– Do they really serve a valid purpose?

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I think the idea of job titles originally came from the military centuries ago when it was necessary to delineate the chain of command, such as generals, colonels, captains, etc. In business you were simply known by your profession, such as accountant, attorney, baker, doctor, laborer, etc. As big business flourished though we started to add titles like the military to denote the administrative hierarchy, such as president, vice president, director, manager, supervisor, etc. Today it seems like everyone has to have some impressive job title and the more obnoxious, the better.

The I.T. field alone has more than its share of cryptic titles, for example: New Metrics Analyst, Content Engineer, Email Channel Specialist, Metamediary CEO, Chief Knowledge Officer, and Chief Internet Officer. I even ran into one entitled, “Webmistress Extraordinaire.” I’m not too sure what these titles mean (I can only guess) but it sure seems that titles are becoming increasingly more important to people, probably because it massages our ego and own self worth.

I had a friend who was an I.T. manager in New England who had an opening for a programmer at a very generous pay level with excellent benefits. Interestingly, he had one guy turn him down simply because he wanted the job title of “Software Engineer” as opposed to a mere “Programmer.”

Some companies cannot offer their employees large salaries and give fancy titles instead. I think banks probably have more vice presidents than just about any other institution. In fact, they have taken it to the sublime whereby they have Executive Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Junior Vice Presidents, etc. I wonder where the janitor fits in this scheme?

Frankly, I think most of these job titles are nothing more than malarkey, impressing nobody but themselves. I am finding those companies who emphasize teamwork are moving away from fancy job titles, even going as far as to omit job titles from business cards altogether. In other words, by having everyone on the same level playing field, ego problems are eliminated or at least minimized.

Then again, there are those who will always need a big salary and job title. I am reminded of an I.T. Director who had a pressing project to be accomplished requiring him to hire many new people. Basically, he was told by his superiors to hire whoever he wanted, give them whatever they wanted, and whatever job title they desired; but when the project was over, fire them all.

I guess the point is job titles have more value to you than it does to others. And if you cannot operate without being referred to as the “Head Raccoon” or some other obnoxious job title, then you’ve got some real problems pal.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 [email protected]

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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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