Halifax — An employee at a marketing agency in Halifax, N.S., is somehow not humiliated that his title, bestowed upon him by his supervisor the day he was signed on as an official member of the team, is “chief sales guru.”
“It was either that or ‘customer contact ninja’ or the dreaded ‘outreach success rockstar.’ I think I got the lesser of a few evils,” said Aaron Kilbride, 31.
“And the more you say it, the more legitimate it sounds,” he added, clearly trying to convince himself. “I really am a guru, of sorts, if you think about it just long enough and not one second longer.”
Kilbride told us that he’s had a few “creative” titles over the years, including “brand strategy oracle” and “social media maestro.” According to human resources at his current company, this is the new norm in the business world.
“If you have a dumb title, it’s a way for the company to justify a stupidly low pay, too,” said HR Jedi Marilyn Briggs. “I mean, I have to call myself a ‘jedi’ so you can imagine how I feel even commenting on this. The meaningless titles also mean the organization can shoehorn tasks that are below you into your day-to-day schedule, and just tell you that cleaning the bathroom has always been part of being a ‘risk assessment maven’ or some shit. Sadly, this is how it works now.”
Some employees are less than thrilled about their demeaning and confusing job titles, but have given up advocating for themselves.
“When I started they said I could be something ‘boring’ like ‘sales associate,’ but they thought it would be cooler to give me a title like ‘wizard brand ambassador,'” said Kelly Marquis, 45. “They didn’t make it seem like I had a choice. So now I have to tell people that I’m a wizard…you know, like in Harry Potter. Not humiliating at all as a middle-aged mother of three with a master’s in business.”
Kilbride told us he’s proud to have such an important role within the organization, and hopes that in the future he’ll be promoted to “resident storytelling warrior.”
“I know ‘chief’ is in my current title, but this company does things a little differently — chief is actually one of the lowest-ranking positions here. Before long I could be a warrior, a champion, or even a content strategy whiz! Sky’s the limit!”