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Creative Career Path

Lose the Job Description2009.07.15

    Have you ever taken a job which you found to be quite different from the job description? Can even you describe your job to others in a way that is authentic and engaging? 

    Focussing on the job description has several unfortunate side effects. Job descriptions are notoriously inaccurate in describing the dynamic and complex nature of work. Despite individual assignments, in reality most work is accomplished as a group effort. 


    When people lose sight of the higher purposes of the organization, a company can descend into an adversarial morass, in which employers pay just enough to keep people from quitting, and employees work only enough to keep from getting fired. 


    If it comes to that, no wonder companies look for ways that they can outsource work rather than employ people to do it. The problem with outsourcing is that even though it may provide low-cost temporary solutions, it creates no gains in company know-how, experience, or loyalty. 

    If a company is to grow as an enterprise, and its members to grow as participants, then it is important for everyone to look beyond job descriptions. 


    How do you answer the question, “What you do for a living?” Most people give the name of the company they work for or describe what they do in their job. Few people can describe the place where they work in terms of an enterprise. 


    Having 360-degree awareness about your work means asking the right questions about the company you work for or would like to work for. Quality questions will improve your awareness of where and how you fit in the enterprise. It will make you stand apart from the person who applies for a job based on a resume featuring skills or job experience. 


    It doesn’t matter if you are already employed or looking for a job. The quality of the questions you ask determines the value of the answers you receive. For the sake of the enterprise, these are questions you should be asking yourself, your employer, and the people you work with. 


    Ask Enterprise Questions 
    ● What is the fundamental purpose of the enterprise? 
    ● Does it have a meaningful mission statement that you can put in your own words? 
    ● Are the company’s values shared, rather than imposed? 


    Ask Customer Questions 
    ● How do customers benefit from using the company’s products or services? 
    ● Does the company provide educational support and services to customers? 
    ● Does the company brand generate loyalty and repeat business? 


    Ask Network Questions 
    ● What is the value of your network of contacts within the company? 
    ● Does the company provide access to valuable contacts outside of the company? 
    ● Do employees have access to advisors and supporters to help them improve? 

    Ask Systems Questions 
    ● What systems does the company have to automate its business processes? 
    ● Are systems under constant scrutiny for improvement? 
    ● Are the systems flexible enough to allow customers and employees access to people? 


    Ask Partnership Questions 
    ● What associations, alliances, or partnerships does the company have? 
    ● What value do partners gain from being affiliated with the business? 
    ● Do company alliances work smoothly and serve both sides? 


    Ask Social Questions 
    ● What contribution does your business make to society? 
    ● Are the company’s products and services friendly to the environment? 
    ● Does the company have a story tied to its social enterprise program? 


    Ask Investor Questions 
    ● Why would a person want to invest money or resources in the business? 
    ● What is the company’s current performance and its financial projections? 
    ● How does the company’s performance compare with competitors in the same industry? 


    Ask Change Questions 
    ● How does the business address paradigm shifts and rapid changes in the economy? 
    ● How has the company coped with change in the past? 
    ● Does the company listen to new ideas and reward innovation? 

    These are not questions that are typically addressed in a job interview. They clearly go beyond the job description, and are normally more the concern of an entrepreneur than of an employee. And that is exactly the point. If you think more like an entrepreneur than an employee, your value to the company will certainly increase, and you will attract opportunities where your work is more meaningful and rewarding. 


    Entrepreneurial thinking will also prepare you for the day when by choice or by chance, you find yourself self-employed or looking for a new job. Here is the dilemma. When the pressure is off, people tend to get lazy and forget to ask quality questions. Yet when the pressure is on, people tend to focus on questions which are urgent but far less important. The solution is to get into the habit of thinking like an entrepreneur all of the time, not just when the issue comes up. 


    Your time is your life. Before you trade the majority of it for a wage, think it through. 


    Can you identify the value of the enterprise and your potential place within it? 


    Can you contribute to the value of the enterprise and reap rewards accordingly? 


    If you are not going to stay there forever, what is your next best move? 

    How can you show the true value of the company and attract the right people?

    William Reed

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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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