Tuesday , 19 September 2017
Home > Freelance business management > Meaningless job titles – Why do we have them?

Meaningless job titles – Why do we have them?

One of my weird, non-financial pleasures is business cards.

job titlesThere. I’ve said it. I love and collect business cards. From clients, to friends, to bars, to restaurants and my own vast array of previous cards that stated where I was employed or tied to at the time of going to print.

 

 

But could the meaningless job titles actually mean anything?

I was chatting to a friend over dinner the other day and she said something quite poignant… The agency she works at have refused her a promotion (and with it a pay rise) for two years. She then countered their ‘we’ve got no money’ claim (despite me seeing they achieved record revenue in the press let me tell you) with a simple fix for them, and for her. She requested that they give her the title but with no pay rise so she could progress in the team.

My own battle with climbing the ‘greasy industry pole’ (as a former boss once described it) indeed came across similar scenarios – although I’ve never been one to give up a pay rise when it is required and deserved, as a strategy consultant or otherwise.

I battled for a while to be promoted from junior strategy consultant to the next rung up, then realised I didn’t like the title that much (and the 4% pay rise made it hardly worth it). It was quite awkward – as a larger guy myself – to hand over a business card with a job title that reads ‘Middle-Weight Strategist’ on it… what does that even mean?!

Ironically I left there just weeks after to become Senior Strategist in Blue Marlin New York. Much more dignified, and now I’m running my own consultancy I set whatever title I like (usually Strategy Consultant, Founder).

Looking back I’ve had some weird job titles…

  • Beverage Technician (bar man)
  • Sound Enjoyment Engineer (music retail sales guy)
  • Marshall (golf fee checker)
  • Sponsorship Sales Manager (fresh grad being sold a cold call sales job)
  • Change Architect (quirky agency speak for strategist)
Also seen a few random job titles…
  • Chief Friend Maker (head of marketing)
  • Director of Getting Stuff Done (head of ops)
  • Director of first impressions (receptionist / studio manager)

What are the most meaningless job titles you have seen or had? Better still post a photo of the business card!

 

Are you defined by your job title or what you do within the role?

Are job titles just CV fodder?

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at http://gdinspires.com. He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched Strat-Talking.com - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: greg@gdinspires.com or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

2 comments

  1. Haha all very true! Sadly in many cases it’s just a ploy to keep the natives from getting restless when bosses don’t want to give them pay increases. The inevitable effect is that it generates cynicism about the process. I wrote a similar piece a while ago (https://thepantslessbear.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/does-your-date-have-a-meaningless-job-title/). The fact so many people are awake to it hopefully signals the job title inflation era is coming to an end.

  2. C.E.O.
    Chief entertainment officer. (The single most important role in a company) Think about it..

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