I work as a product manager at a small start-up. I’m only two years out of college, and recently, I was thrust into a new role. I’m excited. However, I’ve been dropping several balls. I’ve failed to communicate with my internal teammates about a new project’s timeline. I also haven’t done a great job figuring out how to scope this project. On top of all this, my boss told me I need to be able to confidently do this job by January — which would give me a senior title and big raise — or will need to find a new role, probably at a different company. I’m proud of how I’ve been able to work with our external customers, but I can’t help but feel awful for how much I’ve let down my co-workers and been unable to do basic project management. My boss is superbusy with another project so I have limited support and direction.
Should I just quit? I have constant stress headaches and don’t have any brain energy to find a new company. — Anonymous
I found this query interesting. My first question was how long this individual has been in this position, as it sounds as if they recently just started. In that case it is the manager’s job to provide this individual with some guidance and mentorship. If he is unable to do this, he should be able to identify other colleagues who can support this individual in this new role. I like Roxanne Gay’s advice “Set aside some time to identify what it will take to bridge the distance between where you are and where you need to be. Develop a plan for doing that work. Though your boss is busy, schedule some time to sit down with him or her and discuss your concerns, and ask for support. Project management and communication strategies can be learned, and you are more than capable. Regarding the stress headaches and negative feelings should dissipate as you improve in your role.” To add to Gay’s advice, I would suggest this individual keeps tracks of his headaches, to see what (task/individual) is triggering them. I would also advise this individual to spend time and energy acknowledging what they’re doing well, and what they did to merit the expanded role, and their willingness to rise to the challenge.