Just when you thought things / life / people couldn’t be any more pretentious, you meet a guy who calls himself a “mixologist”. Trooper that you are, you smile serenely and gulp down the rest of your tequila. A mixologist sounds like a position that requires a minimum of four years’ study at university, with most of that time being spent in a chemistry lab. Only that it doesn’t require a university degree at all. Truth be told, a mixologist is a glorified barman – or woman – whose job is to keep weary workers supplied with plentiful alcohol in various easy-swilling forms. In other words, it’s a job that performs a real service to society. Why straightforward job titles like “barman” have to be subjected to such intellectualized silliness is beyond me. I imagine it’s because these guys can now add spices and weird things like pickled caviar to drinks in order to turn them into “cocktails”, thereby justifying hefty price tags.
Mixologist (also referred to in some quarters as “beverage dissemination officer”) is just one of a raft of absurd euphemistic job titles dreamt up by “talent delivery specialists” (i.e. recruitment consultants) desperate to attract a higher caliber of applicant. There are a great many more out there, from uninspired titles such as “chief inspiration officer” to frankly bizarre ones such as “Founder, Chief Creative, and Inspiration and Elation Officer” to confusing ones such as “coordinator of interpretive teaching” (also known as a museum tour guide). And, yes, many are genuinely funny, but you somehow get the feeling that they aren’t meant to be funny at all, which of course makes them 10 times funnier.
I’ve crisscrossed the World Wide Web to find the weirdest job titles of all. Apply with caution: they aren’t what they seem.
See Also: Top 10 Weirdest Jobs
1. Chief Marketing Guru
Enough is enough. Why would anyone who’s reached spiritual enlightenment want to make do with a title as pathetic as “chief visionary guru”? It’s insulting. (I presume a marketing expert is what’s required here).
2. Social Media Ninja
Spoiler alert: You’re no more a ninja than your pet cat is. Let me explain: the word “ninja” originates from Japanese culture and is a term applied to ruthless assassins skilled in the art of ninjutsu (hence the term ninja), used for the purpose of dark pursuits such as espionage and murder. These guys were deadly and operated with extreme skill and stealth. For some reason, however, someone decided to apply the term to social media guys. No: social media ninjas do stuff with social media. Finance ninjas crunch numbers, not people. Sales ninjas sell boring things called products.
3. Digital Overlord
I had to thump my head a few times just to make sure I was still conscious and of this world when I came across this one. Presumably, the straightforward title of “website manager” didn’t sound snazzy enough to this company, so they paid an agency a shed load of money to come up with the more mysterious “Digital Overlord”. I’m pretty sure it’s the same agency that came up with the “Direct Mail Demi-God” (or direct mail manager. I think the last person who bore that title was Hercules, son of Zeus, so I guess the title was there for the taking), “Retail Jedi” (shop assistant), and “Mobile Sensei” (mobile marketing executive).
4. Digital Marketing Magician
The company that posted this ad seemingly expects candidates to perform all manner of trickery. Forget about return on investment or anything as pedestrian as that. I could do this job: “Yes, colleagues, I’m here today. But tomorrow, I’ll be gone…”
5. Brand Ambassador
This job has nothing to do with diplomacy and everything to do with selling products. That said, it’s the stuff of dreams: being paid to use a product that you genuinely love. I’m still on the lookout for a brand ambassador position for Green and Black’s chocolate – a job I’d gladly do free of charge.
In general, it pays to be wary of titles with “ambassador” tagged on. A beauty ambassador, for instance, is a sales assistant who specializes in selling make-up.
6. Wizard of Light Bulb Moments
No, you’re not dreaming: a real company actually posted this. They were after someone who could come up with good ideas, so they advertised for a “wizard of light bulb moments”. I’d have applied myself, but I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Even with ten hours’ sleep, my wattage is unlikely to set the world alight.
7. Wet Leisure Assistant
It’s official: the world has lost the plot. Lifeguards all called wet leisure assistants these days.
8. Five a Day Collection Operative
That summer job you wanted as a fruit picker has gone. But you could apply for the five-a-day collection operative gig and still get to pick fruit all day.
Note: jobs with “operative” attached to them are seldom as impressive as they sound. For example, a “waste collection operative” is actually a bin man.
The term artisan evokes the image of a time-served, highly skilled craftsperson, dutifully working at her bench by flickering candlelight, making high quality or distinctive handmade products using traditional methods passed down the generations.
Today, you’re considered an artisan if you can bake a loaf of bread.
10. Education Center Nourishment Consultant
Dinner ladies (eye-wateringly dull) are now known in some establishments as “education center nourishment consultants” (rock the boat!). The job title conjures up images of specialist consultants visiting education centers to advise on health and nourishment issues, but these folks are primarily employed to serve school dinners to children. It’s the poor children I feel sorry for: “education center nourishment consultant” is one heck of a mouthful. Other rebranded job titles in the hospitality sector include “gastronomical hygiene engineers” (dishwasher; nothing to do with engineering) and “mobile sustenance facilitator” (burger van worker).
See Also: 15 Weird and Crazy Job Titles
The digital industry was the pioneer of “crazy” job titles, trailblazers who turned the world as most of us knew it upside down, giving us shiny new technology and, along with it, new ways of doing work. They gave the world a new culture, and within organizations rejected the rank and file mentality of traditional companies with their military-style hierarchies. Instead, they brought in fluid, flat structures, forgoing staid old formalities and hierarchies. They gave their people jobs with exciting new titles, titles to reflect a digital economy where creativity, innovation and cross-functional collaboration are crucial. Or no title at all – just Mary, John and Jack together in digital startup nirvana.
Embellished job descriptions don’t work everywhere. For example, when other industries adopt the same swashbuckling approach of the digital world whilst retaining an old mindset or when underpaid staff are given enticingly grand job titles as a form of “compensation”, these titles seem somewhat inauthentic – my guess is that education center nourishment consultants don’t get paid any more than dinner ladies did.
What’s your take on job title rebranding? Do you care? Let us know in the comments section below!