Why Are You a Project Manager?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I meet a lot of project managers, but I don’t meet many people who view project management as simply a job. For the vast majority, it’s at least a career—and sometimes a bit more than that.

So in this article, I want to explore that a bit further. I think it’s important for us to understand why we do what we do, especially if a career is still developing and growing. Understanding what drives you will help you make better career choices, and ultimately—when you look back on what you have achieved in your working life—a greater sense of satisfaction.

It’s easy to understand why not many PMs view the role as just a job—something that pays the bills until a better opportunity comes along. Project management requires too much personal investment if you are going to succeed, and frankly, there are easier jobs if you just want a paycheck. That’s not to say that people can’t become disillusioned with project management. For those people, the role may shift from a career to a job, but they generally self-select out of the position into another career.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s getting on 80 years old now, but is still one of the commonly taught theories in psychology. It is also commonly used when teaching basic people management and motivation skills&…

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