RANT WARNING! (What follows is a stream of thought rant about job titles and the silliness that has transpired with them over the last few years. If you call yourself a ninja, guru, Jedi or something similar you might want to leave right now)
Still here? Excellent. Then I assume you, like me, think this whole title business has gotten a bit (read: VERY) out of hand. I literally see several ninjas daily – and none of them are dressed in black carrying swords. I get it – we are all trying to stand out in a very social and thus smaller world than ever before. We all want to differentiate ourselves as unique and position our personal brand in a way that says “I am great at what I do – notice me”. Here’s the rub though – when there are literally 100,000 other “rock stars” or “gurus” then you are actually not standing out – you are following the pack. No longer cute anymore folks. Recruiters are easily the worst offenders at this but they are not alone. I see these titles now across all functions and geographies. Look – I am the first person to say that people should do whatever, whenever they want. I want no restrictions on creativity or individual license. If it works for you – great. I just think it all sounds really lame and less original than all you ninjas might think you are being.
What follows is my initial gut reaction to these common titles when I see them:
1. Guru – NOT a guru.
2. Ninja – rookie
3. Rock Star – leather pants?
4. Jedi – Luke Skywalker
I started my own company almost a year ago. Lots of people said I should call myself CEO. I laughed and said – CEO of what? Me? There were no other employees but myself at the time – and it all sounded so silly to me. I called myself (and still do) “Founder” – because that is what I was. A founder of a new company. Call me old school. Tell me I should go yell at the kids to get off my lawn. Maybe I am old school on this issue but I ain’t budging.