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Friday, June 17, 2011

Does Your Title Matter? Plus Free Chocolate!

What is your most ridiculous title? Or, what title have you had that absolutely did not reflect your actual work?

I've written a whole article on Does Your Title Matter
, but I really, really, really want to know what lousy titles you've had.

In fact, I'll bribe you with chocolate. I have 3, 100 Gram Swiss Chocolate bars. I will send them to the three best submissions. I will send them anywhere the Swiss postal service allows me to send them, although I make no guarantees that they won't be melted. Melted Swiss chocolate still tastes good.

Contest ends on Friday, June 24. And, by making your comment, you are also agreeing that I can use your comment in a future article.


Sarah Fowler said...

In college I was Assistant for Research and Existing Industry for an Economic Development Council. At my next job I got to pick my own title. :-)

Kristy Koller said...

Although I have never had an unusual title (I'm the HR Manager)I do have an employee whose title I had to change. When I started at my current Company one employee's title was "Jack of all Trades". He even had business cards with this title. Once I restructured the Company I changed his title to the appropriate one, "Facilities Manager".

Justin Dalton said...

The one I had that was most nonsensical was "Technology Success Manager". The best part was I wasn't managing anyone, and I wasn't really involved in customer service. I guess the technology part was OK, I was the software developer. LOL

Joy in AL said...

When I was in college I worked for a grocery/drug/general merch. store chain. Our store served as the district office and the area district manager saw vendors and held meetings in an office overlooking the sales floor.

After about a year as a cashier on the grocery side, I was "promoted" to the general merch. side to man a counter where we sold cameras, small electronics and photo finishng. They called it "the camera bar." Aside from acting as the cashier, part of this position, was to answer the store phone, and book the appointments for the district manager.

Because I recieved a meager raise with it, my "promotion" was documented as "Camera Bar Associate and Assistant to the Distict Manager"

Elaine said...

My first job title was Tub File Clerk. We pulled the IBM punch cards for the keypunchers to (sorry) punch. I had a variety of office jobs then got a job as an Executive Secretary. Our titles were changed to Administrative Assistant in lieu of a raise. Yeah.

The worst job title was Terminal Operator. It was a clerical data entry position in the Purchasing Department. We always said we had "terminal illness" when we were sick of working.

Second worst job title: "The Temp". Like I'm not a real person.

Job title I most want: RETIRED. It's what I'm living for.

jim said...

I haven't had any ridiculous titles, but on one job where I was a software tester my title as Sr. Business Systems Analyst, kind of a catch-all title that encompassed both testers and business analysts. The associated job description was all about requirements gathering. I protested, and HR said, "We're not allowed to have more titles, and this one maps to the same pay range as a Software QA Analyst job would."

Chase said...

I've worked at this small accounting firm for 10 years, and in all that time I've only had one title. My boss jokingly called me our Directer of Modernization after I started taking our handwritten forms and putting them on Excel. He said he'd back me up on it if anyone ever asked, but...

human said...

I grew up in the south and at my first "real" job went from being "Clerk" to "Team Processor." Then I moved to the east coast and had to start putting "Administrative Assistant" on my resume instead because employers got really grumpy with me over being unable to figure out what a "Clerk" or "Team Processor" was.

Dana said...

How about "Creative Writer"... the job was writing business plans and included putting together complete financials for each plan. So no, Creative Writer didn't quite cover it.

Michelle said...

I once had the title of "Decision Support Professional" and then "Senior Decision Support Professional". These were basically Generalist roles. The titles had no meaning to my clients and I basically just told people I was in HR.

ginger-talk said...

Management Systems Manager. I'm pretty sure that one is hard to top.

We look after the processes that drive business function and production of our work. Otherwise known as the QA program.

williamthecoroner said...

I was "The Guy Who Burns the Roadkill"--At our university, we contracted with the state DOT to take the deer, skunk, raccoon, possum, dog, whatever and throw it into the furnace and burn the body. Sometimes they were kind of...turgid, particularly in the summer, and would pop when you tossed them, so you had to be careful.

