First and foremost, I am a mother. Since you’re here, you obviously know that I’m a blogger, but let’s be honest – I hate blogging. Occasionally…more like about 45+ hours per week – I am a Strategic Planning Manager. But you would never know it or even know what that means. I’m kind of shy when it comes to talking about my day job and the conversation usually goes like this:
Person: So, where do you work?
Me: I work at Ashley Furniture HomeStores.
Person: Cool! Can you get me a discount on furniture?
Me: Uh, sure. I guess…I’ll have to check on the employee discount program to see if I can use it on friends and family. I don’t work at the stores though, I work at the corporate headquarters.
Person: Oh, I see! What is it that you do then?
Me: I’m a Project Manager.
Person: What types of projects do you manage? Like, IT stuff?
Me: No. Strategy, mostly. You know, any key initiatives for the company. Yeah, I support those.
Person: Oh, that is nice. Can I still get a discount?
I love what I do, and I’m proud of where my career has progressed over the last 10 years. I just tend to downplay it when I talk about it in real life. My head explodes when my personal and professional life collide. Similar to how my head explodes when my blog life and real life collide. I can’t even handle it!
If I took modesty and awkwardness out of the conversation, it would go more like this:
Person: Where do you work?
Me: The retail corporate headquarters for the #1 furniture retailer and manufacturing company in the world.
Person: Wow, what do you do?
Me: I’m a Strategic Planning Manager that works with the executive team to plan organizational transformation, support growth initiatives, and execute social responsibility efforts. It’s a pretty bad ass gig.
I probably wouldn’t say that last part out loud! But still, I’ve come a long way from the girl who started off as a database integration developer ten years ago. I made a series of career shifts over time from IT Consultant, IT Auditor, Social Media Coordinator, Account Manager, to Project Manager and collected a lot of skills along the way. All that experience has allowed me to take on the role of a Strategic Planning Manager.
So what does a Strategic Planning Manager do exactly? All the things. My wheelhouse is project management – putting structure around the chaos. Also process development – putting foundational pieces in place for a growing organization. I have to look at problems and figure out solutions long-term, while developing the action plans to resolve issues in the short-term. I’m not even sure if I can say exactly which initiatives I’m working on because they are super top-secret. Aaaaaand my head is just about exploding from talking about my professional career in my personal space.
AWKWARD! AWKWARD! Just like me at the company holiday party, sitting in the corner with my date to avoid any type of embarrassing social interaction.
Although I consider myself as awkward in social situations, I’m pretty comfortable in the professional environment. I never set out to be a “Strategic Planning Manager” but this role was made for me. I love it! The complex problems and challenges allow me to utilize all the skills I’ve learned along the way, and yet I’m still learning so much! I wonder what the next 10 years hold in store for my career. Better start planning!
Ha, ha. Get it? I strategically plan things for a living…so I might as well plan out my career…No? Bad joke. OK Bye.