I recently I attended a business networking breakfast hosted by our Mayor. As I was making my way through the crowd, I was enthusiastically greeted by a new business owner who promptly asked me, “…what is it you do for a living?” I was momentarily at a loss because like so many people these days, my role is transforming and I am actively looking for my next opportunity within Roche Canada. I was surprised by my first instinct, which was to protect my ego and simply tell him I’m Marketing Director, my most recent title . What was even more surprising however, was my second thought. It dawned on me at this moment how I have been approaching the answer to this question for years… I’ve been telling people my title, instead of telling people what I do.
Putting skills I recently learned as part of our company’s Agile transformation to practice, I quickly recognized my automatic reactive mindset and consciously shifted into the creative. Instantly, I realized that my title is inconsequential to the work we do as an organization. Throughout my 12+ years at Roche, I’ve had eight titles, but what I do hasn’t really changed. With a renewed sense of purpose, I responded, “I work for a leading pharmaceutical company to bring new options to people living with serious medical conditions.” Instead of the confused look I usually get when people hear a title that means more internally than externally, he leaned in with genuine interest.
I may not know what my next title will be, but I do know that I will continue to lend my creativity, passion and talents in pursuit of delivering medical innovations to transform the lives of people with serious or life-threatening illnesses.. More importantly, my sense of value is no longer derived from what people call me, but rather from how I contribute to the world around me.