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To lead a charge; to be first at some activity. e.g. 'to spearhead the investigation.' Also a fairly bitchin' Wintel computer game/tank simulator.

The other day, while putting my resume through an online analysis on an employment website, it suggested that I use more action verbs to describe my activities. One of them being "spearhead" or "spearheaded".

I work as an online English as a Second Language teacher. Before that, I did the same thing in person. At no point in the job did I spearhead anything, which, as this relevant xkcd explains, is not the type of verb that you really want to apply to teaching. For two reasons: first, teaching is the type of activity that, in general, isn't explained by metaphors of being a Roman legion goring hordes of German barbarians under the dark branches of the Teutoburg Forest. The other thing is, that while doing my job of teaching, I mostly did my job of teaching. My job was not about spearheading interdepartmental projects, fostering transition to a digital workspace, or synergizing flexible teamwork. My job was about my job, teaching. It was a job that involved a lot of skill, experience and education, but it almost totally lacked all the aspects of metawork that seem to be a big part of what employers are looking for.

"Spearhead" is a word that is almost never used outside of the context of resumes or workspeak. "Hey everyone, Jason is going to be spearheading our trip to the beach this weekend", said no one, ever. It is part of the strange vocabulary and practices of metawork that I, even as an educated, experienced 41 year old, feel I have almost totally missed out on.

Spear"head` (?), n.

The pointed head, or end, of a spear.

 

© Webster 1913.

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