Quirky Job Titles – Our Take

By: Edmund Wang

Why settle for the title of ‘Human Resource Executive’ when you could be the ‘Merry Maker’? In today’s working world, run-of-the-mill job titles are passé; the creativity of a job title takes centre stage.

For instance, software programmers become Code Benders, a receptionist is also known as the Director of First Impressions, and advertising associates are Creators of Opportunities (and let’s not even talk about Apple Geniuses).

The drift towards offbeat and trendy job titles may be motivated by a desire from companies to portray a youthful, creative vibe, but it also has the potential to come across as downright silly.

These quirky titles are only worthwhile if they are a true reflection of a company’s outlook – such titles have no place in the finance sector, for instance, where tact and decorum are held in high esteem.

Here are a few job titles that traipse the fine line between innovation and ignominy:

Title: Jolly Good Fellow
As Google employee no. 107, Singaporean Chade-Meng Tan’s (aka Meng) official title is that of Jolly Good Fellow. After joining Google in 2000 as a software engineer, Meng is now a model motivator at Google and is famous for being the first to greet celebrities who visit the Google Campus.

Verdict: Weird, but effective.
Google has a reputation for applying unorthodox solutions to commonplace problems, and it helps that Meng looks the part (link here). His jovial nature and good-natured looks certainly make him the perfect poster boy for Google’s easy-going corporate image, so he’s actually more useful as a recruiting tool than as a Santa wannabe.

Title: Ambassador of Buzz
This one-of-a-kind jack-of-all-trades ambassador at Grasshopper (an American business that sells call forwarding and answering services) does PR, social media and marketing work. The Ambassador of Buzz (AoB) is a veritable socialite who builds relationships with clients, customers and more.

Verdict: Present everywhere, effective nowhere.
Mention of the AoB may conjure up images of a barrel-carrying portly man dispensing the finest brews of the land to all and sundry, but an AoB’s actual effectiveness will likely fall far. When it comes to work, it’s all about being the best in your field, and the AoB will inevitably find himself pulled in too many directions to be of any real use.

Title: Chief Happiness Officer
Online shoe and clothing shop Zappos.com head honcho Tony Hsieh would like the public to acknowledge him as the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) of his enterprise. The CHO is ostensibly tasked with connecting people, building teams, reducing stress and promoting a happy work culture, thereby increasing productivity and creativity at the workplace.

Verdict: Bollocks.
We say that a boss is a boss is a boss. To claim ownership of an employee’s happiness as your primary duty seems awfully self-important, even for a CEO – sorry, CHO. Unless you are the actual Chief Financial Officer determining pay checks (and sanctioning a large bonus to boot), you’re unlikely to have any measurable effect on your employees’ happiness.

Have you come across any other quirky job titles? Share with us in the comment box below!

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