Monday, September 13, 2010

job titles

One of my favorite things to do when meeting new people is to ask them what their job title is. This is because I enjoy hearing how people in different fields and occupations denote the state all employees find themselves in: lackeyhood. That is to say, the following job titles can be defined thusly:

Intern: Lackey to the lackeys
Analyst: Lackey
Associate: Lackey
Director: Lackey
Manager: Lackey
Vice President: Lackey
Senior Vice President: Lackey
Chief [inflated adjective] [inflated noun]: Head lackey

People outside of the working world have a hard time understanding this concept, and think that as you ascend titles you ascend in status, and have less lackey-ish responsibilities. This is not the case. You may be able to throw your weight around among an increasingly number of lackeys, but everyone is a lackey to the man.

Take, for example, the CEO of my company. He gets to call me a lackey whenever he wants, could probably get me to shine his shoes with my own saliva if he ever wore shoes that needed shining, and takes great pains to remind me in front of my fellow lackeys that I am single, and I, "go home alone", "live alone", and "never go on dates",1 but he himself is a lackey to the Global CEO, who goes to great lengths to come up with pet names for him like Douggie, McDoug, and Doogle.2

You might also call him a lackey to his employees, as we constantly harass him about providing us with free lunch.3 This most recently came about when Lackey to the Employees (HR Head) flew in from London, along with Lackey to the Shareholders (Global CEO), in order to take us through an exercise on our Things We Should Stop Reveling in Forgetting (Core Values). Said exercise consisted of us lackeys to the head lackeys asking each other questions where the answers were always "provide the lackeys with free lunch". Like, "how can we, as a company, grow in size?", or "what's the best way to work out a dispute with a co-worker?", or "how can we, as a company, stop our lackeys from blogging about their work publicly?" Free lunch, free lunch, free lunch.

Since I paid for my lunch on Friday,4 let me discuss the synonym with lackey that has been most recently bestowed upon me: Director of Analytics.

Director sounds like a pretty snazzy title, and I am sure to bust that out whenever I am speaking to women. In any circumstance.

Woman: Hey Chris, can you help me move some chairs tomorrow?
Me: Sure thing, because I am the Director of Analytics!

or,

Woman: Hey Chris, do you realize those pants are at least three sizes too big and one size too short for you? Were you at one point in your life a bloated whale?
Me: Sure thing, because I am the Director of Analytics!

This normally is met with a combination of confusion and (feigned) respect, but mostly confusion. Unless, of course, my roommate is around, whereupon the conversation normally goes something like this:

Woman: Hey Chris, did you really just go two days and a combined thirty miles on your bike without showering?
Me: Sure thing, because I am the Director of Analytics!
Roommate: Um, yeah, he's the third dude with that title, and has no direct reports to speak of.
Woman: Please, keep your smelly lackeyness away from me Chris. I'm dating a hot VC lackey.

I don't know how exactly this came to pass, but in department of exactly nine people, three of us share the title of Director of Analytics.

Now, my CEO has a very good explanation for this, so I'm not going to harp on it any more, lest he approach me later and reduce the number of people with that title by one.

My only critique of this situation, and, keep in mind, fair CEO, this is a very small critique, a minuscule critique, a critique barely worth even mentioning, is that last week we advertised for another job in the company.

The title?

Director of Analytics.5

1. I am so not kidding on those direct quotes. He is very, very good. I have no response to him when he does that. "Oh yeah, well, you go home in your Mercedes to your beautiful wife and daughter living in your hillside mansion!" just doesn't have the zing that it should.
2. Relatedly, should said CEO read this, I will surely be seeking employment tomorrow.
3. Please, as any competent economist knows, this does not actually exist.
4. Which was a loaf of bread with jam. I happen to like minimalist lunches. However, every single human on the face of the planet feels obligated to call me a hobo when they see what I eat. I'm cheap, okay? Would you please stop forcing me to spirit my loaf of bread out of the kitchen in the folds of a trenchcoat?
5. My lawyer advises me to here mention that this was all written in jest, I actually love my company, the people I work with, the people I work for, and am willing to shine any shoes, lick any stamps, and cut any birthday cakes that might be required of me in order for me to maintain gainful employment.

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