New names to old roles – how silly is too silly?

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The more things change, the more they stay the same – a philosophy that applies to job titles perhaps more than anything else in life.

Much like an archeologist would trace rock patters and signs of erosion to gauge the age of an antiquity, observers of corporate history may want to take a look at the ancient scrolls of org charts to pinpoint certain periods of history.

While HR used to be known as ‘Personnel’ as a function, it seems specific job titles now operate under totally different names – yet the function remains the same.

Coaches, champions and evangelists are a couple of job titles that get thrown around. Everyone senior now seems to be a ‘chief’ (CIO, CTO, CDO – that’s chief digital officer in case you wondered – although it’s also used for chief diversity officer). There can never be enough acronyms. HR is not immune – remember the CHRO title, which appared to flounder after a short burst of interest?

The lower down the food chain one gets, the more outrageous it becomes. Earlier this year one of the biggest printers of business cards in the US, moo.com, said young and trendy companies are moving away from traditional “name-rank-and-serial-number” cards that fit the typical HR matrix. Instead of ‘Managing Director’, for example, the card might declare the beholder Head Cheese. How about Sales Ninja for a leading sales rep, or Web Kahuna for your SEO guru?

According to moo.com, firms and employees increasingly want to stand out from the pack and believe these new titles are fun and shake up traditional expectations of a business card.

‘Senior executive’ may make up the bulk of your corporate flow chart, but business card specialists are seeing a rise in gurus, masters and even captains. “IT support officer” has far less swagger than “Problem Wrangler”, and “digital dynamo” has a certain somethin’ that “digital adviser” doesn’t.

Paul Lewis from moo.com said titles such as executive or manager don't stand out to many people and don't have much meaning. “Why not stand out a bit by giving yourself a job title that sums you up as a person rather than limits you to just one aspect of what you do?” he asks.

According to the business card gurus, here are some suggestions if you're hoping to jazz up your employees’ titles:

 

  1. Sales Ninja
  2. New Media Guru
  3. Word Herder
  4. Linux Geek
  5. Social Media Trailblazer
  6. Corporate Magician
  7. Master Handshaker
  8. Communications Ambassador
  9. Happiness Advocate
  10. Copy Cruncher
  11. Transportation Captain
  12. Web Kahuna
  13. Marketing Rockstar
  14. Problem Wrangler
  15. Superstar DJ
  16. Digital Dynamo
  17. Designer Extraordinaire
  18. Head Cheese
  • Paisley on 2012-09-21 11:32:16 AM

    I would be embarrassed to hand out a card with most of these titles. As a HR professional, I find this all too silly to worth considering.

  • Chantal on 2012-09-21 12:42:52 PM

    As fun as these sound, and some of them are, an organization has to know its audience and present an image in line with that audience's norms. If they can be successful with titles like 'Work Herder' then power to them.

  • Dotsie on 2012-09-21 4:35:54 PM

    I still maintain the title Personnel since
    it is spelt the same way in many languages. What goes around does come back around.

  • Greg on 2012-10-03 1:54:14 PM

    Unusual company names are establishing a track record of success (e.g. Google), so this may lead people to think that unusual job titles will also lead to success. However, most of the titles listed rely too much on North American idiom to be useful in a global marketplace.
    Like most things, the best answer depends on context. You may decide to use a label that will make an observer stop and think about what it means, or you may decide that it’s better that a wide range of people can understand quickly what you do.

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