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The Superfluous Position

Make sure every title has a necessary and definable role.

This story appears in the July 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

He was an editor. That's how it started. I worked at a small multimedia company that publishes tourism guides. Six months after I started, this editor was given a new role: creative manager of content. No one knew what this job meant--or what he would be required to do. But we all knew he thought he was better than us, more creative than us. His new job, he thought, was to teach us to be more creative.

in history (and film)
Bernie Ebbers, Chairman of WorldCom
. Claim to fame: Mississippi motel-chain owner turned telecom tycoon
. Claim to infamy: $11 billion slip-up; conspiracy; fraud
. Current status: Inmate #56022-054, Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale, Louisiana

Genghis Khan, Emperor of the Mongols
. Claim to fame: United nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia
. Claim to infamy: Conducted reign of terror
. Current status: Unmarked grave, Asia

Bill Lumbergh, Division VP, Initech(in 1999's )
. Claim to fame: Immaculate TPS reports
. Claim to infamy: Fostered soul-crushing corporate
. Current status: Inside the warped genius mind of Mike Judge
Not long after that, we had a meeting so he could introduce something he called the Idea Lab. To him, the Idea Lab was a magical place where you could read magazines and tour books and just get away to do some . In reality, it was a cubicle across the hall with a stack of old magazines where you got some serious personal reflection done. In one of his first meetings as the creative manager of content, he used the time to display a flowchart depicting what the Idea Lab was and how to use it. We were stumped. When he instituted a monthly two-hour show-and-tell at a local coffee shop, we made excuses why we couldn't attend.

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