What I Thought My Job Was / What My Job Really Is

I was brand new to my job as Web Presence Manager a year ago (which, in turn, is a position brand new to the institution as well). When I came into the role, it was recommended by my boss that I should speak at a web conference held specifically for employees of the Minnesota System of Colleges & Universities (aka MnSCU).  I submitted, was accepted, created a talk…and was too sick the week of the conference to participate (or do anything, really).

But a year has passed, and I came across the talk while cleaning out my files. It’s amusing to see what I envisioned my role being, and what reality has been. Here’s the original talk:

When creating talks, I like to think in terms of metaphors to convey themes and ideas. Grand Budapest Hotel seemed apropos for what I wanted to do here. Particularly the role of the lobby boy, Zero.

Per the plot:

  • A lobby boy is completely invisible, yet always in sight.
  • A lobby boy remembers what people hate.
  • A lobby boy anticipates the client’s needs before the needs are needed.
  • A lobby boy is, above all, discreet to a fault.

The connective tissue here is, essentially, that [web presence manager] can be substituted for [lobby boy]. My background and professional interests lie heavy in the UX side of things, so it’s no surprise that I would take a deeper read on that part of my role than anything else.  That was essentially the heart of the position.

As time has gone on, it’s evolved into something a little less directly correlated with those things. In place, it’s much more of a project/relationship manager role with content/UX/IA strategy tossed in. Oh, and Google Analytics.  And technical training, as I sit here, working on lesson plans for Content Coordinator training coming up in a few weeks.

Part of the fun of originating new roles is shaping them based on your talents, insights, and desires. The downside is that it’s easy to let them overgrow, which is, when I look at everything on my current plate, a little bit of what has happened to me. I’m not quite as focused as when I started out, which is my own fault. I have a hard time saying no, and a hard time delegating when it’s easier for me to pick up the work. It’s also been challenging to adapt to the work styles of those with whom I need to work closely (let’s just say my INTJ personality is not complemented in the department…but it’s a learning opportunity).

Looking forward to coming back in another year to see how things have changed, post-launch =]

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