50% of PMPs happy at work, says survey

'Sometimes you are simply in over your head'

Only 50% of new hires were confident in their decision to accept a job, according to a survey conducted in 28 countries last year.
Think before you leap

Caught up in the thrill of a new role, some project professionals jump at their first job offer only to regret the decision shortly thereafter.

The facts are that only 50% of new hires were confident in their decision to accept a job, according to a survey conducted in 28 countries last year.

Help wanted

First, diagnose the source of your remorse. Sometimes you are simply in over your head.

It is not unusual for a project professional to be overconfident in his or her skill set.

Other times, organisations can misjudge as to whether an employee is ready for the next level.

“I had been promoted to oversee a deliverable critical for a construction project’s schedule, and I didn’t have a clue on how to do it,” says Pablo Fernandez, PMP, engineer of construction contract and risk management, Jirau na Tractebel Engineering, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Instead of letting the anxiety of the unknown consume him, Fernandez pulled together ideas on ways to complete the deliverable and then asked team members to fill in any gaps.

You may also want to seek help from your supervisor or human resources department, says Andre Choma, PMI-RMP, PMP, master engineer at Vale, a mining company in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

They should be able to advise on next steps, including shifting your responsibilities or segueing you into a different position.

Cultural divide

Another potential source of job remorse is culture clash. Even the most thorough interview process can create false expectations.

For example, just as candidates may find it difficult to properly convey who they are during an interview, organisations may paint a portrait of company culture that is more an ideal than a reality.

If you like to stick to the agenda, but once on the job you learn freewheeling brainstorming sessions are baked into the organisational DNA, you may not fit in.

Locate a mentor — and do it quickly, says Donna Reed, an agile programme manager and founder of The Agilista PM, Seal Beach, California, USA.

Pick someone who knows the company, is willing to answer job and work environment questions, and help you resolve major issues.

Fish out of water

Sometimes hiring managers cannot speak for the project management culture at an organisation.

And even project directors — eager to fill the position — could create an idealistic portrait of an organisation’s project management environment.

If you learn the organisational culture does not value project management, you may quickly feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated.

In that case, try to forge ties with business owners, which should put you in a better position to deliver projects that meet their goals.

Geoffrey Warnock, PMP, training programme developer, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Gainesville, Florida, US, earned respect for project management at a previous organisation by making a commitment to safety.

After he had learned improving safety records was a goal for one of the department heads, he gathered lessons learned from similar projects.

With that, he was able to demonstrate the meaning and impact of project management — changing the organisational culture to better suit him in the process.

Finally, remember that it may take a while for you to settle into a new role, so be patient.

Choma learned that lesson firsthand. “During the first six months at a new project management job, I felt like nothing was moving,” he says.

“But once I took a step back, I noticed they were, even if very slowly. What I needed to do was adapt myself to this new scenario.”

By diagnosing the reason for your discomfort in a new role, you can fight the urge to flee and focus on your job — and build your career.

Original source: www.pmi.org

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Issue 58