Should employees choose their own job titles?


funny that most employers would say no, with the rationale that they think most people would pick something oddball-ish like Minister of Machines.

The reality is most people would pick titles that match what they actually do. Like if you are a Front End Web Developer, you’d pick that!!! As opposed to what idiotic nonsense your company may call you…like Digital Content Developer II, Production Analyst III, Technical Production Manager IV, and so on.


I think it has more to do with establishing pay and benefit guidelines on an org chart. Even if they made their own title they would need an established pecking order for management and HR.


Therein lies part of the issue. Some employers do in fact use a more generic title even if the job function is more advanced to force a lower grade/compensation comparison.


I’ve managed to keep the same ‘title’ across 4 companies and almost 20 years. It’s also on my degree. I got called on it once and explained that it was actually a dealbreaker. Really, your boss does not care what your card says as long as there aren’t any 4 letter words or cheech and chong references on your card/ in your title.

Secret: make sure you get to proof your business card before it goes out to print. Then just change your title to the one you want. This works. I should probably have some impressive sounding title, but I have the same title as an entry level professional, because I am entirely sure my work speaks for itself, and my title sells nothing.

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Yes, I would go with:
Peon, Lowly Peon.

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The one on my business card is hopelessly generic, but since a) I never give those out and b) I never refer to my job title ever, I really don’t give a crap what it is. Just as long as they keep paying me.



Everybody’s decided what title to put on the business cards Susan designed.

Bug: “Information Leafblower”

Todd: “Personal Trainer”

Karla: “Who can turn the world on with a smile?”

Susan: “Her name is Rio.”

Me: “Crew Chief”

Ethan: “Liquid Engineer”

Michael: “You’re Soaking In It”


As a former headhunter I have to say custom job titles that don’t fit the standard hierarchy make reading a resume more difficult, and that’s a good thing. Without shorthand titles, it’s harder for employers and recruiters to put people in a box, and instead they have to ask questions like “does this person manage people?” or “is this person responsible for closing deals” instead of just relying on generic understandings of what any given job title does at any company.

And if you’re the kind of person who has or wants a custom job title and your concerned about whether a future employer would be less likely to hire you because of that, you probably aren’t considering the right future employer.


My wife, a project manager at the time, had the self-picked job title “Harbinger of Reason”. It was a great conversation starter if nothing else.

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In that case we need something like DNS for HR depts so your national insurance no. (social security for the benefit of our barbarian Cousins) maps onto whatever you want to call yourself at work.


Rilly, rilly happy to see the “Microserfs” reference.


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“Director of Smiles” delivered in Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter’s “oh well” voice.


That’s basically how I went from Marketing Associate to Associate, at one time. Of course, when there are 5 employees in the whole organization, job titles don’t mean a lot. My current card doesn’t even have my last name, let alone a job title. I realize that wouldn’t work for some people, but I’m self-employed / a freelancer, so as long as I’m making a living, I don’t care about convention. And, the no-last-name thing, that’s because 9 times out of 10, when I say my last name people say “what?” Not “can you say that again” or “pardon” or anything remotely resembling politeness: they say “what?”.

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I had a good friend who worked in a very small business as “Director of First Impressions.” She was the receptionist.

EDIT: Aww man, that’s in the lead paragraph. I’ve been telling that story for years but I guess it’s dated.

What is, according to rules of etiquette, more polite than pardon as it goes. The queen sez it and evryfink.

I want a business card with “Literally Just Some Guy” on it

This does remind me a little of when I got excited about my bank letting me put any custom image on my bankcard before remembering “it’s a bank” and feeling ashamed


Not sure if “Balls to the Wall” would be a decent job title.

“Doing Stuff” (for money)

This is the sort of thing that gives HR professionals seizures; i think it’s a great idea.