Designations matter a lot in India
Last week my cousin’s colleague resigned from his job because the top management of the company he worked for refused to change his designation. He resigned even though that he had an excellent job, good pay, a good boss, and a professional working atmosphere with growth prospects. His designation had the word ‘executive’ tagged at the end of it. Now this term is used in most companies to denote the lowest level of executive and this man had ten years work experience. He is not the only in the company with this problem ofcourse, there are others too with a similar problem and others with the tag ‘manager’ tagged at the end when they are actually doing a national level job. That is how the company, a very down to earth foreign company, functions. The management insists that designations mean nothing, that this is how it is in their parent company. Sounds cool and I am sure that in foreign countries this actually works because everyone treats the other with respect, irrespective of designation.
In India unfortunately this isn’t so. If you go to meet a client or in fact anyone, the designation on the card is all-important. That is what decides whether you will be kept waiting or not, or how you are addressed. Your competence, your manners, nothing matters as much as the designation. The person you are meeting may not always believe a self- important title, but he will give you the benefit of the doubt.
Companies wanting to cash in on this give bombastic sounding designations to their employees. Associate Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents , Heads…these terms are bandied about on cards but when one actually looks at the job profile, these guys are doing nothing much. In fact the ‘executive’ whom we shall call X, has a far better job.
The wise guys are the employers. They know how little designations mean. Yet when they hire, they often accede to the demand of a pompous designation as long as it doesn’t affect company structure.