Titles are cheap. That’s how I feel. Much like it used to be that talk is cheap, no, now days titles are cheap.
Allow me the space to take a few swings at this one.
There once was a time when a person went through training, joined the ranks, put in the hours, paid their dues, proved their worth, worked their way up, and were eventually given a specific title within an organization. And that title carried weight, merit, and the understanding that this person was worthy of respect and to be trusted. Most of the time. Human beings are involved in this equation, so there will always be the exceptions to the rule. Certainly there were people who muscled or strong-armed their way up, and everyone always knew who they were. Regardless, in those days titles meant something and they weren’t given out of thin air, nor simply handed out to someone because they managed to make it through the front door. But, I fear that this is not the way our world today operations.
Not only do we perilously hand out significant titles at will, but we also create titles out of thin air as a paltry justification for needless positions. Take for instance AOL, who employs an individual with the title of Digital Prophet. It’s assumed that this person is employed to simply try and predict where technology is headed. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t countless tech-blogs out there already doing that… why get that stuff for free when we pay someone and give them a trumped up title? Or, how about the Researcher who is employed at Snapchat? Because the world of ephemeral photography of friends mooning each other should be studied with all the rigor of Reginald C. Punnett, right? I’d also like to add the Innovation Sherpa at Microsoft to the list Think about that one for a minute. Some companies even employ Brand Evangelists, or people who are actually just Marketing Brand Managers. But that’s a boring title, it’s way more fun to call them Evangelists. Probably the best would be the Associate Vice President, typically reserved for organizations that hand out VP slots at will. eBay employs and individual with the title of Chief Curator. I’m sure that Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, deeply respects the work of the lady at eBay passionately selecting what do-dads will be featured on the front page of eBay. Over the last few years I keep hearing that title of Curator, or people talking about curating things, pop up. Some favs…
“Enjoy this playlist I curated on Spotify.” -Twitter User
“I’ve taken the time to curate these graphic designs for your inspiration.” -Blogspot Blogger
"If I had to be defined at this point I'll take the title of an inventor or maybe curator." - Kanye
This isn’t he Guggenheim, and we’re not curators. At best, we’re collectors. Curators go through rigorous training programs to learn about art and it’s various disciplines and how to select and order pieces of art for an exhibition whether in a gallery or museum. If you picked some songs out and cobbled them together into a Spotify playlist… that’s not the act of curation. If you plotted out a list of actives for an event, it wasn’t… you get the point. Considering such would basically be an act of self-aggrandizing.
Maybe I’m overthinking this, or taking one too many swings at it, but I think this whole business is nothing more than chasing the wind. I didn’t intend to sound this jaded, but I’d really like us to think clearly about the business of chasing that idol of significance. And, specifically, what’s in a title in our present age. Titles come with responsibility, and the person holding a title should also carry along with them not entitlement, or a misplaced sense of needing to be significant for the sake of escaping average, but a person who has put in the blood, sweat, and tears to earn the title.