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« Norway The Happiest Place on Earth | Main | A Fine Thing »

September 07, 2017


comments from the original posting


Consider this other excellent true story to learn the true value of fancy job titles:
Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2008 at 09:24 PM

Things that matter most should not be put at the mercy of things that matter least.
Posted by: Roger Mattern | July 31, 2008 at 10:21 PM

You don't understand our culture. If we don't have big title after a few years of working, society don't respect you. People talk that He has not made it.
Posted by: SP Lim | July 31, 2008 at 10:31 PM

This SD guy you mention in the memo, did he accomplish any work or just admired his title and house? Is that reason he got fired?
Posted by: Xu, Henry | July 31, 2008 at 10:43 PM

to SP Lim: I think the point is, it is fine to have a fancy title worthy of respect. But the respect won't last long unless we shoulder enough responsibility and deliver enough meaningful results to live up to the title... Apparently SD did not.
Posted by: micro CEO | August 01, 2008 at 03:58 AM

One of my former Boss would not negotiate the titles with employees or job applicants. He believed that the title (like respect) must be earned, not negotiated.
Posted by: Boyd | August 01, 2008 at 05:40 AM

Wow...Oh my (insert name of deity here L)…Where to start… Respect is earned…It does not automatically come to you from a grandiose title (it took me a while to realize this myself).
Posted by: Friend | August 01, 2008 at 06:27 AM

Around the same time as your story, there was a news paper announcement in my country: We are fortunate to have a visit today from The King of the Kings and The Monarch of the Universe, The light of the Aryans, His Imperial Majesty Shah (King) XYX of the great nation of......... The titles were so many and so long that it took a while to figure out who was the one visiting. Guess what, a few years later there was a revolution and his people overthrew him. From then on he lived in exile with his real name.
The title was as good as his people's trust in him.
Posted by: Saleem | August 01, 2008 at 06:43 AM

Your title is equal to the value of your personal brand. If you are worried about the respect from society do something good.
If you are only interested in title for ego satisfaction and pass it on to "society" then go to Kinkos. For a few dollars, they will print business cards for you with whatever Title you want. Deal?
Posted by: Reza | August 01, 2008 at 07:11 AM

Response to Henry;
As far as your question about the reason why SD was fired, only thing we heard through indirect sources (normally direct sources like the bosses do not publicly announce the reasons for firing their employees) that SD did not deliver results as expected by the management.
As far as Ken and I, who were in our early 20s, we thought that SD had "made it."
Posted by: Anand Shah | August 01, 2008 at 07:24 AM

Titles are just words on paper. They don't change who you are. Your actions are really what matter the most and they are what earn you the respect.
As the old saying goes "you can call me anything you want, just don't call me late for dinner" :-)
Posted by: CTG | August 01, 2008 at 09:05 AM

I have dealt with customers & suppliers alike in crisis mgmt .
Respect & recognition from these people will come based on skill, service & personal interaction after
the initial fascination with titles & degrees. Just look at George W Bush, he got the respect based on title and becomes a joke in youtube & news media for his poor communication skills & lack of general knowledge.
Posted by: Talking from Experience | August 01, 2008 at 09:25 AM

So you're saying that SD not only had time to sit back and brag about himself, he was sufficiently insecure that he had to brag to his subordinates, who had no choice but to listen? I think we can peg him for a loser pretty easily based on this alone. People who accomplish things are usually too busy accomplishing them to sit around talking about themselves.
Posted by: numenaster | August 01, 2008 at 09:27 AM

Shakespeare got it right; “ Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”
The same goes with those fancy titles.
Posted by: Teh curse of The Titles | August 01, 2008 at 10:05 AM

This is good one. I like it. Don't get fooled by titles and don't get limited.
Posted by: NJ | August 01, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Here a story from the early days of Apple:
Click on view comments to see other titles that came afterward... e.g. "I have no pants on"
I guess they knew the true value of the title printed on the business card.
Posted by: N | August 01, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Fancy title may be only words on paper, it opens doors, gets you a good table and an up-grade in the hotel. All is not un-beautiful until that dreadful phone call. So stay on your toes, be humble and work hard to be worthy of that title or you will get that 5'o clock meeting sooner than later. Didn't they say the higher one goes the harder one falls? A price you must be ready to pay.
Posted by: ex Rabble Rouser | August 02, 2008 at 12:09 AM

To Numenaster;
What I learn dealing with different culture is that they have many ways to talk. I learn to be open minded to learn from bragging people also if i keep my mind open. How he able to buy two houses, what kind of negotiate he do?. If people like to talk then you can learn a lot if you keep open attitude and it do not cost you because you have to listen.
The point of the story is that the man was too important on title and miss the point about what he need to do when someone give him the trust.
Hope your situation is better now after you read this.
Posted by: MC Liou | August 02, 2008 at 03:29 PM

ThankYou from TPE


A couple years ago, you gave me a book -- "The Leader Who Had No Title" from Robin Sharma. It immediately became one of my favorites and I did read it carefully. It does impact me a lot in my career. Now I know people will truly respect me not because of my title, but my value given. Thank you so much.....


It's funny to see how people still hold on so dearly to the importance of having The Title. Everyday at my current workplace, I see how people use The Title to get things their way while others will only do for those with The Title.

What happened to creating value and doing what's right? Sometimes with The Title, comes power. And a lot of people still fail to realize that with great power comes great responsibilities.

And until one gets that phone call, one will not realize that being able to create value is far more important than The Title.


If I remember correctly, Netflix specifically calls out that as colleagues in a company, we are not a family, but a team. This means you earn your place through performance and not because of relationships. I agree this is a more accurate arrangement and is demonstrated by this story where SD got all the accolades and then suddenly it was taken away. On the other hand, even if SD did get good results, if his manager has a change of heart for some reason, then that also could push SD out. So, the title is temporary at best!

Humble Warrior

sometimes titles can get to a persons head... and they sacrifice having a great humble character for trying to be someone who they are not...


Being the chairman of the board, I am going to talk to a few new international students of a high school that our organization is affiliated with. The school official asks me for a bio before I talk to the students. I am going to copy him this story, instead.


What many people lose sight of: it’s called a JOB title, because it’s the title of the JOB, not you. If you leave, someone else will take the job, and the title that goes with it. The title is attached to the position; you can’t take it with you.

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