The other evening, I caught the end of a movie just as the credits started to roll, I was scanning down the titles not really taking too much notice when I saw ‘Best Boy’ and I thought to myself, awww that's so nice, I bet he loves his job title. Just then I saw ‘Second Best Boy’ and immediately thought, that is just awful, no one likes to be the second best and certainly not have it immortalised in your job title.
After a few seconds of reflection, I got it but I am sure that a well-placed comma would have made all of the difference from being the second best boy to being the second, best boy. It is like that joke
Let’s eat kids
Let's eat, kids!
Use punctuation, save a life.
Ok so it's a word nerd joke but, the point is that I needed the small amount of reflection time to realise that they weren't just being mean and, even after I realised that, being the kind of person who loves an underdog, I still felt a little bit bad for him.
On the same credits there was also a 'Child Wrangler'! Now, I am pretty sure that this is a perfectly innocent title belonging to those responsible for ensuring child actors and extras are contained, controlled, and safe on set, but I have to say, when I first read it, I did immediately think of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Is this just me or does a job title always contribute to a first impression of some sort for you too?
From beaver experts to chief boners, from head receivers to tug masters I, being a big kid, am very pleased to say that the world of job titles can be innocently hilarious. The thing is, if it's not just me and a title really does elicit a subconscious response or help form an opinion then I agree that we should perhaps be choosing them a little more carefully but with many companies now adopting millennial enticing job titles, which might utilise the words, guru, ninja, demigod, and overlord. I think perhaps we have taken things a little too far.
Spud Super Genius does scream 'uni student given too much freedom', and Chief Executive of the Potato Department is I admit a little boring but where is that fine line between finding a new way to say Business Success Manager and settling on Dream Alchemist?
When does a Customer Service Advisor become a Happiness Hero and a Health & Safety Official become a Paranoid Executive? Have we unwittingly moved too far the other way, no longer considering first impressions but are we now into the realms of providing people with titles that are conversation starters intended to be shared with a smile? I mean, I do get it, who wouldn't rather say “I am a Twisted Firestarter” instead of “I work in a crematorium” but still, what happened to professionalism?
Perhaps this trend is best confined to tech startups and hipster brand evangelists. This would at least take the pressure off those who work in a role that just does not lend themselves to a funny and clever title. Take for example, Human Scarecrow is there any other way to say that? What about Chicken Sexers, Snuggle Experts, (Yep these are real professions). Either I am not cut out to be a Job Title Demigod or for some, there is just no sexy way to say it.
What if, the powers that be in your place of work decided that they were conducting a companywide job title overhaul as part of a rebrand, would you be game for an alternative approach? And, if so, what could your new title be?
I would be distraught if someone wanted me to change my title. Wordsmith feels a little too overblown and self-indulgent don’t you think! Turning me into a Word Wrangler or Story Sorceress makes me wrinkle my nose while violently shaking my head in distaste. Yuck no way.
Call me old-fashioned but I am rather partial to my current simple title thank you very much and if that means I am never invited into the hipster club, all I can say is, thank goodness for that.
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