You’re the web guy
I hear that a lot at work. I am the company’s web developer after all.
My title doesn’t completely describe my role though. In addition to coding websites, I also write copy and work on graphic design, both of which come together in marketing and web development.
When I began my job, I was asked what I wanted my official title to be: web designer or web developer. To the company, my title choice would not affect my responsibilities; I would be doing the same work regardless of my title.
I chose “web developer” because I knew I would be responsible for every aspect of the company’s websites. Also, “developer” implies that I’ll be tinkering with code. More specifically, I consider myself to be a front-end developer.
Because web development takes place on a computer, I’m also known as a “computer guy” around the office. I become the backup IT guy when the IT guy is out. This often involves restarting a computer, downloading RAM, or installing Google Ultron.
I’ve got things under control.
Know your role, Jabroni
Sometimes actors are known for a specific role and become typecast in that role. Sometimes comedians are pigeonholed into a schtick.1 Sometimes the company web developer experiences the same prejudice.
As the web guy, I am sometimes overlooked for projects that don’t relate to, well, the web.
For example, our sales manager once asked me to look up the cost to outsource white papers about our product applications. He asked me because, as the web guy, my Google-fu is impressive.2 However, as the English degree guy, the idea of outsourcing writing jobs in my own place of employment irked me.
Instead, I downloaded some of my own writing samples and presented them in his office. I looked him in the eye and told him that I was willing to write the document.
After a bit of convincing, he assigned me the task. He knew about my English major background, but he didn’t ask me because he wasn’t sure what kind of writing I could do. He’s also used to me being the web guy.
I don't want to give the impression that I'm complaining about my job. On the contrary, I really enjoy my job and I’m glad to have the opportunity to use my entire skill set to benefit the company.
My complaint is on the sociological implications of job titles in the workplace—a problem that isn't exclusive to my company, but companies all across the country. But that's a research project for another time.
This blog post is about a web guy that wants to write more than code. So let's get back to that.
What would you say you do here?
Look, I already told you: I deal with the written word so my coworkers don’t have to! I have writing skills; I am good at dealing with writing! Can’t you understand that? What is wrong with you people?!
Sorry, I’ve worked in an office space for too long.
There’s no single label or title for my skill set. I develop websites and I write copy.
I generally don’t like labels. I think labels lead to prejudice, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.3 But I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place if it wasn’t for my label.
In a dream world, my perfect title would be “digital rhetorician.” I use rhetoric to present information though digital media, specifically though writing, graphic design, and web design. But “digital rhetorician” is meaningless to most people, which defeats the purpose of a title in the first place.
Until I figure out a better title, I’ll stick with “web guy.” My web powers may not help me fight crime, but they pay the bills.
Oh, and I can write stuff too.
1 You should check out the deaf guy on YouTube.↩
2 Googling is half my job.↩
3 Not to be confused with bigotry, which is always a bad thing.↩