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Updated: June 25, 2021

Should I Be a Project Manager When I Grow Up?! (There Is a Test for That)

Should I Be a Project Manager When I Grow Up?! (There Is a Test for That)

My name is Stan Bogdashin. I’ve been wearing different hats in a digital marketing agency called Comrade Digital Marketing for 8+ years. I’ve been a Project Manager (PM), and today I will tell you the truth about my job. I will also share my personal opinion on why you should or should not look for this job.

Ok, Generation Z, let’s jump straight to conclusion.

generation z youth engaged in their smartphones

Is It a Cool job?

  • Yes, if you are a responsible person and like communicating with people.
  • No (even if your project is awesome), if you are shy, introverted, and can’t manage your time.

But that’s not it. As we all know, the best answer to any question in the 21st century is “it depends,” so let’s keep on reading, folks.

Size Matters

So much depends on the size of the digital agency you’re working with.

Bigger Agency

If you are about to get a job in a bigger digital agency, this will be a great choice even if you’re a student and getting this job as an intern. In a bigger web design or digital marketing agency, you will learn A LOT in just your first 3 months—more than you’ve learned in your college in 4 years. And most likely, you will have people to mentor and lead you.

mentor instructing two interns

Smaller Agency

It will be much more challenging if your startup is less than 5 people in total. You will face a high probability of that:

  • Your boss does not know exactly what the Project Manager should do, so you will not get proper mentorship.
  • You will be asked to handle hundreds of other not PM-related tasks like sales, development, copywriting, etc.
  • It will be harder for you to grow unless your boss (the owner) is a genius.

a blurry picture of a small office

It Depends on Your Personality Type

Do you know who you are? An architect, Commander, Logician, or a Debater? If not, take a personality test. It will help you see where you match/don’t match what’s needed for the job.

4 various personality types

Here are the questions:

1. Even if I’m not a leader yet, I want to be a strong leader.

As a Project Manager, you will lead a small team of producers, and you will have that feeling that you are in a leading role, and it will shape your personality and confidence. After a few years, you will notice that you have the skill to manage almost any task and find resources to do so.

2. It’s hard for me to do one task the whole day where I need to write, research/analyze, or draw something. I prefer to do multiple small tasks.

This job is perfect for multitasking junkies who can keep in mind/manage a few tasks simultaneously without going too deep into it.

3. I like communicating with people, or that’s my top personal goal to learn it.

You will talk a lot to both clients and producers.

4. I’m a stable person. My mood can go up and down, but it not to the degree where it impacts others.

This is important because, from time to time, you might face somebody on your team or from a clients’ team who can be moody. And if you can keep your ground calm, the storm will pass, and the sun will shine again. But if you take it too personally to be upset or aggressively react back, your team can lose a client, and you might be fired. Oops!

5. I’m a well-organized person.

If you like using calendars, day planners, diaries, and other trellos, and you come to most of your meetings on time, it’s an excellent sign that you will feel good at this job because your job will be to make sure that all tasks are well-organized.

E.g., your every day will start from looking at your emails from clients, the task list from your CRM, and prioritizing your tasks for the day.

6. I’m a strong negotiator.

A big portion of your job will be negotiating between what your team wants to do and what clients ask you. In many cases, it’s completely the opposite.

E.g., your team made a logo and thinks that it’s genius, and your client hates it because it reminds him of his ex-wife. If you already know who to listen to, understand each point, find a middle ground or strongly convince (if needed), you can have a successful career.

negotiation meeting

7. If I see a complicated task, I know how to divide it into small tasks, ask for help and finish it.

You will often face a task that you need to do, and you have no idea how to do it.

E.g., you need to log into Google Analytics and find how much traffic your clients’ website got last month and report it to a client. And your boss said that it’s essential to complete it today. And your only analytics guy is sick.

Digital marketing agencies often ask this question during the interview. What are you gonna do?

I won’t tease you for long, Gen Z. Here’s the right answer.

“I will google it first and try to do it myself for 30 minutes. If I see that I’m still very far away, I will call all the marketing guys that I know and ask for help. I’m sure, it can be done within 1 day.”

Why is this answer the best? Because as a good Project Manager, you should:

  • Have the skill to learn and DIY in rare cases.
  • Be smart enough not to waste too much of your energy on it when it’s too hard and not part of the expertise that you should know.
  • Be able to be aggressive in asking for help and completing the task.

In other words, being able to have the skill to solve complex tasks and ask for help quickly is a critical skill for a PM.

8. I feel happy when I finish what I’ve started. I also like prioritizing my tasks.

Very important. Your life as a Project Manager will always be around tasks. After 1 month, you will complete 100+ tasks. After 1 year, 1,000+ tasks, etc. Tasks will end when you quit, get promoted, or retire.

Every week you might have 50+ tasks in your pipeline. Some added today, some from last week, some from last year. And every day, you will complete (and test) approx. 15-30 tasks that have the highest priority. Some tasks can be finished in 5 minutes, and some tasks will take weeks to be completed. And it would be best if you had the gut feeling of what to do when.

9. When everybody is panicking, I’m calm.

Let’s be honest. You will have a situation when your client is acting crazy on you because your team missed a deadline for his project, and before that, you people also did something that pissed him off. On the other side, your team hates your client for “being a dick” and doesn’t want to do work for him anymore. And your guts are telling you that probably your client, in fact, is a very picky, demanding, and unreasonable dick. But the project is only 50% done, and Richard (yeah, let’s say, that’s the name of the client) pays well, and your boss wants to finish this project to avoid bad online reviews from unhappy clients.

What will you do?

No, you cannot answer “it depends.”

The right answer is:

“I will talk to my team and explain that sometimes clients are challenging and convince them that we need to do our best to finish the project the best we can. On the other side, I will apologize and explain to Richard why we had issues, what we did so that we don’t have them in the future, and proceed to the next steps of our SPRINT.”

10. I’m very interested in a PM position, and I’ve learned a lot about it already. For example, I know what SPRINT is.

Yes, if you want this job, you must read about it. At least, read the “SCRUM” book, for Christ’s sake.

scrum by jeff sutherland

Project Manager Salary in the US

Now that we’re almost done, it’s time to get to the sweetest part of the story: a Project Manager’s salary. I bet that all the way down to this paragraph, you’ve been eager to know how much a PM makes a year in the United States. So no more talking here. Look at the snapshot below, and see it for yourself. Sound pretty cool, doesn’t it?

project manager salary in the us

The Bottom Line

Alright, Generation Z, if you are at least 18 y.o., you should be old enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. I do hope you’ve gone through all the questions, and now you have a clear vision of whether the job of a Project Manager will or will not be the foundation of your future career. Let’s get it straight. If you’ve got at least 8 “yeses” to any of the questions, you will probably like the Project Manager job. And if you’ve got a 10 out of 10 score, then joking aside, you’ve probably already passed an interview and are getting ready for your first day at work.

Anyways, if you are a people person, you love communicating with others, and it doesn’t keep slipping your mind where your stuff is, go for it! To get started, send in your CV to a few medium-sized or bigger DM agencies (but try to avoid new-born startups). It may take some time until you get invited to an interview, so while you are waiting, keep on reading as much as possible about digital marketing and the PM job, and when Day X comes, you will be all locked and loaded to hop on a train that’s going to take you to making $100K a year!

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Stan Bogdashin
Stan co-founded Comrade Digital Marketing and serves as its marketing strategist and IT expert recruiter.
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