Wednesday, March 19, 2014


From WordSpy, one of my favorite websites, comes this new and very useful word - uptitling - defined as "renaming a job with a grandiose or inflated title; giving an employee a more senior job title in lieu of a pay raise."

As the economy continues to limp along (unless you're in the financial management industry, where you make your fortune by manipulating other people's money), we've gotten used to getting meager (or no) raises, or to seeing our pay and benefits reduced. The one thing we can get at no cost to our employers is a spiffy new title. We can be uptitled so that we have a nice title, if not something we can actually use to pay the bills.

As it happens, and as you may remember from this 2008 post, I'm interested in titles. Being citizens of the United States, where we do not have a formal aristocracy*, we can't be dukes, archdukes, counts**, viscounts, barons, earls, margraves, or lords ... instead, we have to rely on more down-to-earth things like descriptive job titles. When I was still serving in the Air Force and working on the Air Staff in Washington, we expended a great deal of energy on coming up with highfalutin' titles that we hoped would impress promotion boards. Everyone had to be the Chief of something ... whether it was a section, branch, division, directorate, or deputate, even if you were the chief of a section or branch consisting only of yourself. In the civilian business world, if you're just the president of the company, you're a relative nobody*** ... you need to be the Chief Executive Officer if you want people to take you seriously. In government circles, your distance from true power can be estimated by the number of words in your title: the Deputy Assistant Vice Under Secretary of Blah-Blah-Blah isn't likely to be found in a corner office with big windows ... he (or she) will be walking five paces behind the Assistant Vice Under Secretary of Blah-Blah-Blah like a draped and hooded Afghan housewife trailing along the dusty road behind her husband and carrying his load. And that Afghan housewife doesn't have much of a shot at uptitling, either.

In my earlier post, I told you that I rather liked the title I'd seen on a reserved parking place outside a local fraternal lodge - Illustrious Potentate. It's short, impressive, and to-the-point.The only problem with a title like that, though, is that it limits the abilities for uptitling. Even More Illustrious Potentate and Illustriouser Potentate don't quite make it.

I need to think about this a little more and report back to you. In the meantime, you can just call me Dad, Opa, or Grandpa ... I think those are as good as any.

Have a good day, whatever you choose to call yourself. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Except for professional celebrities, politicians, and the wealthy, who lack only the titles.

** Or no-accounts.

*** And if you're just a mere vice-president, forget a seat at the big table ... you need to be at least an executive vice president to have a seat not located along the wall of the room.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I worked at a company who was constantly changing my title. They actually paid a large company to come in, study us, suggest the money we should be making and a new title.
We found it all hysterical and a waste of their money frankly.
However, I got a huge raise, and a new stupid title with the word executive in it like that was supposed to be impressive. All just silliness. But in this area, your title is everything don'tcha think?

KathyA said...

Yes, And I remain "Teacher"...

Mike said...

That happened to my dad at his bank job 40 years ago. Promoted to 'vice president'. No raise.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Isn't uptitling sometimes done in lieu of a larger salary -- give an impressive title?

Sales associate instead of salesperson?