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KieranR

How do I approach my manager

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Ok, so tomorrow night our client is putting on a get together for all companies who are involved in our project as a recognition of our performance since we returned to work in April after the plant had a black start and we were removed from site until they deemed it stable.  we have been told by our company that we are required to attend which annoys me as I dont do public functions etc as I'm not a very social type of person for lots of reasons, so I will attend but only for a short time, be seen then i'll quietly disappear, however i have decided i'm going to take the opportunity to engage with our general manager who will be flying up to attend.  

As ive stated before i have a very low skill set but it is one that i want to improve on, I have never had the opportunity to forge a career with a certain company but its about time i did, our company actively promotes internally that people are their biggest assets and upskilling and retaining staff is a priority - I now know what i want to do and it is something this company is constantly in demand for due to the nature of our work.

but my manager here is not very active in wanting to push this, i have approached him and he said "absolutely this is something i encourage" but it hasn't gone any further than this.  I do have our training dept lady in Perth helping me to try and achieve this but she is only new to the company so not sure on the whole process.

So how do i approach the GM of our dept and make it known what i want, how do i make him think, gee this guy is someone we want to keep, how do i stop him from just nodding his head in agreeance and walking away having not taken any note of me.  Im not good at approaching people because i have this fear that im not intelligent and will make a fool of myself.

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Have a clear plan of where you want to go within the company and what path of study would get you there - don't leave it up to him. Know what courses (internal or external) are available, how much they cost, how much time they will take and when they commence. Pick something modest that he is likely to agree on for a start eg. a couple of hours night school each week (instead of taking a full day off each week to study Botanical Illustration and coming to work the next day with your hair and nails done - as one woman I used to work with did). If he is encouraging, as you have described, then get the ball rolling and lock it in by organising your own enrollment/paperwork etc before he forgets about it.

Regarding your first para, human contact is part and parcel of getting the promotion that you describe. As much as it goes against your natural inclination, find a way to endure it - it's a necessary medicine to make the situation better. Practice small talk and pretend to enjoy it until, one day, it comes naturally to you. You may consider some counseling in this area to learn how to interact convincingly with others. There is a very well known tri coach who would rather cross the street than make eye contact, but has built the most successful squad due to his people skills. It's a skill that can be learnt.

Edited by The Customer
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If possible, make it about him.

Hi Boss Man, I'm KieranR, I'm currently a L6 Widget Man here"

"I read your memo about the internal progression scheme and you really motivated to get try to expand my skills."

"I've been talking to Training Lady about *these things* and I've already done  *these other things*, but it's sometimes hard because I'm so far away from head office"

"What advice can you give me about pursuing opportunities in *Area x*?"

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2 hours ago, KieranR said:

 

Thanks TC,

So yes i have done my research by talking to others in this role here on site who put me in touch with the training company who is the only authorized company to do the training, i have spoken to that company about the course and got the costing and when it runs, i have given all this info to my training coordinator in Perth so she has the relevant info at hand.  Im happy to pay the 2k myself and claim the taxable amount at tax time.  im not going to rely on the company to do it, im happy to put the work and pay the $$ myself, its the opportunity from the company to let me do the role associated after the training has been done that im really after, i dont want to pay out the $ and not be able to use the skills.

By me just going to the event on Friday night is a huge thing for myself, the anxiety is already here but im determined to go and talk with the GM.  some employees who know i dont do social events well have already said they will keep an eye out for me and catch up. 

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12 minutes ago, Tyno said:

If possible, make it about him.

Hi Boss Man, I'm KieranR, I'm currently a L6 Widget Man here"

"I read your memo about the internal progression scheme and you really motivated to get try to expand my skills."

"I've been talking to Training Lady about *these things* and I've already done  *these other things*, but it's sometimes hard because I'm so far away from head office"

"What advice can you give me about pursuing opportunities in *Area x*?"

This is good, ill give that a shot.

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Mate,

Awesome news that you’re thinking about retraining and upskilling. And the approaches suggested sound very sound to me, but consider a couple of other points...

1. The GM flying up might also hate this socialising business as well (as do I), but talk to them and you might find some obscure common ground. Remember, they also have to put their trousers on one leg at a time as they are human. If you are concerned about being in a large group, break it down into smaller, more manageable groups or individuals.

Forced social interaction is just that - forced. But you can make it fun with a few strategies.

2. In relation to funding this, check how the Company is doing and suggest that you go dollar for dollar with them. They will have a training budget and it’s a deductible expense for them, but it’s a great step as it shows you’re invested in their organisation. Also suggest a lock-in payback period at the end so that they can get some confirmed benefit from your toil.

