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Use Your Title

I’m promoting you from Senior Engineer to Lead Engineer. The pay is the same but people will disrespect you less.

—Dilbert’s Pointy-Haired Boss

“Use your Title” is a very effective pattern for those who feel like the title they have is everything in life. We all have our own goals in life, and we approach differently to achieve them. For some, a software engineer position is all they have wanted to achieve in life, and there are others who would not feel accomplished until they become seniors or leaders in the industry. On the other hand, it happens to have an unimpressive title, even though you have given more authority in your position than your title or job description says. In this case, people get discouraged and lose hopes that one day they would get what they deserve.

In my opinion, we should “Use our Title” in a way that benefits us professionally. Titles are only made to feed our egos. What is more important is that we should never stop learning or stop searching for better opportunities that would complete us professionally. Let’s think of it as climbing mountains. The second highest mountain in the world is K2. If a person’s goal a year ago was to climb that mountain, he/she would feel accomplished when he/she gets there, but then he/she would feel the need of having another goal to achieve and would end up climbing Mount Everest. This tells us that even when we get to have the title we always dreamed of in the industry, there’s more we can achieve.

In this pattern, I found interesting the part that suggests writing down a long and descriptive version of our job title. I think this would help us reflect on what we do at our workplace, if the title matches with the authority we have given, and maybe find the need to update the title with superiors’ permission. I, myself am going to try and see what I find out when it comes time to update it.
As a conclusion, make sure your skill level matches your job description and title, and no matter how far you go with titles, remind yourself that your apprenticeship is not over.


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