Saturday, April 28, 2012




     Job Titles I Never Grew Up With

     While watching the TV show “Jeopardy,” the show which gives us questions to answers of little real interest to most people, I am often intrigued by contestants' occupations, many of which were not in existence during my working years. We all know of the “handyman” who is now the “building superintendent,” and of course the “stenographer” has evolved into the “administrative assistant.” But I am thinking of occupations which have only come into being in the last 20 or so years, such as:

     Fulfillment Manager – At first glance this could cover anything from a fairy godmother to the director of the “Make A Wish” foundation, but it's neither. A fulfillment manager is required to have skills and training which, at one time, were expected of several people. The job description calls for inventory and project management skills, familiarity with computerized inventory forecasting and fulfillment programs, and good communication abilities in order to effectively negotiate with vendors as well as to supervise and motivate his or her staff. The ability to analyze demographics and market trends is required to efficiently meet fluctuating customer demands and avoid losses incurred by excess inventory. Proficiency in manufacturing and production planning is also necessary for this job.

     Educational Marketer – I guessed this was a seller of textbooks, but I was wrong. An educational marketer helps companies that make educational products — software, classroom materials, textbooks, supplies, and enrichment activities — make sales to school districts. This includes designing and printing catalogs, running e-mail campaigns, creating advertisements for trade magazines, and conducting focus groups with teachers and school districts. One big misunderstanding, especially with the recent popularity of “Mad Men,” is that marketing is glamorous, full of high-concept idea pitches to clients. Educational marketers spend a large amount of time on the phone with clients making revisions — they don't pitch ideas, they make clients’ ideas work. Well, I was only partly wrong – educational marketers do sell textbooks, but it's how they do so that has changed.

      Retail Horticulturist – I thought surely this was a glorified name for a florist, much like the “stenographer/administrative assistant” mentioned above, but no way. The main job of a horticulturist is to develop or design new methods regarding cultivation of vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants. This is done through various ways: crop production, cultivation and propagation processes by using genetic engineering, green house management, plant breeding, landscaping and many more. A graduate degree in a horticultural field is required.

      Communication Strategist – I couldn't figure out what was involved in this occupation, and I discovered that communication strategists are intriguing individuals who have created completely new roles for themselves. Although invariably among the best writers in the business, they have taken an extra step. They've looked hard at the ways companies use language and the results they achieve, and they've sought out new ways of making language work better for their clients. That may involve anything from introducing new forms of communication (migrating paper-based memos to email, for example) to running poetry workshops in law firms. The communication strategist is like a creative writer on steroids – one who is willing to train others in whatever it takes to improve personal communications.

      To me, watching contestants on “Jeopardy” sometimes raises far most interesting questions than Alex Trebek.
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     My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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