I’ve just put myself through two years of study and it’s worth it. Maybe not what you learn, but the way you develop.

If you’d like to PM me, I’d be happy to chat...

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A quick google search of his name may give you some common ground. Race results usually feature, he may have done a 5km fun run with family, but it's a common point.

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HI mate,

I guess I'm a "boss". I have a team of 6 who I look after so small fry but they're all high performing and high paid folk. They often come to me asking me for money for training courses and personal development. What I always want to see is "How does this benefit the company?" I want to support people. I love my gang who I look after but at the end of the day I have to justify my expenditure to the big bosses back in the UK so I need reasons.

Unfortunately "because I want to and it would be good for me" doesn't cut the mustard. So my advice would be work out what's in it for them. You're clearly a committed and good employee... how much better could they be if they invest in you? How will this make HIM look better?

Just my tuppence :)

Monkie

Edited by monkie
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P.S. I also HATE socialising. This evening I gave a presentation which was described by several as the best they had seen all year... afterwards I wanted to melt into the floor but you have to suck it up and make people like you. I get it a bit easier as I had my four "networkers" deployed to work the room but it is, alas, part and parcel of the modern world.

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40 minutes ago, monkie said:

HI mate,

I guess I'm a "boss". I have a team of 6 who I look after so small fry but they're all high performing and high paid folk. They often come to me asking me for money for training courses and personal development. What I always want to see is "How does this benefit the company?" I want to support people. I love my gang who I look after but at the end of the day I have to justify my expenditure to the big bosses back in the UK so I need reasons.

Unfortunately "because I want to and it would be good for me" doesn't cut the mustard. So my advice would be work out what's in it for them. You're clearly a committed and good employee... how much better could they be if they invest in you? How will this make HIM look better?

Just my tuppence :)

Monkie

Thanks for this, I’m my Comms with my direct manager and the training dept I’ve made it clear I want to build a career with the company, they are one of if not the best performing contractor in the business, judging by the amount of long term work we have on the books and the constant securing of new work.   So why not invest in someone who genuinely wants to work for you, I’ll let you know I’ve wanted to work for these guys since 2011 when they were our lead contractor on a big job (multi billion), now that I’ve been here for a year it has cemented my thoughts that I would prefer to stick with them....but you never do know what tomorrow holds I guess, so I won’t put all my eggs in one basket.  Upskilling me would remove the need to spend how ever many thousands of dollars it costs to recruit new people to the business who may not stay long term, I know the systems, I am a good employee with fantastic attendance, involve myself in company initiatives remotely, and do my job with little fuss and have been promoted to a lead role in what I currently do.

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I wouldn't be approaching your GM at a social function to be trying to do this. It is just not the right time to do this.

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10 minutes ago, Prince said:

I wouldn't be approaching your GM at a social function to be trying to do this. It is just not the right time to do this.

Can I ask why? We are site based and he is from the big city so we don’t have the opportunity for face to face all that often, although he does visit site every now and then as it’s part of our contract, he is generally in meetings all day when he is here

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sorry K, I was meaning, just not to use the occasion to highlight your managers flaws, who doesn't sound that encouraging.    For the GM to take notice, firstly let him know how grateful you are for the job you have and working for the company (very very few people ever do this), then let him know what you want to do.  You sound like you have a plan to improve your skill set. Tyno's approach sounds good 

 

let us know how you go. If you don't. have success, we on here have your back and we will think of another way. 

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8 hours ago, Prince said:

I wouldn't be approaching your GM at a social function to be trying to do this. It is just not the right time to do this.

I totally agree. Meet him socially, chat purposefully  so that when you approach him later re the training you’ve already made a good impression. 

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Mate, we met at Cairns, you are fine with people. You might not like it, but that's very different to actually being good at 'doing' the whole people thing. You get out of your comfort zone every time you race, get out of it to improve your work position.

Tyno is right, but I'd like to add a little if I may. You need to understand him, ask around. Is he a real people manager who cares or a self-serving ladder climber; does he manage up or manage down for example (important to understand). If he manages up, you can appeal to how this will make him look good, if he manages down, then appeal to how this makes the team function well (for example).

Take the conversation around "I'd really appreciate your guidance...". Most will like the opportunity to 'mentor'. Consider: "I'm really motivated to move into this area as I know the company is struggling to find resources" - shows initiative. Be positive "my background/experience means I'm ready to move into this area..."

