Is Product Management a Stressful job?

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Product management is a highly sought-after job, but it’s essential to remember that not every role is a perfect fit for everyone. While I’m not discouraging you from pursuing a career as a product manager, it’s crucial to recognize that we all have different strengths and aptitudes, and product management may or may not align with your natural abilities. So, if you’re contemplating whether you should pursue a career as a product manager or not, this podcast is here to help you explore that decision.

Hi, my name is Sachin Sharma, and I have over 10 years of experience in product management. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring over 1,000 aspiring product managers. Today, we’ll delve into some key considerations that will help you determine if a role as a product manager is right for you.

Points to Consider:
Product management is a high-impact role, and it’s essential to understand the working conditions that come with it. Regardless of whether these conditions are favorable or challenging, you’ll need to persevere. Here are some key points to ponder before making your decision:

1. Limited Influence on Company Strategy:
As a new product manager, particularly an associate product manager, you won’t have significant influence over the company’s strategy. If you’re seeking complete autonomy in shaping the product, you’ll need to adjust your expectations. Many strategic decisions won’t be under your control, and upper management and leadership will play a significant role in product development. While you can share your opinions, the final word may not be yours. If you thrive on taking full responsibility and ownership, you should carefully consider whether the product management role aligns with your expectations. While you may gain more authority in senior roles like Senior Manager, Director of Product Management, or Chief Product Officer, it may not be as prominent initially as an associate or junior product manager.

2. Lack of Fixed Work Plan:
Product management doesn’t offer the structured and fixed work plans that some individuals prefer. There isn’t a set schedule or to-do list that remains constant. Your daily work can vary greatly, and you must be adaptable to handle these frequent changes. If you’re uncomfortable with significant fluctuations in your tasks and responsibilities or if you prefer a predictable routine, a product manager role might prove to be stressful for you. It’s essential to be prepared for a dynamic work environment. While there may be sleepless nights and days of high pressure, they won’t be an everyday occurrence. If you’re seeking a repetitive 9-to-5 job, this role may not align with your expectations.

3. High Accountability and Responsibility:
Product managers shoulder significant responsibilities for their products, and there’s a substantial amount of pressure to ensure things go smoothly. You must be prepared to take accountability for failed features or errors in product development. Quick decision-making is a necessity. If you find it challenging to work under pressure or struggle with making swift decisions, you should reconsider pursuing a product management career.

4. Transition to Leadership Takes Time:
You won’t immediately step into a leadership position when starting your career as a product manager. If your idealized image of product management involves leading a team to build products right from the beginning, it’s essential to adjust your expectations. In the initial years, you’ll likely work under guidance and supervision. You must prove your capabilities before you can assume a leadership role. There are steps to climb before reaching your desired position as a product manager. If your goal is to lead a team and oversee product development quickly, this may not be a realistic expectation in all cases. While smaller organizations or certain companies may offer this opportunity, it’s not universally applicable.

In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that being a product manager is not the right fit for everyone. It’s not a reflection of the job being inherently bad or individuals being incapable. Compatibility with the role plays a significant role in one’s career satisfaction.

That wraps up today’s podcast. Stay tuned for more valuable content to enhance your product management skills. You can also join my community by participating in my free training at Take action, and I look forward to providing further assistance within my community. If you’re already part of the community and engaged in learning, I highly recommend considering an upgrade to the Diamond membership. This will accelerate your journey in product management and connect you with fellow high-achievers and action-takers.

Thank you, and I’ll see you in the next podcast. Goodbye!

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