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How to Advance Your Project Management Career

Inevitably, we all struggle with the question of what to be when we “grow up.” Harry Hall explains the wisdom of finding purpose and setting goals in a particularly enlightening PM South blog. In a nutshell, Hall’s advice to his friend’s college-age son boils down to a single sentence:

When we are fuzzy about our long-term goals, we will struggle with short-term decisions.

It’s widely agreed upon that goal setting tends to make a person more successful. Without having a far-off goal, there’s no way to structure the numerous steps between ‘You Are Here [X]’ and your destination of choice. Hall takes this principle a step further by making the distinction between a goal and a purpose:

Purpose is what I want to do or to become. It is the general direction toward which you would like to move. Goals are the specifics of what we wish to accomplish.

Finding the Career “Sweet Spot”

The point of all this advice is to orient oneself toward achieving a fulfilling career as a project manager (among other professions). When you realize that you are not taking the necessary steps (goals) to achieve your purpose, it’s time to start making changes. For instance, if your current job is not the job you want to be working, there are steps to get you on the right track.

a. Volunteer
b. Self-Educate
c. Apprentice

But wait, how do I know what I want in the first place? If you’re feeling unsure about what your actual goals should be, it pays to do some soul searching. A common way to discover your unique talents and proclivities begins with trying new things. The more things you try, the sooner you’ll find what Hall calls the “sweet spot,” that which comes naturally.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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