How I Launched My Career in Project Management

I had planned out my career in renewable energy as a master’s degree holder in Sustainable Energy Systems. I was going to get a job in one of the top energy companies and kickstart my career as a renowned Sustainable Energy Specialist.

“Sometimes life has a different plan…”

“We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us”

Joseph Campbell

I remember applying to different graduate schemes and getting to the final stage of the recruitment process and getting rejected. It was very disappointing for a new graduate.

However, things began to look up when I landed an internship role for a company that needed a Sustainable Energy Specialist.

I was introduced to different projects on the job but interestingly I was bored on the job, and I knew it was time to leave.

It was scary, this was all I had ever wanted and now I was leaving.

I went through a phase of not knowing what to do and what steps to take, I prayed and kept asking God for direction. While waiting, I decided to get a job in hospitality.

I believe a turning point for me was when I checked my savings account and I hardly had anything inside. I was desperate to know what the next step was in life and how to live the life I knew I was deserving of. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Jeremiah 29:11

Unknown to me this was the beginning of my journey in Project Management.

One day in 2014, I saw a course in Project Management, and I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to buy the course.

It did not make sense to empty my savings account for a course that had nothing to with my precious Sustainable Energy. I yielded anyway and bought the course, and I completed it. 

Again, I was led to return to Nigeria and while I was in Nigeria, I wanted to keep searching for jobs in the energy sector, but I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that I was supposed to have a career in Project Management. 

I remember thinking that I did not have any experience in Project Management until someone helped me understand that the activities I was carrying out in my role as a Youth Coordinator for my Church was Project Management experience. This new insight propelled me to tailor my CV to include PM buzzwords. 

Finally, I landed my first PM role! 

In 2015, I got an interview with a company that was doing Project Management for the Lagos Government electrification.

They were working on a solar energy project, and I was interested in landing a role as a Solar Specialist.

However, to my surprise the interviewer told me that they are looking for a Project Coordinator. This was another confirmation about what God had been saying to me about a career in Project Management.

And just like that I switched, I told the recruiter that I had experience in Project Management, and he went ahead to ask me questions in the Project Management field, and I remember being able to articulate my answers so clearly and this was because of the Project Management course I had taken earlier. The Holy Spirit brought everything I had learnt in that program to my memory. 

I landed my first Project Management job that day and transitioned to Project Management.

I went on to join the team that built energy storage systems for about 212 institutions (Public Health Centers and Public Schools) in Lagos, giving the Public Schools 8 hours electricity and the Health Systems 24 hours electricity so that they can do the work they need to do without the limitations caused by the frequent power outage in the country. 

My Project Management roles afterwards

My next role was in England as an IT Project Consultant. I worked in this role for two years working on a transformation project for the UK Government and integration projects for an Aviation company.

Then, I got married. I and my husband decided that we would start our family in Canada. So, I left my job and everything I knew and moved to Canada.

One thing I knew was that I wasn’t going to start from scratch! I just couldn’t. So, despite all that I heard about starting from somewhere by doing survival jobs (especially since I was in Newfoundland and Labrador and not in the main provinces like Ontario).

However, I knew that wasn’t for me. God did not move me to Canada to join my husband to start from scratch. Never.

I moved to Canada and landed a job as a Project Manager (better and higher paying!) in an E-Learning consulting firm, delivering and transforming brick and mortar courses in the Atlantic region in Canada to online e-learning courses. 

My next role was to manage High-tech and Hi-End engineering projects and from then on moved on to become a Program manager, helping to build and grow the ocean economy in Canada, managing technology leadership from digital twins to AI technology and machine learning. (Tech sis…haha)

My next move was to the UK where I worked in the Aviation sector, helping to deliver change and transformation initiatives by leveraging initiatives in the treasury business service area of one of the largest airlines in the world. 

Now, I’m helping professionals supercharge their career as the Founder and Director of the Ogaga Johnson Company; an education and consulting company where we are building the next generation of project leaders who are globally sought after and known as the best.

Did you notice how many industries I have worked in so far?

That’s the beauty of Project Management. You can work in any industry and sector. Endless opportunities without limits!

Project Management is a career with endless opportunities and without limits. For example, it allowed me to do the following:

  • Move from sector to sector without worrying about not having business knowledge for the sector.
  • Move from country to country without worrying about if I will be able to land a high paying and better job in the new country.

A career in Project Management helps you grow a borderless, limitless, and global career. That’s a thriving career!

Ogaga Johnson, is a Project leader, Consultant, and Speaker.

She is passionate about helping professionals launch and grow successful and thriving careers in Project Management.

She has helped 150+ professionals to get into Project Management and advance their careers through her coaching programs.

Ogaga is social, connect and learn with her on LinkedIn or Instagram or YouTube

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