Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the view from above

When I first started out in environmental consulting, I wasn't entirely sure what the managers did, exactly. They ran things, but they didn't seem to know much about the fieldwork. And what sort of manager wasn't an expert in what they were managing?

It didn't take me long to realize that a good manager didn't need to be a technical expert.

At the same time, when I started running my own projects, I realized just how little the skill sets of fieldwork and management intersect. Sure, I have lots of experience with running a project in the field. And dealing with recalcitrant drillers and keeping a field project running gives you lots of critical life skills that will help with managing an entire project. But making sure that your project has sufficient margin that it's paying its fair share to keep the lights on? Fixed price versus cost plus proposals? Return on investment? I had no idea I needed a crash course in accounting.

What I need is my own personal financial person who will occupy office space right next to me so I can ask questions all the time if needed, and who will keep all the financial stuff in the background for me so that all I need to do is keep track of the budget. That way I can keep the geology and environmental stuff (which is what I always wanted to do anyway) running properly.

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