Why I left a senior project management job

There are many reasons why women don’t get top positions in project leadership. But, there is an assumption that they want those jobs.
I know that many women want to be promoted to senior management. We must eliminate the obstacles that prevent talented, dedicated, and knowledgeable women from achieving this goal.
However, there is something else: many women find that life as a senior project manager is not appealing.
What does a senior job look like?
Project management positions in senior management look like high-stress roles from the outside.
Many project deadlines are fixed with high-level strategic and transformation goals tied to delivery. For missing deadlines or non-deliverables, there are often punitive clauses in contracts. The hours can be long. The project teams can include more than 100 people.
It is difficult to manage all the balls and office politics.
It was wonderful.
Until I didn’t.
I became bored with the last-minute tasks of others, which were becoming my problem when they could have planned ahead a week in advance. I was tired of working long hours, both literally and physically. I asked for help from a project coordinator but nothing came of it.
I was angry at the emails I received late at night and on weekends, which made it difficult to attend to my family commitments.
I know, I know… I should switch off my phone over the weekend. You can’t switch off when you are in a senior project role.
Something had to give and it wasn’t goingto be my family.
I’m not the only one who made the decision to resign from a senior position in a project. I have spoken with several women who made the same decision, but for different reasons.
Google “take a lower-paying job for less stress” to see the many personal stories from people who did the same thing.
Off-ramping is not a term that refers to taking a careerbreak. This is a viable career option and seems to be most common for women who are unable to work in order to care for their children.
We are not like that. We are still working, contributing and doing the work we love. We are down-ramping. Is that a thing? It is now.
You must leave the organization in which you are currently employed to maintain your reputation and down-ramp.
We are taking lower-ranking roles because we only have one life and it doesn’t seem right to give it all to a corporate entity that never says thank you.
The balance act
As a younger woman working, I was eager to please, eager to learn, and gave 100% to my employer. As a woman nearing middle-age, I am still eager to do a great job and give 100% to my employer. But it must be on my terms.
Talking to older women confirms what I’m beginning to realize: As you age, you stop caring about what others think. You focus on what is most important.
It’s not difficult to commute to a stressful job that you don’t want to socialize.
There is a price to not being promoted. I confess to being a little jealous of ex-colleagues who were having lunch recently with their wives.
You can’t get more money if you leave the corporate ladder.
However, if you don’t need the extra income that a senior job brings (or can live without it), you won’t be able to work long hours or have stressful conversations with stakeholders.
It’s temporary
It doesn’t have be a permanent job, even if it is less lucrative. There are seasons in life. The season I’m currently in is one of raising small children and wanting more time with my parents. This means that I have less time to work.
But seasons change. If I find a job that I like, I don’t rule out returning to a high-flying job.