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Do You Really Want This Job?

Almost 60 days ago, I started my new position as Mid-Level Quality Engineering Manager.

In about 18 months, I went from entry level engineer to mid-level manager! Once I got into the job, I realized that being a manager is much harder than it looks. At times, I felt overwhelmed BUT, each day it gets easier and things start to make sense. In this position, I get some extrinsic rewards like: financial, status, positional power, etc. I also get some intrinsic rewards such as: connecting people, making a positive impact on the team, intellectual challenges, constant learning, etc. I have a cool team of 17 people consisting of engineers, inspectors and a project manager (dispersed throughout California).

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but with any job, you gotta take the good with the bad!

Want to go into management? Go through this list to get a feeling of what I’m talking about before you make the leap!

Here are some things you might experience as a first time manager:
  1. You’ll learn about what your predecessor(s) did right (and “wrong”).
  2. You’ll rely on your team for their technical expertise.
  3. You’ll have a steep learning curve no matter what.
  4. You’ll sometimes attend meetings in your PJs from your kitchen table. * Thank God for a company laptop 🙂 *
  5. People will want to know more about you and ask personal questions.
  6. You’ll meet some really cool people in “high places” in the company.
  7. You’ll realize that some issues will work themselves out. * Relax *
  8. You’ll immediately recognize who your top employees are.
  9. You’ll be glad you’re a little EVMS (Earned Value Management System) savvy.
  10. A few of your direct reports will call you “Boss” when they want something and it’ll make you laugh.
  11. You’ll get to know other managers on a personal level.
  12. Some of your direct reports will look you up on Google and LinkedIn.
  13. Your team will be skeptical about your existence, but will soon get over it.
  14. You’ll (possibly) hear, “I have kids your age (or older).”
  15. You’ll accidentally create more work for your boss. * It’ll be ok…BREATHE *
  16. You’ll shoot off an email and say, “Fuck!” after hitting “Send”…and once again when you see, “Your attempt to recall this message has FAILED”.
  17. You’ll be CC’d on A LOT of unnecessary emails. * Sit back and watch the show *
  18. Most people will want to see you succeed.
  19. Very few will want you to fail.
  20. You’ll get more SPIRITUAL. * Not necessarily religious…they’re different *
  21. Some people will be jealous about your promotion. Show ’em why you’re THE BEST! 😀
  22. Seasoned managers will want to help you. Let them, but make your own decisions…you’re the boss!
  23. All managers remember their “1st time”…managing! And they’ll want to help you; let them.
  24. You’ll be sent a meeting invite 5 mins before the meeting starts…in another building.
  25. Get ready to represent your boss in his/her absence. * Take good notes *
  26. You’ll be more than a manager, you’ll be a: coach, mentor, advocate, trailblazer, bitch, counselor and a bunch of other things.
  27. You’ll realize that you should have held out for WAYYYYYY more money!
  28. You’ll often think, “Man, I could have said that better…”
  29. Or my favorite, “I really shouldn’t have said that…”
  30. You’ll wonder how your old managers made their work look so damn easy!
  31. You’ll laugh at yourself often.
  32. You’ll often times work through lunch and take more breaks when things are “quiet.”
  33. You’ll become a slave to your inbox(es). (I have 3 company email accounts, a cell phone and a pager…YES a pager in 2016!)
  34. You’ll appreciate quiet moments more than you used to.
  35. Part of your salary will be spent on massages, a personal trainer and a housekeeper. (And it’ll be worth it!)
  36. You might rethink wanting to go into executive management.
  37. You’ll wonder how your boss (Director) and boss’ boss (VP) do it all!
  38. You’ll soon realize that these are growing pains and it’ll make sense soon enough.
  39. Despite the craziness, you’ll be glad to be away from your old job.
  40. You’ll thank GOD for direct reports who are self-directed and can provide you with some direction as well.
  41. Some of your largest frustrations will be with other managers who go to your boss instead of you when they have an issue.
  42. You’ll love being able to occasionally leave work early on a Friday…
  43. Usually because you’ve already put in a 40-hour work week before Thursday afternoon.
  44. You’re constantly being looked to for guidance.
  45. You’ll swap stories with other managers and realize how lucky you are!
  46. You’ll spend a majority of your time in meetings. * Learn to love ’em *
  47. A good way to break the ice with your team is a good laugh.
  48. The quickest way to gain trust is to follow through on commitments.
  49. You’ll instantly gain more confidence.
  50. You’ll realize that “Time Management” is not just some buzz phrase, it’s MANDATORY!
  51. You’ll spent 80% of your time on 20% of the people. * You’ll be on the phone with HR for that 20% *
  52. You’ll quickly learn how to deliver “bad news”…and of course, it’ll suck.
  53. You’ll unconsciously think about work in the shower, while getting a massage, and other times. It will annoy the shit out of you!
  54. Meeting with each team member 1-on-1 is the best way to get to know them on a personal level.
  55. You’ll wonder why you fought so hard to get into this crazy job.
  56. Then you’ll remember that you: wanted to help people, you love the challenge of solving new problems, your products are super-cool and you’re making a positive difference.
  57. For you, that’s more than enough motivation to leap out of the bed around 4:30AM each day. 🙂

Being a manager is no easy task. You’ll enjoy being a manager if you enjoy a challenge, working with people and genuinely enjoy the products your team create. These are some of my experiences as a new manager. For the most part, it’s been a positive experience despite its challenges. I’m glad I made the leap!

Are you an aspiring leader?

Which items on the list surprised you the most? What can you do to prepare for the challenges of management?

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