THE BLOG

What I Learned This Week: When Your Title Is You

05/20/2013 12:53 EDT | Updated 07/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Last Tuesday, I was introduced to a young man who will be working for me this summer as our advertising and promotional coordinator at Just For Laughs. He was introduced as "The New Theo." That introduction was a massive compliment, to him, but especially to Theo.

For the record, "Theo" is Theo Lepage-Richer, a stylish (very) young man who worked for us over the three summers since I've been back. Theo's job was to harmonize the daily flow of advertising and promo material, put out in two languages, from the start of our promotional rush (early May) until the end of the event (last week of July).

Said job is a relatively thankless one which requires a lot of patience, mind-reading ("I think I know what he meant by that grunt"), organization, scheduling, cajoling and deal-making. And it's actually worse than it sounds, because it requires working with stressed-out creative people, producers and executives; with print, radio, TV, web, outdoor and other assorted media forms; getting various levels of approvals and sign-offs; all while adhering to (and extending) deadlines and commitments. And doing so on a daily basis amongst dozens of changes, indecision, disregard for timelines and procedure.

Sadly for us, gladly for him, Theo has taken on a full-time position at the Sid Lee agency, but his reputation and spirit still lingers.

And is the inspiration for the lesson of the week, which is:

When your job becomes your name, you've done something right.

No offence to the gentleman who's taken Theo's place (I don't even recall his name, but will find out by the end of this blog post), but he's stepping into big shoes. At Just For Laughs, we all know what a "Theo" is, but I'd venture to bet that nobody ever knew his official title or job description.

In fact, getting to this pinnacle of respect almost negates the need for either one of those two traditional forms of classification. When your job becomes your name, you go way beyond the realm of your task list and even further beyond your designation on any org chart.

An old health adage you may remember is "You are what you eat"; in the office, you know you've made it when "You are what you do." I've talked before about the value of making yourself indispensable, but there's no greater compliment, no better mark of organizational value, no stronger personal and professional endorsement than when your name is synonymous with not just what you have to do, but what you actually do.

So, a shout out to "The New Theo": it ain't gonna be easy this summer, but keep up the fight and help get us through.

Who knows? Play your cards right and maybe next year, the job will be called "Dominic."