CAREER

A worthwhile way to make a living

One of the challenges of life is finding or making something worthwhile to do with our time which might also provide us with a good living. I've had many jobs and careers and I can report that the most meaningful were the occupations which kept me busy making the world a better place. There are no end to the number and type of such endeavor, though I'd like to tell you about the single best I've found which I hope might interest you, especially if you are someone who is still struggling to find what they are going to do with their lives. So, why not take a moment and consider the option of becoming a project manager.

What is a "Project Manager"?

Project managers are men and women who make things happen. We are the people who produce end results on time, to specification and within cost. I know this sounds eminently boring, but trust me, it's not. Especially when the projects you are working on are in pursuit of the greater good. Project Manager specialize in taking one off activities which require some considerable effort and coordination and get the job done. Think about movie producers, our job is a lot like that, though rarely as glamorous. But once you mature past the point of requiring glamor then I think you'll find the more pedestrian pursuit of good through more everyday goals and activities quite the equal to glamor.

First Steps

 

The very first step in becoming an effective Project Manager or "PM" is to become a good communicator. This means you need to learn to both listen and speak effectively. Professional PMs also need a formal education so we'll combine these into a single goal. My recommendation to begin by going to school, junior college in particular if you've never attended any secondary education.

Community College

Locate and enroll at your area's community college. Enroll in the standard curriculum you'll need to follow to transfer to university. It'll all be general education (GE) stuff for the most part, but check to see if your school has a "Speech Communications" department. If so, then enroll in these classes - ALL OF THEM. Not all at once of course, but you'll want to take them all: from Interpersonal Communication, to Public Speaking, to Intercultural Communication to the debate team if one exists. This stuff is the key to your eventual success. Learning to communicate well will be essential to every job you will ever have, and especially for your life as a professional PM. Who cares if you need an extra year of community college to take all of these extra classes? It's an investment well worth the effort. Additionally, take lots of English classes, especially English composition courses and creative writing. Learn to write and learn to write well. This is another essential skill.

Next, after a few years at the community college - preferably after you a take an Associate's degree - you'll be ready to then transfer to university.

University

Now's the time to really dig into the focus of your education. Find the campus' Speech Department and introduce yourself to some of the staff. Trust me, they'll most likely be glad to know you, to know someone who is genuinely interested in the subject they teach. Enroll again in as broad a curriculum as you can with special emphasis on a variety of Speech Comm classes. Study hard, make some friends, live the life, and get your degree.

Find a job

The next step is the hardest...finding a job. But not any job, an entry-level job in an organization which uses project managers. You won't be qualified to be a PM right off the bat, even with your degree, though if you want you can continue your schooling to get further certifications to make you a more attractive PM candidate. I don't think this is necessary though, as the best route in now is to sink your teeth into the industry and start going to work. Don't worry, I'm going to teach some basic skills to get started. Your task is to find your way in. It's not an easy thing to do. You're going to have to work VERY hard and withstand a lot of potential rejection and eating crow before someone is willing to give you a chance. If you're not that kind of person then find something else to do with your life as this path probably isn't the one for you.

I'll give you a job-hunting tip... Consider the public sector. Government jobs are a terrific way to get started as a PM, though they can be hard to get. There's almost no chance you'll land a PM or even an analyst job right off the bat. In fact, there may not even be any "Project Manager" jobs listed or formally recognized within the organization. Though trust me, PMs are in there. They are disguised as other jobs, analyst jobs, and leads and supervisors and other types of positions. Often, PM jobs simply find their way to the people within the organization who are most qualified - or better yet competent - to do the job. That's what you are after, as you want to BE that person; you want to BECOME the most qualified and competent PM candidate in the building. After you achieve that worthy goal, then the rest is relatively easy.

So look for a government job. Check with your city, your county, your state and even your federal level bureaucracies. They each have a job board. They each have a Human Resource department. They each have managers and executives who are suffering from the heavy weight of burdensome projects and insufficient numbers of people to run these. This is your in. This is your chance. But to get there you must first GET YOURSELF IN. You must CREATE YOUR OWN CHANCE.

I'll leave the rest to you... As part of your qualification to be a project manager is to make your way to the role.

But before you go...here are some tools to help you along the way.

ABOUT

Going Alone was begun by Kurt Bell in an effort to help others understand and manage  the recognition of the apparent indifference of the universe to our well being, happiness or even our existence, and to find ways to make a good life in spite of this fact.

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