Apologies to those above, but I disagree. If you're senior and attending a social event, it ain't a social event. You're 'working the floor' and must expect to be worked - it goes with the territory.

Hope that helps a little.

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59 minutes ago, TenPints said:

Mate, we met at Cairns, you are fine with people. You might not like it, but that's very different to actually being good at 'doing' the whole people thing. You get out of your comfort zone every time you race, get out of it to improve your work position.

Tyno is right, but I'd like to add a little if I may. You need to understand him, ask around. Is he a real people manager who cares or a self-serving ladder climber; does he manage up or manage down for example (important to understand). If he manages up, you can appeal to how this will make him look good, if he manages down, then appeal to how this makes the team function well (for example).

Take the conversation around "I'd really appreciate your guidance...". Most will like the opportunity to 'mentor'. Consider: "I'm really motivated to move into this area as I know the company is struggling to find resources" - shows initiative. Be positive "my background/experience means I'm ready to move into this area..."

Apologies to those above, but I disagree. If you're senior and attending a social event, it ain't a social event. You're 'working the floor' and must expect to be worked - it goes with the territory.

Hope that helps a little.

Thanks TP, I was deleriously happy that id just finished my first IM and that i had a big mac to eat!  The GM has been here on site today briefly and i said g'day, Thats a start i guess, I will catch him tonight, I have spoken to a bunch of my superintendents about him and they have all said he is very approachable and easy going.

Hopefully im brave enough.

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Well I had a good chat with the GM at the event tonight, I was pretty nervous but it was good and he engaged in the conversation well with me, I approached him and I went about it by saying that I’ve worked on a few jobs where this company has been on and I’ve always looked at them as having been the leading contractor on these jobs and from that I said that I had always wanted to work for them because I like how they go about things etc, I them challenged him on what he thinks makes this company what it is and he said it’s our people, I then said that I want to be an employee long term and not just this project and then be gone, it’s time to build a career, the the convo went into what I want to do (he asked me) and he said this is great as we always have a need for this role etc, he confirmed they do have training budgets and that he would like to have a meeting with me next time he comes up, he did ask if I had approached my manager and anyone else to which I said I have and also our training dept in Perth.  I also mentioned that I’m happy to pay for the required training but that without an opportunity to work in this field the training would be wasted.  Overall it was a good 5-10 minute chat and I’ve planted a seed I guess, he knows who I am now And I feel I made a good impression stating that I want to work for them long term.  

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2 hours ago, Tryline said:

What do you do for a living? 

I see in other threads you want to do other apprenticeships though?

Hi I work with an electronic permit to work system called ISSOW on a gas plant.  Yes I have stated that about apprenticeships but as time goes by it’s less and less likely, wish I knew what I wanted to do when I was younger instead of being a dickhead

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39 minutes ago, KieranR said:

Well I had a good chat with the GM at the event tonight, I was pretty nervous but it was good and he engaged in the conversation well with me, I approached him and I went about it by saying that I’ve worked on a few jobs where this company has been on and I’ve always looked at them as having been the leading contractor on these jobs and from that I said that I had always wanted to work for them because I like how they go about things etc, I them challenged him on what he thinks makes this company what it is and he said it’s our people, I then said that I want to be an employee long term and not just this project and then be gone, it’s time to build a career, the the convo went into what I want to do (he asked me) and he said this is great as we always have a need for this role etc, he confirmed they do have training budgets and that he would like to have a meeting with me next time he comes up, he did ask if I had approached my manager and anyone else to which I said I have and also our training dept in Perth.  I also mentioned that I’m happy to pay for the required training but that without an opportunity to work in this field the training would be wasted.  Overall it was a good 5-10 minute chat and I’ve planted a seed I guess, he knows who I am now And I feel I made a good impression stating that I want to work for them long term.  

well done Kieran. 

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4 hours ago, KieranR said:

.............. And I feel I made a good impression stating that I want to work for them long term.  

Wasn't so hard, now, was it mate???

Well done.

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Hi Kieran, I was thinking about you last night while eating my left over pizza ....  sounds like it all went really well. Well done for taking the opportunity & going for it. 

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16 hours ago, KieranR said:

Hi I work with an electronic permit to work system called ISSOW on a gas plant.  Yes I have stated that about apprenticeships but as time goes by it’s less and less likely, wish I knew what I wanted to do when I was younger instead of being a dickhead

So is that a Safety role side of things? So people come to u for permits to work ect ect?

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Well done, sounds like you handled it like a pro. If this bloke is a good operator he'll love your dash, employees like you are gold. Follow up with an email thanking him for the convo and any other info re the training or benefits to the company of you doing this role.

