Redefining a Role, Mission, and Message

February 17, 2010

As I write this, my normally sharp vision is blurry and my fingers aren't dancing nimbly around the keyboard. The reason is quite simple: Two weeks ago, my wife and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives. One of the more aggravating side effects of having a newborn in the house, it turns out, is possessing a cure for insomnia—sheer exhaustion—that cannot be used.

See Exhibit A, to your right, for evidence of my mental and physical states. Normally, I'm slightly less pale and much, much more robust in figure. It took only two weeks of late-night diaper changes and feedings to reduce me to that; it's almost gotten to the point where I'm not allowed to meet with clients.

Still, I've determined that the hardest part of my new role as a parent is the sheer magnitude of change I must endure. I don't mean the happy-happy-joy-joy-parent type of change; I mean the "What do I do with the kid when I have to go to the restroom?" type. That also encompasses things like:

  • How can I run errands in the three-hour-long window between feedings?
  • How are you supposed to put clothes on something that squirms so much?
  • What does that noise mean? Do I want to know?

The list is endless, it seems, but you learn to adapt to present conditions and plan as best you can for the future, answers to the above questions notwithstanding. Similarly, you must adapt to changing career and business conditions, something I've also experienced since coming to Digett.

Your mission must evolve

Not in the Darwinist sense, though some gills would be useful. I came on board at Digett for a number of reasons (I can wear jogging pants to work, folks), and my title is Marketing Strategist. Explaining that, however, has remained a challenge; there's no line-item definition for that role, and it's only complicated by the fact that what I do has changed since I arrived.

That being the case, we're redefining some things here to represent a workflow reality, make better use of skills, and, possibly, position ourselves toward the front of an emerging field. It's exciting, even if gills aren't involved. I'm not yet in a position to provide more details, but they're forthcoming.

Your message must evolve

This change can be even more painful and confusing, and we'd know. Since our 2001 founding, Digett has always staked a position as an all-purpose, general-services firm. True, we initially targeted select industries (it's DIGital Marketing for Entertainment, Travel, and Tourism, everyone), but our practice has been to serve most any field.

In today's economic climate, however, a generalist position is an uncertain one, so we're working on sharpening Digett's offerings, target, and message. Again, I'm short on details, but we'll eventually roll them out.

Avoiding change isn't an option

Interestingly, of the three changes I mentioned above, many would rank them in descending order with respect to acceptance. That is, you must accept being a parent, you should accept a career change, and you might accept a business change. Truth is, none of those are options.

With all three, things will get messy. You'll stretch yourself thin, you'll wonder what you're doing, and you'll likely question the whole thing. In the end, however, you'll like what you get. Don't let a little redefinition scare you.