Project Management

Why I Became A Project Manager

From the The Critical Path Blog
by , , ,
Welcome to The Critical Path--the home for community happenings and events on! This is where you'll find community news, updates, upcoming events, featured member posts and more. We'll also be showcasing hot topics in the project management arena and bringing you interviews with industry experts. The Critical Path is our primary way of getting news out to members, so be sure to check back for updates!

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
Heather McLarnon

Past Contributors:

Marjorie Anderson
Carrie Dunn
Danielle Ritter
Kenneth A. Asbury
Craig Dalrymple
Rebecca Braglio
Kristin Jones

Recent Posts

February 2023 PMI Fact File Stats

January 2023 PMI Fact File Stats

Registration Now Open for Our Next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything!” Webinar

December 2022 PMI Fact File Stats

November 2022 PMI Fact File Stats

We all have days at work where we want to bang our heads against a wall and we ask ourselves, “Why am I even doing this?!” 

You know those days.  Where things that should be simple turn out to be complicated in unforeseen ways.  Or where you just can’t seem to clearly communicate the amazing idea you have in a way that gets heard.  You know that everyone is trying to do more with less, and sift through all of the “nice to have” ideas in order to get to the “must have” requirements.   You know everyone is really on the same team and that not everything can be “priority #1” – but it’s still frustrating.

Even community managers can have days like that – and we have a pretty fun job!!

The great thing about being a community manager here is that we get to attend events like Congress and the answer to my previous question comes crashing into us like a runaway train…  We do this because our members care just as much about the community as we do.  Because the profession makes a real impact on the world around us and on the people working to make a difference.   Because when we have the privilege of connecting with the members of our community, they never fail to energize and inspire us all over again.

I had the opportunity to support nine members of the community who spent their time at Congress connecting one-on-one in informal “consulting” sessions with attendees.  They were there to serve as expert advisers from the community, and by the end of our time together, every one of them had told me how much they had learned and benefited from their time talking with members of the community.  After being booked solid for two days, they too, were re-energized and inspired!

We had a great interactive space to facilitate all of these conversations, complete with chalkboards for quick collaborative discussions and idea sharing.

On a whim, I had posted the following statement to one of the peripheral boards, as a kind of conversation starter:  “Why I Became a Project Manager”.  At the end of the first day, I did a quick tour of the boards, and when I saw this one, my jaw literally dropped.  It was nearly filled with responses.  By the end of the last day, there wasn’t room for any additional postings. 

There were your expected answers, of course, like:  “I fell into it” / “Boss made me” or “Job security” / “The money is good”.  There were some fun answers, too:  “Too short for modeling”, “Because I want to predict the future and learn how to control it”, or “I have been taken into the maelstrom”.

The ones that really got me, though, and reminded me why I love my own job so much, were the ones that spoke to the passion for the profession and the impact it has on the world around us – and there were almost too many of these to count.  “To make a bigger impact on the organization”, “It’s what I was born to do”, “To change the world” (which got three votes), “It’s who I am”, “My calling”, “I discovered what I want to be when I grow up”, “Taking ideas to reality”, and “It felt like a fire inside – passion”.  I don’t really know what more to say to that, other than, “WOW”.

Your passion is our passion.  It inspires us and keeps us looking for new and better ways to support you, to connect with you and to help you to be successful in your careers.  Thanks for all that you do to, in turn, support your community and to keep that fire burning!

Posted by Danielle Ritter on: October 19, 2015 03:40 PM | Permalink

Comments (14)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
As one of the nine experts, I can reflect on the fact that it was truly a unique learning experience. I now have a whole new "network", meet some members with real business challenges and thought that the conference as a whole had so much to offer if you took the time to ...Lookup, Focus and think about Big Things.

This board was probably one of my favorite discussion boards in the Solutions Center along with Where Are You From? As an expert, practitioner and Women in PM I often get asked this question and don't hesitate to share my reflection for new practitioners and aspiring PMs.

Again, thanks so much for the opportunity to meet all of the Community of Practice staff at PMI, and ProjectsatWork and know that you have brought together a new group of experts that have fresh ideas on how to engage with our communities.

Thanks to my new colleagues here on, Priya, Michelle, Dave, Dan, Gina, Bruce, and Beth for your inspiration, collaboration and friendship at the conference. Let's continue to "Inspire others to lead"...

Naomi Caietti, CEO/Managing Editor

Great idea, thanks for sharing the result.

passion is really the first aspect for me. many thanks for sharing the result

Well articulated Dani. For me as my scribe says, it was natural, I take everything in life as a project and approach it as a project manager.. For me I manage projects everywhere.. home, work,, kids.. etc.
So I became a Project Manager, because that is what I do all the time !!!

Encouraging! Sometimes it helps to remember why we do what we do! Thanks for the post!

I've a passion for the profession and doing my very best to promote it in Africa.

Hi Dani

To answer your question - I enjoy working with teams to achieve project success in the rail transit industry. Being accountable for team performance and project results are similar to starting, establishing, building, maintaining and transitioning ownership on a business, which can be likened to a project, program, or portfolio. Business management skill sets apply across the entire project lifecycle - planning, initiating, executing, monitoring and managing, and commissioning and closing. It also involves vision, foresight, leadership, and added value contributions in the construction business domain including management knowledge areas for integration, finance, procurement, human resources, risk management, safety, quality, and environmental. Everyday has the opportunity for achieving success, avoiding risk threats, solving problems, transferring knowledge, applying common sense to processes and decisions, and building and enhancing relationships with the team members.

Being a project manager connects us with team and customer. You learn a lot through experience of all persons experience. Its like being a all rounder captain who can ball, bat and field well in match as well as integrate the team.

Thanks Dani for this post. I wrote that "I Fell In!" on the board, which is a pretty accurate description of how/why I became a project manager. I think what the thrust of your post points to for me is why I continue to be a project manager and why I volunteer for PMI.

It turns out I love project managers. They are crazy and fun people, but there is a group of PMs who seem to have received a special concentration of crazy funness (new word). They are the PMs who volunteer for PMI either as chapter leaders, region leaders, etc...

Regardless of how we found ourselves with the "PMP" after our names, those who have thrown themselves in, and become volunteers see something available in project management that can change the world, and we have given of our scarce free time to promote that in the world.

Thanks for a great post, and for bringing us to experts to congress. What an amazing group of people. I really enjoyed being part of that expert community and getting to know y'all staff from PMI and as well. It was an amazing experience.

thank you, thank you, thank you, and I hope to do it again.

Click here for Day 3 PMI Global Congress Report

Excellent piece, Dani!
Making learning fun always work.
With my clients, I use similar methods with the team to build a WBS or to identify a great list of risks.
I remember you played a great host when I visited GOC in 2010.
That visit was indeed fun!

Good approach.

PM life is not easy and it is for those who love challenges. When we break the structure, "why I become PM", we understand the job requirement and learn the benefits.

Project Management is indeed a unique career choice since it is applicable not only in the workplace but in life generally.

From project managing in Australia, to the Philippines, it has often been a clash of project cultures that tests the boundaries of ethics. I have yet to see one project that doesn't involve some kind of payoff in one form or another, from one stakeholder to another. I welcome the efforts of some local PM's to shift the paradigm.

Very useful activity, love it!

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. "

- Albert Einstein