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« Breaking a Rookie into the Game. Promoting an Employee to the Next Level. | Main | Leadership and Mental Toughness »

August 16, 2019



Consider this other excellent true story to learn the true value of fancy job titles:

Roger Mattern

Things that matter most should not be put at the mercy of things that matter least.

SP Lim

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.

Xu, Henry

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?

micro CEO

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.


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.


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).


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.


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?

Anand Shah

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."


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" :-)

Talking from Experience

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.


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.

Teh curse of The Titles

Shakespeare got it right; “ Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”
The same goes with those fancy titles.


This is good one. I like it. Don't get fooled by titles and don't get limited.


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.

ex Rabble Rouser

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.

MC Liou

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.

The Boss

"your title is as good as one phone call from the boss" Not True if You are The Boss.


Great and fun way of sharing this story. I think I had heard this from you before, but not with all the "puffs" in between. I have also seen that when people speak obituaries of people who died, rarely do they put the title in their company as the critical part of their achievement.

micro CEO

I enjoyed reading (re-reading after 10 years) this reflection, and its lesson proves to be as relevant as ever. But it also cuts both ways, for the big corporation with its gigantic R&D center...and we are free to wonder whether all might be lost and buried in sand after a few more years. Epitaph reading, "Here lies Ozymandias..."
Also, I enjoyed the comments with linked anecdotes. The first comment by "Fred" with the funny (yet painful) story of hiring the ex-VP from a big, $100 company left me begging the question why the start-up CEO didn't ask why the ex-VP was an ex-VP. I guess he found out the hard-way.
In both anecdotes, I am reminded of the Aesop's fable of the country mouse and the city mouse. The original lesson of that is perhaps to be content with a simple and happy life (more valuable than the risk and folly of the big city). But an alternative lesson for modern times is about knowing yourself and not trying to pose as something beyond our actual capabilities, simply for status or career ambition.

California Guy

Son, Brother, Friend, Classmate, Colleague, Spouse, Father, California Guy

A note from Friend From Scotland

Nice stories, big truths!


Right on the money Anand. The people I most respected during my career have been those that did not try to pump themselves up but let their work talk for them. Early in my career I working with a reliability engineer as the product engineer of a memory product. We probably worked together for well over a year before I found out that he had his PhD in physics. The only reason i found out was he had his title and degree on a presentation to a major customer that gave great attention to those things to listen to what you said. I learned a lot from him and how we worked together on problems, producing the results needed

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