I am not really one for titles at work. I like clarity because it helps get the job done, but sometimes titles can go awry when they cease to be about clarity and only about prestige.
Here are some of the results you’ll find if you google “ridiculous job titles.”
- Commodus (Roman Emperor, Yes, the same name as the one in Gladiator, one of the few similarities between the movie and actual history.)
Caesar Imperator Lucius Aelius Aurelius Antoninus Commodus Augustus Pius Beatus Sarmaticus Maximus Germanicus Maximus Britannicus Maximus, Pax Orbis, Invictus, Romanus Herculaeus, Pontifex Maximus, Patria Patriae, Amazonius Fortunatus, Consul for the Seventh Time, Imperator for the Eighth Time, Tribune for the Eighteenth Time
- Idi Amin (Crazy Ugandan dictator, the one from The Last King of Scotland)
His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, Victorious Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross recipient, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular, Uncrowned King of Scotland
- Prince Charles (ex husband of Princess Di)
His Royal Highness, The Prince, Charles, Philip, Arthur, George, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Royal Knight Companion of the most noble order of the Garter, Royal Knight Companion of the most Ancient and most noble order of the Thistle, Knight Grand Cross of the most honourable order of the Bath, Member of the order of Merit, Knight of the order of Australia, Companion of the Queens service order, Member of Her Majastys Most Honourable Privy Councillors, Aide de Camp to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth R
Instead of adding clarity, these only create more confusion. And maybe that’s the goal because if there was clarity, the role would be seen for what it really is, without the hyper-inflated self-importance.
But recently, I acquired a new title of my own. You see, my wife is pregnant and while she’s had a very light pregnancy so far, her back has recently taken to aching often, making sleeping uncomfortable for her. One morning, as I was leaving she asked me for a strange favor.
“Can you build me a fortress?”
We used that term in the past whenever she couldn’t sleep well. I’d tuck her in bed, give her a pillow to hug, and prop up more pillows behind her to keep her snug. This would help her sleep longer. And this time was no different.
This is my job, you see. To be her husband means to do whatever it takes to make our relationship work. Sometimes it means laughing with her, sometimes it means working for her, sometimes it means crawling all over the floor to kill cockroaches for her. Most of the time it means saying sorry and swallowing my pride. I don’t need a job description to spell out every little task. I know my responsibility and anything that falls under that category is mine.
The problem with overly titles is eventually a situation will arise that isn’t covered by the job description and then whose responsibility is it? Many things in life can be left to documents like this, but there are some things that you don’t need a title for. You just need to know what’s yours to deliver and do it no matter what it takes.