Identity crisis

What am I? Professionally that is. The question arose when we recently registered the birth of our daughter Olivia (when asked what the baby is to be called Lindsey got in first. I didn’t get a chance to say what I was going to name her; Orphelia Cordelia…).

On the birth certificate is “father’s occupation”. Gasp! What is it? Imagine in generations to come and my great, great, great, great granddaughter is doing a family tree and she is looking up the records and she finds me on the birth certificate and looks at my occupation and an instant impression will be made.

Strictly speaking I work for ThoughtWorks as a Business analyst. But I don’t often see myself as such (the BA role is all too often viewed as just a person who captures requirements with little scope for creative or strategic thinking. I’m happy to say in TW we do a lot more than just business analysis…) Anyway, not wanting to be eternally pigeon-holed as a BA – I want great, great, great, great granddaughter to think good things about what I did, not “uh, he wrote specification documents” I looked for a new title.

On our marraige certificate my occupation was a “management consultant”, but I don’t fancy being one of those any more.

I could call myself a “Company Director” – a legacy of my contracting days; I’ve not closed the company down yet. But that isn’t really my occupation; primarily I’m a ThoughtWorker. Hmmmm. That’s a bit pretentious – Occupation: ThoughtWorker.

OK, so what do I do. Well there’s interaction design.

Occupation: “Interaction Designer”. Nah, would progeny know what this means? (In her time interactions will be hard-wired to the senses so such a role will be redundant).

“Customer experience architect”. She’d probably laugh.

“Usability dude?” she’d probably consider me to have been an anal type who complained a lot and found fault in other peoples work.

“IT Consultant” nah, I spend just as much time with “business types” as IT types. I’m even doing marketing qualifications don’t you know.

“Solution architect” What sort of solution?

“Facilitator?” Facilitating what? Nope, not important enough.

“Innovation… ummmm, something?”

So I’m clutching at straws and the birth certificate needs completing and so I shrug my shoulders.

Occupation? I sigh. “Business Analyst”.

“So great, great, great, great grandfather was a business analyst. Hmmm, I suppose he analysed businesses…”


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