How big is your job?

A few weeks ago I wrote about why I shouldn’t work at a startup – the tl;dr version is that I’m risk-averse, skeptical, and I like firm answers to things.

Of course there are good reasons for me to be here, and one of them crept up last week.

We’ve been having a series of sales and marketing leadership meetings to formulate our FY2015 strategy.  One of the hardest parts of this exercise has been examining our FY2014 activities and analyzing what went right and what went wrong.  Sure, it’s easy to sit through your colleagues’ presentations of their years’ worth of work and critique, but it is not so easy to present one’s own year, and acknowledge the shortcomings.

One of the things that has surfaced is some gaps between functions.  Nothing fatal, but just some places where someone could have noticed that “oops, nobody’s doing that and we should” or “huh, how will this process work?”

And this is where I am valuable – but I can also get myself into trouble.  I immediate look at all those instances and think “should I have been the one to do that?” and “I know how to do that, maybe I was supposed to have thought of that.

And that, dear reader, can make a person nuts.

So I need to have a gauge, something that helps me calibrate whether that was within my universe or not.  Which is tricky – I never want to have a “that’s not my job” response, but I also don’t want to take on everything (or feel like I’ve failed when I don’t.)

At Dell, it was easier – I would just take a step back to think, “is this something that belongs in classic product marketing?”  and then figure that as an overachiever I would do 20% more.

But this is #startuplife.  It’s not my job to just do 20% more than the “classic” role.  It’s my job to be part of building this company and its story and its processes.  So that calibration is harder. It’s more like “is this something that belongs in classic product marketing?  or does it belong to a function that doesn’t yet exist here?  or am I the best person here to do this right now?”

It makes for a job that right now is pretty big.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *