Help me name our ranks
August 13, 2013 7:08 AM   Subscribe

I work at a Museum and we are about to roll out a new staffing model for our part time staff. Essentially a "career ladder", the program will have four stages of progression starting with general skills (everyone in this stage can float around the Museum providing customer service, essentially). The three subsequent stages add increased specialization, training and skills (employees in stage 4 can lead teach programs like camp, for example). We have a pretty young staff, and are generally a hands-on STEAM (science technology engineering art and math) focused institution. We're looking for creative names for the stages that are descriptive without being too silly. Any thoughts?

Right now, we have a somewhat complicated system of calling the stages things like residents, facilitators, trainees, etc. But everyone gets confused if resident is more advanced than facilitator. We have a pretty young staff, but I'd like to avoid names that are too silly to take seriously. Some thoughts I had (but I'm not in love with any of them, that's why I'm asking y'all!) are: the stages of butterfly development, freshman/sophomore..., stages of star development, etc.

posted by leastlikelycowgirl to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Before I read your more inside I was going to ask what kind of museum you are, and to name the stages after something related. But I take it you are a science museum and you're already on that track. Great! I like that idea.

What about stages of plant growth? Or elements?
posted by phunniemee at 7:24 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Docent, donickel, dodime, doquarter.

Just kiddin'.

How about volunteer, docent, master (or topic master) and chief, in increasing order of responsibility?
posted by paulsc at 7:26 AM on August 13, 2013

Assistant Docent, Docent, Senior Docent, Head Docent

Docent that word have a nice ring to it?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Generalist, Specialist, Senior Specialist, Trainer, perhaps.

If you provided more details on the varying skills and responsibilities of each level, it would be a lot easier to figure out the words that go with them. Because, really, you don't want to be charming with stuff like this, you want to give these young people titles that they can put on their resumes.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:33 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Because, really, you don't want to be charming with stuff like this, you want to give these young people titles that they can put on their resumes.

A compromise between charming and resume-useful would be to have a more boring version of each title that people outside the museum will understand:

Egg (Generalist)
Caterpillar (Specialist)
Pupa (Senior Specialist)
Adult (Trainer)

Or something like that, so people will be able to put it on their resumes without having to explain "No, not 'Pupil,' 'Pupa.' It's a butterfly thing, um..."
posted by Etrigan at 7:44 AM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Or in keeping with the STEAM idea, how about porter, conductor, fireman and engineer?
posted by kate4914 at 3:22 PM on August 13, 2013

Aim for something that (1) they'll be proud rather than embarrassed to list on future job/school applications, and (2) that gives the people reading those future applications some obvious and fast way to figure out which jobs are more senior.

Personally, I'd aim for something stodgy and serious rather than silly for any job title that doesn't involve wearing costumes. robocop is bleeding's suggestion sounds perfect, assuming "docent" isn't already a thing with a very specific and inapplicable meaning in the museum business. Perhaps consider adding "associate docent" as a second stage if "head docent" sounds strange.

If "docent" is taken, then perhaps "resident" instead, which strikes a nice balance between being familiar and yet clearly being far enough from the usual context that it won't lead to misunderstandings.

Or, you could go for something even more basic, such as "docent I," " docent II," "docent III," "docent IV."

If I were one of your part time employees, I'd feel a stab of hate every time I had to explain to someone in a job interview what being a "xenon" or an "imago" means in the context of a specific science museum. But, we're talking about different people in a different field, so they might feel differently.
posted by eotvos at 7:39 PM on August 15, 2013

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