This was originally published as a response to a First Round Network community question.

Can you share your journey on going from full-time individual contributor to manager?

My manager journey has another layer of complexity because I was promoted to a manager position from a lower position on another team (my company tends to recognize and fast-track individual contributors quickly when internal opportunities come up). Seven months later, I can say that the transition has been rocky (to say the least) but I have no regrets that I stepped up to the challenge.

Some surprises I've discovered in my new role:
- As an IC, I could work quietly in the backroom but as a manager, I am front and center for every issue and people look to me for answers. There is nowhere to hide and I am held accountable for not just myself but also the decisions and output of the team I manage.
- I am a creator and I love making things (I come from a tech writing background). As a manager, most of my time is spent talking to people and sitting in meetings so I rarely get to make things anymore. I didn't realize how much this was slowly chipping away at my work-life happiness until recently. Once I pinpointed this imbalance, I began to fiercely protect a few hours a week to a creative pursuit (such as building a website even if it is during my personal time).
- Along the same vein, most of my time is spent project managing and prioritizing. In order to keep learning and honing a craft (such as coding), I need to deliberately carve that time out for myself because it is not a natural part of my day anymore.
- This brings me to: Delegate, delegate, delegate. I am so used to doing everything myself and having my hand involved everywhere that it was a big adjustment for me to utilize my team of capable people who I can and should trust with tasks and projects. I can give stretch projects to people and if I have the right people on my team, I should expect to be wowed constantly with their output.
- The people aspect is the hardest part of this job (I often joke that 80% of what I deal with now is a people problem). Whether it's having the wrong person for a role or smoothing out misunderstandings between team members, I feel like I am constantly navigating personalities or going on self-imposed PR campaigns to keep things positive and forward-moving.
- Being a manager is HARD and it is not for everyone. I've moved a household twice across the country and been a doula (also twice!); my manager journey is definitely up there with that list of difficult things that have needed every ounce of me in order to accomplish. I remind myself often: We can do hard things and I'm not going anywhere unless someone tells me to.