The importance of designations in career

It was December 2006….


The initial days of my corporate career with one of the leading banks in the country.


I was attending a town hall meeting that was being addressed by a senior management professional of the bank.


In reply to a question, he said something, which remained with me through all these years.


He said, designations are misnomers. What really matters is the work you do & the value you add.”


The statement appealed to my logical self & it felt sensible.


You could be designated as a manager, without a team to manage. How does that help? It doesn’t give the correct reflection of your role and responsibility.


However, during my journey in the corporate world, I could see most people acted contrary to it.


Most employees were fixated on designations.


You were valued within the organization by other departments based on your HR grade or functional designation.


To the extent that even the external vendors knew about your worth based on the business card, you carried in your pocket.


There was also a lot of disparity as one moved across the organizations. I recall most of the HR professionals had a parity checklist based upon the  HR grades & nomenclature prevalent in different organizations.


This checklist was used at the time of preparing an offer letter for employees joining from different organizations in the same industry.


The bottom line,  designation though being a misnomer, did matter..


With the changing times, the new age companies have started bestowing fancy designations on their workforce.


The objective seems to be multifold, ranging from the display of creativity to boost the ego of the young workforce.


Gimmicks like these, do work to some extent for starry-eyed employees during hiring, promotions & employee retention.


But they have a flipside especially when it comes to switching jobs.


Consider you are designated as, a “Sales Ninja” in a new age startup and apply for a job at an established organization in the same industry.


Imagine the plight of the recruiter in assessing your fitment & suitability for the role.


You will be required to share your role & responsibility threadbare before the discussion moves on.


Further, unless such designations are adopted by most employers, the chances of a recruiter using the keyword, “Sales  Ninja” while looking for matching profiles on a job portal are remote. Essentially reducing the chances of your profile being shortlisted.


This again re-affirms the relevance of designations when it comes to career growth.


If you look at it, your designation represents a summary of what you do.


A right alignment of the work you do & the designation you carry seems to be the plausible solution.


It is something that can help in furthering your career prospects. And of course, it must be aligned with the market.


What are your thoughts on this?


Anything you would like to add ?




Lalit Hundalani||Life & Career Coach||International Best-Selling Author

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