An Inspiring Prescription for Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are rapidly becoming so yesterday. More and more organizations are eschewing formal job descriptions, opting instead for, well, nothing. Companies that shun job descriptions tend to be highly innovative and they believe that job descriptions pigeonhole people into a box. Some feel job descriptions are a subtle way of telling people what they can’t do and only serve to foster the archaic, silo-creating, productivity-sapping, mind-numbingly annoying, “It’s not in my job description” mentality so prevalent during the Jurassic period (it’s the real reason dinosaurs died out).  

If you must have job descriptions, ask yourself this: Do they energize people? Are they hopeful, daring, challenging, creative, unconventional and fun? Do they open doors or close doors? Do they connect people to a meaningful sense of purpose? Do they get people thinking about the possibilities of where their job could take them? Are they fun to read and conversational, or do they read like a punch line to a Dilbert cartoon? If you use them for recruitment purposes, will they attract the right candidates with the right attitude for your workplace?

Here’s the start of a job description that’s a bit of a hoot, from the internet retail company Woot:

“You’re so bright, people mistake you for the Greek god Apollo. You’re so adept at multitasking, you’re reading this while juggling. You’re so self-motivated, your application is half-submitted and you haven’t even gotten to the requirements yet! You love details, you crush deadlines, you organize like a Trapper Keeper and switch gears like Steve McQueen at Le Mans. Discrete like Bond, professional like Jobs, and with the kind of humor that means you understand why a job description should be fun to read!”

Michael Kerr is a funny motivational speaker, high-content business speaker and the author of five books. His next book is called, “The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank”

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