Laura S said...

My title was Compensation Analyst, but I really did our recruiting and managed contracts for independant contractors.....the only time I ever touched Comp was once a year to help audit merit spreadsheets!

Teri said...

I worked for an engineering firm that did product development, and the title of everyone in the company was "Product Expert."

I was the accountant and office manager, but "Product Expert" was on my business cards.

Quincidence with a purpose said...

A prohibition era/ James Bonds establishment, nightclub, supper club. The job: Miss Moneypenny, (M's secretary).
The job was simply to check ID's, and "interrogate those secret agents that didn't have the password."
The job is still called Miss Moneypenny, regardless of gender of the "bouncer/hostess/host" but during my employment, the schedule would actually put a separate line for "Q" the first initial of my name. I brought something different to the table, and brought so many gadgets to work to help with interrogation... that I got an honorary title.
that was 16 years ago... and when I visit Milwaukee, WI I am still "Q" when I go for dinner or a party.

suitablyemoname said...

Back in my college days, I worked for the university as a theatre manager. The job entailed supervising the activities in theatres while events were taking place: managing the ushering staff, dealing with frontline customer service, resolving issues in the box office, that sort of thing.

In the year before I was hired, the job title was "House Manager", which is an industry-standard term. But when they hired me, they were suddenly unionized, and that changed everything.

1) Because it was felt that "House" was too ambiguous (almost nobody outside of theatrical circles refers to theatres as "Houses"), that word had to go.

2) Because I often did not work in theatres as such (we also had cinemas, a concert hall, etc.), they couldn't call me a "Theatre" anything, because it was felt that this would be confusing and misleading.

3) Because of union rules, I could not be called a "Manager", as under the collective agreement I was considered a supervisor. ("Manager" would have involved bumping me up several pay grades.)

4) Because, although I was considered a capital-S "Supervisor" under the collective agreement, I was not the permanent supervisor for any employee or function, it was felt that "Supervisor" would be inappropriate and misleading.

5) Because large amounts of the work we did were not considered to be capital-E Events (for example, we do a lot of work on open rehearsals, tours of the facilities, never mind the box office daytime hours...), so that had to go.

In the end, the title was "Coordination Captain". ("Coordination" being the boiling-down of the main responsibility, and "Captain" being the only word they could generate which involved supervisory authority without using a term which had been claimed or defined elsewhere.)

And, no, I never did persuade them that the dress code ought to allow eyepatches and parrots.

TheAssistant said...

I once applied/interviewed for an internship billed as "Outreach and Communications Guru."

It was determined I was not guru-enough at 21 for the unpaid position.

InfoMissionary said...

My current title is Computer Training Center Assistant and System Training Assistant. My job is to teach people how to use technology. It's almost easier to say that than my actual title.

Charles said...

I had a few managers who've called me "jacka$$" and a whole host of other "titles." Do they count towards the prize? (oh,wait, that's the title I had for them . . .never mind)

Anonymous said...

Director of Government Affairs. During the Clinton administration. Yeah.

Mews and Views said...

Wow, there are a lot of good submissions! I guess my most memorable job that had a fancy title but the work less than fancy waa a part time gig during college at a Pharmaceutical Company. My title was Research and Development Assistant. My only duty was cleaning out the mouse cage.

Lisa Von Drasek said...

Coordinator, School Services/Children's Librarian,

I would love a new title... mine is meaningless and confusing... but

I am the Teacher/Librarian (current appropriate linguistic label) for the College's lab school ,pre-k through 8th grade teaching a fixed schedule of a minimum of 17 classes a week.

I am an academic reference librarian in the College Library serving faculty and students of the graduate school with the specialty of children's literature.

I am adjunct faculty teaching children's literature to graduate students of education.

I am the director of the Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature-mission includes is to create, identify, and advocate for the highest quality literature for all children from infancy through adolescence.

I report to the Library Director...if that helps.

