November is almost here and the holiday season will soon be upon us. For many people, that means weekends filled with cocktail parties. My least favorite kind of party is the one where my wife knows everyone there, and I know no one. Inevitably I end up engaged in small talk and, as it turns out, I’m pretty horrible at small talk. It’s especially difficult when we get to the “what do you do?” question.
In the U.S. you have to have a clear answer to that question. This answer is important. There is a lot of pressure to nail this one. I am an Anesthesiologist, I handle logistics for the largest non-profit in the world, I am a Teacher, I am a Developer for NASA, I am a Dog Walker. Whatever your answer, it defines everything about your life; what is important to you, how much money you make, what difference you are making in the world, and whether the conversation is about to get interesting.
My challenge is I don’t know what to say. At The Fool we have never liked traditional job titles and job descriptions. There is so much limitation in a job description and so much hierarchy in a title. I play many roles here and they are dynamic and fun. Overall my goal is to make people happy. Often I work to ensure Fools are passionate and skilled about what they do, and that what they do is valuable to our members. Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow, sometimes I learn, and sometimes I buy doughnuts. There is no great title that describes those actions or that I care to use.
I am proud of my work and I believe it makes a real difference in the world. I don’t find value in being the assistant to the vice president of administrators or whatever sounds important. A lot of people might wonder how I could be important without a fancy title that connotes subordinates and authority. To fix this, I have been telling people I am the President of the United States, but he’s getting so much air time lately I fear people won’t believe me.