On Silly Job Titles

I’ve always been amazed at the creative titles some people use to describe what they do. Job titles are a frustrating thing; some employers make a huge deal about hierarchy, titles, and your job scope, while others really don’t care at all and like to say things like “We’re a small company; we all pitch in and help where we’re needed.”

I had one employer, for example, who told me “I don’t like titles. Not my thing. Call yourself whatever you want.” So I picked my own job title: “Internet Marketing Dude.” I was working under a marketing director at the time, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say “Assistant” or “Associate,” and there was no way I was going to call myself “Expert,” so I figured “Dude” was the next best thing. It generally elicited favorable responses from clients, too.

But seriously, what’s with the ridiculous titles, especially in the online world? “Web Ninjas”? “Social Media Rock Stars”? One person I met told me he was a “CEO: Chief Excitement Officer.” Really? You can say that with a straight face?

When I founded my own company, I didn’t know what to call myself either: I didn’t want to be a President, since that sounded too boring, and CEO was too pretentious and doesn’t make sense for a one-man shop. It’s a complicated balance.

After waffling for a few days, I decided that since I was the one who made the decisions, and executed on them, I’d call myself the “Godfather, Don & Consigliere.” I suppose I’m hypocritical in that way. Oh well. Fans of The Godfather love it.

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