Bringing your whole self - the magic of the AND Title

31 May 2024 • 6 min read

Red chair and AND Titles illustration

Ever worked with an Egg Chaser, a Cork Dork or a Rickshaw Swashbuckler? You very well might have; you just didn’t know it. Our professional interactions are so often limited to just that; we talk about our to-do lists, our upcoming deadlines and our big product launches. But what if we introduced our “work” personas alongside our passion for rugby (the Egg Chaser), our aspirations in wine importation (the Cork Dork) or our adventures travelling the breadth of India in a rickshaw (Rickshaw Swashbuckler)? 

Well, we kicked that tradition off ten years ago when we introduced ‘AND Titles’, the additions to our formal job titles that provide an insight into our passions and hobbies. Now we’re UX Designers AND Puzzle Ninjas, Product Analysts AND Trainee Pilots, Cloud Engineers AND Sports Bikers (to name just a few). In honour of our 10th birthday, we’re sharing everything we’ve learned from combining our professional and personal passions; and why you should too. 




Bringing more than your “professional” self to work

AND doesn't build phones like Apple or cars like Tesla. We don't host SaaS products like Meta or PaaS networks like AWS. Our purpose of “closing the world’s digital skills gap," isn't a product you can hold or use, it centres entirely around people, and their ability to learn and share critical skills. That's been baked into our DNA since we launched in 2014, and it's created a place of belonging and purpose for wonderfully curious, like-minded people. We introduced AND Titles to create a welcoming space for those people; to share interests, hobbies and passions, and to feel comfortable being their whole, authentic selves at work. We also wanted our AND Titles to act as a leveller, to put our colleagues and clients on an even keel - after all, there's no divide or perceived hierarchy in our hobbies.

We're proud to confirm that, after ten years in practice, it really does make a difference - building happier, more collaborative teams who deliver creative, human-centred solutions. 


You're more than your job

In modern society, we’re often pigeonholed by our job titles. They’re front and centre of dating profiles, they’re used to influence bias in news stories, they draw people to make assumptions about who we are - for better or worse. But they only make up part of the story. 

The title “Software Developer” could tell you a person is clever, analytical and a great problem-solver. But the played-out stereotype could influence you to believe they’re a highly technical introvert. If you knew our Software Developer Caitlin Whiteley’s AND Title was Cheerleader, you’d get a much more colourful picture; of a person who’s confident, enthusiastic and an awesome team player. A person who learns quickly, motivates their team and thrives on collaboration. Equally, if you met Caitlin as a Cheerleader first, you might be surprised to learn she spends her 9-5 writing and debugging code for a leading holiday letting agency. 

We’re complex people with passions that can sometimes seem polarising, but that’s the beauty of the “AND”. Not having to choose this or that and proudly occupying multiple spaces simultaneously. Bringing your “AND” to work empowers you to embrace the unique, combined experiences that shape your outlook. But more importantly, it’s the perspective you sometimes need in the midst of a big deadline: that the human experience is about so much more than work. 

The best professional ice-breaker


Let’s be honest, unless you’re the world’s biggest extrovert, we all dread being asked to “go around the room and share a fun fact”. Even worse, being asked on the spot what kind of sandwich you’d be and why (help?!). We make the best first impressions when we’re comfortable and lighting up over topics we love; when we’re explaining the “AND” that differentiates us from every other Product Analyst or UX Designer. That’s why we make sure every introduction includes our AND Titles, and why we prompt clients to come up with their own during onboarding.

More often than not, they invite curiosity, amusement and questions, like how much Monster Munch does our Cloud Engineer AND Pickled Onion Monster Munch Muncher actually eat? (6 bags every week.) Or how many Munros has our Product Analyst AND Munro Bagger actually bagged? (it’s 70!) They’re a great way to break the ice that won’t have you dreading your turn, and they're guaranteed to start a conversation.

Finding your tribe


How good is the ‘click’ moment, when you find someone who’s just as nerdy as you about your biggest hobby? It gives a total stranger ‘friend-potential’ almost instantly. Sharing AND Titles provides the magic behind those clicks; connecting groups like our 45 Foodies (from the Bloggers to the Visionaries), our 26 Adventurers (from the ‘Dadventurers’ to the Stargazers) and our 68 Sports Enthusiasts (from the Whiff Whaffers to the Speed Skaters). Just imagine the interaction when ‘The Office’ Aficionado met the Assistant (to the) Regional Manager…

We’ve seen key themes like these turn into Slack channels over our ten years (of which there are a whopping 1120), bringing like-minded people together to share tips, experiences, and the holy grail: memes. It’s not always easy to make new friends in adult life, but AND Titles spark conversations that cross the boundaries of colleagues and friendship, and help us build supportive communities that make work feel like fun.


Striving for continuous personal development 


As people we’re continually dreaming, evolving and growing; striving to do better for ourselves and the world around us. That curiosity is the reason the digital industry is so fast-moving; it breeds innovation. And it’s the reason we attract so many people with that lifelong learning mindset, looking at our 29 AND Titles with “Aspiring” prefixes, our 14 “Amateurs”, 10 “Wannabes” and even one “Attempting” - ranging from Sommeliers and Squash Players to Bakers and Buddhists. 

But ten years on from our launch, our Wannabes and Amateurs have likely evolved, just like our industry has. We may now have experts, or we may have people who were already experts turning their talents to something that didn’t even exist a decade ago. That’s why this summer, we’re giving our ANDis the chance to acknowledge their personal development and come up with new AND Titles - only if they want to! And with that, they have the chance to get a whole new photoshoot too. 


The magic of the AND - a rite of passage


For new recruits and clients, choosing an AND Title is the easiest introduction to our ethos. At a people level, it’s about embracing your work passions AND your personal passions simultaneously, often in the most wonderfully surprising ways. 

More broadly, it serves as an introduction to understanding how we operate and what makes us different. The crucial “ANDs” like:

You AND Us (the collaborative teams we form with our clients) 
Building AND Equipping (teaching our partners lasting digital skills as we build their products together) 
Small AND Big (the focused service of a small company, with the clout and support of a big 'un) 

It’s a change in mindset that prompts our people to find a way to do both, to help clients understand that they don’t have to compromise on seemingly conflicting goals.


Embracing your AND


We're so much more than our job descriptions. Bringing your authentic self to work - quirks, hobbies and all - allows you to build better connections, spark innovation through diverse perspectives, and ultimately find a greater sense of fulfilment in what you do.

So as we mark our ten year milestone, we encourage you to embrace the “AND” that makes you, you. Are you a Product Analyst AND Moomin Superfan? A Product Lead AND Mother of Dragons, a Growth Manager AND LEGO Builder?


Whatever your paradoxical pairing, wear it with pride, and let it shape how you innovate, collaborate and connect with those around you. 

Fancy getting your own 'official' AND Title, along with all its perks? Come check out our open roles. 



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