Job Titles Don’t Matter – How to Overcome Yours

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“I’m auditioning for the role of Coordinator.”

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If you were ever in theatre you know that phrasing oh-to-well. A name for the role of the part you’d like to play is arbitrarily decided by the writer. You assume the role, if of course you get the part.

It is entirely similar to the workforce. You audition for the role of Coordinator #1, a title picked arbitrarily by either the hiring manager, HR, or the company at large. But what does that really mean? Even if each play had two farm hands it doesn’t mean that you’d be playing the same part. And that is exactly why job titles don’t matter.

The job description always counts for more. I remember when I was a Social Media Manager, many thought the position was exactly the same as a Community Manager. Both of those titles were coined when the digital media age required companies to step up to the plate and hire, full-time, someone to coordinate their Twitter account. It was seen as a role that wasn’t in management, but simply given the title linking into to managing platforms. Therein lies the challenge, my position was in management, but was often not treated as such. Would ‘Manager, Social Media’ make more sense? Would that clearly define it? What if I had of been a ‘Social Strategist’? Would that have eluded to Management at all? Neither matter, and that’s the main thing. I would have been performing the exact same duties. Your job title is only holding you back because you’re reading way too much into it.

So how do you overcome it?

1. Get Over It

Sounds simple enough, get over it. Titles are entirely self-fulfilling, they make you, and only you, feel like you matter. See how many times I said you? No one else cares if you’re the Coordinator, Senior Coordinator or Managing Coordinator. You care, that’s it.

2. Ask for a Change

If it really does matter to you (and sometimes it should), find out what the most common title is in your industry based on your job description, propose that. Never ask to be a Senior Strategist unless that’s really what you do. I’ve asked for a title change and I had to defend my rationale, you will, too. Do your homework.

3. List off Your Core Competencies

If you’re applying for a job and worried that pesky title is going to hold you back, do yourself a large favour and utilize the first part of your resume to list off your core competencies. Not a single person will be able to judge your job title if you’ve stated you are a team leader with proven ability to empower others.

4. Manager ≠ Manager

I’ve seen someone with the title Editor-In-Chief. Fancy! That was a dream job of mine back in high school. Little did I know, that title was given to them, by themselves, of a blog only they write for. So you see what I’m saying when titles don’t always add up? The Manager position at a small and nimble company is often not the same as that at a Fortune 500 company – I am proof of that. My Management title held no weight when I was interviewed for a Management position at a huge financial company. Don’t get bogged down in the “level game” because we’re not all on the same playing field.

Moral of the story, be fantastic at your job – that title will come soon enough or not at all. But it surely shouldn’t change your work ethic or ability to produce fantastic results.

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Writing In Progress: Shit Day

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This is an excerpt from a larger body of writing I am working on. It is pure fiction, and any resemblance to a real place or person is only a coincidence.

What a shit day.

When I say shit, please don’t think I am wearing a tiara, waving my hand in the air in a frivolous fashion with the words ‘drama queen’ flashing in hot pink above my head. I mean shit, in the clearest of ways.

Apartment hunting may just be the new bane of my existence. I realized very quickly that staring at the same walls that we had stared at was not only unhealthy, but uninspiring. I craved a fresh start. A new neighbourhood with new smells, a brand new coffee shop where no one knew my order, and a dry cleaner who didn’t give me a, “poor girl” look when I no longer picked up men’s anything. I figured, tallest building in the city kind of thing. Let’s be the opposite of what I am now.

What on earth is going on in this city? None of this existed. Aren’t there cool condos, with mirrored back splashes, and a rooftop terrace available to charm me? I walked into someone’s bedroom today from the front door. Could you imagine answering the door for your, pathetic of course, Friday night takeaway with your bed in the background? On second thought maybe I am a drama queen, or snob. Let’s go with snob.

My day was shit. Perched up at the bar, head held in left hand, I blew the same strand of hair out of my face 17 times before someone had interrupted me.

“You’re a breath of fresh air…”

“Sorry?” Snappy, yes, snappy at a stranger with a deep voice, this was good.

“I just meant I don’t see pretty women hunched over a scotch, especially neat, on a regular day.”

“Oh, ya. Shit day.” Well he was a breath of fresh air. My lovely new bar-mate was about as handsome as a man could get. Perfectly tailored suit, black hair, dark and comforting eyes. I wanted to poke him… was he real? I couldn’t tell if he was or the scotch was starting to play spiteful games with me.

“Shit day? Really? Tell me about it, I’m a great listener.”

“Well, strange man at the bar, let’s start with a few formal introductions first.”

“Right, right, I’m John.” He put out his hand, stretching a little to meet me, giving me quite a firm handshake.

“I don’t tell strangers my name right away, maybe you’ll earn it.” Why was I so bitchy?

