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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