What’s more important: Your job title or your scope of responsibility?
As people, especially women, move up their career ladder, is it more important to land a job with a privileged title or a larger scope of responsibility? As a young woman of color in Corporate America, I would have to go with the latter. Throughout my career, I have always focused on what experience I can get out of my positions.
My first position was in a leadership development program with a large defense contractor. This was the perfect position to jump-start my career because it allowed me to rotate through several core areas within my discipline. I had the title “leadership development participant” for two years. During my time in the program, it allowed me not to worry about my job title but solely on the experience I would gain from each position. This was important because emerging from the program, no one was concerned with my title but instead the experience I received.
This became a challenge because I found myself being thrown into departments that were not considered core areas within my discipline. When I looked at my fellow leadership development participants it was grossly evident that the white men got the most sought after rotations. Next came men of color and white women, and last came women of color (specifically black women). I fought for each of my rotations and was lucky enough to have mentors that supported my development and growth. By fighting for experience rather than a job title, I had the opportunity to gain an unimaginable amount of experience and knowledge in a short period of time.
I have always been more focused on finding a job with growing responsibility versus a “sweet” title. It has worked for me so far. I have never had a manager title but I have had the responsibility of managing people both directly and indirectly. I am able to market myself as an influential leader, a leader that not only leads by positional power but also by influence. My job title didn’t provide me that ability, I obtained it because I found jobs that gave me those opportunities.
What are your thoughts?