Are Job Titles Going Extinct?
Traditionally, employees have always been given a specific job title. Most of us even use these titles to identify ourselves when people ask us what we do for a living. “I’m an architect” you might say, or “I am a receptionist.”
Job Titles are Fading
But as some people are contending, job titles may soon go the way of the 8-track tape player, the Edsel, and the Dodo bird. In other words, they might become obsolete, discontinued and even extinct.
Crazy, you say? Please consider this: how many people do you know—and you might even be one yourself—who have multiple skills? These Jacks and Jills of All Trades are capable of performing all sorts of tasks throughout the day. Maybe you keep track of the accounting and books at a company while also working with customers, answering the phones, and figuring out any issues that come up with the computer system. Would “bookkeeper” even come close to adequately explaining just how invaluable and amazing you are as an employee?
Stopping the compartmentalizing of each worker into one specific title or category, an article on the London Loves Business website said, is not out of the realm of possibility.
“Open” Job Titles
More “open” job titles, the article noted, can definitely work in certain offices more focused on what their employees truly do during the day as opposed to what they should put down when it’s time to take care of their business card printing.
Business cards of the future should list a wide variety of expertise and skills, which can be checked off to personalize the cards to the particular person.
Job Titles are Limiting
While an Executive Style article said job titles are still necessary because they look really good on our resumes, it admits when the chips are down, customers don’t care what someone’s official title is—they just want that person to do a good job.
“Case in point, we only ask for a ‘supervisor’ when our needs aren’t being met,” the article noted.
“Otherwise, we really don’t seem to care who we’re dealing with. Will customers care if you are a bartender or a bar chef? Or do they just want the drink?”
An article by Edward Boches that appeared on the Creativity_Unbound website agrees with this premise. Boches admits to not being a fan of titles. He feels they box us in or are too restricting. In a day and age when most employees have multiple skills, Boches said official titles seem less relevant. Learning to be creative and useful across all sorts of jobs and skill sets is far more important than a sticking with a specific job title. Granted, it’s sometimes easier to keep using labels to describe what we do—it’s simple, familiar and helps explain in part what we do. But eventually, Boches said, we need to free ourselves from the things we rely on—especially once those things have proven to no longer be needed. With this in mind, Boches contended, it might be time to get rid of job titles sooner rather than later.