Stop The Stupidity Of Hyper-Inflated Job Titles

Pim
Written by
- 3 min read

Work as we know it today makes us do crazy things. One of the most embarrassing things is the childish competition to come up with the fanciest or most elaborate job title. In reality, these status symbols don't make you look good; they make you look like a straight up idiot.

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Take a quick look at your LinkedIn timeline. You’ll see a wild collection of ridiculous, made-up job titles: the overconfident Chief blahblahblah Officers, the popular (but utterly meaningless) Sales Ninjas and Happiness Heroes, or the people who call themselves "CEO" of their one-person company.

You'll probably even see a few of those first-person titles such as "I help companies visualize and achieve their visions to reach their customers and leverage empowerment for a growth-centered approach that emboldens them to facilitate meaningful engagement" or some other hilarious self-indulgent, made-up crap like that.

The 'Plain English Foundation' said it well: "Once upon a time, job titles used to tell us what people did for a living. They were bakers or doctors or lawyers or plumbers. But in recent years, it seems we don't want people to know what we do, so we fancy-pants the title."

It seems to be a best (read: worst) practice to make it sound as impressive as possible. Additional vagueness and absurd length score bonus points.

Corporate crap

In corporate environments, the main purpose of a job title seems to be the inflation of your status. And most of them are not even that creative in the first place; they simply follow an old recipe:

  1. Mark your territory by adding something like district, regional, global, or international
  2. Add your industry to the mix, i.e. legal, communications, transport, food and beverage, etc.
  3. Throw in a vague term for the work you do by adding ins something like distribution, resourcing, servicing, re-engineering
  4. Add a dash of hierarchy: chief, director, executive, manager, or supervisor

Following the recipe creates a typical bullshit title you might find in many corporate arenas: Global Food and Beverage Resourcing Executive. Or maybe District Communications Re-Engineering Supervisor. Sounds impressive, but it doesn't mean a damn thing and leaves most people guessing what in the world you actually do on a daily basis.

Startup lingo

Startups (unsurprisingly) feel the need to "disrupt" this outdated practice. However, most are not very successful, as they create an entirely new lingo of vague and meaningless titles.

Here's a list of some common ones:

  • Chief Purpose Officer
  • Chief Inspiration Officer
  • Sales Ninja
  • Brand Evangelist
  • Design Jedi
  • Happiness Hero

Embarrassing, isn't it? Imagine having to explain any of these to someone at a bar.

Cut the crap

It's time we cut the crap on job titles. Stop inflating your status to impress your friends and colleagues (or people on LinkedIn). Either ditch the horrendous job title altogether or come up with one that's free of any jargon and bullshit.

Stop calling a receptionist the "Director of First Impressions," a school lunch server an "Education Center Nourishment Consultant," a garbage collector a "Sanitation Engineer," or a dishwasher a "Gastronomical Hygiene Technician."

If this is you, you should probably go to your LinkedIn profile and change it. Like right now.

And while you're at it, go ahead and visit the Corporate Rebels LinkedIn page and share the most ridiculous job title you've ever come across so we can laugh at them.

If shaming these job titles out of existence is the only effective way to finally be rid of them, then shame we must. Together, in solidarity.

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