Titles

Titles can be bestowed or claimed, I’ve had several but prefer none. Most titles are ways to create an impression, and they can be misunderstood. I’d rather make one personally, so feel comfortable addressing me by my middle name only.

A title tells you about a past accomplishment, but only in a pass/fail sense. “Doctor” doesn’t tell you how good a doctor someone is. Knowing someone has a college degree only tells you they paid tuition and attended classes, passing enough to graduate. It does not imply they actually learned anything, much less they retained anything. Having worked at a particular job tells you nothing about how well that job was done, and relies on your knowledge of what the job entails. What does “administrative assistant” or “customer service representative” tell you about the responsibilities or accomplishments of the person with those titles?

The world may be a stage, and we all have the opportunity to play many parts. Some of us live those parts. The only way to tell the difference is to get to know someone.

Bill Nye, “The Science Guy“, is an entertainer, but he has been called a scientist because he plays one on TV. He has taken himself a little too seriously, and is now referred to as a “Climate Activist” in most main stream media. A guy who started out making training films for Boeing and has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is not my idea of a scientist, and certainly not a climate scientist, but he does wear bow ties, and bow ties are cool.

I worked in the intelligence community, and you might say I was a “spy”. If you’re picturing James Bond or Jason Bourne you’re on the wrong page, in fact you’re in the wrong chapter. I worked for a Police Department as an officer, but not a police officer. Does “Animal Control Officer” bring a picture of a “Dog Catcher”, chasing dogs with a net, to mind? Wrong book. I have a criminal record, so would I be a “Criminal”? Wrong library.

What someone has done in the past tells you a little about what they are doing today. Very little. Changes happen everywhere. While I’ve been looking at jobs, the title “Technician” has been applied to a wide spectrum of positions. I was once a top digital technician for a major printer company, but four years later I am no longer trained on any model in production. That would be the death of a normal technician’s career, because, you know, they might change the direction you turn the screws. Having my resume listed with a head hunter has resulted in offers for positions as a nail technician and a fire control technician (that’s the person who controls the artillery on a warship), but for some reason people who prize problem solving skills don’t expect their employees to be able to figure out how to fix a machine if they change its name.

A Customer Service Representative can now be anyone from a college educated specialist to a salesperson, the term is officially meaningless. The same is true for Administrative Assistant, which can be anyone from a gopher who gets coffee to a department head.

I do like it when my former son-in-law calls me “Mr. Cash”, it is nice to be addressed with respect, and Jared doesn’t just say it, he means it. “Sir” is a bit formal, but it sounds nice coming from him. My wife has called me a poet and refers to me as “a writer”, although “author” is more prestigious, and having published a book I qualify. The other night at a dinner I referred to myself as a chef, only because a friend and restauranteur had called me a chef a few months ago. Many roles.

But really, just call me Blake. I’ll respect you more, and we can get to know who each other are today.

 

 

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