Does your job title matter to you? Do you think it matters to other people?
Does having an important-sounding job title make you better at performing your job?
My answers are Kind of, Yes, and No.
I won’t lie. Having ‘manager’ in my job title is nice. It gives me a sense of pride that I have achieved such a title. I think everyone should be proud of his or her job. However, for me, the most important part of my title pertains to what I do as a manager, not the fact that I am a manager.
What bothers me is when people let their job titles define who they are, as if being a vice president gives a person super powers and superior knowledge. It’s like proclaiming you’re a superhero, only in your own mind. I am Vice President of Crisp White Button-Down Shirts and Bad Ties! Bow before my awesomeness! Not to diminish the responsibilities and knowledge that typically accompany such titles. Those jobs are hard and require extensive knowledge and competency to perform them well.
But let’s be real for a minute. If you have a title that implies some amount of authority, don’t abuse it. Don’t wear that title like it’s the WWE Championship Belt. Chances are you had to wrestle some opponents and work your way up to that title, but if you did it only for the sake of having the title rather than proving your worth as an employee, you’ve missed the point. However, if you have actually won a WWE Championship Belt, kudos to you. You have my permission to wear that belt anywhere you want. (Mostly because I don’t want to get beat up, but it’s also pretty cool.)
Please note, I am writing this post as reminder for myself as much as anyone else in a position of some authority. I don’t have much authority, but I’d rather not have my team members envision body-slamming me in a WWE match because I became a power-hungry jerk.
Fellow employees-with-a-smidge-of-authority-or-more, remember that the people who report to you are, well, people, not slaves. They are not there to pick up your dry-cleaning, feed your dog, or pick up your mail while you’re out of town. They are part of your TEAM. And as team members, our jobs are to lead, not to dictate.
Please ask nicely. Don’t demand. It’s rude. 🙂