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Maybe a firefighter, a rock star or an astronaut, but not a project manager? There’s something inherently dull about the words “project” and “manager”, the notions they generate make the flames of even the brightest imagination flicker and fade.
And it follows that in the professional world saying you are a project manager won’t get you much respect either.
Not sure how it happened, but instead of thinking of the great moments in PM history, say the NASA space race, The D-Day invasion of Normandy, The construction of the pyramids, the Empire State building, or any of a thousand great things made possible only by someone’s effective management of the project, people think of pocket protectors, overdesigned charts, epic status reports, and people who spend too much time in rooms filled exclusively with other project managers.
If you are not going out of your way to separate yourself from the stereotype, odds are good that when you say “I’m a project manager” the person you are talking to puts you into a Dilbert cartoon in their mind, and you are the punchline.
I suspect all of these folks have similar problems with getting respect from people when they introduce themselves with their literal job title (process), instead of what it is they help make (output). This lack of respect creates a huge opportunity for people with open minds: their expectations of you are low.
UPDATE PM: We’re getting word of service being restored to areas of the Hill including around Volunteer Park.Many PMs unintentionally reinforce this view by trying to get everyone to pay attention to the work they do produce: the meta work of spreadsheets, specifications, presentations and status reports, failing to realize that to most in any organization, these are the least interesting and most bureaucratic things produced in the building.This mismatch of value sends the PM and his/her team into a downward spiral: the PM asking for more and more respect in ways guaranteed to push people further away. Our culture does not think of movie directors, executive chefs, astronauts, brain surgeons, or rock stars as project managers, despite the fact that much of what these cool, high profile occupations do is manage projects. The difference is these individuals would never describe themselves primarily as project managers. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_input. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_spinner. There is not a child alive who dreams of being a project manager.