Keep my ill-gotten social perk?
April 18, 2008 8:48 PM   Subscribe

I have a nice title at my work (Director of blah), but I have none of the responsibilities, privileges or authority being a director should entail. Do I move on?

As is all the rage in some small companies, I have been given a lofty title and some insider status as an 'executive' member at my work. You'd think this was all good, except, well, I don't do anything besides routine grunt-work, every idea I have is belittled by management, and even detailed my-time business propositions (including costs, timelines and benefits) fall on deaf ears. All I do as a Director is direct myself to follow orders without bringing up consequences which won't be considered.

My concern is that, to find another job, I'd have to slip down the rungs because I don't have a whole year of experience being a 'director' to boost my biz cred. Then again, even if I did have that titled experience, I would be in over my head when it comes to an actual performance situation.

There's a whole bunch of situations here, boss yelling, bitchy co-workers, boring work, no professional growth, that I don't like being around which is really prompting me to leave.

I guess in the process of writing this question I've answered it for myself, but what's your take on the situation?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Titles are pretty much irrelevant. Your work experience is what future employers will care about.

If you hate your job, find another one. Look for a job that will give you the experience to develop professionally.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:59 PM on April 18, 2008

Sounds like you aren't a director (in the commonly used sense), so it wouldn't really be a slip down to move to someplace without title inflation. In fact, you may get hired a step up from where you otherwise would have, if you spin the "Well, I don't want to take too much of a step back, but I am excited about your company. What can you offer me?" thing well enough.

On the other hand, a good interview would include more than "what were you called?" They're going to be interested in exactly what kinds of things you did. If all of your answers are grunt-level and not executive-level accomplishments, it isn't really going to matter if you were called director, chairman, or supreme allied commander of your department.

Are you getting paid executive-level pay? That would be a bummer, to take a big pay cut just because you weren't called director anymore, but being happy is important to being able to do good work and move up, too.
posted by ctmf at 9:03 PM on April 18, 2008

I completely empathize. I was in a similar situation not that long ago. After feeling stressed out, frustrated with the communication issues (or lack of), and gaining weight (at a business that was supposed to help people lose weight), I decided life is too short to put up with this.

The only reasons I could come up with to continue to stay there was,
a) the situation would change
b) there is nothing else out there for me

To address "a," every piece of factual evidence pointed to things not changing, and I did my piece in prompting them to. And "b" is just plain b.s. I moved on and feel a million percent better.

Good luck.
posted by healthyliving at 9:04 PM on April 18, 2008

I also am Director of Blah for a small company. I thought it was lame. But after a year with that title they hired another person to do Blah, and now I actually have someone working under me (sorta, kinda). I still have no budget control, people still don't always listen to my ideas, but at least I'm getting some mgmt experience & I feel like I'm earning the title a bit.

Anyway, what b1tr0t said. Titles are BS and everyone knows it. If you don't like the job, it doesn't matter what the business card says.
posted by meta_eli at 9:13 PM on April 18, 2008

Nthing the titles thing. They meant something 100 years ago, in big businesses. They're meaningless today.
posted by rokusan at 10:33 PM on April 18, 2008

There's lots of other opportunities out there; life's too short to stay at a place that makes you unhappy. I'm not sure many companies could you someone with your drive, ideas and ambition.

Your title reminds me of the recent trend towards calling receptionists "Director(s) of First Impressions".
posted by oxford blue at 1:24 AM on April 19, 2008

I was in almost the same situation just over a year ago. I was head of blah and all it really meant was no-one listened to me or consulted me over things involving blah but when the shit hit the fan it was all my fault. The title and the prestige (and the money) was good but it wasn't worth the toxic environment and its no good being director of something when you've absolutely no power.
My advice: move on asap.
posted by missmagenta at 2:17 AM on April 19, 2008

Working in HR for a big global company, I wouldn't agree that titles don't matter when hiring - at least in pre-selection. Their importance goes down once you're interviewing.

However, if you don't like your job and it seems like there is nothing that can be done about it, go back on the market.
posted by lord_yo at 5:18 AM on April 19, 2008

I'm the director of blah for a 100+ employee organization. Most of my co-workers know my value, but, until recently, top management did not. I got a firm offer for another position with increased duties and a whole lot more pay, from a similar but larger organization out of state (which I did not want to take). Having someone else want me, and value me enough to give me a lot more money than I was being paid, has raised my stock at all levels of my original organization. Worked for me. Might work for you, if you care to go that route.
posted by unclejeffy at 6:43 AM on April 19, 2008

If it was me, I'd look at it as a gift and an educational experience. Hang onto this title and job until you can get another job somewhere else as Director of Blah, but with more of the responsibilities and power you're looking for.

I don't give a whole lot of credence to the idea that stepping down a notch is a huge black mark on a resume- going from Manager of Accounting at a small company to Assistant Manager of Accounting at a larger company is no problem. But in my mind, the threshold of "Director" means something, and it seems to me that a company that sees a former Director of Such and Such applying for a Manager position would think twice. Either they'll think you're slumming with them, or that there's something wrong with you.

So I'd bone up on my skills, take some classes and gain whatever experience I could, and leverage the meaningless title into a real job.
posted by gjc at 9:29 AM on April 19, 2008

The reason they gave you the inflated title is to guard against this very situation.

Also: I interview people all the time. If someone said "Actually, they called me a director, but I didn't get to make any decisions," then I would be pleased by the honesty and willingness to cut through corporate crap, two good qualities that I want in a co-worker.
posted by bingo at 6:08 PM on April 19, 2008

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