The Importance of Titles

Some folks, I have found, care more about titles than others. The title gives them a feeling of importance; it suggests that the company is acknowledging their expertise and effort.

For example, Dr. Bill Gillum, retains the title of chief science officer at TerraCycle, even though he now works part-time and focuses on organics (such as dirty diapers) vs. all science at TerraCycle. But because Dr. Bill has truly given himself to the business for more than six years, I believe we honor him with his title.

Titles! I don’t care very much for them. I was asked to speak on a panel recently and when asked how I should be introduced, I said, “oh, just say I’m an editor.” “How about co-founding editor?” the coordinator suggested, to which I replied, “sure!”

But perhaps I should reconsider the importance of titles. I remember getting a promotion at an old job, and while discussing it with a colleague, I focused on the pay increase until the colleague asked me if I’d also get a new title to go along with it. I said that, yes, that was part of the deal, but the pay increase was more exciting to me, to which my colleague replied, “Titles are important! You put them on your resume, and it makes you instantly more established.” I suppose it’s true, but I still don’t care much for them. My thought is that it’s more important to have impressive accomplishments you can talk about with employers, rather than flashy titles, but I guess it can’t hurt to have both.

Photo: Shutterstock/SwEvil

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5 Comments / Post A Comment

The worst is offering minimum-wage jobs with ludicrous titles (like “Director of Customer Relations”) instead of, say, reasonable pay.

nutmeg (#1,383)

@stuffisthings My official title is “Scooper” (ice cream, not dog shit) which just seems like an additional indignity on top of the $8-an-hour pay

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

People get their first impressions of you (professionally) by your title and that first impression never quite goes away, consciously or not. Some of them are a bit ridiculous (for example, someone at an old job once said that you could swing a cat around the office and it’ll always hit a vice president of something), but you don’t want to undersell yourself either.

mishaps (#65)

Yeah, there are plenty of employers who will look at the title and make a decision before they even get to the accomplishments.

Not to mention, in a client-services profession, if you don’t have “director” or “manager” in your title, everyone on the client team’s attention will go to the person in the room who does, even if that person is nominally reporting to you on the project. Ask me how I know.

Lily Rowan (#70)

Yeah, if you’re a regular employee-type person, it’s the titles (and etc.) on your resume that get you into the room to talk about your accomplishments.

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