Should Your Title Say What You do?

Many years ago I worked as a credit analyst for a large financial institution. One day in the mail I received a box of business cards with my name and the title of Vice President & Credit Analyst. My first thought was that my boss had failed to tell me about a promotion and then I quickly realized that my colleagues received the same business cards with their names on them. Soon after that there was a memo stating that we weren’t supposed to use the title ‘Vice President’ when signing any documents. Come to find out someone in HR had gotten the bright idea that it would be easier to recruit students out of college it they knew they were going to get a fancy title. Needless to say that title soon returned to normal.


So I’ve given a lot of thought to titles and what I want to call myself. When I started my business and became an LLC I was provided with a document from my attorney stating I was the President/Secretary. And I might be impressed by that except for the fact I’m the only employee so I would be President of what?


Over the years as I’ve provided support in the corporate world and as a virtual assistant, I’ve been perplexed at how some people react to the word, assistant. To some people it seems to be a put down but to me it is a term of respect. I haven’t been blessed with the gift of vision, of seeing great things and envisioning great goals. But the gift I was given was to take someone else’s vision and make it happen. And that to me is what it means to be an assistant and why I’m proud of that title.


A few months ago Mindi added ‘Personal’ to my title of assistant. With that come the additional duties of scheduling her hair appointments, making traveling arrangements and various other personal items that need to be done. What does that have to do with achieving great goals. As you well know one of Mindi’s primary quests is finding ways to be more productive. By taking those items off of her plate allows her to focus on where the Mindi Zone is going and how we’re going to get there.


To me the minimalist viewpoint on titles would be to simplify them down to what do you do. So even though my duties range from bookkeeping and blog posting to managing her email and reminding her of her upcoming appointments to me the title ‘Personal Assistant’ is the one I am proud to carry.


What has your experience been with titles? Do you find that they are true personifications of the people that have them? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.