What’s with job titles having so much bling these days?
Chief Happiness Officer
Jolly Good Fellow
Chief Weirdness Officer
People & Business Outcomes Enthusiast
Futurist and Organizational Alchemist
Apparently the tradition Manager, Director, Vice President, Chief XYZ and President titles don’t cut it anymore. Why are so many job titles being accessorized with new language?
We expect this descriptive flare from start-ups and tech companies because they always seem to be doing their own thing anyway. It’s happening with Millennials too, as they exercise their stereotypical entitlement and wear their non-compliance as a badge of honor. What if this signals a shift in people's relationship to their work? What if beefed up business cards and creative bios are among the first places where such a phenomenon becomes observable?
These new titles convey much more than job function and location within the organizational hierarchy -- they convey values.
work in more meaningful ways.
I encountered a quote in grad school that comes to mind, reminding me that self-expression at work shouldn’t be surprising. In the classic book The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes & Posner suggest that leadership is built upon this foundation of self-expression.
“You cannot lead out of someone else’s experience. You can lead only out of your own.
Unless it’s your style and your words, it’s not you–it’s just an act. People don’t follow your position or your technique, they follow you…you have a responsibility to your constituents to express yourself in an authentic manner, in a way they would immediately recognize as yours.”
A responsibility for self-expression at work? Really? That seems a little out of step with the usual office norms. Is there a place for such luxuries in serious business? Many people think there is. Jobs aren’t just jobs anymore. They are avenues for people to express their quirkiness while contributing their skills to the task at hand.
People thoughtful enough to include the what, how and why of their work in a job title are precisely the ones I want in my organization.
- What does your current title say about you?
- Consider a title change - try to include the what, how and why of your work in the new title