Why your job title does not matter

Guest Post By Jim Smith

You are not “just” anything or anybody

The other day my oldest friend called and asked me if I could put together a few words for his blog, he is very excited about his blog. My initial response was one of confusion because I am not a writer by profession nor did I think I had anything truly astounding to say. Rob assured me that I could write about anything so long as it was from the heart so I started thinking about what that could be.

I am by trade a security officer. Prior to this I spent over 15 years in sales and customer service roles and feel the reason I enjoy security work and have been a success at it is because of those years spent answering calls and serving customers. My current role is within a large and well-known shopping centre in the East Midlands. In the time I have been there I have realised that a job title is nothing more than the dust jacket to one’s job. It’s that bit of text summarising what you essentially do but not what you are.

As a security officer you might expect me to be a gruff, no-nonsense type who chases shop lifters all day. Full disclosure, in the near 5 years I have been in security I have caught a grand total of zero shop lifters! I have only ever had to resort to physical intervention twice and I’m very proud to say have never received a customer complaint.

Reading that, you would be forgiven for thinking I am a bad security guard! 5 years and I’ve never got my hands dirty or got stuck in? I must be jacket filler, hiding in the stock room when trouble comes around? Well to some extent luck has a hand to play. None of my postings have been in trouble spots or environments I’d consider especially dangerous. But luck only gets you so far in life; the rest comes down to a very simple truth about my job…

Chasing a shoplifter isn’t what my job is about!

That may sound odd but to put it another way. Would you rather chase the horse through the field or bolt the gate? Yes, prevention is the largest part of what I do as is my presence. Simply being on-site is often enough to prevent bad things happening. My team is also extremely disciplined and very well-trained. We don’t put out any fires because we don’t allow fires to start!

The tactics and methodology we use to guard our centre (that is bigger than the town it’s in by the way) are just as effective in sales as they are project management or any other industry for that matter. It all comes down to one simple idea that I’d like to share with you today.

You are not your job title. You are your job and that is a wholly different thing…

So what is your job?

Let’s move away from security for a second and imagine for a moment I was greengrocer. My job title suggests that all I do is sell fruit and vegetables. Not that much to it really. Don’t tell these guys that though



They’d probably be very offended by the implication that they simply sell fruit and veg! They might feel the need to discuss levels of quality, distribution networks, payroll, fuel costs… There is always more to a job than simply its title.

“But I’m just a security officer…”

As I pointed out in the title, No one is “just anything. This isn’t a clichéd trite “I’m also a painter” or “I’ play guitar in a band on the weekends!” type argument. Those are irrelevant to the point in hand. I am not “just” a security officer. She isn’t “just” a customer service rep and you are not “just” your job title either. The sooner you realise that the sooner you can truly start enjoying and succeeding within whatever role you’re in.

“So what can I do about it?”

There are three very easy steps you can take immediately to start you on the road to a happier and more rewarding working life. Anyone in any role can follow them and I am living proof of the results.

  1. Treat every day as if it was you first and last day…

Like I said a moment ago, my centre is extremely safe and well run. Having said that tomorrow I could be walking around a corner and get run over by a delivery truck! What did I do today that would be remembered. Conversely I’ll always remember my first day in the centre. I was full of enthusiasm, with high hopes for the future. Why would I ever want to forget who that guy was?

  1. Be proud of what you do. Not despite of what it is but because of what it is…

The greengrocer feeds families; customer service reps help hundreds of customers a week enjoy good quality service. What about that is there to be ashamed of? Hold your head high and walk with a straight back. You’ve earnt it!

  1. Speak to every person you meet today. You might be the only person they speak to at all…

This is an old adage, I’ve always lived by and I promise you, it will make every day a gift. You won’t make a dime doing it but it also won’t cost you a penny. That nice lady in the shop, that sweet old gent in the queue, the new guy in the office. Give them all a minute of you time, you’ve got 1440 of them today and all being well you’ll have another 1440 tomorrow so why not give it a go!

That’s all from me for now. Hopefully Rob doesn’t regret asking me to write this article. If he’s feeling really brave you might get another page off me soon.

Kindest thoughts

Jim Smith





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