Job Title: Scheduler
Type of Company: I work in government acquisitions.
Education: MA, Ancient and Classical History, American University
Previous Experience: I worked as a software developer.
Job Tasks: We let contracts to vendors. The contracts are bid on and one, sometimes two of the bidders are chosen to carry them out. For every contract we let, there are timelines and benchmarks to be met along the way. My job is to monitor the contractors' progress and make sure that their work gets completed on time and, hopefully, under budget. In order to do this, I have to coordinate my activities with those of other agencies, and once a project's been approved, I have to work rapidly to come up with a timeline and with a reasonable date of completion.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job is having to deal with companies that are frequently dishonest. Their schedules are often padded to make it look as if their work is on time, even when it's not. A contract's design process can take months or years, projects themselves many more and it is hard to manage a project when its projected duration spans a single human lifetime. Other projects, though not so long, are so complex that it takes months to break them down into pieces or components you can schedule.
The best part of the job is having the opportunity to work with different agencies, discussing ways a project can be completed.
Job Tips: The actual job is just fine, it's promising to meet unmeetable deadlines that'll kill you. And unless you're a stickler for detail, this is not the occupation you should choose. A single scheduling slip-up can cost you a great deal of money. As with any job, complete college first. And if time and money permit it, get your masters degree BEFORE you take a job.
Additional Thoughts: The thing you'll need most is the ability to converse in a thoughtful way to the myriad of people who get involved in these projects. Speak softly, even when you disagree, and never lose your patience under pressure.
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