Monday, November 17, 2008

What Do You Do, Exactly?

I'm still very new at my job, closing in on six months, and so I'm still meeting a lot of people for the first time. And because I'm meeting a lot of people for the first time from 2000 miles away, it's extra important that I be able to clearly articulate what the heck it is that I do.

Frankly it's something that I've struggled with a little bit. Which is odd, because generally speaking, Stella isn't at a loss for words. But dig it, here's what I do:

I launched an intranet for the fund raising division of the university I work for. I feed it with tidbits as well as figuring out what features and what not we need to add to it. I can do some of the technical stuff, but the guys who manage the server haven't really freed up my permissions. Plus I didn't work with Sharepoint even a little bit until I started this project, so I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. Thank goodness I'm not troubled by not actually knowing how things work and willing to monkey around with it to make it do what I need.

I'm trying to get online giving squared away. This seems to involve everything from creating templates and training the finance people so they can adequately reconcile the various accounts, to working out the logistics of account set up, to building forms, to counseling various fund raising offices on how best to use online forms in their sites.

I execute mass email campaigns -- but actually we're still trying to figure out what technology will be best. So in fact, I cajole the central IT guys to install upgrades on their list server, I paw through the various systems that we're already subscribed to to figure out what they're capable of, I advise the direct mail people on how best to segment and proof their copy, and hope that we can actually drop the stuff on their target date.

External web presence for the Advancement operation is also my job. But I'm not a designer, and so I really just try to get stuff to happen by serving as a useful go-between amongst the fund raisers, the designers, the programmers, and the people who let us into the centrally managed servers. It's kind of all over the place, semi-technical, semi-business, a lot of yakking at people, and explaining it has not been easy. But I finally came up with it:

I'm an internal account manager for all of our electronic communications projects.

That's it. It's actually pretty simple: I am here to ensure that customers (my advancement colleagues) get the results they need on their web projects. If they don't know what results they need, I help them figure that part out, and then I recommend ways to get to that end. If I hear about something that is going on that should have a web component, I insert myself into that process on behalf of my customers. Okay, so whether that role actually makes structural sense, given that I operate out of the Advancement Services part of the organization I don't know. But much like all my web projects, I don't care where it is on the org chart -- does it make sense from the customer's point of view?

I hope so.

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