Return of the 'chief executive officer'

Birds do it, bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Over the last two decades or so, corporate employees have been doing it with gusto. What is it? Title embellishments. While designations like CEO, CFO, COO, CXO – and even C3PO if the job is particularly robotic – are still around, epithets like chief gardener and mantra officer have been gaining ground (even as maalis and pandits have been losing the same ground). What is new, though, is employees down the company food chain also hanging their standard designations and putting on designer desigs. At least, for starters, on LinkedIn.

What goes under the job title ‘supervisor’ can be strung up in a nice coloured font as ‘solution evangelist’. The ‘salesperson’ can have his or her emails end with the descriptor ‘pro-client idea creator’. That chap in HR who was, till yesterday, ‘recruiter’ is strutting about on the third floor as ‘career enabler’. The trend seems to have caught on to even the freelancer who now wants to be called ‘entrepreneur’ without being laughed at by the career enabler. What this nomenclatural Halloween may have started is those higher up in the corporate ziggurat (as well as literally in the building) find their neo-titles devaluing at a fast pace. The result? The sherpa now wants to be redesignated as chief executive officer. Let’s see if that takes off.


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