Think of Job Titles as Mere Steppingstones

A young man fresh out of college is hired by a firm where he was an intern and given the title Director of Public Relations.

Fred was flabbergasted by the title.  Maybe humbled would be a more accurate description.

He emails his department head saying: “I would have liked to have had a title more appropriate for a recent college graduate.”  

He continued: “As an internal title it’s fine, but as a 22-year-old recent college graduate, being a director sounds too over the top.” 

His superior replies.  “But Fred, this was the title we gave you when you signed on.  This title was on the news release announcing you’re joining us and now on our website.  Isn’t it a bit late to bring this up? Also, it’s now on your signature.  It’s hardly an internal title as your emails go out.” 

“Still, I’d feel more comfortable with less of a title,” he responds.

She responds: “But Fred, you’re working on client accounts, offering insights and ideas like you did today with Phil in meetings and zooms; you’re writing to clients, contacting media, overseeing intern assignments, this is your role…I’m not sure why you are questioning your title . . . now!

When Fred doesn’t respond, the firm’s CEO steps in, not wanting Fred to be uncomfortable or maybe lose such a promising young man.

“Here’s an idea,” he emails Fred.  “Think of your Director title as a steppingstone.

“Grow and step into the title.   Start acting and thinking of yourself as a director, and guess what?  Clients will look up to you!”

So, Fred persevered and kept the title of Director.  He went on to become one of the firm’s most sought after staff by the firm’s biggest, most demanding clients. 

Soon it may be time for Fred to step up to a new title–Vice President! 

Ahh those steppingstones and where they lead us. 

Besides a veteran blogger, Tom Madden is a former journalist and an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available April on Amazon.   He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.