Redefining Job Responsibilities {slash} The Employee Hybrid

(originally published in Screen Magazine 4/18/12)

Help Wanted: 
 I’m looking to hire a Director who also has mad editing skills.
 This person should be very capable working in After Effects, Cinema 4D, and Photoshop. He or she must have experience writing and producing creative content. This individual should be able to manage the financial aspects of projects and prepare all necessary Quickbooks and Excel reports. A working knowledge of Pro-Tools would be appreciated, and of course you should be able to speak at least four languages, fluently.

Although this ad is completely made up, it’s not too far from the truth. There seems to be a shift in the creative industry where employees are expected to do more by expanding their individual capabilities, and help employers get through these rough economic times by adding a {slash} to their job title.

Yes, the {slash} has become the most important piece of punctuation in the creative industry. I think it can be both good news and bad news.

The good news is:

• Employers might be able to save money by merging responsibilities.
• Clients can contract one creative person to perform two traditional services.
• It’s obviously easier to start a company with less upfront expense. If your Executive Producer can also be responsible for all things Quickbooks, you can hold off on that hire.

The bad news is:

• Qualified candidates have less of an opportunity to get hired.
• Focusing on two jobs might water down the employees’ core strengths.
• Clients could get short-changed in an attempt to save money.

Recently, I responded to a client’s concerns about his company’s productivity by suggesting he follow this industry trend. Can your receptionist help the marketing department when she is not busy? Can you reduce your IT maintenance costs by giving a raise to an assistant who has shown interest in that area?

So, if you’re considering bringing on new staff members or want to increase productivity with your existing staff, think about the implementing the {slash}. The new employee hybrid is all the rage.

Jim Olen – Consultant/Executive Producer/Business Developer/Columnist/Neil Diamond Impersonator

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