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CAD Manager – Extreme Job?

In the December 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce outlined what they called “Extreme Jobs – the Dangerous Allure of the 70 hour Workweek [1]“. They search for answers as to why people spend this level of time at work, what drives them and what, if any, are the rewards. They outline how some people gladly spend extreme levels of time at work and actually love doing it.

They list 10 characteristics that they think define extreme jobs. I want to review a few of their definitions of what makes an Extreme Job and see if they apply to CAD Management. Not all of them apply, nor must they for it to be thought of as an extreme job. They state that only 5 of the 10 need apply. Any 5 mixed with the requisite 60 hours per week can move you into the extreme zone.

Here are the ones I think apply to CAD Managers:

1. Unpredictable flow of work. CAD Managers must always adjust to the feast and famine, stop and start, get it done yesterday kind of environment.

2. Fast paced work under tight deadlines. CM’s must work to other peoples deadlines. Working under the pressure of multiple deadlines and projects funneling through their systems.

3. Inordinate scope of responsibilities that amount to more than one job. Ever feel like that? You know that you have – especially if you have project duties and CM duties.

4. Work related events outside of regular work hours. Do you belong to a user group? This qualifies you.

5. Responsibility for mentoring and recruiting. You may not be recruiting much, but you are constantly mentoring, training, and moving people forward.

6. Physical presence at workplace at least 10 hours a day. Well some of us may not actually do this but we easily could.

These are 6 from the list. Does they describe you? Do you have an Extreme Job?

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2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "CAD Manager – Extreme Job?"

#1 Comment By RobiNZ On January 31, 2007 @ 2:32 AM

Extreme Job, what about extreme pay!

#2 Comment By Jeff On August 16, 2009 @ 5:33 AM


I never thought of CM as extreme? When you think of extreme you think of dangerous jobs like a Crab Fisherman, Military, Policeman or Fireman. After reading your remarks, poll, and reflecting on myself yes it’s extreme. And it doesn’t have to be ‘Risky’ to be as such. I’m a CM at an architecture firm with around 50 staffers and multiple offices that I oversee in one way or another. I have 8 years experience as a CM and 13 overall in the industry. My favorite analogy of a CM is: ‘Jack of all trades, Master of None’ when you really need to be (and expected to be) ‘MASTER OF ALL’. Which most of us know (unless you have a good support structure) it’s difficult as a CM on your own (which most of us are). And now with ‘BIM’ it’s truly impossible to know and manage everything. Years ago it wasn’t as big of a deal. You had a core group of software tools & processes to managed and upgrade every few years. Now were updating systems more often, adding new software’s to the mix and asking software’s to do things that we never dreamed possible 10 years ago. Not including having to educate and guide staff along the way. Now with BIM you have to think about ALL aspects of our industry and how it can tie together. Anything from pre desisn to facility management. As time goes by this ‘Extreme’ nature is only going to grow. I think in order to be successful CM needs to grow in size & scope. It needs to be thought of as a ‘TEAM’ instead of a ‘PERSON’. An ‘Integrated Group’ (IPD) instead of a bunch of individual silo’s. That would help tie things together and lower it’s extreme nature (a little bit anyway). That’s my thoughts.