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Genius, purpose, and cool job descriptions - What are *you* built to do?

Over the past year or so I've been collecting job descriptions I think are tres cool, i.e., stimulating to me. I'm sure this started when I was planting the seeds of my career change - when I was actively thinking about finding my "thing," what Dick Richards calls our genius (see Is Your Genius at Work?: 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Your Next Career Move - Dwayne's got a nice article on it here).

I worked through that book a while ago, but I'll admit it was difficult and I didn't get it down to two words. (What I love about Richards' approach is he has you get it down to one gerund - a verb that ends with the suffix ing - and one noun, e.g., Digging Deeper.)

Reflecting on this process after some time, I've realized two things. First, my primary motivation for doing personal productivity consulting is to help people free up their minds so their genius can come through - either by making space to hear what it is, or by turning their smart ideas into action [1]. This is the big picture, and the main reason to get on top of everything.

The second realization is that my personal one (Richards says you only have one - I disagree) is something like this (apologies for the dry language):
  1. Read tons of books.
  2. Discover ideas that can potentially change personal world views - radically.
  3. Experiment with them on myself.
  4. Teach the most valuable ones to others.
Provide terrific value to others, add money, and repeat. (Haven't got it down to two words, obviously ;-)

So - here are some of the more interesting job descriptions. Do any of them give you ideas about your genius? Please share!

  • [1] I'm leading a marketing study group using Middleton's Action Plan Marketing workbook, and we just did the meme section. I'm still working on mine, but they alll have to do with smart people, and helping turn their ideas/inspiration into action.

Reader Comments (18)


Great list. And fun to think about how you might write a job description if you were a recruiter trying to fill one of these positions.

Fun stuff-fun to ponder. Thanks

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavey Moyers

Davey, that's a neat idea. I wonder how it relates to what I found when doing a bit of research into computer science jobs (before I took the plunge) - that many jobs are written to the "what" (e.g., tools and technologies) rather than the "who" (which Jim Collins says is what's better to focus on). I suspect it's much harder to go about hiring someone on the latter basis... but then again, I don't know a darn thing about it!

Always appreciate your comments, Davey.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Uh, deeper's not a noun. ;-)

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMiGrant

Uh, deeper's not a noun. ;-) - Thanks, Michael. It's straight out of his book; I'll pass it along :-) I do think the idea's a good one, grammar not withstanding.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Cool job descriptions huh! i wonder how you come up with this....

November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJapan Consulting Company

Thanks, JCC. Just a curious mind, the drive to improve and share, and pretty good capture tools :-)

November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Hey, that books-knowledge-sharing cycle is so Love is the Killer App. =) Have you read that yet?

November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSacha Chua

Hey, Sacha - thanks a ton for the reminder! Tim's book ( [ Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends | http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400046831?ie=UTF8&tag=masidbl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1400046831 ] ) is one of my favorites. Some snippets from my pickle jar:

o The Big Idea: "Love business" is the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners - our knowledge, network, and compassion.

o "Love is the selfless promition of the growth of others" - wow!

o knowledge: everything you have learned & continue to learn. brain = piggy bank. some collect but never share. many people waste opportunities to put pennies in

o compassion: the human ability to reach out with warmth, whether through eye contact, physical touch, or words.

o He has a great section on reading - a topic I know many of my readers appreciate. His four-step program to make knowledge work for you:
1. aggregation
2. encoding
3. processing
4. application.

o The four steps of application:
1. Make sure that you own the book's Big Thought, which results from your encoding and processing.
2. Visualize a discussion.
3. Look for insert points.
4. Play doctor. role play - re: an idea, tell who said it, in what context, and why. plus: send book itself

Terrific book.

P.S. So when's the Emacs book coming out? :-)

November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

I have two friends who are Metaverse Evangelists. Now *that* is a cool job title :-)

November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Piper

That's an amazing one, Andy. Thanks!

November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

my title is "feedback loop". on my business card and everything.

here's a page of [ weird professional identity descriptions | http://joechip.net/brian//09/16/your-weird-professional-identity-descriptions/ ], circa Q2 2007.

December 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEdward Vielmetti

That's a nice one, Edward. BTW, here's an updated link to the list: [ Your weird professional identity descriptions | http://joechip.net/brian/2007/09/16/your-weird-professional-identity-descriptions/ ]. Tasty! I esp. like corporate irritant and ad-hominem adjuster.

December 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Love the post and thought I'd comment on your desire to compress things

1. Read tons of books.
2. Discover ideas that can potentially change personal world views - radically.
3. Experiment with them on myself.
4. Teach the most valuable ones to others.

#1 is more a "how" not a "what", if you're a "blogger" you don't have to tell people you use Wordpress or blogger.com they assume from your title that you've figured it out.

#3 again, kind of a "how". I don't need a neurosurgeon to tell me she operates on patients.

#4 I think is a good "what", but obviously (since I skipped it until now) I think #2 is the most interesting part.

I read "Discover ideas..." and hear "idea spelunker". It's rough I know, but I think you can drop the "how those ideas will be used", again because it'll get assumed or is something that can better clarified once you've got your "hook".

So if you can find a way to work #4 and #2 together I think you've got it.

I think you're trying to find two words (one word each) that represents these two phrases;
1) "boldly seeks out brave new ideas..." (yea think star treck & Indiana Jones)
2) Share them with others, through teaching and open communication (I get a Johnny Appleseed vibe here).

Sorry I don't have an answer, but at the very least, I think spelunking is a good word :)

December 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterthe

Hey, the - thanks very much for the analysis. Hmmm - 'idea spelunker' I like where it's going. How about yours?

December 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Got a pointer from my friend
[ Ricky Spears | http://www.rickyspears.com/ ] to [ this article | http://48days.com/newsletter_archives/archive.php?date=20071218 ] (scroll to the third entry - "Just Call me Slave Boy").

December 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

I think I can offer one two-word possibility boiling your list of four down:
Enlightening Others.

It doesn't necessarily capture the idea of only enlightening with *new* things, but I think it's a fair overall description. Based on those two words, you could take it a bit further, to "Guru" ;).

January 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Hey, David - thanks! That's a great one. Fitting into two words is tough...

(Hey, I liked your [ Sci Fi | http://exold.com/article/a-_real_-top-15-great-science-fiction-books-list ] list. I'm always on the lookout for titles.)

January 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell
October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

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