The Age of Sacrifice

By Mac M. Martirossian, CPA

Imagine you and your spouse having one car, no access to public transportation and both holding down three hour shifts with same employer…..except your shift starts three hours after your spouse’s shift ends.  You spend the first three hours in a hot, oven baked car in the deep south, with no cell phone, no iPod, no Blackberry….just you, the naturally-heated car seat and the sun.  You are delighted to do it, since it is a paying job and you look forward to starting work….where it is air conditioned.

Many called 2009 a recessionary period; I called it the age of sacrifice.  Depending on your age, you have sacrificed on more than one occasion, over an extended period of time.  Some have never done it, and others have the unique opportunity to do so between now and when this age of sacrifice ends.

Life teaches us great lessons during periods of sacrifice.  As Project Managers, we have to be strong and realize that it a period of learning and growth and an opportunity to demonstrate leadership.

  • Embrace Change and Accelerate it. Business leaders are scrambling to address strained financial conditions. Work life will become more difficult; longer hours, less pay increases; fewer amenities (like bottled water); cancelled annual trips…and the list goes on.  Support their efforts and  changes and find ways to implement them more rapidly.
  • Enhance Your Skill Sets. As organizations slim down, and remain slim, get training ON YOUR OWN, to take-on additional responsibilities in the organization.  Those of you who read my articles know that I am a strong proponent of adding value to your organization by being multi-dimensional.
  • Encourage Adoption of DIRTFT. More money is wasted in correcting mistakes and having to re-do tasks and projects.  Establish a discipline of Doing It Right The First Time and take words that start with “re” out of the work environment.  Sacrifice may mean having to check milestone targets several times (sometimes after hours…at home) to ensure that benchmarks have been completed without the risk of having to be re-done.

As Project Managers we want to see and experience selfless giving from our peers and bosses…..yet we are reluctant to invest selflessly of ourselves.  This year will be a great time to step out of your comfort zone, get into the hot seat and focus on how YOU can Make A Difference through personal sacrifice…. and in the end you will be a stronger Project Manager for it.


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