By this, we don’t mean a promotion. Just a new title.
Bill Taylor, who cofounded Fast Company, writes about the importance of job titles in a blog at the Harvard Business Review. It might seem silly to call the people behind the counter at Subway “sandwich artists,” he says, but “it matters how people describe what they do and how organizations describe what gets done.”
Fast Company used to run a feature, he says, called “Job Titles of the Future,” that looked at people doing real work with unordinary titles.
For example, Ernst & Young, the accounting giant, employed a 20-something consultant in the role of Minister of Comedy. His job was to prepare videos and presentations for big client meetings that made the firm’s dry-as-dust work easier to swallow. One fast-growing telecom company chose to call the receptionist at headquarters its Director of First Impressions, to reinforce how seriously this tech-driven outfit was about the quality of its emotional and psychological to customers, suppliers. One videogame developer looked to its Chief Acceleration Officer to search for ways to slash development times and turn the organization into a, well, faster company.
Plus, Cranium, the company behind the popular board game, had an exec called “Keeper of the Flame.”
Here’s the kicker: the people with these titles had “[a] sense of ownership of, engagement with, and excitement about their jobs and the offbeat titles that described their jobs. Their work truly mattered to them, and how their work got described to the world mattered as well.”
If the best jobs aren’t boring, why should titles be?