Saturday, July 25, 2009

I wanna be a Manager

Isn't that the typical answer most people give when asked in an interview of where they will see themselves in 10 years? Its the answer I always gave because I couldn't really think of anything else. I usually got replies like "that's what all the guys say... I want to be a manager... full stop." At the time I used to get pissed off thinking "what the fark else do you except me to say? I don't even know anything about working"

But you know what... I don't think I really want to be a manager just yet. This word is loosely used to mean 'big important dude with big salary". But to tell you the truth being a manager is a big pain in the ass and I don't think I'm ready to become one.

Now its not that I can't be a good manager or that I can't handle it. Anyone can be a manager. No, really. But being a good manager... now that's something else entirely and requires a good dose of leadership skills. People have to follow you, and respect you. Otherwise you're just a joke.

Let me insert a little anecdote from my last year at ACBT. We had a subject based entirely on project work, so the team aspect became vital. I joined this team with the impressive 6 foot dude that came equipped with a subwoofer for vocals, along with a good friend of mine in addition to some girls known to us.

Everything went well at the start. Our fearless leader regularly stood up and gave big speeches. His initial speech went on to give an outstanding but vague outline on the entire project and went so far as to talk about the printing costs and how they would be split. I was impressed... this guy had everything planned out.

But then the second meeting came along... another big speech, and again the printing costs. The meeting ended with nothing. Then a third... and a fourth. I soon realized that nothing was actually ever getting done. Everyone bitched behind our leader's back and nodded "we must do something." But each and every meeting nobody said a thing.

Things were looking very bad and our meetings with our client were also going nowhere as a result. This was the point where I intervened. I guess I didn't really do it the best possible way looking back at it, but I did the best I could with my abilities at the time. One meeting the client wasn't there so we were forced to come back later. I told our fearless leader along with the others "lets come back tomorrow"... but really I told everyone else to stay.

We waited and had our first successful meeting that day, and it was from this point onward things started to actually move. But even by this point we were way behind all the other groups. The only thing I regret was not openly confronting that guy. I think I had argued with him, but he was one of those types that argues about something completely unrelated in a loud and violent fashion. I wasn't really up for a fight back in the day. So I resorted to the sneak tactic. Not exactly my proudest moment... but I did what I could and I got it done.

But even after that I ended driving the whole thing. I kept up regular mails to everyone about the progress which I was doing whilst talking to Fearless Leader's second in command (the metal head). Metal head was the most vocal opposition for FL... but only behind his back. He like FL also lied a lot... which caused some confusion. Metal head also didn't do as much as I did, claimed that he did and complained constantly that I did nothing. Which is quite frankly bizzare to me.

I definitely ended up doing at least 50% of the work. That was another mistake on my part. I really should have delegated more in the end but I guess I really did want to play the hero... afterall doesn't everyone? Still everyone contributed especially more towards the end and I'm confident that if there was more to do and more months... that's the way it would have been afterward.

At the end we had to review each other and give feedback. My team members all gave me very positive feedback. I was kinda surprised since I took a lot of flak from metalhead the whole way through, but I guess the others kept silent. There was a lot of fighting in the group mainly between Metal Head, FL and me, so it wasn't particularly fun.

Now FL was the *SUBWOOFER* "TEAM LEADER" *SUBWOOFER* and Metal Head was "SECOND IN COMMAND" oooohhh. But in the end neither of those guys was up to leading. They wanted it so badly like little kids but I don't think they know what it entails. I remember talking to my good friend and team member about it on the way home. I was pretty worried since the big talk cost us a lot of time. So I just went ahead and drove straight in to it one night just going like a machine, and kept going along with the constant e-mail updates. It wasn't fun... I was motivated by fear of failing. Really I'd do it again, but only if I have to.

So I don't see what the rush is to become a manager. Some people I know want to be one as soon as possible. But why? There is so much pressure and stress associated with it. Sure you can impress your friends and the ladies with "I'm a manager..." and gain some perceived self worth in the eyes of the world... but beyond that? Is that really going to make you happy? I'm settling to be a worker for now... be a manager in ten years should I want the job. From what I've seen it takes a long time to be a manager in most places unless your awesomely talented, and I think maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe you really need to experience a lot and become seasoned before you can be a good manager. I think its true when the older guys say "these young guys all want to be managers... just like that".


  1. Woa.. I always stop dead track when some one ask me "what you want to do in ten years" I mean c'mon ten years can change a government (or not.. )Well if someone ask me guess I'd say "yeah a manager with a Benz for a car and house near the beach". The answer will be such as
    1. I am too lazy to think
    2. it's the most beautifully painted picture put into our heads my the education system
    3. Maaaaaan 10 years is way too long

    Have you ever being in a corporate environment? I have. And yes I have seeing so many "managers" like that. They look talk dress like a manager. But when its time to show off their talent. The house burns down. :)
    Methinks, that a paper qualification does not make manager and specially a leader. They pass the ball to someone and end up creating chaos.

    Yeah be a manager not act like one.

    good food for thought post :)

  2. Quite true....

    first off...seems you gotta really shitty team to work with..:P, but that just isnt the case always...i hve worked with some really great people, great people whom i took much inspiration being the leader isnt that much crappy always...

    Yeah its really hard work being a manager, But you are ignoring one precious aspect of becomming a manager..! Good salaries and more benifits! You mite have to work your ass off..but at least they would start paying a bit more for that.....

    I guess thats the risk one should be willing to take...And they just dont hand you out management positions, you have to work your arse off really hard even to get to that level...on that aspect it may not be an effort one willing to take....let alone being a manager...

    anyways good post...

    p.s now you can safely take 50% of the work!