I hate titles because I am punk rock. Obvs Rawr. Grrr. I’m so angry. I’m raging against the machine.
Whatever. Just kidding. I do hate titles because they are stupid and limiting. They never quite capture what we do for a living. I have a good friend (and reader) who was just promoted to VP of People. Although it is the dumbest title in the history of mankind for a Vice President of Human Resources, I am sorta jealous. Being VP of People is one step away from being Queen.
But let’s be clear: I would be VP of all people. My domain wouldn’t end in Human Resources. Duh.
The worst titles are the ones we use to differentiate labor versus management. I have worked for a ton of companies and I have been referred to as an associate, colleague, employee, laborer, teammate, workmate, and partner.
At my current company, I am an agent.
- A gate agent?
- An agent of change?
- An agent of doom?
You pick. As long as my check cashes on time and I get to work with great people, I don’t give a shit.
The guys who run my company are partners. They are from Texas so people ask, “Are they howdy partners or law firm partners?”
I have to clarify — they are equity partners. They own the organization.
Okay, fine. They are howdy partners, too.
I get totally confused, sometimes. I met a CEO, a few weeks ago, and introduced myself as a partner while standing next to one of the partners of my firm. Then I said, “No wait, I’m an associate.” Then I blanked out and said — I’m not really sure what I do for a living. I’m Laurie Ruettimann.
Like a crack addict, I just kept talking while I tried to figure out how to refer to myself.
He looked at me like I’m an idiot.
I looked at him and wondered, “Is this guy British?”
I wonder — what do you call your employees? What do you call your management team? Do you think corporations are people? (Oh snap. Snuck that one in there.)
More importantly — if you work in HR, what’s your title? Do you refer to yourselves as HR, personnel, people resources, or something equally as stupid?