Could you help me pick a new job title?
January 5, 2005 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Could you help me pick a new job title? [mi]

I work for a ten person government agency in the US that oversees government funded construction projects at non-profit facilities. I've been here 5 years, and have mostly held the title Information Systems Director. Because we are small I do manage network & servers, and spend a lot of my time doing application development.

I've designed and built what we call 'The Intranet' that uses a web interface, but is essential a business process management and business intelligence tool. The director monitors project status and project manager performance through the intranet. Other than authoring / reading correspondences all of the project management work done in the office is either completed or logged on the intranet. It is a thing I'm proud of.

But, more and more I create a spec and have a consultant code. That's because I am monitoring and driving our progress through an operating plan that came out of a formal strategic planning process. I am authoring publications that teach local groups to improve their construction project planning and management. I am creating a strategic framework for the communications plan the Community Relations Director will oversee. I am researching and developing the criteria that will be used to assess the financial health and operational stability of the non-profits we oversee. I am redefining our internal business processes to better serve our mission and customers. I am coaching the project managers on how to move from a reactive management model to a model of constant assessment capitalizing on the intranet tools.

So, I'm not moving to a bigger office or anything, it's possible to see this change as a bout of egotism. I just don't think it serves me, my agency, or my work for me to be considered "the computer guy" anymore especially as I am asked to represent the agency with big wig community leaders. I think I deserve the title Assistant Director, but it won't be given to me. I like what I'm doing, but I won't be here a whole lot longer, so I want something that will help get me a director job as a strategic thinker probably related to technology.

posted by putzface_dickman to Work & Money (21 answers total)
Whoa, serious deja vu and interestingly enough, I think some of the suggestions in that thread might be useful to you, as well.

If you think you should be Assistant Director, and they say no... can you be the Technology Director/Director of Technology, or perhaps Digital Information Director?
posted by headspace at 10:19 AM on January 5, 2005

I second headspace's suggestion.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, meet putzface_dickman, our new Technology Director."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:28 AM on January 5, 2005

I think you should use Putzface Dickman.
posted by clubfoote at 11:06 AM on January 5, 2005

My personal job title is "Formidable Do-er of the Nasty" but feel-free to use it.

It raises a few eyebrows but I have yet to meet anyone willing to refute it. Well, publicly anyway. ;)

(Sorry, I know this doesn't help.. but seriously, this is what my business cards say. I never use them, and I only submitted the order at work as a gag never expecting it to go through. It did.)
posted by purephase at 11:24 AM on January 5, 2005

You could pull a trick from the apple playbook and call yourself 'Genius'.
posted by jmgorman at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2005

I didn't really find any that struck a chord in that other thread.
I've seen these Job Titles of the Future, but they're too cute. It's a somewhat formal environment, despite my MeFi login. While it is cusomary to clap in the presences of a genius - and I'd like that - I don't see it getting me interviews.

Is there some sort of technobabble claptrap that works? I was wondering about "Business Intelligence" and "Knowledge Management" and "Process" "Systems." Something that will not be too stupid but will signifiy something to the people by whom I should be taken seriously: business contacts and potential employers.
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:45 AM on January 5, 2005

You could use my self-given title, "Chief Technology Officer" (checks business card to see if it's spelled right...), or CTO. If you want to look like someone who really doesn't "dirty their hands", try "Chief Information Officer", or CIO. Beware that people like me consider the usage of "Information" as regards to computers as an insult to the entire ethos of computing, since it's based on the root idea of "Information Control" / "Intellectual Property".

