You are not your job title and your job probably isn’t either

One of my favorite career stories ties back to my second job. I was brought in to bring a brick & mortar mall perspective to the cutting edge and dazzlingly new idea of an online shopping environment.

It was a while ago.

They hired me with the title of “Design Specialist” even though I didn’t really design anything.

What I DID do, though, was cast a kind of “who’s this new guy” shadow over people whose jobs did actually include some kind of designing of things.

Threatening? Who, me?

Then the guy who hired me was fired three months later.

Now nobody was clear exactly what I was supposed to be doing, including young, naïve, tiny-voiced me.

So I went through a few different supervisors, trying to design my job.

Okay, so I guess I was supposed to design something after all.

I asked them to let me change my title to “Marketing Specialist.” (After calling HR, carefully checking the title-salary matrix, measuring the height of my cubicle walls… my VP approved.) That change helped around the office.

Eventually, with the help of one of my favorite bosses ever, we figured things out.

It might be up to you to create your own professional identity. Not a brand. An identity.

Base it on who you are and what you want to become, as well as what you do and what you’ve done.

Not from your job title or even strictly speaking, your job description.

What skills do you use? What problems do you solve? What have you delivered? Who did you help and how are they better now, thanks to your help?

Seek out “Other tasks as assigned.” Those might be the best ones.

Design your own career by embracing what you are good at… and doing more of it.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!