What’s in a Title?


“I see you got a promotion.”

“Not really.  I just have a new title.  I’m Project Research Coordinator.”

“You mean you are a still project manager?”

“That’s right.”

If we have not learned the potential positive impact of job titles, we have not been paying attention to the banking industry.  Does the title “Lending Manager” have a different meaning than “Loan Officer?”  What about “Vice President of Loans?”

Perceptions surrounding job titles do matter.  Some companies have replaced “employee” with “associate.”  Other organizations call their employees “Individual Contributors.”  Certain ones informally refer to Google employees as “Googlers” and new employees as “Nooglers.”

Companies may also use titles to identify outstanding performance.  And there is research that suggests a percentage of employees (Don’t count me among this group.) prefer an enhanced title to a modest pay increase.

For a time, engineering departments have used titles like Engineer I, Engineer II, and Engineer III to bestow status and recognition without having to promote excellent engineers into a management positions.

I have had the honor of holding many titles in my career; and while I do not remember pondering on title images, I do recall feeling a sense of pride upon being officially labeled, “Distinguished Professor of Management.”