A recent post by Marco Arment perfectly frames a problem I see with technology workers: artificial titles intended to divert attention. What exactly is a Social Media Expert? I also see the titles Journalist, Engineer and Knowledge Worker thrown around rather freely. This isn’t directed at particular individuals are careers. There are many people that are actually experts in the technology field. However, there must be some minimum level of investment or achievement otherwise the titles are meaningless.
One thing that I have learned is that the majority of people that have hard-earned titles rarely use them. I hold a Ph.D. and I have never asked to be called doctor and only rarely include the title in communications. It just feels awkward. It feels like demanding respect and attention that I have not earned. I don’t begrudge someone that has earned a title from using it. What I begrudge are fake titles that are leveraged in an attempt disguise an issue or portray expertise.
Here’s my rule: If anyone can self-assign the title, then it is not a real title. You can not self-designate titles like Professor, Doctor, Attorney or even Nurse. Those are earned titles that mean something.