Witty Title Guy

“…A walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

I knew it would come to this. We’ve become the assassins of the IT industry. People are too concerned about maintaining their own precious ‘relationships’ with people…even if they don’t actually like or respect them…and so once a week or so, someone comes to one of us and says “Hey, you guys should write about this”, or “Do a Don’t Be That Guy about this guy” or that company or that That Guy…because they know that we don’t care. We don’t care if someone is offended by what we write – if you’re offended by what we write, then good, maybe you should pay attention to the title and Don’t Be That Guy in the first place.

And so, while we may wholeheartedly agree with some of the opinions expressed in entries like this…it’s like Martin Blank in Gross Pointe Blank said: “It’s not me. You did something to someone at some point in time that brought me to your door. Don’t blame me. Blame yourself.”

So most of us lived through the “dot-com” era, when marketing money flowed like water, and every company was a two-worded name that meant nothing (see: Razorfish, RareMedium, SilverCube, etc.). And so birthed out of these “creative” company names birthed “witty title guy”.

Alright I can see it now, the first thing out of your mouth is:

“Hey, wait a minute, your titles are “The Sales Guy”, “The Geek”, “The Voice of Reason”, and “I’m in Charge of the Beer”! But you seem to forget, ITintheD is a networking organization that has never charged or accepted a dime to run our monthly events (see: we aren’t a real business). We are simply a cog to connect IT professionals in Metro Detroit…It would be as ridiculous for us to have “President” and “COO” titles just as a one-person company being “President”, but I digress…

So in my opinion, if you want to do something like this, I really have no problem with it…

…whole whole “technical analyst” title is passe and you want to stand apart, I get that.

My beef is with the whole “Chief-Insertsomethingfunny-Officer” and PC titles that are being given out like candy on Halloween. I am sorry, but if your title is “Chief Troublemaker”, I simply cannot take you seriously. And what was so wrong with “Secretary” that we feel the need to call them “Administrative Assistants”? Would you trust our country’s security to the “Administrative Assistant of Defense”?

Here are some other titles that we have seen and these people need to be depantsed immediately (some we have actually met, some are from LinkedIn):

– Chief Dude (Really? Really?)
– Big Kahuna (If you own a Hawaiian Restaurant, fine, otherwise never talk to me again)

– PIC (So it’s supposed to mean “person in charge”, I would suffice to say the first word needed to be changed to something else, but this is a family show so I will refrain)
– Barista (You pour my coffee. My large, black coffee with no room for “fat free soy milk”. Get over yourself)
– Grand Poobah (Only if you are in the Flintstones, otherwise GTFO and REALLY?)
– Innovative Online Guerrilla Marketing Specialist (Too many words, knock it off)
– Mascot (Only if you work for a college football team)
– Chief Velocity Officer (Where do I even start?)
– Chief Deal Sorcerer (Only if you work for the Lord of The Rings Movies)
– Wealth Quarterback (Dude?)
– RainMaker (Only if you are a Native American)
– Career Relationship Catalyst (You are a recruiter, get over yourself)
– Visionary (Why don’t you just play the lotto? Or go on Montel?)
– Chief Technology Tactician (Is CTO really that bad?)
– Life Coach (Just knock it off already, seriously now…)

I remember when I got a job with a $60B Japanese Trading Company. For one, I had no idea what a Japanese trading company was and for two, I was insanely angry over my title “Asst. Sales Manager”, which I immediately changed to “Sales Manager – ICT Department – North America”. My role didn’t change, my job didn’t change, people’s perception of me didn’t change, but damnit, I could look in the mirror and be proud! *throwupinmymouthalittlebit*

So with that being said, if you are a “Chief Troublemaker” and it makes you feel cool, that’s just great, but at the end of the day, it’s really all about what you actually do that makes a difference to your business, your colleagues, and your customers. I never once saw “witty” as a line item of a P&L statement.

So when deciding a business title for yourself becomes a week long obsession, take a step back, realize you really aren’t that funny, realize it doesn’t matter one bit, and please, we are begging you, don’t be that guy.

Until next time…