A project is by PMI definition is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product service or result.” The word temporary carries over to the career. The PM usually has training in a core discipline which may be anything from computer science to construction. Becoming a PM is a result of significant project work in their discipline and the desire to run quality projects through the study of project management process. In my case the ANSI approved Project Management International PMI PMP Certification.
The PMs Career often involves frequent job changes. As a career path the project manager often pursues the benefits of full time, more stable employment based on life choices and need. The more entrepreneurial PMs will work for years as an independent; then take full time employment somewhere during lean periods or when life situations dictate. A contract PM once told me that “he had been a contractor for years;” he then went on to say that “no one wants to hire people full time our age.” Ouch! HR people squirm when I tell them that story but, you will find a significant number of contract PMs in this situation. You will also find contract PMs who like the independence that being a contractor provides.