Illustration for article titled Your Job Title Doesn't Matter So Share This InsteadPhoto: Britta Pedersen-Pool (Getty Images)

The newly minted richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has a new job title that matches his fortune. Although his empire spans several industries, he frees himself from the nickname CEO at just one of the companies under his thumb and opts for the title “Technoking” at the electric car manufacturer Tesla.

For Musk, the duties of a technoking appear no different from those of a traditional chief executive officer, as the industrial billionaire will see that the previous remit of his position remains intact Wall Street Journal. Tesla’s former CFO, Zach Kirkhorn, will also make a similar redundant leap, changing its official name to Tesla’s Master of Coin. (His actual job is not expected to change).

Musk and Kirkhorn gave themselves silly titles for being powerful men in charge, but aside from a few clickable headlines and giggles from Musk’s army of acolytes, the titles themselves mean nothing. And strangely enough, that goes for most job titles.

Technoking teaches the rest of us a little lesson, regardless of our calling: job titles rarely, if ever, explain your actual job. Since you’re not going to be putting a disrespectful, conversational title on a business card, it’s better if you’re talking to someone about your job or even interviewing someone to emphasize what you’re doing.

Illustration for article titled Your Job Title Doesn't Matter So Share This Instead

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Titles do not mean the same thing in different organizations

Being a senior vice president of sales at a faceless company doesn’t mean your responsibilities exactly mirror what an SVP would do at another company.

What you do for a living is a pretty inevitable topic of conversation. If it’s something you actually want to talk about, you need to dig into the details, not just offer a three-word answer like “I am a lawyer”. Everyone has a vague sense of what it means to be a lawyer, but the actual details of a career always differ from person to person, even if they technically have the same job on paper.

Be more resourceful in your explanations

Of course, you don’t have to pretend to be a pseudo LinkedIn influencer speaking the corporate language, but feel free to explain what you’re doing with a little more color and panache. Because there is at least one purpose behind many boring job titles. Of course, we work to pay the bills and stay afloat, but on occasion it may be worthwhile to join in conversations that explain the broader purpose of your job.

As Gene Marks wrote Entrepreneur In 2018, job titles are basically meaningless and are generally used to strengthen one’s own ego:

What do you say when people ask you what you do for a living? Are you a “small business owner”? Entrepreneur? “A” CEO? “Don’t believe it. You’re none of those things. These are just titles that were invented to make people feel more important. That’s not what you really do.

Instead, think about what exactly you are doing. You don’t have to write a speech, but if you are an immigration attorney you should consider saying, “I help undocumented people seek legal remedies so they can reunite with their families,” or if you are a computer programmer You can do this Say, “I help build the software that forms the basis of popular apps and websites.” Your title is included in the abstract you provide. Whether or not you are a senior web designer doesn’t really matter to the person you are speaking to.

Illustration for article titled Your Job Title Doesn't Matter So Share This Instead

Make a more interesting conversation

Failure to elaborate on what you are doing will lead the conversation to a dead end. Or worse, you run the risk of being pigeonholed at best and pretentious at worst. It is unlikely that you will soon be called “Technoking” or “Supreme Emperor of Accounts Payable”, but luckily, beyond your title, you have more to tell.