Saturday 8 October 2011

08.10 Silly job titles, UK

I haven’t gone off on a rant lately but tonight I am feeling the need :-) I have been thinking about writing a post about silly job titles in the UK for a while, as this is one of my pet hate and I as a foreigner have been watching this growing trend here in the UK with a mix of amusement and horror. When I moved to London 12 years ago, I got a bit bewildered by all the fancy job titles people seemed to have here. Just about anyone I got in touch with in the beginning was called officer this and officer that. Now, I am not unfamiliar with the term officer; my father was an officer in the army, and I spent my childhood and part of my teens in various garrisons together with my siblings and my parents. We moved often, as army people do, and we used to live in the officer’s accommodation together with the other officer families. So I knew very well what an officer was when I left Norway and moved to the UK – I thought.

But here in the UK, job titles seems to be rather overinflated, and as prosperous times has moved on to economic crisis for most of the world, having a fancy job title seems to be even more important. A UK recruitment company has found employees will forego a swelling of their pay packet provided their dull job titles get some padding out. Among the "professionalised" positions suggested in the survey are "voice data executive" (telephonist), "data storage specialist" (filing clerk) and "office logistics co-ordinator" (post room worker). Should the cup of tea brought to you by the "catering supervisor" get spilled on the fabric weave floor covering, never fear, call the "hygiene supervisor". One might argue that at a time with pressure on public finances, job titles are irrelevant - all that matters is having a job. And a new title - particularly if it signals extra responsibility - can make an employee feel more valued in the absence of a salary rise.

Well, judge for yourself, here are some examples I have picked randomly from the Internet, would these job titles make you feel a valued member of staff – or more importantly, would they make you feel a MORE important member of staff than what you were with your previous job title??

Media distribution officer:                                                     Paperboy
Debt management officer:                                                     Tax collector
Hygiene facilitation operative:                                               Cleaner
Facilities supervisor:                                                             Toilet cleaner
Ambient replenishment controller:                                          Shelf stacker
Regional head of services, infrastructure and procurement:     Caretaker
Lunchtime supervisor:                                                           Dinner lady
Education centre nourishment consultants:                             Dinner lady
Guest services agent:                                                            Hotel receptionist
Global talent supply:                                                              Recruitment consultant
Field nourishment consultant:                                                Waitress
Waste management and disposal technician:                          Bin man
Information advisor:                                                              Librarian
Communications executive:                                                   Telesales person
Highway environmental hygienist:                                          Road sweeper
Investment development and research analyst:                       Technical helpdesk
Modality manager:                                                                Ward sister
Colour distribution technician:                                               Painter & decorator
Coordinator of interpretive teaching:                                     Museum tour guide
Vertical transport engineer:                                                   Lift engineer
Welcoming agent and telephone intermediary:                        Receptionist
Customer experience enhancement consultant:                       Shop assistant
Wet leisure assistant:                                                            Lifeguard
Coin facilitation engineer:                                                     Toll booth collectors
Front line customer support facilitator:                                  Call centre worker
Gastronomical hygiene technician:                                         Dish washers
Mass production engineer:                                                     Factory worker
Petroleum transfer engineer:                                                 Service station assistant
Transparency enhancement facilitator:                                   Window cleaner
Beverage dissemination officer:                                             Barman

And if this list isn’t extensive enough for you, you can always make your own! Visit this web-site I found and GENERATE YOUR OWN JOB TITLE, useful for job applications and CVs if your own title isn’t upgraded to a contemporary one yet :-)

People can get very emotional about their job titles if it doesn't reflect their level of seniority or responsibility apparently. On the Newcastle Metro, ticket inspectors are now called revenue protection officers… So, are we supposed to ask "what's your job title?” instead of "what do you do?", as 21st Century job titles can be a verbal minefield? About one quarter of advertised job titles only appeared in the last decade or so and according to Gregory P. Smith, a recognised American business performance consultant (!!), people will sometimes even choose a better title over more pay.

I think I will round up this post with a quote I found on a web-site. It is written by Ewen McLaughlin, Swansea:
I once had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Mellett, Nasa's man in charge of refitting space shuttles between flights. Pompous job title? Not a bit of it. On his business card he simply describes himself as "Rocket Scientist".

Well, I think that’s it for tonight, in a few minutes it is midnight and my 47th birthday, and I am going to celebrate with a late movie and something to eat before I go and locate my bed. Tomorrow I will spend the day doing what I enjoy most; pottering about in my garden. If I am not too tired tomorrow evening I might write a post with some photos of what I have done to the garden the last few days. Until then, take care.

No comments: