It’s Time You Wrote Your Own Job Description

Do you only apply for a job if you closely match the job description?

Has it ever occurred to you that we are always looking for potential employers to supply us with job descriptions about how they see the job we are going to be doing – if we’re lucky – for years to come? There is something not quite right with that proposition. Why should we agree to their terms about what our daily tasks and responsibilities should be? Why should they decide how much vacation we can take, and when? Why should they decide what our daily working schedules should look like?

Fitting into someone else’s job description is like wearing shoes two sizes smaller on a daily basis

People have different strengths and different gifts they can contribute to an organization. Boxing them into rigid job descriptions, team structures and hierarchies ensures that they will only contribute and deliver what you expect them to. Imagine giving workers the freedom to choose the projects they would get involved in and the way they’d like to contribute? What could happen then? Nothing short of magic, really. It’s something many forward-thinking corporations worldwide are coming to terms with. They are encouraging people to get involved in projects that have nothing to do with their daily work and spend anywhere from 20 – 30% of their time on them. This ensures that people can truly grow professionally and in the way that matches their unique developmental goals and personalities.

If you expect your people to do work that they’ve always done, you can also expect the results you’ve always gotten.

Getting rid of job descriptions

Organizations today need people that are passionate and hungry about what they’re doing, people who are inspired enough to be inspirational and to bring in fresh ideas that could produce a competitive advantage. Fitting them into a few bullet points on a job description is a guarantee those things aren’t going to happen. We need to do away with job descriptions and tie profiles to a list of desired (but not mandatory) outcomes, instead. This is the only way people can be encouraged to contribute in the most individual, authentic ways and to think outside the box.

Getting rid of job titles

Titles, too, are just as rigid and restrictive as JD’s. Everyone wants to be a senior this-and-that, a manager of this-and-that, a strategic director of this-and-that… Looks impressive and fancy on LinkedIn, right? In reality, it rarely equates to job satisfaction, competence, or results. Often the pay doesn’t match the titles, either. Lately, cool-sounding titles like ‘software development ninja’ and ‘chief satisfaction architect’ are on the rise. Although a slight improvement from traditional titles, these, too, are just as non-descriptive, and too pompous to be useful.

 A more effective way to call people would be by the impact they’re bringing to the organization, for example, ‘innovation evangelist’ or ‘digital pioneer.’

So, I encourage you to write your own job description of your dream job and send it out to prospective employers. If they’re too rigid to honor your quest for work that will fulfill you while also helping them reach their goals, then perhaps that’s not the place where your professional dreams can come true. I realize that most employers out there are still subscribing to traditional methods of recruitment but it’s up to us, the workforce, to show them we’re looking for change.

Looking forward to seeing your ideal JD’s – share them with me on Twitter!

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