I've become a manager almost by accident not because it was something I wanted. Over the last year my team has grown from 3 to 6 and, during certain project phases, up to 25 or so. I never thought I would like being a manager. It does have it moments though. I discovered what I really like is the mentoring and helping side of it. Twice this week I had really fun experiences. Tuesday I got to tell one of my 'superstars' that he just got a 20% raise. The norm right now is 2% - so 20% is really excellent. I think I was more excited than he was! Mind you - I've been haranguing my boss for weeks to get this raise approved - not to mention filling out endless paperwork containing the justification. He would not have gotten the raise if he didn't deserve it - I feel good that I fought to have a hardworking, talented person get something they deserved though.
The second fun boss thing was today ... I had lunch with someone who had worked for me as a summer student a couple of years ago. I ended up keeping her on past the summer on a part time basis while she finished her degree in Computer Science. She is very bright and has all the making of a successful - well - whatever she wants to be really. I wrote her reference letters, encouraged her to go after a job she wanted and mentored her. This of course meant my team lost her when she got that great job. She is doing really well - I told her that one day I'll probably be working for her! It was so nice to have lunch with her today and chat girl talk to her - she has grown up that much. I could not be prouder of her if she was my kid.
I've discovered managing can be a joy rather than the pain I thought it would be if I concentrate on helping and developing my team. I have hand chosen every single one of them and all of them are amazing. Even when the work is overwhelming and the politics are unbearable, the people on my team make me laugh, smile and thrill me with their competence.