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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Job Titles

I'm trying to write something every day. Today I don't have that much urgent to share, so I thought I'd share a little bit of personal introspection on job titles.

Recently I had to order new business cards because I've used mine all up (500 in 40 months), that's about 3 a week, which doesn't seem like many. I get to pick the title I put on my card, and changed what had been there to Standards Architect. It seems to be the simplest title to put on there without going overboard. Here are some of the different titles I've used or been given over the past few years:
  • Lead Interoperability Systems Designer -- I design systems so that they are interoperable.
  • Interoperability Architect -- I make systems talk to each other.
  • Standards Architect -- I design and build healthcare standards.
  • Standards Geek -- This is the title I use verbally to describe what I do. It seems to connect with people, but wasn't quite what I want to put on a business card (well OK, it was, but...)
But my favorite job title of all is the one my oldest daughter assigned to me about three years ago when she had to tell her classmates what I do for a living:

He's an International Healthcare Standards Agent --- Dah, ta da! Complete with a little dance at the end, and with all the letters clearly capitalized, and the word "Agent" emphasised!

That got me to thinking this morning about how what I and others like me do is similar and different from what a "Secret Agent" like 007 does. With regard to similarities:
  • We work on projects involving national governments and international organizations.
  • We deal with a small group of people internationally who know each other fairly well
  • We are treated as regulars at restaurants thousands of miles from home.
  • We have highly evolved palates (see Sushi).
  • We have a very congenial discussions with the "opposition" in a variety of interesting settings (see below)
  • We show up in exotic places like Rio, Kyoto, New York, London, New Orleans, Cologne, or Amsterdam.
  • We have a collection of highly sophisticated technological gadgetry to help us do our work (see below for an example).
  • We have special pens (at least I do) that perform multiple functions, and have built in lasers.

The one thing that is very different is that nothing that we do is secret. In fact, the very principal of the standards development process is to be open and collaborative with all involved.

It's so not secret that I'll be publishing an IHE Profile submission that I'm working on in a few days on this blog. If you have one, there's still time to submit it, see this post. If you need help, drop me a line or post a comment here, and I'll see what I can do to help you put it together.

Keith

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