Still Clinging To Your Job Title?

April 1, 2011

Robert was so excited about his promotion to Vice President of the company he worked for and kept bragging about it to his wife for weeks on end. Finally she couldn’t take it any longer, and told him, “Listen, it means nothing, they even have a vice-president of peas at the grocery store!””Really?” he said. Not sure if this was true or not, Tom decided to call the grocery store. A clerk answers and Tom says, “Can I please talk to the Vice President of peas?” The clerk replies, “Canned or frozen?”

Positions? Job titles?Does it mean much these days?  To some people they sure do.

Someone approached me during break time in our 2 day leadership workshop training and told me she plans to leave her company because she was not given the position she was promised. I looked at her and told her, “Listen. It could be that changes have taken place in your business organization such that the position promised you may not be in sync with what is expected from you in terms of deliverables so wouldn’t you put lesser emphasis on the position and concentrate more on your function?’

Are positions and job titles important these days? I’m sure they are but not in the way it used to. Consider this. I look at the mirror and I have to ask myself this question. Am I an entrepreneur? A public speaker? Am I a writer? A broadcaster or am I a columnist for this prestigious national daily? Let me go farther. Am I a corporate trainer? A Resource person? A professor or a marketer?  Maybe I’m a salesman or I am a combination of everything and I could go on and on. On any given day, I proba­bly have fifteen or twenty “occupations.” Not to mention the fact that at home, I am a researcher, a father and a husband to only one wife. Notice the emphasis on the numerical value? ONE?

The world is no longer the same. The days of “milk­man” and “soldier” are pretty much gone. Most of the people I know and work with would have had just as much trouble as I had with the occupation question (although I don’t think that any of them would have had a panic attack).

What are you?

Does clinging to an occupation make you better at it? Does it make it easier for you to identify the folks you’d like to work with, the people who can help you do your job-or does it just obfuscate things and drag you into meetings that you shouldn’t be in? While we’re at it, what is your job description? Is it a hopeful, optimistic, powerful document that gives you permission to explore new opportunities and to get something done? Or is it a defensive shield that makes it easy for you to identify what’s not your responsibility? Companies that don’t have any employees who have the phrase “in­crease our international presence” in their job description rarely take the time and risks necessary to develop an international presence.

Or­ganizations that provide their employees with carefully worded job descriptions are giving them permission to ignore excellent business opportunities, and, in doing so, are losing out every day.

This is the reason why Tom Peters says. “Burn your job descriptions…innovate or evaporate!”

I don’t know about you but I do not intend to be limited by my job descriptions. I want to explore new things and I want to try out new things. This way I learn more and this way I keep myself young. You and I are created for greatness as long as we do not limit ourselves.

Many people are lazy but they are busy. Lazy to try out new things and explore new ways to improve what they are doing and add to their repertoire of talents and skills; but they are too busy doing the same thing they have been doing for the past 200 years. And they never discover their full potential and use it for fullness living.

Famous former NBA superstar Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics has turned philosopher when he said: “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” And you know what? He is right!


This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Jojo Echeverre

    I believe that everyone has God given talent. But sometimes majority of us pretending to be busy to the point that we forgot to use and develop it into skills. Let’s help each other. I know that everyone was created for a certain mission using God given talent. Thanks for reminding us.

  2. bong galicia

    Hi again sir Francis. Thanks again for adding value to each and everyone of us. May the good Lord always bless you and your love ones esp to your ONE and only Ilokana.

  3. bong galicia

    Hi again sir Francis. Thanks again for adding value to each and everyone of us. May the good Lord always bless you and your love ones esp your ONE and only Ilokana.

  4. justin i

    i agree with you, sir, that job titles aren’t for everyone. and i am happy (envious, even) that it works out for those people who have no need for it. but for those of us who have yet to find their calling that won’t need job titles, from experience, i feel that there is still some value to it.

    i have recently completed my master’s degree in business administration, and i have spent the past few weeks looking for the next right job opportunity for me. since companies now receive maybe hundreds of resumes from interested applicants, your most recent job title alone can make or break your chance of getting your foot in the door first of your dream company. an applicant with a title of “financial analyst” just seems less qualified on paper than another applicant with a title of “senior financial analyst”, even if you both have the same number of years of experience. at first glance, the hiring officer might separate your resumes on two different piles – one for interview candidate, and one for future consideration.

    i agree that it doesn’t make you better at your job, but it does help you to get in that position where you can have the opportunity and autonomy to implement the innovative projects/processes that you have in mind.

    1. Francis Kong

      No your comment was not deleted Justin.
      While your job title may be able to bring you into the door eventually it will be what you know and what you can do that will make you stay there or propel you higher. The truth is there are many companies today who no longer want to attach titles because it is not relevant to their business anymore.
      My line of work deals with HR practitioners all the time and they would tend to agree with me that titles today do not mean much. Letting go of the “Title Mentality” and embracing self-development is a better thing to do.
      thanks for taking the time to drop in the note.

  5. justin i

    what happened to my comment? was it deleted?

  6. nelio p

    Sir, I think job title has its own advantage, though it limits individual, it could also serve as motivation and improve performance… just an insight 🙂

  7. dan

    This article made me reconsider something. I am actually in the middle of a business planning stage.

    For the past weeks, I have been defining and enumerating the roles of each designation in my organizational chart. I want to be as specific as I could about responsibilities with the purpose of establishing who is accountable for each task. So I now I am a bit confused.

    How can you make people accountable with tasks assigned to them and at the same time will not limit opportunities by doing more than what is expected from them?

    God bless Mr. Francis! =)

  8. Leonard Castañeda

    As a person who’s been working in a government corporation since 1998, the advice of your blog struck me. It’s true, we do wear many different hats, so if we were going to add all the titles related to each one next to our names, our business cards would overflow with excess words. Thanks, sir Francis for the fresh perspective!

  9. Angie Reyes

    God really works in mysterious ways. I have this in my inbox for some time already and now, i opened it because i need to get in touch with you… this is so timely in my professional life, Thanks Sir Francis. You are indeed anointed by God to bring the good news to the marketplace. God bless you and your ministry as well as your family!

  10. Rachelle Mae

    This blog is really for us in our workplace, that not to be limited on what we are doing, because now a days we have so many competitors and we should do multitask and not to concentrate more on our job title. thank you very much Mr. Francis Kong and God bless.

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