Why Your Titles At Work mean Nothing
Modern world using titles to show self-worth make them much more useless
Do titles at work mean I own employees working under me?
Does my title have any value outside my own organization?
Does it mean you are the best at what you do?
Does it make you better at your personal life than others?
In a Professional environment, you’ll find a lot of titles getting thrown around like the CEO, CTO, Project Manager, Program Manager, Vice President, Senior Developer, Lead, Principal Architect, Sales Specialist, Associate Consultant, Delivery Manager, etc.
After hearing all of these you may feel that these titles make them better than you in some aspects. The truth is a lot of them have been in the industry for many years and they have something which is called as experience. In this blog I will try to break down two of the most important words in the Professional world, Titles and Years of Experience.
Why we require Titles?
Titles are used to distinguish the level or responsibility a person has within an organization or a skill a person can deliver. Apart from basic difference in salary and the kind of work, a person doesn’t get to own the company and control the company just because he happens to be the CEO except in scenarios where he is the largest shareholder :D
The CEO too needs to report to the Board of Directors if the company happens to have multiple investors. In short all of us are sheeps having playcards with titles over our heads running the same race.
Just because you work for an organization doesn’t mean you own it. But it does mean that you get to decide on its behalf. And No, that is not power that is a responsibility.
Which brings us down to another question, just because I’m at a higher up position do I own the employees that work under me. Well technically, you own the responsibility for your employees and not their personal lives.
Lessons from Ranks given in the Army
In the Army there are ranks given to new Recruits according to their skill (trade) and Merit (including both physical and mental). These ranks are meant to provide a way for people to follow orders from their higher-ups in times of war or conflict.
Whenever a persons goes on to fight a war, he/she doesn’t have a better chance of survival than others just because he is 2–3 ranks above them. Of course some people do use their ranks to avoid going into wars (But those are exceptions). Normally no-one has a better chance of survival than the other in a war scenario.
Leadership has nothing to do with title or rank. Its a choice. The choice to provide care and protection for those for whom we are responsible. As soon as people volunteer to follow you, you are a leader. — Simon Sinek
Years of Experience in what?
During my days as a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador, we happen to have Scott Hanselman in one of the online meetups for the program, he currently works as Partner Program Manager at Microsoft. He shared a key thing that stayed with me. He was talking about his resume and said that in his 4 page resume for his entire career, the last 3 pages include technologies & products that he build which are no longer used.
He was talking about writing a software for PalmPilot PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and other technologies he got to work on during his entire career. In the end, he said that Years of Experience in technology doesn’t matter because every month something new comes up. Lastly, he said to focus on personal growth and being awake since years will go by faster than you realize.
Do you have 10 years’ experience, or the same year 10 times?
It’s all about being awake and personal growth. People sleep through their years if they aren’t paying attention.
— Scott Hanselman
Why Years of Experience is a bad metric for judging skill?
Some organizations give preference to Years of Experience like it means something. The funny thing about MNCs is that they have become more or less like our school system. A bright child cannot skip a class or two (get promoted and get more responsibility) just because the system hasn’t done that before. And that’s sad.
So we have a group of people who are working in technology, who have seen stuff come & go and learnt to deal with it. While others who have hardly learnt anything new and let their best years pass-by working in a role with no growth. And that truly is remarkable (in a bad way).
Learn to question everything and know what you are worth. If you aren’t getting the growth you wanted maybe it time to reflect and change the course. Getting stuck with a specific technology, certain set of people or a product which is hindering your growth is a sure-shot way to get yourself killed in this fast moving world.
Ranks don’t mean anything, a CEO goes back home to sleep on a mattress like we all do. The title doesn’t make him special and it doesn’t make him different from the rest. The media tries to portray it differently like it always does.
There will be a time when the CEO is fired too just like a normal employee, and that my friend is a lesson to remain humble & kind to others regardless of what your title is.
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. — Steve Jobs