Thursday, September 22, 2005

Train, Train

I'm so preoccupied by this particular line of thought that it didn't dawn on me to post about it until just now.

I am at a critical juncture with respect to my career and worklife. I'm being pulled in two very clear directions. The first is the "natural" progression that I would make toward project management in my current situation. I'm on a track here. If I just stay on that track, the next station is Project Manager. The second direction is the pull from my Masters program. More and more my interest, attention, and activity are moving toward process consulting and organization development. The train is about to jump the track!

For a year now I've been running along both tracks simultaneously. They've been more or less parallel, and it has been manageable. But this month I'm seeing that I can't stay on both tracks at once. For example, the dates for my next Project Management training class (required if I'm to move forward along that track) conflict with the dates for an AI Summit that I'm very keen to attend. Experiencing and assisting with an AI Summit would turbocharge the OD engine . . .

(These metaphors are getting a little thick!)

While I've wanted the respect (and $) associated with the title of Project Manager for awhile . . . that desire doesn't compare with the passion and excitement I feel about OD. Trouble is, project management is a marketable commodity. I still have my doubts about the practical aspects (read: monetary viability) of process consulting. After all, I do have a family to feed.

Can I do both for a little longer? If I can get the PM training, experience, and title, would that give me more leverage for moving onto the OD track? Or is it going to take me further away from that particular station? Or are Project Manager and Process Consultant stations just two different stops on the same line?

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