What’s in a job title?

It’s funny how a title can influence the way others perceive you, or how it affects whether they buy into what you have to say. There’s been various articles written about it before.

Sometimes an organisation will offer a job title as a poor substitute for a pay-rise. I’ve never really been one for titles though. Apparently, even one of the richest people in Australia, Lindsay Fox, owner of the logistics company Linfox , simply has ‘Truck Driver’ on his business card. I like that.

My business card never said ‘Junior Copywriter’ when I was a junior, and it never said ‘Senior Copywriter’ years down the track. In fact, it has never even said ‘Copywriter’. In the space for the job title, I used to always have ‘Writer’.

Part of the reason is that nobody knows what a ‘copywriter’ does – just ask my mum, or any of the people who have asked me for advice on patents and trademarks.

People can grasp the word ‘writer’. It gives an indication of what you do. But ‘copy’? Well, it’s only inside the industry that people know ‘copy’ refers to text. Everywhere else, ‘copy’ indicates replication, which doesn’t really fit inside the job description of a ‘copywriter’.

However, it seems the guys across the desk from us have a title that ticks almost all the boxes in ‘Art Director’. It’s pretty self-explanatory in that it’s a person who directs the art. Years ago, a student who was spending a week with us on work experience even asked me if I wanted to ‘work my way up’ to the role of Art Director. Obviously, the word ‘director’ gave him the idea that there was some sort of hierarchy thing going on.

I moved into a new office space about six months ago (pics below), taking up residence amongst other creative industry people such as web designers and start-ups, film producers, casting agents, photographers etc. Even these people weren’t sure what a copywriter does. At first, they thought my job was pretty much a typist (and if you’ve ever seen my two-fingered typing style, you would probably ask how I can possibly make a living out of this).

But the thing is, whether you’re a copywriter or an art director, I think writing or directing the art is only a relatively small part of what you do. That’s just the crafting part. All the heavy grunt work, the stuff that takes the most time and effort is coming up with an actual idea.

So what should we be called? ‘Problem Solvers’? ‘Innovationists’? Ideas People’? Or, like the video below, maybe just ‘Steve’?…


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