August 14, 2013, by Malvika Johal

Interpreting Grandiose Job Titles

By Steve Miller (Management Studies 2010)

A recent office discussion sparked an entertaining debate about job titles and their meanings. There was a time when the term ‘Executive’ would have meant a senior managerial role in an business organisation. Now just about anyone can call themselves an executive (for example my window cleaner) and the word has now lost much of it’s kudos.

Business people are having to come up with new job titles that carry either authority or mystery. Following the Olympic Games, ‘Chef de Mission’ – meaning the team manager of a national delegation (usually of a sports team) – has every chance of taking off as a job title. At a recent business club meeting I heard two digital ‘executives’ (sic) discussing their business cards and whether they could get away with calling themselves ‘Chef de Digitale’ – it may have been a little tongue in cheek but I wouldn’t be surprised to be hear something similar before too long!

To help people work through this potential minefield, I have put together a short glossary of job titles and what they probably do (or don’t ) mean:

Skittle colour separator – “Hi, I work in PR and thought this would be a good conversation opener when I meet you at a corporate function”

Head of… there is still a small chance that this will mean they head up a department of say 10 to 50 people. More likely they are some sort of consultant working alone and it is unlikely that you will ever be invited to their ‘head office’

Head of Insight or indeed any job title that contains the word ‘Insight’ – All the other good job titles were taken so this looked liked a good compromise. This is particularly common in lumbering bureaucratic organisations with with lots of chiefs and very few Indians.

Digital Overlord – I’ve included this one to annoy members of my web team. The title basically means ‘Website Manager’

Associate to the Executive Manager of Marketing and Communications, North West Division – ‘Marketing assistant’

Marketing Technician – ‘Marketing assistant’

Team Leader – First person to join the team

Entertainment Analyst – jobless 19 year old

Barista Maestro – makes some great coffee

Brand Evangelist – Two pieces of advice here; 1. Avoid anyone with the word ‘Brand’ in their job title 2. Avoid anyone with the word ‘Evangelist’ in their job title. Note that ‘Evangelist’ may sometimes be substituted with the word ‘Guru’. If this job title means anything then it probably corresponds to Marketing Manager or Executive.

Executive Vice President – Although very grand sounding and perhaps with overtones of The White House, this is probably someone in a very junior sales position, most likely at an American Bank or Stockbrokers

Steve Miller, Managing Director (Yes it is, honestly!), The Workplace Depot – Please link to:




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