“What do you do?”
“Project management,” I reply.
“What is that?”
“...I make spreadsheets.”
And so goes the conversation any time I am asked about my profession. I don’t know what I do, so saying “spreadsheets” is easier than trying to explain project management.
I do know that three letters added to the end of my name on LinkedIn make me more valuable—PMP, or Project Management Professional. PMP is a credential that demonstrates I know project management, even if I say "I make spreadsheets,” and even if I think all I do is make spreadsheets and only know how to make spreadsheets.
My company invited me to take part in their PMP training program, along with nine others. I’d like to claim it’s because I’m a promising young professional, but really my company’s average age is 74 and there’s only 10 employees with the mental capacity to pass the test. Our program is training with PMP Exam Prep, the best-selling guidebook for passing the PMP exam, authored by Rita Mulcahy. In other words, Rita is the absolute expert in spreadsheets.
Rita was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer in September of 2005, and was given only months to live. Rita spent the next five years privately fighting her disease. She continued working, even authoring five more best-selling books. Rita succumbed to cancer in May 2010, though her company continues on and even published the seventh edition of her book this summer, which my training group is using.
I look forward to Rita’s book developing me into a spreadsheet master, er, um, Project Management Professional: Benjamin Rubenstein, PMP.