Choosing Your Own Job Title

Full disclosure - I love being allowed to choose my own job title.  And I do think it helps people feel more empowered. But like everything, there are limits that should be acknowledged.

I have been in places where I was allowed to chose my own title. I like to make sure my acronym spells something cool.  So – one time I titled myself Manager of Acquisition Group Information (MAGI).  One of my colleagues titled herself Director of Information Valuation Assessment (DIVA).

Obviously – the title has to be related to the job and you don’t want employees choosing an acronym that spells something naughty.

The other consideration is – is this a forward-facing position or internal? Meaning – who needs to interact with the title. We were able to title ourselves MAGI and DIVA because our only customers were internal.  If we were interacting with the public – we would have needed more traditional titles so that our customers knew what to expect from us.  

Personally – I think companies who try to be “cool.” By naming their titles something odd like “customer ninja” – can come off as pretentious.  On the other hand – Best Buy has their geek squad members and those are awesome.   As for those titles  - I would much rather interact with a guru than a ninja – though if the guru is not empowered and knowledgeable as an individual – then the title is pretentious. It HAS to match the skills and work of the person holding the title.

The motivation to humanize the employees is a good one. But what really humanizes people - is to treat them with dignity and to truly empower them as individuals. No title can cover for a bad work environment. So - focus less on the titles and more on making sure the work is dignified and the employees treated with dignity. 

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