Quick to recover, my side smile disarmed him, as I moved over one seat so that only one was in between us. Curiosity could have killed me. Why was a man like him in a fancy bar in the middle of the afternoon? Was he here to meet his mistress? No ring, no sign of a client in sight.

“Where do I begin, John? Let’s start with a bed at the front door…”

He laughed and ordered a drink, settling back into his seat. My day was making a sunshiny shift.

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Pic found here.

A Little Break…

Happy 2014 everyone!

I hope all is well, and you all enjoyed the, well deserved, holiday. Personally I needed the downtime, and spent most of it in the kitchen whipping up some delightful meals and treats.

These shortbread dipped cookies may just have been my favourite.

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For 2014 I am committing to a little bit more me time. This Wednesday I begin my final semester of my Certificate program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Not only am I looking forward to getting back to class with some wonderful friends, but also graduating (for the 4th time if you include high school!)

Plus, a little goal of mine is to go to culinary school as a treat to myself. I am hoping to enrol, if all goes well, in the fall. In the meantime, I am cooking more and enjoying every minute I spend in my kitchen. Creating recipes is tough! I’m not a fan of measuring out every portion, and for the next little while I am going to cook from my heart and soul rather than my head. Later on this year, I’ll probably go back to posting some delicious recipes online, but until then, you can enjoy the years worth here.

As always, thanks for reading and happy cooking! You can still find me on Twitter, @shankell, I would love to hear from you.

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Shannon
xo

Recipe: Anthony’s Mushroom Soup

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Eeee only 5 more sleeps until Christmas and I have been sipping on wine and bubbles before laying my head down every night to a winters nap… oops.

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Tis the season.

I’ve been having a wonderful time spending the last little while with family and friends who are like family. Dinners, concerts, markets and parades. Here’s just a few snaps!

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Me and Jenna at the Main Street Christmas lights parade!

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Me and my Mom at the Loew’s Christmas Market!

So much fun but so, so cold. When I get home from all of these activities I love a hot bowl of soup to warm up. My favourite is a mushroom soup I learned how to make while watching a Christmas Special on the Food Network Canada featuring Anthony Sedlak.

Anthony Sedlak

Anthony Sedlak passed away in the summer of 2012. He was way too young to go and such a talented chef (and easy on the eyes while watching cooking shows). I still love every recipe I have made of his, but especially this soup over the holidays. Here’s his exact recipe, nothing needed to be changed. Warms my heart and soul.

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Anthony’s Mushroom Soup

What You’ll Need

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, whites only, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 2 cups mixed forest mushrooms (buttons, Crimini, Oysters and Chanterelle mushrooms)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

What To Do

Combine the butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and leeks in a large soup pot. Sweat for about 2 minutes. Add thyme, tarragon, white wine and sherry, cover and place over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about 7 – 8 minutes). Remove the lid and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms, until they begin to sweat and loose volume (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the stock and whipping cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the soya sauce and allow the mixture to cook for an additional 10 – 15 minutes. Add the sherry wine vinegar and season the soup with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend the mixture in a standing blender until it is uniform and smooth. Serve hot with a bit of bread on the side.

Related Posts:
Recipe: Chorizo Soup
Recipe: Beet Soup 
Recipe: Tomato Fennel Soup

The Amazing Race Canada 2

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Hi everyone! I rarely do a post with just an update on my life but here goes nothing.

On Saturday morning I got up bright and early to shoot a 3 minute video with my best friends! Gian and I are auditioning to be on season 2 of the Amazing Race Canada… AHHHH!

We are a tad excited. Gian and I met when we were Argos Cheerleaders and have always fought the “dumb cheerleader” stereotype. Gian is a Lawyer, yaaaa GiGi, and I am a Social Media Manager. While on the Argos we always had to explain that we didn’t have marbles where our brains should be, and we often still face that stereotype.

So long ago...

So long ago…

Besides overcoming that stereotype, and Gian’s allergy to the cold (she’s Jamaican born) and my fear of heights and so on and so forth, I also had the pleasure of having knee surgery last year. I had my right kneecap lowered and screwed in, so fun! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know it’s been an uphill battle. I still haven’t taught myself how to run again, and TARC has a lot of running in it.

IMG_4694 I picked a non-graphic image 🙂

Last but not least, in case you needed another reason to put us on TV, Gian and I have won sports Championships with 2 professional teams: me with the Toronto Rock, and Gian with the Argos – time to win one ourselves!

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A big thanks to my main gal Casey Nolin (check out her website for all her photography work) for shooting, producing and editing our video for us. We couldn’t have done it without her!

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We’ll be posting every once and a while about how we’re preparing just in case we get the BIG CALL! Follow me on twitter @shankell and use the #RaceCDA hashtag.

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Fingers crossed for us 🙂