I can't put "Mr. Wolf" on my business card - help?
June 12, 2014 5:42 PM   Subscribe

I do a lot of different things, and I'm not sure there's a title that really captures the kind of trouble I make.

I used to build stuff, but have transitioned to the customer side. I'm basically a fixer - think a much nerdier version of Harvey Keitel's character in Pulp Fiction, called in to straightening out really big, high profile, expensive disasters.

I also spend a lot of time working on disaster prevention - so I'm training clients and staff, or putting together course syllabi or docs/examples/demos to show right from wrong. I spend time defining product refinements (think product management) or actively managing customer projects and/or deployments (think professional services consultant/project manager/technical account manager/etc.) or selling prospects on how they're going to have a great experience with us and we will absolutely make things right if they don't (think sales engineer).

Basically, I've got my hands in just about everything except actually building stuff. To continue the Pulp Fiction analogy, I not only clean up after Jules and Vincent, I'm supervising their next gig to make sure it doesn't go all pear shaped, and am training the next Jules and Vincent, too. I'm also telling Marsellus Wallace to keep a better eye on his suitcase or to use something better than a suitcase next time, while also drumming up more business for him.

So what should my title be? The issue is people sometimes have trouble understanding why I'm involved in something (even though I totally should be) - it'd be nice to have some kind of phrase or title that would make that initial "what are you doing here" (uh - saving your bacon?) bit go away.
posted by NoRelationToLea to Work & Money (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like your some type of Consultant.
You may also be a Process Engineer... You might even be some sort of analyst (a business analyst sometimes does these things).
posted by jander03 at 5:52 PM on June 12, 2014

It's really not clear what industry you're working in. Are you working solo, or for a company? These things will affect how you want to title yourself.

On the basis of your post, it sounds to me like what you're doing is actually team management, with specific responsibilities. So your title could be "Manager - [XYZ] team", and you could describe yourself as doing "strategic problem solving", "presentation and training", "project management", "customer relations", "stakeholder management".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:53 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can put anything you want on your business cards.

My cards say:
First name Last name

Queen Bee
Holistic Detective
Supreme Commander, Imperial Fleet

Phone #/email address.

I specifically got these cards to hand out at city council type meetings because I'm at a bunch of council and other city related meetings because I'm on the board of a non profit...strangers were always asking for info and it's easier to hand out a vague card.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:53 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Problem Solver might be a workable title for you.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:54 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

I liked "His thoughts were..."'s suggestion of Strategic Problem Solving if you are freelance. I would avoid listing a dozen different jobs on a card - that makes you seem like you don't have any specific expertise. The card should direct them to a website that explains in more detail what you do.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 6:00 PM on June 12, 2014

Are you a consultant working "freelance" or on 1099s?
If so:
Strategic Crisis Management
Strategy Consultant
Strategic Management Consulting

Are you part of a company and just sort of a roving strategist dispatched by the CEO?
If so:
Senior Strategist
Business Operations and Strategy Manager
posted by amaire at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by freshwater at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

I assume you're looking for something that sounds professional and actually suggests what you do? Maybe consider something like 'Strategic Risk Mitigation Consultant', or maybe 'Risk Management Strategist.'
posted by Andrhia at 6:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Crisis Management and Prevention Consultant?
posted by salvia at 6:10 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Strategist is my vote (simple and elegant)....
posted by Benway at 6:41 PM on June 12, 2014

It actually sounds a lot like an Applications Engineer (which is what I do), but that again depends on your specific industry and/or organization. Perhaps Consultant Applications Engineer or Applications Engineering Consultant would work?
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:56 PM on June 12, 2014

Solution strategist.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suggest that you avoid the words "consultant" and "strategist," due to the ho-hum factor.

Without knowing the field involved, it sounds like you are involved in work that might fit into one of these descriptive slots: rescue, extrication, recovery. If "rescue" fits best, perhaps just "rescue specialist" would work. “Specialist” has just the right tweak, I think - not technical, but bespeaking expertise.

As for making recommendations in advance of the next disaster, the phrase "risk management" is ubiquitous. I would suggest "peril management" for a little flourish.
posted by yclipse at 7:32 PM on June 12, 2014

"Clusterfuck Preparedness and Response"
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:17 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Crisis Recovery and Strategic Process Improvement?

(I don't think you need to add "Consultant" on the end, and make it a job title, it can just be your nature of business. And I would avoid "Business Analyst", mentioned above, which I think is more of an accountant-type than an engineer-type.)
posted by Cheese Monster at 11:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a similar job, I would say:

(Tactical) Disaster Recovery Specialist

or simply,

Business Resilience
posted by dobie at 12:28 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Master of Disaster
(Ok ok, go with "strategist")
posted by Omnomnom at 12:40 AM on June 13, 2014

Response by poster: To be clear - this is software. My customers are multi-billion dollar businesses and giant government programs.

"Clusterfuck Preparedness and Response" is near perfect in terms of capturing the essential truth, but probably not usable among the suits.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:11 AM on June 13, 2014

Nthing Risk management, crisis prevention etc - definitely put 'software' or 'systems' in there somewhere. I think your analogy is perhaps not very accurate - you are not cleaning up after hitman or dead bodies etc like Harvey Keitel. You're in IT, lol.

I think you have a good sense, but I would note: I work in the corporate sector, focussing on IT, and my experience is that joke business cards are for joke people - if I see a lot of cutesy nonsense I presume the person lacks the experience to put something 'real' on their card that is a common, understandable title - after all that's what business cards are for, so people can understand what you do and "shit-kicker" and the like is meaningless in this context. Also I will assume they are going to be a "big" personality to work with. Profanity definitely crosses this line, and I am fairly profane in real life, but it does not belong in a professional environment.

tl;dr - if I see a jokey business card I will struggle to take the person seriously. "Boring" can be considered an asset in the corporate world as it's conflated with nice adjectives like "dependable", "no surprises", "reliable", "no fuss", "professional". I pass no comment on the justice or accuracy of this conflation, but it's very common.
posted by smoke at 2:08 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ok, time for the serious response. I used to hold a very similar position— similar in that my brief explanation at social events was also "Winston Wolf." We worked with management, project, and software-based crises.

Your dilemma is between directly acknowledging the dire nature of the climate in which you work, or carefully suggesting it through apophasis. This comes down to your clients, and how conservative they are— will they want the problem to silently vanish, or will they acknowledge a certain degree of turmoil as a necessary part of success?

dobie touches on it above— Your work is tactical, not strategic. If your client had a functional strategy, they wouldn't be in this situation. "Business Resilience Specialist" is a very delicate way of saying "Tactical Crisis Management," but either are applicable.
posted by a halcyon day at 2:12 AM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

Executive Crisis Response Manager
Executive Project Manager
posted by theora55 at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2014

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