Your Job Title Is Not What You Do
By: Stephen Plumbley
transitive verb \fə-ˈsi-lə-ˌtāt\
: to make (something) easier : to help cause (something)
: to help (something) run more smoothly and effectively
When I first started in this business, A lot of my professional self-esteem was tied up in my job title. Graphic Designer, PrePress Specialist, Team Lead, etc etc. I took pride in my accomplishments (rightfully so) and the title that went along with it. Even today, the short answer when someone asks what I do is “Graphic Designer.”
Today my title here at Spartan is “Design and PrePress Manager.” But what does that mean? Is it indicative of what I do? Why my duties are here? The honest answer is, I’m not so sure.
While I have overall responsibility for the PrePress Department and the design work that we produce in-house for ourselves and clients, that is far from where my duties end. Those duties, however, are not confined to a simple list, and frankly, I don’t want them to be. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I have a job description for what I do.
And believe it or not, that’s a good thing!
Well, so what do I do? In a word, I facilitate. That’s it. That’s what I do. My job is to make things, as Messrs. Merriam and Webster put it, run more smoothly. I’m not locked into a rote set of routines, duties on a list that have to be checked off every day in order to consider myself successful. Oh sure, I have design projects to deal with, preflighting jobs, printing client work from our digital press, providing technical support to clients, and on and on, but that is not what defines my purpose when I come to work.
By allowing myself that flexibility, it allows me to lift my head up from the daily grind and see opportunities to make things run smoother for myself, my staff, the company, and my clients. It keeps me from saying the dreaded “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it.” This is 2014, baby. That’s how we’ve always done it isn’t good enough.
We’re all expected, it seems, to find new ways of doing things, cheaper ways of accomplishing tasks. The problem we all face, however, is that the job still has to get done. It makes us want to hunker down, hide behind our desk and only do the stuff we. must. do. to. get. through. the. day.
Ugh! Who wants to live like that!? I sure don’t! Break free of your job title. Don’t just be a “Designer” or an “Account Executive” or a “Senior Widget Builder.” Start seeing yourself as a Facilitator, and you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.