Voices of the Future- Jamshed Kulkarni – Are you cooler if you have a trendy or fancy job title?

My name is Jamshed Kulkarni. Hospitality runs deep in my veins. I have always been a people person who hungers for diversity and multiculturalism, a trait which empowered me to enrol on the Master’s in Hospitality Strategy and Digital Transformation at Les Roches, Switzerland. My goal is to help effect meaningful change to an industry which gives so much to the world and asks for nothing in return.

Ask yourself, what is a job title? Essentially it is what you tell your friends, family or colleagues when they inevitably ask you the question, “So, what do you do?”. It presents a quandary, especially when you are younger and are eager to impress those around you.

Like many of us, you may find yourself ‘creatively inflating’ your job title. Custodian may suddenly become “Shift Director of Hygiene, Sanitation & Antiviral Agents”. Chef de partie at a Chinese restaurant could transform into “Oriental Nutrition & Dietary Choice Production Specialist”. I exaggerate of course, but in our early years, our self-worth is sometimes tied to our job titles.

But does it really matter? The idea of a job title is that somebody, by just looking at a few words, can at least get a general idea of what you do at a particular company. When these words become too convoluted or trendy, they lose their purpose, and instead become a muddle that often requires you to explain in-depth what you do. For example, if I was to say I was an “Executive Vice President of Sticky Note Strategy”, would you be able to tell that I was a Project Manager?

That said, traditional job titles no longer fulfil the requirements either. The biggest example of this is the fact that many HR roles have now begun shifting their focus to an employee first perspective, rather than just seeing people as a ‘resource’.

You will find many companies where HR leadership roles are now referred to as Chief People Officers, or Chief Happiness Officers, signifying that there is a clear shift towards an onus on employee happiness and satisfaction. With Gen Z entering the workforce, we can expect that this trend will only continue as the generation sets a historic precedent for workplace rights.

It is evident that there is a balance to be found here. We can’t stick to traditional job roles at all, but we shouldn’t go bananas either. Find what you like, find what the company likes and see if a compromise can be made. If the title makes you happy, in the holistic sense of the word, then who cares if it’s trendy or fancy?

You do the job, so you should be able to decide what you want to be known as, if it makes sense in the context of the environment you work in. If you don’t enjoy the work you do, or feel unfulfilled by the organisation, no amount of job title tweaking is going to dissolve that resentment.

So, in essence, are you cooler if you have a trendy/fancy job title? The answer is – yes, if you, and only you, think so. Because at the end of the day, it is you who matters the most.