A few days back, I got a call from somebody who wanted to collaborate on a venture with me.
Hi Jitin, so I see you are an engineer who has worked in consulting and design stuff and now make videos. You have an “interesting profile” but what is it that you actually do?
I have always struggled with this problem. For my first interview, I was asked why I wanted to get into Risk Consulting when I had a profile in academic research? But, that was sometime back. I was in the same situation more recently when I left my job at KPMG to start something of my own.
The first thing was - OK, what do I enter on my website and LinkedIn? I was no longer the ‘Analyst’ that most people understood easily or at least felt they did understand what I did. Perhaps they felt it was something like ‘glare at a computer screen making charts and presentations’ which wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
However, The security of having an identifiable designation was not available now and I had to think of something. I looked around for ideas - most common was the ‘Content Writer’ (that I wasn’t strictly speaking) then there was ‘Freelancer’ which was more or less OK but I did not like it much.
I had started out after KPMG to start something on my own. As of now, there are just a few partners and we are not a registered company yet. So an ‘entrepreneur’ was not the right choice - it just didn’t feel right.
Although technically it was correct because at entrepreneur is not necessarily a ‘CEO @ something’ but ‘a person who organises and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so’ which technically I was. But the catch was that my business was not a registered company yet.
Also, deep down I felt it was incorrect. Why did I feel that way? Because people made me realise so. How? Sample this - a typical conversation went like:
X: So why are you moving out?
Me: I’m starting something of my own.
X: What is it related to?
Me: Tells them some of the things I had planned
X: What is the innovation here? Have you got funded? Have you saved enough for bootstrapping?
Me: Tries to explain
X: Oh, OK. Good luck. [With this look : ಠ_ಠ]
Fair enough, so no talk about being at entrepreneur before I get funded. Fine, but then what would I tell someone I do? No, I did not have this question, my father had asked me this.
After 30 minutes of discussions, where I told him the things I had planned and how I would go about it, he said “I don’t understand this working on Internet thing, but if you know what it is and what you’re doing, then go ahead”
So most things were sorted, now only the website and LinkedIn problem remained. I choose ‘Content Designer’ (because ‘pun intended’ of course) but then realised that if there was no custom designation available maybe a collection of words would work to somehow convey what I do.
Thankfully, the designation (or not having one) has not been a problem until now, and perhaps will never be as most people are concerned with the work and not the designation. But until now I had not realised that such a situation can happen where you may not have one word to describe what you do.
I choose ‘Writer, Educator, Designer, Freelancer’ - the last one for anything that did not go under the first three. Seems like the only logical thing to do. After all - ‘A Man Needs a Name’ - if you know what I mean.