Why We Ask People To Create Their Own Job Descriptions

Blog posted on May 17, 2019 The Jungle

When someone starts at Gorilla they’re asked to create their own job titles. At first glance this seems cheesy. Weird job titles are often mocked. It’s fair criticism. If your job title is Blah Blah Rock Star or Something Something Guru, it confuses people, which usually leads to irritation. Take a look at the Random Digital Marketing Job Title Generator and you’ll probably have seen a couple of its suggestions used in the wild.

Our people have job titles which reflect their roles. These are clear, and traditional, and most anyone in marketing will understand them. But we ask them to add something to these to make them personal and puts a bit of themselves into the role. Dean chose “Magic Bean Counter”. On its own this would be useless. Combined with “Financial Manager” it tells you a bit more about him. Not only what he does, but a glimpse into the type of person he is.

We do this because, to paraphrase Tyler Durden, you are not your job. A job is what you do, not who you are.

This somewhat silly tradition let’s someone express a bit about their character, along with some insight into how they see their job, what they prioritise, and what they bring to the table. A single phrase isn’t a psychological assessment, but it humanises an otherwise dry categorisation. “Client Services Director” tells you very little about Michelle, but combine it with “Cheer(ful) Leader” and you instantly know more about her. They’re not immutable. People are encouraged to update descriptions as they feel the need, irrespective of whether their title remains the same. This is important to us.

A company is more than the sum of its people.

Remove the unique quirks, talents, relationships and passions of individuals, and our business is reduced to people going through the motions. Flesh and blood cogs grinding it out. In an industry driven by imagination and creativity, this is a death knell. We take care to remind ourselves and each other every day that it’s not what you do, but how and why you do it that makes all the difference. It’s a bit ridiculous, but we’re ok with that. It’s fun. And work should always be fun.

Gorilla Job Description or Random Digital Marketing Title Generator?

Try and tell the difference: