covid cut backs were to blame. Following probably one of my top 3 strangest interviews I found myself back in a University, but this time in a contract role.
My first thoughts were that this was only a short term fix to my potential unemployed status. But, then I realised that being a contractor had a completely different feel to it. For a start, this role has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. My last perm roles didn’t even come with a job description. In my last perm roles, there was a lot of pressure to prove yourself. The contract role somehow feels different. The expectation of my abilities seemed to be accepted from day one. I am an off the shelf package, just read the label to see what skills you are purchasing. And I actually rather like that. Of course there are still high expectations, but there is no pressure to prove, just to do, and I know that I can do, so that isn’t a problem.
Project management comes with different management skills when compare to a perminant manager. Most of my directs only report to me for between 10% to 50% of their day. As I will only be here for 12 months I have no direct influence on the staff development (although I do try to influence) and I have no powers of recruitement (although I will influence that should the matter arrise). One thing that is definitely still the same are OoO's which are a vital part of the working week. The team love them so much that they use it as a portal to discuss their non-project roles with me, probably to fill the void left by their actual managers who don't do OoOs.
With my current role ending in a few months I have just completed my first 1 page resume (down from 3) and am looking forward to where a career in project and programme management might take me next.