So Nothing Much Has Changed, Then…

Here’s a job ad from the New York Times, January 2, 1972.  It is quoted by Harold Kerzner in his seminal work on Project Management.

"Personable, well-educated, literate individual with college degree in Engineering to work for a small firm.  long hours, no fringe benefits, no security, little chance for advancement are among the inducements offered.  Job requires wide knowledge and experience in manufacturing, materials, construction techniques, economics, management and mathematics.  Competence in the use of spoken and written English is required.  Must be willing to suffer personal indignities from clients, professional derision from peers in the more conventional jobs, and slanderous insults from colleagues.

The job involves frequent extended trips to inaccessible locations throughout the world, manual labour, and extreme frustration from the lack of data on which to base decisions.

The applicant must be willing to risk personal and professional future on decisions based upon inadequate information and complete lack of control over acceptance of recommendations by clients.  Responsibilities for the work are unclear and little or no guidance is offered.  Authority commensurate with responsibility is not provided, either by the firm or its clients.  Applicant should send resume, list of publications, references, and other supporting documentation to…"

This is actually helpful.  Once you realise that indignities, derision and slanderous accusations are all a part of the job, then one is more likely simply to take it in one’s stride and not feel so put-upon. 

Mind you, I know of at least one PM who committed suicide recently and any number that have divorced/ taken to the drink, etc.  It’s not a job for bunnies, I have to say. 

And miles above the level being considered here, is the PMI code of ethics and professional conduct.  It is a high standard of personal accountability and veracity.  And if we all followed it then project management would be one of the most honourable and honoured professions in the world.

Kipling understood a few things back a hundred-odd years ago, when he said,

"If you can keep your head when those about you,

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt,

yet make allowance for their doubting too.

…Or being hated, not give way to hating,

Or being lied about don’t deal in lies…"

Yep, sounds like the job of a project manager…

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