Nearly one in five project managers have thought of quitting their job. 37% of professionals have contemplated quitting project management within the last year.
Even worse are those who claim to have “some project management experience”. 41% of respondents have seriously considered quitting their job and looking for a new career.
Why do people quit project management? What’s the alternative to project management?
Why do project managers quit?
There are many reasons to leave
It is difficult for managers to get things done
The organization doesn’t want to improve PM maturity
There is no career progression
You don’t like the work
What other career options are there for project managers?
What would your life look like if you stopped project management?
I collected some statistics on project management from original research (thanks, blog reader community) to discover some frightening facts: It’s tough out there for project professionals.
Let’s begin with this story from a project manager.
I hate that project management is about delivering the lowest possible price to the customer, rather than providing a quality product. My company’s project managers are responsible to everything but have very little or no control over the delivery resources.
I want my life back. I need to wake up and see that I can make a difference at work. I don’t need to be worried about what’s in my inbox or what kind of disaster I have to fix.
Some days I’d rather drive a bus. Frustrating, disheartened and disillusioned isn’t even close.
An anonymous project managerThis person is not the only one. What is the deal with project managers who want to quit their jobs?
Source: https://rebelsguidetopm.com/project-management-statistics/Why do project managers quit?
Although this brain drain of project talent is not a new phenomenon, I believe it is more prevalent than ever. I have personal anecdotes as well as the stories I hear while mentoring and training and I can tell you that it is probably worse today than it was a few decades ago. But why is this happening?
Nada Abandah posted on Twitter that she knew people leaving project management jobs. When I asked her why she felt this way, she replied that they felt under-paid and under-appreciated, and were tired of being blamed.
These are the reasons to go
My experience shows that people quit project management because of these reasons.
Work is too stressful and there is no work/life balance
The team, senior management and executive levels are disorganized and lack communication skills. This makes it difficult to get anything done.
The organization doesn’t value project managers or the project management process and is unwilling to invest in project performance.
There is no career progression… there are better opportunities elsewhere
You don’t find the work interesting and it’s not what you expected.
Let’s take a look at these.
It is stressful to work.
Project management can be stressful. There are highs and lows. Peter Taylor, also known as The Lazy Project Manager, discusses this in his book. He describes the project’s life cycle as being busy at the beginning, busy at its end, and then slowing down in the middle. If everything is done correctly, the project will run itself.
This can be true, but it doesn’t mean that the end and start of things aren’t stressful.
Here are some of these things that project managers indicated they wanted to learn more about in the survey:
How to communicate with clients with less stress
How to keep your team motivated and how you can manage stress
How a manager can reduce stress
You see the trend? Stress can be caused by:
The work load is high
Uncertainty about the future of my job
Bullied by a supervisor
Working for a lie, manipulating ****
Many (often inacceptable) things can make work stressful.