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A message from the Chief Wizard, Light Bulb Moments

Zelda Zinger thinks employers, particularly in these straightened times, should be looking for other ways of motivating employees than upping their pay. Often it comes down to some clever-clogs in HR suggesting that everyone could have a title upgrade to make them feel better. And it does not have to cost too much, either…

The trouble is, I’ve seen this sort of strategy put into action - it isn’t pretty, and is almost always not very effective. Maybe it could work as a short term plan. People like being made to feel important by adding “manager” or “vice president” to their business card. But the game plan falls apart when it becomes clear that they may indeed have a snazzier sounding title but no more money. And then when they realise even the mail room boy is VP internal comms, it can take the shine off a “promotion”.

But you got to give it to the folk in HR. The discipline seems a natural place for would-be poets. And it probably pays slightly more than living in a garrett publishing slim volumes, too.

I mean, what are you to make of some jobs these days? A search on Linkedin reveals a range of titles that makes you wonder - what the hell do these people do all day? Financial services has platoons of managers with quite dull but slightly baffling sounding roles.

What, for example, does a “decision support manager” do?

Come to think of it, I could probably use one of those. I’d task her with coming up with a package presentation - Spain or Morocco for the next holiday, say. Each destination should have a range of pros and cons. Then she could concoct a test whereby I rate aspects of each destination out of 10, and the one with the highest score wins. I would however, really need to have a lot of decisions to make in order to keep her employed on a full-time basis. Quite frankly, if there had been a few of them working for say, the boards at RBS or HBOS a few years ago, they didn’t seem to be doing their jobs very well.

But at least in financial services there are still jobs available. I might think about applying to be a “senior lean manager”. Clearly I might have to slim down as I might risk being a too round a peg for that narrower role.

It is the wonderful world of tech and IT that seems to have the best titles.

How about a Crawl Engineer, a Scrum Master, or a Cloud Sales Manager: Insight? Am very glad to hear someone is selling clouds as there seems to be an overabundance of them these days. Or, even better, the JavaScript Developer - Front-end happiness.  Surely it was high time that pleasing customers was a job acknowledged in the title, even if it makes you feel a bit goofy divulging what you do.

But as you might expect, it is the US where you find the really wacky job titles.  There they actually pay good money to people who go by monikers including Digital Overlord or Wizard of Light Bulb Moments.

The fact is, if your granny asks what your job is and you tell her something that only causes her consternation and confusion, it is probably a sign that your title has been messed with.

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have one of those proper jobs - vocations like fireman, police, author, doctor. But the fact is the most common jobs tend to be some variation on “works with computers”.

But at least your gran might be able to understand that one.