The college is re-branding (don't ask) and new business cards are in the offing. Please give me a new title. This may be an impossible quest.


Cass said...

I don't really have a title, aside from the stock one from HR (admin analyst). Essentially I handle everything from financial management, to making copies and faxing documents. My boss tells people I'm his assistant or secretary, which is technically correct but it doesn't really encompass everything that I do.

But I don't know of a better term that would work, so I'm fine with my "title".

I hate when people are given titles of "Director of This" and "Director of That", yet possess no real power in making decisions. We have a whole bunch of directors in our office but they are really just clerical workers. Of course, those workers "love" their titles, but if I'm dealing with the director of widgets, he/she better be able to make some real decisions and not just be data entry person.

Anonymous said...

my official title is Senior Project Coordinator. There are no Project Coordinators so I'm not sure why i get the "senior" takced on to it - must be the pay grade. Also, the project part is wrong as I coordinate a graduate program, not a project.
However, my manager has taken to calling me a SAPO: semi-autonomous project officer. I like it better.

a lot staff here have their position title under their name plaque on their cubicle - i changed one of my graduate HR Officers to "Font of Knowledge" - seriously, she knows everything that goes on in this building and who you need to talk to get things done.

Mouche said...

I have been Content Producer for Yahoo Search.

Arianne said...

when I was in college, I worked in the call-center for the college's annual fund (calling alumni and asking for money).

In my second year, I was offered a promotion, and allowed to work day hours to design an effort to encourage local businesses to donate free stuff (gift cards, merchandise) to the call center to give the callers as rewards for good performance (incentives).

Since I wanted to (and later did) go into fundraising as a career, I asked about the title of the new position, as it was important for my resume.

The next week, I was presented with official paperwork offering me the position of "Incentives Princess".

While I know that you advocate never lying about your job-title on resumes, I chose to refer to it as "incentives coordinator" instead :)

Tales of a Young Recruiter said...

This isn't my job title,there is an employee at my company that is the Dam Supervisor, aka the supervisor of the hydroelectric plant. Makes me laugh every time!

KellyK said...

The tendency in government contracting seems to be to refer to everyone as a "specialist" or an "analyst." I started as a "documentation specialist." It really meant "junior tech writer and copyeditor," since I did a bunch of editing and manual-writing.

Recruiter said...

My company recently changed the titles of the Client Support Analysts to Diagnostic Solutions Specialists. They do software technical support on the phone to our clients. I recruit for the department and I have to change the job title on all my postings so people actually know when I'm hiring for.

jenmaree said...

My best title was "Remarketing Specialist". I would take automobile accounts that were past due (severely) and place them into repossession status. Once the car was repossessed, I took them to auto auction to get some of the company's money back. I guess Remarketing Specialist is better than Repo-Girl!

Kerouac said...

I list "CMO - Chief Morale Officer" on my resume... and my current CEO tells me that stood out when he was reviewing the applicants for my current position. He wouldn't let me keep it as a job title here though. :(

In college I was a Fleet Technician. My job was starting all the university vehicles every morning and logging the approximate fuel tank reading and mileage. There were about 50 cars, but it could take quite awhile in the winter since we would always have to jump start a half-dozen.

Anonymous said...

My worst Title was Chief People Officer. The worst title in the organization was Chief Rainmaker (the salesperson insisted upon it).

Mike C. said...

My favorite title was when I was an hourly summer employee in high school. I worked for a laboratory at the local university and was officially the "Summer Slave".

Basically I did a bunch of random stuff and got to see some really neat scientific research in action.

HM said...

As the last company I worked at didn't have standard titles and HR basically said we could call ourselves what we like, one of my coworkers titles was "Software Simian".

Anonymous said...

I have an acquaintance who works for the tax authorities, in corporation tax. He is a Large and Complex Team Leader, despite being 5'5.

Cathy said...

My daughter worked at our local Subway Sandwich shop where the workers were called Sandwich Artists. Next time you eat there, remember you are eating a work of art.

Anonymous said...

