What Do I Do? (Or Am I An Imposter?)

Sometimes I feel like an imposter. Am I tester, or not? Am I a social media marketeer, or not? Am I a sales person, or not? Am I a community manager, or not? Am I a content creator and editor, or not? Am I a CEO (of a tiny company), or not?

Some times when people ask me what I do, I am not quite sure what to answer with.

It’s a bit like when people ask me where I am from, a question I get quite alot as they can’t quite place my accent.  Those that know me know that there isn’t a short answer to this, or at least I am yet to find one.  What’s the shortest way of saying where I am from if I was born in London, to an Irish father, Colombian mother, left London when I was 9. Lived in Jakarta for 4 years. Lived in Colombia for 5. Came back to England (mostly Brighton). Married a Scotsman, inherited some of his accent. And in my lifetime I have held a British, Irish and Colombian passport?

In my heart I feel British. This is where I feel at home.

In my work, I’ve often felt unsure as to where to place myself. Or if my company grew, what kind of role would I want to be taking on? (Instead of doing a bit of everything).

I love the variety of what I do, but increasingly as things are getting busier and busier I’m feeling overwhelmed.  There’s only so much of marketing, sales, editing, writing, managing, testing, accounts, project delivering one person can do.

Offloading Tasks Shows Who I Am Not

What I’m finding and working towards is offloading the jobs that I shouldn’t be doing.  Partly I shouldn’t be doing them because I can’t. Or because I suck at them. Or because they make me depressed. Or because someone else would simply be better off doing them.

So I don’t do my accounts any more.  What I do is try my best to keep my book keeper and accountant informed about everything going on.

My hosting and development is now outsourced to a local company.  I feel much more relaxed now that my websites are managed properly. I can get on with other things.

Website content and social media – I’ve slowly been offloading some of these tasks to someone within our team.  She’s a tester and understands what we are looking for and has done a grand job at just getting on with doing things.  However, there is still a huge amount of online tasks that I don’t feel quite ready to hand over to anyone yet.  (It’s hard to let go!)

Community Management – I’ve recently given this a boost and have had some new people join our team to freshen things up. This ia a volunteer post and I take a somewhat relaxed, but strict view on it.  The relaxed view is that the volunteers aren’t forced into doing anything.  They have access to our Yammer/conversations network, they are free to dip in and out as they please.  However, if they say they are going to do something they have to do it – from experience of doing things with volunteers, there is nothing more frustrating than things not getting done because people have overcommitted.  Generally speaking the day to day moderation and up keep of STC is taken care of by the volunteers.

The Testing Planet – we have the wonderful Simon as an Editor and a trustworthy freelance designer.  Phew. 🙂

The Things That I Do

What does a typical day of mine look like? The following are things that I often do on a day to day basis:

  • Community –  this is the online community – monitor STC and contribute on a regular basis. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – basically checking in on what is happening and making decisions on what needs to
  • Manage The Testing Planet – as mentioned earlier, we have a wonderful editor and designer.  I do everything else. Keeping the website up to date. Putting new issues up. Managing sales and new subscribers. Posting the planets.  Our local developers help with any technical issues with the website.
  • Communications – most communications are down to me theses days. I write and send out the email marketing. LinkedIn messages. Any queries generally come to me and I respond to them.  No fancy secretary to deal with all of that!
  • Marketing – yup that’s me and very much overlaps with the community and communications.
  • Business Development and Sales – again that’s me.  If you want to work with STC, then I’m the one to talk to.
  • Events management – to date I have done all the managing of our conference and training events.  This includes making the decisions with the trainers, scheduling events, getting the details up online, setting up online payments and everything in preparation for the day.  The first ones are always nerve racking, but they do get easier to plan for.  For TestBash 2.0 I’m looking to get someone to help me manage the event, it’s simply too much for me to do it all by myself and not have a heart attack on the day. There are also people from the STC team who are helping out with some tasks on the run up and on the day.
  • Figure stuff out and make decisions – perhaps this is the hardest of them all. Deciding what to do. Doing stuff. Seeing if the doing stuff is successful or not.  There are so many things that go on behind the scenes to make these things happen.  It is too easy to think that not much happens behind the scene, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Change of Roles

The world that we live in means all of our roles are changing.

There’s a fair bit of discussion about this in the testing world. Is testing dead? Is testing become more of an activity, rather than a role? There is still a big question mark of what the testing world will look like in the future.

But I think this is happening everywhere. Because of technology we can now do more [obviously].

It use to cost a lot more to start a business just a few years ago.  A single person probably couldn’t have done it all, where as now it’s possible.  There are plenty of micro-businesses out there that get by with one person doing most of the work and outsourcing specific bits that don’t make sense.

It only makes sense that our roles change.

Testers are no longer just testers. They take on other roles too.

Developers are no longer just developers. They take on other roles too.

Marketeers are no longer marketeers. They take on other roles too. Social Media. Content. SEO. Writing. Blogging.  Also, growth hacking, the merging of technical and online marketing skills being is a good example of how the industry is changing.

This is exciting. At least I think it is. It brings a great diversity to what I can do and learn.    However, it understandably brings fear to many people, their roles and job security.

So What Do I Do?

Even after writing this, I’m still not sure what I should call myself.

I do ‘a bit of this, a bit of that’. I make things happen.  I’m edging towards a growth hacker, but still a bit uncomfortable with calling myself this.

I like sticking with what I use on my LinkedIn profile at the moment. I call myself the ‘Boss Boss’.  It’s meant to be a lighthearted approach to the fact that I ‘run things at STC’.  It’s also a great way to avoid the often misleading and boring terms such as ‘CEO’ and ‘Director’.

At the end of the day I just ‘do stuff’. Labels don’t really matter, it just helps us all understand each other better.