WHAT’S IN A JOB TITLE?
Posted by Tim Bryce on January 8, 2014
BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT
- Evidently a lot.
I have discussed job titles in the past. Recently though, I happened to notice a listing of titles as included in the job section of LinkedIn. Frankly, I didn’t recognize too many. We’re well past simple titles like Butcher, Baker, Candle-stick Maker which were intended to describe your occupation. If you work in the corporate world though, you will also have to denote where you sit on the totem pole. Historically, we used such titles as President, VP, Director, Manager, Supervisor, etc. Then again, these are slowly disappearing from business cards as the people in Human Resources replace classic jobs with newer and more obscure titles.
To illustrate, the following is a series of titles I found on the LinkedIn site. I discovered what they truly meant only after reading their job descriptions. Let me translate for you:
Publications and Communications Specialist – I was expecting some sort or technician. Instead, is was nothing more than a “Journalist.”
Sales Executive – Actually, it’s simply a “Salesman” job, but I guess they want to be politically correct and not offend the ladies. The use of the term “Executive” would imply some prestigious high-paying job. It wasn’t.
Customer Contact Sales Associate – this is quite a mouthful for what we used to call a “Customer Service Rep.”
Brand, Marketing & Communications (BMC) Sr. Specialist – the expression “branding” has gathered considerable momentum in recent years, thanks to the Internet. In reality, the job description revealed its true nature, “Advertising.” I also enjoyed the “Senior” distinction. I wondered if there was also a “Junior” job title.
Senior Compensation Consultant – what we used to call “Retirement Planning” in the “Personnel Department” (the precursor to “Human Resources”).
Proposal Coordinator – I’m not sure what they plan on coordinating. The job description suggests a “Proposal Writer” instead.
Business Intelligence Solutions Developer – a mouthful for what we used to call a “Systems Analyst.”
Incident Management Lead – also a “Systems Analyst.”
Senior Systems Engineer – ditto.
Performance Management Lead – this was rather interesting. The job description suggests an “Efficiency Expert” which is title long retired.
Manager, Change Management and Informatics – this was what we used to call a “Systems Manager.”
Manager of Decision Sciences – see the previous listing (“Systems Manager”).
Quality Management Systems (QMS) Leader – see the previous, previous listing (also “Systems Manager”).
Insurance Producer – I’m not sure what they intend to produce. The description represents an “Insurance Agent.”
Validation Manager – I had to read the job description a couple of times to “validate” my conclusion: “Spanish Translator.”
Regional Account Manager – what we used to call “Vendor Liaison” or “Contract Administrator.”
Implementation Specialist – this too was a “Contract Administrator.”
I found all of these titles on just one page of LinkedIn’s job listings. There were many more pages and countless other titles.
Maybe the Human Resources people are trying to be more specific regarding the type of person they are looking for, but I think they are compounding their problems by changing job titles into a game of Scrabble. The old job titles are either considered too mundane, or perhaps the companies cannot afford to pay people a decent salary and offer a sophisticated job title instead. I suspect the latter. Somehow these new job titles remind me of the expression, “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
I also noticed the job descriptions were loaded with prosaic gibberish. It would be nice if the Human Resources people would call a spade, a spade, and quit trying to kid the rest of us. We should write to communicate, not to confuse. This isn’t an English Class, it’s about finding the right people to fill the right job.
I am reminded of the old joke about a job applicant who submitted his resume to a manager. After reviewing it, the manager observed, “I really like your resume and want to meet the person who wrote it. Now tell me about you.”
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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