I was once "Price Integrity Auditor" which only meant that I checked the labels on the shelves to make sure the correct price rang up at the register. It sounded so much more important than it was, though.

I then went on to another job where I was the "Cashier Supervisor" where a few people (I later found out) were mad because I didn't actually run the cash register.

What I like best is being in a job where I have recently rewritten my job description and created my own new fantastic title. I'd tell you what it is, but it isn't official yet.

Anonymous said...

In a former postion, I worked 3 full-time jobs and was officially the Quality Manager and Business Systems Analyst. Unofficially, I was the Queen of GSD (Getting S*it Done). I loved it!

Anonymous said...

I used to be a Remuneration Support Consultant (aka Compensation Analyst for a HR consultancy, not a Payroll Clerk as one person assumed). I once had to evaluate the Odor and Midge Controller for a water utility company (they probably had a Dam Controller too).

But I think some of these are better - my votes go to the Coordination Captain (because that is ridiculous) and the Large and Complex Team Leader (because that made me laugh).

Interviewer said...

My first job out of college was for a small family-owned company. The owner was always out of town so we pretty much ran it for him. I worked as the company's accountant/bookkeeper, collecting rents from the commercial properties he owned. One day my co-worker and I were discussing job titles. We were never officially given one to go with our numerous job duties. Because I was constantly having battles with one of the properties in a less-than-desirable section of town, including people who avoided rent, we decided I was "The Slumlord." No, really. I was a 23year-old Slumlord.

That one doesn't go on a resume. It says "Accountant" instead.

Jessica said...

I was a contractual worker for a state office at one point in my career. I was given the title "OSP," when I started. People who worked for the state itself were called "coordinators," so I suppose they were trying to give special job titles for those who worked for the state itself and those who were contracted out.

(Side note: I guess this was so they would know who was actually doing work, since OSPs worked their tails off and coordinators sat around and gossiped about everyone in the office. Coordinators couldn't be fired for much of anything, up to and including suitcases of hardcore porn magazines at their desks and gross insubordination that included death threats to supervisors. OSPs were fired for such things as sneezing too much. To be fair to her, she was allergic to something in the office.)

Anyway, I never thought much about the title in the three years that I worked there, because I knew what my job was. I assumed it meant "Office Support Person" or "Office Support Personnel" or something like that. When I moved out of the area for family reasons, I asked what the title meant, so I could accurately portray it on resumes in my new place of residence.

No one knew what it meant for sure. My direct supervisor wasn't sure and the office supervisor didn't know. I was told several different things by the the time I left (Office Supervising Person was one of them), and nothing ever ended up being affirmed by the time I left. I put "OSP (Office Support)" on my resume. They'll confirm the OSP, so I don't worry about it too much, but...seriously, you don't know what my title means? Then give me one that makes sense! Even "Customer Service Representative" made more sense, as I worked with customers all day. Ugh.

Andrea said...

My college choir's logistics coordinator was called the EOC - Eliminator of Confusion.

Suzanne Lucas said...

The winners of the stupidest title are:

Michelle with her "Decision Support Professional."

TheAssistant with "Outreach and Communications Guru." Any title with "Guru" in it, is a bad one.

And Anonymous with the "Large and Complex Team Leader."

It was really, really, hard to choose and I thank you all. I wanted to include the Dam Supervisor from Tales of a Young Recruiter, but it actually is a very good title. Now I want to go work for a HydroElectric plant so I can be Dam HR Manager.

Michelle, The Assistant and Anonymous (the large and complex one), send your addresses to and I will send you your official Swiss Chocolate!

Thanks to everyone who participated. I love you all.

Larr said...

I know the 'contest' is already closed but I thought I'd just throw in a couple of funnies.

My previous position was: Manager of Information Management Systems II - I was give the 'title' because it fit the compensation range I was being hired into. I didn't 'manage' ANY information management systems nor did I have any direct reports.

A friend of mine and I jokingly use the title: VP of Swivel Chair Procurement when we refer to other individuals or positions which seem lame/useless.