25 of readers' inflated job titles

Bin man collecting bins Your local binman? Or an environmental maintenance officer?

Readers sent in a rich response to last week's Magazine piece about inflated job titles.

Here, they share some of their most important-sounding, obscure and sometimes downright bizarre titles, past and present.

1. My job title is director of life enrichment. It sounds:

  • ambiguous
  • overwhelming
  • unbelievable and also
  • impressive

Quite a responsibility - endeavouring to enrich the lives of an unknown population of an undisclosed number. And it's never an option when you have to pick from a list of occupations in the survey. I am not a social worker, a local government worker, a social-care provider or a teacher, although all of those could be considered with the job title. In reality I am responsible for planning, organising and implementing a programme of therapeutic activities and events for senior adults ranging in age from 73-101 and with a huge variety of interests, skills, abilities and functioning levels. Amy Laughlin, South Carolina, US

Find out more

Image from Colm O'Regan's piece, reading: "The rise of inflated job titles"

Last week Colm O'Regan looked at the increasingly loose application of the title "surgeon" - describing anyone from a podiatrist to a tree-trimmer.

2. Back in the 80s the father of a college friend rejoiced in the title general manager, eastern hemisphere for a major multinational. Alison Wheeler, London, UK

3. I work at a law firm and one morning the receptionist had stepped away from her desk. Placed on the ledge was a sign that read "The director of first impressions has stepped away and shall return shortly." At first I thought, "who?" and then realised the sign referred to the receptionist. Justine Kaye, New York, US

4. I was impressed when a friend told me her husband was an environmental maintenance officer. I could have sworn I'd seen him emptying the bins on our street. Mrs C, Paris, France

5. I think the shortest job titles are the best.

  • HM Elizabeth II, Queen
  • Bill Gates, Chair, Microsoft

All the other stuff is just fluff. Wannabes. Sarah, Toronto, Canada

6. I once saw an ad in the paper for a job entitled anti-social behaviour co-ordinator, working for the police. A very important and worthwhile job aiding the community I'm sure, but it does make you sound a bit like someone who actually organises the anti-social behaviour rather than someone who works to reduce it. Paul, Bristol, UK

7. Medical doctors actually have no right to use the title "doctor", as in ancient Greek it means "learned teacher". TB, Los Angeles, US

Start Quote

For the last few months I have been working on an e-commerce website in the unenviable role of back-end manager”

End Quote Adam Linley

8. I'm a freelance graphic designer and for the last few months have been working on an e-commerce website in the unenviable role of back-end manager. Until the company involved comes up with a more high-falutin title, I intend to keep quiet about it. Adam Linley, Bury UK

9 and 10. One friend was appointed director of operational excellence. But the biscuit was taken by an ex-colleague recently, whose new job title is technical evangelist. That's certainly one way to describe him. Sam, Reading, UK

11. Job title inflation is nothing new. When I started work in a large company 30+ years ago, before PCs, they had a printed internal phone book. Some clerk in accounts or sales had the job title section leader - rest of the world. Richard Taylor, N Lincs, UK

Graphic designer at work Back-end manager - a rather unflattering job title

12. A previous boss at a cafe used to refer to me as the underwater ceramic technician (aka dishwasher). Amy, UK

13. I used to be a media publications administrator... when I was 10. I was a paper-boy. Jason Laird, Brentford, UK

14. My favourite inflated job title is probably using the word reprographics for photocopier. I first heard it at school and have found it mildly amusing ever since. Richard, Woking, UK

15. A local business that deals with stopped-up toilets and does sewer line cleanings is cleverly named the drain surgeon. Ray Krueger Koplin, Colorado, US

Child delivering papers Please, take a business card

16. A few years ago I saw a job advertised for a sandwich technician. On reading further I discovered the employer was none other than Subway. I didn't realise making sandwiches was so technical. Andrea Highfield, Stoke-on-Trent, UK

17. My window cleaner is now called a transparent-wall maintenance engineer. Paul Pearson, Shrewsbury, UK

18. A few years back I was working in an office. And there was a lady there who had the job title refreshments and nutritions supervisor. She of course, worked in the office canteen and served us our chips every day. Chris, Cheshire, UK

19. I was once called a textile masseur in the Royal Navy. I scrubbed decks. Johnny Grundy, Hong Kong

20. My brother used to work as a butcher's boy in a local well-known supermarket. He preferred to go by the title of meat distribution engineer. Martin Hoggle, London, UK

men scrubbing the deck Massage those textiles, men

21. Whilst scouring the jobs section in my local paper in Canterbury, I saw an ad for eviction technicians. It took a second or two to realise the nightclub needed some bouncers. Matt, UK

22. My company no longer has cleaners, it has washroom operatives. And of course on my commute I no longer have to endure ticket collectors, as they are now revenue protection officers. Paul, London, UK

23. I used to work for a company called Ninja Theory making video games; my official job title, printed on my business cards was lead code ninja. It made applying for mortgages or insurance interesting. Handing my card over I would get some strange looks and was once asked, "So... What category would that come under in the drop-down list on the computer? Military?" John Lusty, Surrey

24. While working in Saudi Arabia I was visiting the Emir of Sabya - a village in the southern part of Saudi Arabia. There I met a person (from Pakistan). We shook hands and he said that his job title was chicken engineer. It took a lot of effort on my side not to laugh. It turned out that the Emir of Sabya owned a chicken farm, and that person was responsible for the farm. Handojo Sutjahjo, The Netherlands

25. It's not just now that we have long and difficult job titles. In Staffordshire the saggar maker's bottom knocker was a skilled job needed to ensure pottery was fired correctly. James Sherwood, Biddulph, Staffordshire

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