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13 hours ago, Tryline said:

So is that a Safety role side of things? So people come to u for permits to work ect ect?

No not a safety role, I do the scheduling for them and work in conjunction with our planners and engineers figuring out when the work is planned and then I basically play around on the issow system making sure everything is ok and plan the works, ensure all job cards for specific scopes are good to go etc, get model shots of our programs and highlight the the scopes to be undertaken on these shots etc etc

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10 hours ago, KieranR said:

No not a safety role, I do the scheduling for them and work in conjunction with our planners and engineers figuring out when the work is planned and then I basically play around on the issow system making sure everything is ok and plan the works, ensure all job cards for specific scopes are good to go etc, get model shots of our programs and highlight the the scopes to be undertaken on these shots etc etc

Ah k no worries. So what would you call that? Engineer?

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9 hours ago, Tryline said:

Ah k no worries. So what would you call that? Engineer?

I don’t know what you would call it really, certainly not an engineer, I’ve never studied engineering or have formal quals 

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On 12/2/2017 at 2:50 PM, Parkside said:

Well done, sounds like you handled it like a pro. If this bloke is a good operator he'll love your dash, employees like you are gold. Follow up with an email thanking him for the convo and any other info re the training or benefits to the company of you doing this role.

Hi guys, Just wondering if i can get some feedback before i send this email to my GM to follow up from Friday...does the below sound ok

 

Hi Zoran

I would just like to say a quick thank you for the opportunity to chat on Friday evening at the celebration about why I want to build a career with Monadelphous.  I understand these events are not the best times to discuss such things, however the opportunity to have a face to face is limited.  I look forward to further conversation with you on your next visit.

As per our chat, I am happy to put myself through the required Prima Vera (P6) training if necessary and I believe given the opportunity I can be a valued long term employee with Monadelphous.

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Other folks in corporate roles can chime in, but I reckon it ticks boxes, reminds him who you are and what you talked about and is a gentle reminder to him to get something happening or pass it on to the person who should be taking care of training budgets etc

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On 05/12/2017 at 8:18 AM, Parkside said:

Other folks in corporate roles can chime in, but I reckon it ticks boxes, reminds him who you are and what you talked about and is a gentle reminder to him to get something happening or pass it on to the person who should be taking care of training budgets etc

Have already chipped in privately and you have to admire the boy for taking the initiative and making the approach. Your suggestions are valid and will ensure one person stands out in a sea of people on the night.

Remember, "right now" is always the answer as to when you should do more training at work!

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9 hours ago, Rimmer said:

Have already chipped in privately and you have to admire the boy for taking the initiative and making the approach. Your suggestions are valid and will ensure one person stands out in a sea of people on the night.

Remember, "right now" is always the answer as to when you should do more training at work!

2 years ago is a better answer, but failing that then right now is the next best option.  I've only known one individual that trained themselves out of the market (with formal qualifications, the letters after his name covered the entire alphabet), in his case he needed to head overseas for employment and that didn't turn out too bad

I've gotten jobs in the past just because I was doing the training off my own intiative.  I recently got a promotion at work advertised as needing xyz qualifications, as I had started on that particular qualification 12 months prior I got through to interview round and nailed it from there.

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30 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

I've gotten jobs in the past just because I was doing the training off my own intiative.

I got a job as a Team Leader in an area I had never worked before, beating the guy that had been acting for 12 months because I knew the answers to a lot of stuff the interviewers thought I shouldn't. I had done some training off my own bat to get the knowledge. I then got into the Design area because I was doing a degree outside of work, and then 3 months after I finished landed a Planning job that was a 40% payrise for (at the time) less work & less stress. 

Continuous training is the key to a good career. It also keeps life interesting.

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I emailed him yesterday with my above email, I sat on it for 24 hrs just re reading it.  but with this particular role i want, if i go and do the course myself but dont get the opportunity then it could be considered a waste of money, i work for the right company to be given the opportunity in this role as it is an in demand role within all construction / engineering companies, but without the opportunity im just treading water and thats why ive made it clear that im ok with paying for the course...i just want the opportunity to undertake the role, even if its in a helper type role here on site to start with as we have two planners on a back to back roster, but their workload is massive and they need help, this is where is see my opportunity to get my foot in the door.

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I got a response

Kieran,

 

Always good to catch up with members of the team.

 

As discussed, continue to discuss your development focus with site and I’ll make a plan to touch base next time I’m on site, in the New Year.

