Job Titles are Important, Just not that Important

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The inspiration for this article came from a Mashable post I read a couple of weeks ago. The author Erica Swallow went through the pros and the cons of having a creative title. Some of the more provocative job titles included: “Happiness Advocate (saying no to this title is like turning down fluffy pillows, pinching a cat, or yelling at a baby – you just can’t without feeling really guilty),” “Web Kahuna (sorry, but this one kinda rocks!),” and “Corporate Magician” (this one smacks of Bernie Madoff and Hoffa – where’s that body, now…).

The Name Game

The article was refreshing because it wasn’t too deep, yet it sparked a LOT of conversation about the importance of a title. Let’s rewind this discussion several hundred years ago and add a bit of classical literature (don’t sigh, it’ll move quickly)

Juliet, when Shakespeare had her speak about a similar topic, couldn’t understand what the deal was with a name. Addressing Romeo, she offered this almost rhetorical question:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose would smell as sweet if it had any other name. So Romeo, if he wasn’t called “Romeo,” would retain that dear perfection which he has without that title.”

Simple enough, right. Well, if it was, Juliet would have avoided stabbing herself and Romeo would have side stepped the poison. So, if Shakespeare has any say in this discussion, he might argue that a name is more than a name, even though it’s just a name. Confusing enough!

Do What You Do well, Learn, and Listen

Bringing this back to present day, I have sat through many interviews where aspiring web designers, developers, coders, copy writers, (and more and more) have come in and thought that their name was something big. They’ve thought that the titles that they’ve had in the past have meant something. You could see that their titles built into the arrogance they exuded.

Now, look, you might be saying, “Hey, don’t we need to be confident?!” Absolutely. But it’s a thin line… I always say that it’s more important to focus on what you can do, what you want to do for the firm or company, and listen. That last thing is so important, yet so often overlooked

I really enjoyed the article and thought that I could add some inspiration to it by bringing the discussion to an INSPIRED audience. . In my opinion, being “capable” in doing a job is better, and more important, than the job title you have, will have, or did have before. That takes listening skills, which are important when you’re trying to determine if the job is a good fit for you, and if you even want to do it. It takes the ability to actually “do” the job, and do it well!

That’s what really matters, and it’s a conversation worth having.

What do you think? Job titles – which way does the wind blow you on this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Zach Katkin – Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Designer and Writer – is the co-founder of Florida Web Design Company Atilus. In business for nearly a decade, Atilus has more than 600 clients worldwide.