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Exaggerated my responsibilities to get a Project Manager job and now I'm completely out of my depth

edited 7 June at 10:30PM in Employment, Jobseeking & Training
47 replies 5K views
girlagogogirlagogo Forumite
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Just under a week ago I was successful in an interview for an experienced Project Manager role working on what turns out to be a large company wide project. I was surprised I got it as I didn't meet key criteria in the application, including experience of managing a project from start to finish, but this was not mentioned during the interview.

The reality is that I have experience supporting on bits of project delivery already in flight and only in a junior capacity, on some deliverables with no real leadership experience. However having been out of work for 5 months due to the pandemic, I was desperate for work and did sell myself as being the person responsible for fully delivering the recent 2 projects I worked on from start to finish.

Rather than start me off with a small project, my boss has given me a huge one that impacts the whole of the business and I am responsible for kicking it off. I met with my project sponsor today to whom my boss told he will leave him in my "capable hands". He has no idea and Im panicking, not a clue where to start in the process, having been told that I need to map stakeholders and get a plan together in less than 2 weeks when there are 7 different groups who have no idea that they have to be involved yet, let alone do the work and I still don't understand the project.

I'm on a 6 month fixed term contract with 1 week's notice for the first time 2 months and I just want to leave before the first update to the Board and getting found out or humiliated for the incompetent I really am. I'm so stressed and am not sleeping well, particularly as I am so worried about my financial situation and really needed the money.

How do I explain my reason for leaving or what can I do?
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Replies

  • UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    girlagogo said:
    Just under a week ago I was successful in an interview for an experienced Project Manager role working on what turns out to be a large company wide project. I was surprised I got it as I didn't meet key criteria in the application, including experience of managing a project from start to finish, but this was not mentioned during the interview.

    The reality is that I have experience supporting on bits of project delivery already in flight and only in a junior capacity, on some deliverables with no real leadership experience. However having been out of work for 5 months due to the pandemic, I was desperate for work and did sell myself as being the person responsible for fully delivering the recent 2 projects I worked on from start to finish.

    Rather than start me off with a small project, my boss has given me a huge one that impacts the whole of the business and I am responsible for kicking it off. I met with my project sponsor today to whom my boss told he will leave him in my "capable hands". He has no idea and Im panicking, not a clue where to start in the process, having been told that I need to map stakeholders and get a plan together in less than 2 weeks when there are 7 different groups who have no idea that they have to be involved yet, let alone do the work and I still don't understand the project.

    I'm on a 6 month fixed term contract with 1 week's notice for the first time 2 months and I just want to leave before the first update to the Board and getting found out or humiliated for the incompetent I really am. I'm so stressed and am not sleeping well, particularly as I am so worried about my financial situation and really needed the money.

    How do I explain my reason for leaving or what can I do?
    You don't have to give a reason at all.

    Unless your contract says that you have to give a week (or more) notice, the legal default is zero in the first month or employment. It does not have to be the same as whatever notice they have to give you.

    You need to learn from this and stick to the truth. Don't make matters worse by lying about why you are leaving.
  • JLDrewJLDrew Forumite
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    I'd be honest and say it's a bit much to deal with on your own and you're gonna need help. I think they will appreciate your honesty and support you if it is a big major contract/project.
    Most contract managers or project managers I've met in my time haven't got much of a clue about most things and rely on other people to do their job correctly. You can only handle what you know your capable of so asking for help is not a sign of defeat. You got this! Good luck.
  • edited 8 June at 12:57PM
    DaktaDakta Forumite
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    edited 8 June at 12:57PM
    Only you know the scale of the exaggerations, I'd have a long hard objective look at the challenges now you've an insight to what you need to do and actually consider if you can do it.

    if it's really that you can't and you've no chance at all you may wish to bow out, but I wouldn't do that automatically, because without going into tooo much detail, I have over time become concious to the fact that an amazing proportion of people do get through their working lives blagging it.

    and a lot of them lead happy successful lives
  • keepcalmandstayoutofdebtkeepcalmandstayoutofdebt Forumite
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    Sit it out and hope you don't make any mistakes or be as productive as you can.
    Or
    Just tell them, my heart isn't in this/had a change of mind since interview/don't feel I fit in.
    I have every empathy for you, I know when I went along for a Factory export job and it turned out they needed someone with v look up experience in Excel so rather advance skills (excel isn't any passion of mine) and I would never have known this from an interview; but in addition were looking to show someone the job remote/video link despite being in the same vicinity, whereas I thought it was side by side, it was awful I couldn't keep up and knew so quickly it wasn't for me - I made the call to chat to the recruitment agent the next day, who sounded like she was expecting my call. 
    It was a weight off my shoulders.
    There was also the Bailiff office, 2 interviews later and all that hope, yes I could want this job... day of trial I lasted half a day, as just the gut told me it wasn't right. Again best thing I could do rather then sit there faking it, I couldn't see me in the role. The scariest thing was getting £20 back to the bailiff.
    I've got myself into all kinds of scrapes, there was the debt collection job which I probably should have thanked the Employer for turning me into sales rep, my only regret was asking them why they did that beyond the stating of cradle to grave, but it turned out the debt collection was heavily retentions as well.
    Last year I sat opposite a girl who spent 5 months (probably petrified) who just couldn't do the job employed to do, there were tears as time rolled on, it wasn't pleasant seeing her dismissed.  In the end the boss genuinely couldn't get through either with re-training from around the 3 month marker when it all came out things were not being done and said has to go. Whilst he was soooo laid back, I do recall his best piece of advice, (which I am always forgetting) to take the emotion out of it when in business.
    No amount of money is worth effecting your sleep over x

    Re Joined Slimming Word in group 02/06/21   ..   Want to lose every week! 5.5 lbs gone to date

  • moneysavingheromoneysavinghero Forumite
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    TELLIT01 said:
    Suggesting somebody sticks it out when it is apparent they simply don't even know where to start is doing no favours to either person asking or the company.  If it was a case the OP had handled small projects in the past it would be different as they would have the basic knowledge and could potentially develop that. 
    Sound like the OP has already started work. So they may have to get a reference from them at some point (or explain why they don't want to give a reference from their most recent employer of 5 days). Chances are that reference is not going to be good ("Misled us about their experience level during interview"). So they may as well just go all-in and give it a go. If they managed to bluff the interview, who knows, they might be able to bluff the job as well.

    The OP did say they have worked on small projects in the past (although not as lead), so they do have some knowledge. Just need to have confidence in themselves that they can do it alone. This could be the making of the OP. Never turn down an opportunity when it presents itself to you.
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