Honest Job Descriptions

We all know that job titles and official job descriptions don’t usually capture the reality of what a job is. Especially in this industry, where ridiculous job titles and jargon run amok, it’s hard to know what people are actually responsible for in their roles.

We borrowed the idea from NPR’s “Planet Money” blog and its feature “#honestjobdescription.” The feature used the #honestjobdescription hashtag to get responses on Twitter from people saying what they actually do. For example, @planetmoney responded with his description of his job as a project manager: “Professional pesterer, hand slapper, budget keeper, clock watcher, human shield.”

We asked people from across the digital media industry to do the same thing. To encourage honesty and keep people from getting fired, we gave them anonymity. See what it really means to be an account manager, a creative director, a publisher and more.

Title: Head of branded content at a media company
Real Job Description: “Fitting square pegs into round holes multiple times throughout any given day. Except the square pegs have money.”

Title: Account executive at an agency
Real job description: “Client handholder and an occasional, unwilling psychiatrist, agency and creativity defender.”

Title: Publisher
Real Job Description: “Blog agent — like sports agent, but for bloggers.”

Title: VP of brand marketing at a large brand
Real Job Description: “Nod politely in the room at all the other execs from legal and finance, then go rogue and do our own thing.”

Title: Senior communications manager at an agency
Real Job Description: “I joke that my real title should be Senior Nag, since a lot of my job involves stalking my boss and coworkers for the information or answers that I need from them. I also read and write a ton of emails and make a lot of lists, while simultaneously attempting to read the entire Internet.”

Title: Startup founder
Real Job Description: “Prove people wrong, spend as little money as possible doing it, and dodge patent trolls.”

Title: Director of technology at an agency
Real Job Description: “Listening to traditional ideas and making them ‘digital,’ which essentially translates into creatives asking me ‘can this be done?’ and then they don’t actually do it.”

Title: Editor at a publication
Real Job Description: “I send emails to people telling them what to do. I send those emails after my boss sends me an email telling me to send those people emails telling them what to do. If you think about it, my boss could send those emails directly to those other people, and I could just stay home. But then I’d miss all the meetings where no one listens to each other but just tries to show how smart they are or that they read last Sunday’s Times and that we should copy what they did.”


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