Its funny how when you’re working for a company, everything about you is defined by it. Your office desk, your friends, your pay check and hence your car.
And designations have a huge role to play in making these definitions. Each promotion is a promise of incremental seniority and each pre-cursor to an existing designation enhances your worldly perception by leaps and bounds.
There is a thrill in being elevated to Senior Manager from Manager or Executive Vice President from just a regular old Vice President.
Now, I’m not pretending to ignore the importance of these titles. Even though they strongly remind me of titles for princely states in pre-independent India, which were bestowed largely as favours to soothe egos and reward loyalty than for any other larger administrative reason.
Titles are important and should define what you do for the organisation, not who you are. They should be verbs and not nouns. Simply because if we are cogs in the wheel of a larger machinery, we should be known for what we do to make it work.
All major change agents in the world are known by what they do – engineers build, doctors treat, scientists research/invent, explorers discover and so on.
It describes an active, tangible outcome that is achieved only through their actions.
However, when it comes to marketing management, the titles become decreasingly descriptive; manager, president, officer, management trainee etc etc.
These don’t describe a unique action (I bet a scientist needs to manage his team too, but thats not the only description of his work), they are generic and make it tough to define your work to outsiders.
The only thing they do describe very clearly is how many people work for you or how fat your pay check is.
Wouldn’t it be far more interesting if we were called Brand Builders, Campaign Designers and so on. It would bring an active sense of purpose to the holders of these roles, instead of just providing a shiny tagline for Linkedin.
Something to think about, I guess.
Just in case you’re curious about this sudden outburst; I just received my relieving letter. 😛
It stated that my last held position was Manager – Marketing Communications, which was my grade, while my designation was Senior Manager. Panicked and asked for a clarification. Couldn’t believe I was ‘just a manager’ after 8 freakin’ years (Would’ve been a VP in the banking sector by now)!!!
Just made me think about the narrow lens with which we’re seen in the world and how a simple prefix can hugely alter perceptions about individuals.