Then again, I do not do any of that planning stuff. I just let work happen as the tide ebbs and flows (if the company ever gets big enough for employees, we'll probably have to move to undo the disaster this will eventually create). :-D
posted by shepd at 11:47 AM on January 5, 2005

Yup, "Chief Information Systems Officer" / CISO. Perfect. Enjoy!
posted by shepd at 11:49 AM on January 5, 2005

shepd: Usually anything with "officer" in the title means that the person is in a capacity to make official decisions for the corporation. In your case it's appropriate, but I'm not sure that applies to putzface_dickman's role in a government agency.
posted by cmonkey at 12:04 PM on January 5, 2005

well, cmonkey, in that case, I think putzface has the perfect title as is then. Why change it? Seriously "Information Systems" has "I wouldn't punch down a network cable if you tried to force me" written all over it. It's excellent as is!
posted by shepd at 12:53 PM on January 5, 2005

Director of Technology Services
posted by ValveAnnex at 1:56 PM on January 5, 2005

"Director of IT" or "Director of Technology."

Both fit, and seem to fit with calling others at your company director. If you have to flip it around to get it to pass current muster, you could be the "Technology Projects Director." Tjhis does seems weird ... maybe, "Technology Systems Director."

You can always say in job interviews, "hey, government agency -- weird titles." I don't think it would stop your resume from getting picked out of a pile.
posted by zpousman at 3:17 PM on January 5, 2005

Business analyst?
posted by xammerboy at 3:59 PM on January 5, 2005

The greatest job title I've heard anyone have is "Documentation Overlord". The guy wrote the handbooks that come with expensive software packages.

My husband's job title was (very briefly) "Air Vice Marshall" because his company promoted him from and said they didn't mind what job title he gave himself.
posted by talitha_kumi at 4:15 PM on January 5, 2005

What's wrong with "Putzface_Dickman"? Though you may want to make it The Putzface_Dickman.
posted by rtimmel at 5:29 PM on January 5, 2005

What job series are you?

Everyone in the government that I work for has an OPM job title/series.

I've been an 1002 (Procurement Specialist) 1101 (Business Specialist) a 301 (Business Logistic Specialist). In my career, I have done work that ranged from straightforward procurement - buying canned fruits and vegetables - to contract management. Now I'm doing an ERP implementation. My job series hasn't always been in synch with what was doing, but it never seemed to make much difference.

You are getting to pick your title and series? Go with AD if that is the case. As long as the money gets direct deposited every two weeks I don't sweat titles too much.
posted by fixedgear at 6:15 PM on January 5, 2005

I'm not in federal government. And I'm in a special classification of employee where everyone in the agency - from executive director to receptionist has the same official title. We're at-will employees, serving "at the pleasure", etc. We're one step down from political appointees. But my working title - the one I'm changing- does affect pay, and would appear in official publications, or when I publish elsewhere in my field. I need to improve my credibilty now, and bankability in the near future.
posted by putzface_dickman at 6:57 PM on January 5, 2005

My friend at Apple has a card that says "Shover Robot."

Hey - it beats Putzface Dickman.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:06 PM on January 5, 2005

All of these are excellent suggestions, IMO. Your current title isn't really too bad either. Nobody's mentioned "Technical Director", which also seems to be common (and is very similar to others here).
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:28 PM on January 5, 2005

I like "All-Knowing Master of Time, Space and Dimension"
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:01 PM on January 6, 2005

You don't seem to actually lead, direct or manage anything, so I don't see why you think you deserve any of those words or words that suggest those functions in your job title.

I'm guessing that "Information Technology Officer" sums up your role and your seniority. You work wih IT, but I'm guessing you don't control your own budget, have subordinate teams, set the objectives for a significant number of resources or have the authority to remove obstacles to those resources' success.

References to "researching", "developing" and "coaching" make me thing that you're not the guy who says "let's do this" - you're the guy who does it. Real managers talk about their successes in concrete terms. "Redefining internal business processes" sounds like Wankese for "I used Microsoft Publisher to make new coversheets for the TPS reports".

Giving yourself an inflated title won't give you credibility or bankability, and it won't help you score a job that warrants the title. It'll set off alarms from the moment you put in your application: POSEUR ALERT IN HR.

I'm off to get my card changed to "Shover Robot".
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2005

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