Inevitably the question was asked “So what do you do?”
The guy to my left mumbled something about organising a real ale tour since being made redundant, but that he had been an “Accountant.” The guy to my right talked about his time as a “Lawyer” before mentioning he was currently collaborating on an App project.
Job titles are just another label that have an effect on our audience. I get different reactions when I respond with either ‘Recruiter’ or ‘Head hunter’ or “Pimp”, they all sell people, but convey different images.
Language is powerful.
When I’m recruiting candidates, the terms you use within your job title can determine whether you appear in my search results or not. Yet, for this post I’m interested in what they bring up for you, the individual behind the title.
Did the ex-accountant not want to discuss how the tour was going? Did he use ‘Accountant’ as a shield against further questions in a time when he wasn’t so sure of his role? Was the lawyer trying to give creditability to his current project by suggesting he left the stability of the law to pursue it? Only they know, but have they consciously thought about it?
If we are unemployed, self employed, multi passionate and not working under an easily digestible label how does that affect us?
How do you feel about your job title/s and what comes up for you when asked the question “So what do you do?” * Do you justify, explain or defend your title? Do you feel a sense of pride, excited or embarrassment? Why?
In the backlash against corporate titles so many more have sprung up, alongside the Apple Genius you can find a whole host from the intriguing to ridiculous and bizarre. Visit this list of twenty and you will find a “Bride Kidnapping Expert”, honest.
I thought I’d come up with my own and created “Selfologist”or “Naval Gazer”, someone who studies the exploration, creation, development and acceptance of the ‘self.’ I’m not saying I’m going to be printing it on business cards anytime soon, but it really speaks to me as to where I’m at currently.
What could you call yourself right now? I challenge you to come up with your own titles.
* I’m not fond of the whole “What do you do?” question and prefer to ask “What are you up to at the moment?” It’s only a small tweak but I get much more interesting answers. What works for you?