Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Fifth Step - Right Livelihood

As I was researching this step of the Eightfold Path, I had to reflect on my own career. Like most (or all) people, I've had jobs I've loved and jobs I've hated. When the alarm goes off in the morning, do you say "not again" or do you jump out of bed, eager to start the day. These days, I am eager to get to work (and yes, we are hiring).

Project management can be be rewarding or frustrating. A lot of times we are expected to do things without the official authority. We don't always get the resources we need, and yet we are expected to deliver. But when a project is delivered successfully, what a feeling of satisfaction.

The right livelihood doesn't necessarily mean we seek out a job because it is more morally correct. It has to do with how we approach our job/career. We need to go out and do our best, not for reward or recognition, because that is feeding our ego. We do our best, because it's the right thing to do. Then we will see the stress dimish and find satisfaction.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Fourth Step - Right Action

It's easy to do the right thing, isn't it? We wouldn't rob a bank or embezzle millions in our company (Enron or Worldcom not withstanding). But what about those smaller, less significant cases of maybe not doing the right thing. Where do we draw the line? Is it really a big deal if the procurement officer got a couple of tickets to the football game from the vendor? No one was really hurt, and besides, their product was best, wasn't it?

The fourth step of the eightfold path is right action. If we do the right thing, we will be in harmony, while if we do the wrong thing, even if seemingly insignificant, we will be in opposition with nature. As project managers, we need to apply insight to our decisions so that we follow the path that will progress our goals, spiritual or otherwise.