You shouldn’t judge a book by its title. Or a person’s importance in the company by theirs either it seems. It used to be simple…manager, assistant vice president, vice president, executive vice president, then president. When did we decide President wasn’t enough?  CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CCBW.  Wait..what? oh Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. 

I’m not sure when “secretary” became an insult, but heaven forbid you refer to that person behind the desk as such. Try Administrative Assistant, Office Coordinator, or Office Administrator.  There are Executive Assistants, Lead Office Professionals, and even Administrative Managers, but never are they secretaries.

In the world of cutbacks and layoffs, some people have taken on dual roles, sporting two titles on their business cards, which confuses people twice as much.  Then you have to call this guy’s secretary, oops I mean administrative assistant, and ask which title he prefers on his name tag (crickets chirping as she thinks about this) and you are told to use both. If you print in 8pt font – it might fit!  Or you could just type up a name tag that reads “Mr. Smith, Identity Crisis in the Making”.   HR is likely to take exception to this, but you might just get your point across.

Redundancy seems to be an issue as well. Director of Supply Chain Operations NA,  Supply Chain Operations. As in: Mr. Smith is the Director of Supply Chain Operations NA for the Supply Chain Operations in XYZ Corp.   Wouldn’t it just be easier to say Mr. Smith is the NA Director of Supply Chain Operations for XYZ Corp?  No, apparently longer is better…  Global Business Supply Chain Improvement Leader.   More words means greater importance, at least in the mind of the bearer.

I think I’m going to change my title to Tiara-wearing Queen of the Impossible and see if that makes a difference to how things get done around here.  (hmm, surprisingly I do feel better just thinking about it).

Too much for the office?

You may all bow now.