Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Why be CEO when you can call yourself Chief Wisdom Officer? President sounds pretty dull, compared with Consultant of Leisure. And unlike a receptionist, a Director of Smiles can spread cheer with her nameplate alone.
A growing number of Oregon businesses — from tiny to big — allow workers to use creative job titles.
Clearly, there are limits. Few of us want to be operated on by The Slasher or issued a speeding ticket by the Man with the Badge. Sometimes a loan officer is simply a loan officer.
But fans of nontraditional titles say they reflect a company’s personality, projecting a hip, culturally relevant image. Customers feel more comfortable approaching somebody with a funny or down-to-earth title. And for workers, choosing a moniker is a job perk that encourages loyalty to the company.
Read on for four tales of ditching tradition:
Rogue Ales bans cell phones at the bar, cultivates a fan club called Rogue Nation and, in its mission statement, promises “a touch of educational, entertaining mischief.” So it’s no surprise that the Newport-based craft brewer and pub operator has no sales reps or vice-presidents of blah-de-blah.
“Rogue is not a business, Rogue is a revolution. And revolutions don’t have conventional titles,” says Brett Joyce, who carries out his duties as Player Coach from the back corner of the Rogue pub in Portland’s Pearl District.
Joyce’s title is a nod to his background in the sports industry, logging a decade at Adidas. But it also reflects Rogue’s size and personality. “You have to lead and direct, but you also have to get your hands dirty,” says Joyce, who’d be called president at a more traditional company.
Rogue employees make up their titles or inherit them from clever predecessors.
Joyce’s dad, Jack (a Rogue co-founder), calls himself Chief Wisdom Officer. There’s a V.P. of B.S. — Beer Sales, that is. Another sales guy goes by Secretary of Offensive Affairs to provoke the question: Is he assertive? Or distasteful?
Servers are Tour Guides, and most pub managers are Directors of Culture, Commerce and Tourism. At the helm of the Eugene pub, however, Dave Stark crowned himself Director of Hoppy Goodness.
Linda Barclay sells T-shirts, mugs and everything else that’s not beer. Some might call her a merchandising manager. But according to Barclay’s business card and e-mail signature, she’s the Queen of Trash and Flash.
“People hear it, and they expect a show. I get calls back, and immediately, ‘What is this?’” she says. “It gives me a chance to explain the department.”
Creating the title was also a nice perk, Barclay says, and it captures the Rogue spirit.
“We may not have beautiful, carpeted offices and all the days off in the world, but our jobs are supposed to be fun.”