Why Your Job Title Doesn't Matter (No, Really)

I consider myself a planner. I like to know what’s going to happen, and when it will occur. This trait doesn’t always serve me well, since a large majority of life is unpredictable. Because of my love of planning, I tend to look at the detail instead of the big picture. During my job search, I’d focus on the details of jobs, instead of the experience and lifestyle that the position would bring. I’d focus on the idea of the job, instead of thinking about what it’d actually be like if I got offered the position. I’ve realized that this isn’t the best approach for a job hunt or for life. When you’re trying to find your “thing” and create a life you enjoy, sometimes it’s counterproductive to get so caught up in descriptions and titles.

Here’s an example: You think you want to be a designer for an advertising agency. Your whole life you’ve loved graphics and art, so you think this is the job for you. You spend all of your days searching for these types of jobs, only to get one and realize you hate it. You hate working in a big office and you hate having to work in teams. You don’t feel creative at all. You’re confused, because the title “designer” sounds like it’d be everything you love. But it’s not.

It’s okay. I get it.

Here’s the problem: when you focus so much on a job title, you lose sight of what the job is actually all about. Sure, you thought you wanted to be a designer, but you forgot to figure out whether or not you’d actually like the life that went along with this job. Whoopsy doopsy.

Don’t worry though, because this is an easy fix. Instead of worrying about how the title sounds, focus more on what you actually want out of a job. Back to my original example: you know you love art and design. But do you want to work in groups or by yourself? What type of office do you want? What type of hours do you want? Where do you want to live? What type of boss do you want to have? These are all important things to consider as you conduct a job hunt. While it’s important not to be too picky since the market is tough, you can use these ideas to guide your search. Instead of narrowing yourself down to jobs that contain the title “designer,” you can start to look for positions that are a bit different than you’d originally started looking for, but that will leave you feeling more satisfied.

This is also helpful if you’re not exactly sure what you want to do with your career. Okay, so you don’t know what to type into the search bar on Monster.com, but that doesn’t mean that you’re completely lost. Think about the skills you enjoy using. Do you like to write? Do you like to talk to people? Do you enjoy social media? Then think about how you can use these skills to make money or find a position at a company. This helps to bring you clarity, and makes your search more productive.

Do you ever get caught up in titles and end up regretting it? Move to New York because it sounds exciting and then wish you were in Boston? How do you correct this situation?

P.S. Check out my latest for The College Crush called “The Elements Every Healthy Relationship Needs.” Here’s a brief excerpt:

Some relationships just seem effortless. You look at Brad and Angelina or Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard and think, “There’s NO way they work at that.” While these couples may have more money and frequent flier miles than the average couple, it’s probably safe to assume that they put in just as much work (if not more) than anyone else when it comes to making their love last. No matter who you are, relationships require maintenance. They’re kind of like the Tamagotchi you had in fourth grade: Everything was all well and good for a few hours, but neglect the thing until you come home from school and chaos has erupted. Okay, so maybe that’s a strange analogy, but it’s true. Relationships require constant effort and maintenance in order to ensure proper functioning. Here are some other keys to keeping your love healthy…

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  1. I hear ya. There are so many titles that sound appealing to me, but once I actually think about what I would be doing, I second-guess myself. If only I would have majored in something straight-forward… English is not a good major for people who struggle at making daily decisions, let alone life altering choices.

    • Hi Lauren,
      First of all, great name=). I can definitely relate to your comment. When you’re looking for a job, it’s hard to decipher what the positions you see are actually about. The title sounds great, but then you read the description and go “Oh…no thank you.” Or the description sounds great but the title sounds less-than-glamorous. It’s definitely a complicated process. I have a lot of friends who were English majors and have some regrets, but the one thing I can say is that at least you have a wide range of skills (reading, communicating). I understand the major regret thought! I would definitely have chosen a different major, given the chance. Thanks for reading!

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