Thanks for the label, but I don’t need it!

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – W. Shakespeare had Juliet utter these words about Romeo, contemplating her deep affection for him that was not tainted by the family name he bore. Maybe Will had it all figured out in the late 1500’s when he wrote this play, that labels do not make the person, it’s by our deeds we are all judged.

Thinking about all of this, why can’t I just call myself a ‘tester’? Simple answer I can, with nothing stopping me other than my own need for validation, maybe? Or the external pressure applied by recruiters, fellow testers and marketing people to try to label what I am. I’m going to categorise these types as ‘Label Makers’

A few months back I was struggling with the pressure exerted by several ‘Label Makers’ who required I define exactly what I do within our development team. It felt by applying said label, my professional pathway would be predefined in a way that did not allow for cross-skill growth. This pressure was making me feel uncertain about my role and the value I brought to the team. I approached a person who I highly respect in this industry to ask her opinion about the need to find my label or at the very least understand what constitutes the definition for each said label such as functional or technical. Her reply recommendation was to say, ‘I am the best ME that I can be and that’s all our team asks of everyone and THAT is how we run our teams.’ By saying this as an internal belief mantra it took an incredible weight off my shoulders that was distracting me from the work I really wanted to focus on testing our product.

Question I ask is, do we need labels, and do they add a distraction, as we seek verification of our role within a team? Only individually we can answer that question but, are we not better to be defined by our own works rather than what a HR person or recruiter would like to call us? Having said that, I understand large enterprise organisations and governmental roles require each employee to have said label, if only for weekly monetary compensation purposes. Don’t get me started on labels like ‘Manager’ or ‘Team Lead’ when they are the only person in that group or CTO of a 3 person start up.  That is a blog for another time and place. So, for now, I am going to keep trying to bring my best to the team and take every opportunity I can to cross skill.

Reflecting on labels I might call myself the ‘gal who sits at the end of the office who gets to do cool stuff’

Peace out fellow testers……






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