Nancy Wu, Head of Client Service
Finding the right project to work on is just like getting a new boyfriend: Choosing wisely is half the battle.
you can’t say no because it’s an order from the boss, or because your
mom already set up the date with that guy’s mom, and it’s imperative
that you show up. But other times you can pick who you want to meet, or
what projects you want to take on.
The most visible assignments
are not always the best ones to get involved in, and the most skilled
individuals are not necessarily the ones you want to work with. That’s
the biggest lesson I learned in the last ten years of project work.
Instead, here is what really matters:
- Personal Control and Contribution.
There is nothing more mind-numbing than working on something where you
have little personal control over the outcome and few opportunities to
contribute meaningfully. Well-suited projects allow you to wield a
certain level of judgment and decision-making freedom.
- Length of Time.
Long-term projects invariably come with long-winded office politics and
lots of folks to please. If you’d like to leave work at a decent hour
each day, best to avoid getting tangled up in this kind of
administration. Shorter assignments yield visible results faster. They
also don’t have time for scope changes and project management wizardry.
Work with friends. Research has shown that having just one friend in
the workplace dramatically increases job satisfaction. Same goes for
projects. Everyone at work will be fairly competent (we all passed the
interview process, after all). So, choosing your teammates based on
skill set won’t matter as much as you think. Seeing a friendly face
every day, however, will make a big difference in your workday.
time we spend at work should be, as much as possible, engaging and
joyful. Everyone has a certain amount of control over this by choose
our commitments carefully.