I, for the most part, find titles to be silly things.* I don’t mind when they’re given to me, but it’s a little harder when I have to give myself one. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would rather let my work speak for itself.
I’ve had the honor of holding a variety of titles while moving toward the title I currently hold: founder of Write Right. I’ve been a communications specialist. I’ve also been a marketing specialist, which, if I remember correctly, wasn’t all that different from being a communications specialist. I once held the title “web content manager,” but that title evolved because I was responsible for researching, writing, and editing the content in addition to managing it. I’ve been a gallery assistant, which sounds more impressive than it actually was. Some of the responsibilities were interesting – I learned to hang paintings and photographs correctly and to write press releases – but many of them were plain grunt work, such as replacing the light bulbs in the twenty-foot-high ceilings or changing the monthly signage. I’ve also been a senior sales associate, an assistant manager, an associate editor, an editor…What a lengthy, ridiculous list.
The thing is, those titles were given to me. I didn’t call myself any of those things. Sometimes, the titles fit, but, in most cases, they didn’t. I don’t know that they ever do. Can what a person does be encapsulated by a single phrase? I don’t know. I’ve been working on titling myself correctly for the past year and still run into conflicting advice about it. One person says to state what I do; another suggests that I assert who I am. At the moment, I’ve decided not to try to make both camps happy. I’ll use the title given to me at my job – marketing communications manager – and I’ll settle upon founder of Write Right. I don’t know that I’m happy with those titles, but I do know one thing: it’s better than dubbing myself a writing guru, ninja, or expert.
*Originally published August 9, 2011