 

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

 

Regards,

Zoran

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Well done mate. I have had some experience in a similar field (as a GM) and I can assure you people with Prima Vera (P6) quals are highly sort after in many industries. My suggestion would be to just bite the bullet and enroll, you may be surprised at what happens (in a great way). If the company values this they may well reimburse you on successful completion. I gained my MBA this way. 95% paid for by company (and many promotions whilst studying).

Good luck

Cheers

NSF

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So some good news already,

Yesterday at my meeting with my site manager i got my contract extension for another year, knew it was a happening thing considering my current one expired yesterday.  during the chat i asked him if he saw me chatting with the general manager at the function, to which he said yes, and i told him what i was talking about and that i need to promote my goals to as many people as i can to start making things happen for me because if i dont no one will.

And he mentioned that he has spoken with our project manager about me in the last few weeks about getting me into the panning side of things and working like a junior planner helping out our site planner as he is now a one man team with a huge workload.  so things are definitely moving in the right direction here, im actually really excited.  My site manager and I discussed this some time ago but with all the changes and redundancies i felt it had fallen off his radar, but it doesn't appear to have which is good news. 

I hope you dont mind but i said I'm using you guys as mentors to help me with how to approach these things etc.   your guidance has been really helpful so thank you.

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4 hours ago, KieranR said:

 

And he mentioned that he has spoken with our project manager about me in the last few weeks about getting me into the panning side of things and working like a junior planner helping out our site planner as he is now a one man team with a huge workload.  so things are definitely moving in the right direction here, im actually really excited.  My site manager and I discussed this some time ago but with all the changes and redundancies i felt it had fallen off his radar, but it doesn't appear to have which is good news. 

I hope you dont mind but i said I'm using you guys as mentors to help me with how to approach these things etc.   your guidance has been really helpful so thank you.

Firstly: congratulations

Secondly: I am a site planner so before you go into it the below is the job summary:

As a planner, on a production site, you are the person who is always wrong, asking for unrealistic requirements, don't know anything, always being double guessed. And when you get it right, someone else takes the credit, or it was a fluke.

Just make sure you have a thick skin. 

 

It is kind of like being married, with teenage kids :wallbash:

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Well done Kieran, you are on the radar now :) and don't worry about asking folks here. I've been doing what I do at various levels for over 20 yrs and I still reach out for help when needed and the good folks here are always willing.

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Ok, so i was just called into the office with my site manager and the project controls manager, I am being moved into the project controls team and will start off by doing reporting on progress against our schedule, so this is a good start for me working closely with our planners.

I will be starting next week.  Im so glad i had the nerve to go through with approaching the managers.

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6 minutes ago, KieranR said:

Ok, so i was just called into the office with my site manager and the project controls manager, I am being moved into the project controls team and will start off by doing reporting on progress against our schedule, so this is a good start for me working closely with our planners.

I will be starting next week.  Im so glad i had the nerve to go through with approaching the managers.

Well done!

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Today ive been tasked with building my own schedule on Microsoft projects (they wont give me P6 license just yet), I have to take all the live line lifting  scopes from our baseline schedule and put them into their own one.  so this will be a good task for me to do, but i have to remember the 3 M's and they are make it meaningful, it has to be measurable and manageable.

Im so happy they are following through with this work for me.

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1 minute ago, KieranR said:

Today ive been tasked with building my own schedule on Microsoft projects (they wont give me P6 license just yet), I have to take all the live line lifting  scopes from our baseline schedule and put them into their own one.  so this will be a good task for me to do, but i have to remember the 3 M's and they are make it meaningful, it has to be measurable and manageable.

Im so happy they are following through with this work for me.

you will be CEO in a few years i think.

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2 hours ago, KieranR said:

Today ive been tasked with building my own schedule on Microsoft projects (they wont give me P6 license just yet), I have to take all the live line lifting  scopes from our baseline schedule and put them into their own one.  so this will be a good task for me to do, but i have to remember the 3 M's and they are make it meaningful, it has to be measurable and manageable.

Im so happy they are following through with this work for me.

Nice one!! Work shouldn't define someone or their happiness, but things going well at work sure makes life easier and more enjoyable.

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1 hour ago, Gundy said:

Nice one!! Work shouldn't define someone or their happiness, but things going well at work sure makes life easier and more enjoyable.

Yep, its certainly not defining my happiness, ive never looked at work this way, i never had a career i wanted to follow, at least now i have made that decision and im happy im working for a company that is at this stage happy to support that.  certainly makes going to work easier and not just turning up and counting down the hours, i have something to focus on here now and its keeping me busy which is what i wanted.

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