Filling the Title
Last week I approved the full book cover for The New Jew, and it went to print. I didn’t expect the feeling of fright at this point. It just suddenly seemed so final. Were there thoughtless misspellings in the text? Are the chapters out of order? Its hard enough for me to turn in a final paper for grad school. Yet, I just submitted a book to print!
The one thing I am sure of is the title of the book. As I sit here this sunny afternoon considering the name of the book, I realize that the topic of titles have come up quite a bit lately – in my book, at work, and even at home.
“What’s your title going to be, mom?
Harrison stood before me with a legal pad and pen in hand.
“Hmmm. How about Advisor to the CEO?” I offered.
Harrison had recently started a business. Sure, he is only twelve years old, but entrepreneurialism is in his blood – going back to both sets of grandparents. Sitting at the computer last week, browsing through clip art, he came across an icon which struck his fancy. He quickly added the bright, yellow walking light bulb to all of his lined paper.
The spontaneous creation of personal letterhead led him to the idea of starting a business called Brainchild, Inc. Even though I told him that, officially, the “inc” involves quite a bit of paperwork and board meetings, he wasn’t deterred. Instead, he designed a full logo, created a website, and picked his first employees: his dad, his sister and me. I hadn’t recalled either applying for or interviewing for a job at Brainchild, but that was besides the point. Harrison was on a roll. And we needed titles for our business cards.
“Advisor?” Harrison questioned. “I don’t know…”
“Sure! It’s perfect!” I felt confident I could do justice to the title. I fulfilled the advisor-to-my-kids role relentlessly. In fact, I did a lot of advising all day – whether people liked it or not – to my coworkers, my family, to friends, even strangers (only because there are a lot of drivers who really do need my help).
“Nah. You’ll be my consultant.” Expediently vetoed, Harrison moved on to his next employee.
“Olivia, you can be the sales person.”
“Manager,” his ten-year old sister corrected him. “I’ll be Sales MANAGER.”
They quickly worked out their compensation agreement (strictly commission, 25% of all sales) and moved on to the printing of cards.
The next morning, as Olivia headed out the door to school, wheeling her pink backpack behind her, Harrison called out, “Do you have your business cards?”
“Yes, Harrison. I told you, I do.”
“Be sure to get selling!”
“But I don’t even know what I’m selling!”
“Yes, you do! Consumer advocacy for kids!”
“What? I don’t know how to sell that?”
I was going to step in and intervene. Perhaps there should be some training, some product review. Did Olivia know the features and benefits of Brainchild’s services? Were there any incentives to customers? But I wasn’t an advisor. I was a consultant. And consultants have to know when to step back and let employees figure things out for themselves.
“Why don’t you sell it?” Olivia challenged her brother.
“I don’t have to,” he answered confidently. “I’m the President of the company.”
Its good to be clear on our titles.
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