Somewhere in an old issue of Monkey Business, a journal of Japanese fiction, the editor was introduced as
Motoyuki Shibata, one of Japan’s most highly regarded men of letters.
Something about the description stuck with me ever since. Such a cool title.
Although, I imagine that, at a dinner party, if Shibata was asked what he did, he would still probably describe himself as an editor and translator.
Describing yourself as a highly regarded man of letters, works only to the extent that people already have a rough idea of what you do. But for those already in the know, a self-wrought description goes beyond standard job titles to convey aspiration, personality and preference — the things that make us human, or at least interesting.
These days, I enjoy jumping between design and code to solve problems. So what does that officially make me? A product designer, UX designer, information architect, mobile designer, web developer, back-end dev, art director? At some point in time I've done the work defined by all these roles and I couldn't really care less.
What I really hope is that one day I get introduced as something like
a world-renown maker of joyful software.