Five Signs that your Job as a Proposal Professional is Making you Miserable

Postings on Linkedin and the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) tend to be relentlessly optimistic about the jobs and lives of proposal professionals. What they commonly ignore, however, is that some proposal professionals are miserable in their jobs. The percentage of unhappy proposal professionals is probably no higher than in other professions, but it does not receive the notice it deserves.

Below are my five top reasons why I think that being a proposal professional makes some people miserable:

Wage Theft. All proposal professionals are hired for a forty-hour work week, but many are required to work far longer. Proposal professionals should keep a careful accounting of their actual annual hours. All hours beyond 2, 080 per year are uncompensated time donated to your company, which to me is a form of wage theft. You are not supposed to work for free.
Working in a Pyramid Scheme. Do you wonder how your CEO is able to afford an expensive time share in the Dominican Republic, a second home in Colorado, or a large, new global-warming vehicle? See my explanation under “Wage Theft.”
Overwork. Proposal professionals work long hours, often nights and sometimes weekends, to meet pressing deadlines. This is obviously not good for their mental or physical health. Neglecting your health, sanity, friends, and family to fulfil your job responsibilities is a sure recipe for unhappiness.
Poor Health. If you work in an office five days a week, you probably are becoming less healthy. You do not get enough exercise, you do not spend enough time outside your office during the day, and you probably consume vast amounts of unhealthy food. Look around you. Notice the many pasty faces and bulging waistlines. That is you, or you in the near future.
Lack of Stimulation. Let’s be brutally honest – much work in proposal development is highly repetitive, purely administrative, and utterly unoriginal. Working on the same kinds of proposals time and time again is likely to make you feel like a donkey powering a gristmill.

To be frank, I do not have any easy solutions to these problems. However, candidly recognizing them may be the first and most important step in addressing your miserable work situation.

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