October 25, 2018

Get the Title if You are Doing the Work or Get a Move-on! © Cici Mattiuzzi

I cannot tell you how many people I have worked with lately who tell me, "I am working as a manager but I don’t have the title." This is a problem. It happens when there is a sudden change due to departing upper staff members. The economy is humming… it seems like a great move up. But then you wait. And wait. And nothing happens. I hear it all the time, "They told me that I would be promoted with the new title later..."

This situation comes up when I am constructing a resume and it is time to sort all the details of current and past jobs.

You were given new increased responsibilities but was it a promotion? You should have been given a new title reflecting a promotion and you should have been given a raise as soon as you assumed the new responsibilities. But it never happened.

Now there is a problem as you try to make a move to a higher position in a new company. It is hard to call yourself a manager (for example) on your new resume unless they gave you the title when you assumed the additional responsibilities.

This frequently happens in an overheated economy in a successful company. The company looks attractive to suitors and there is a potential corporate buyout. Looking lean is good for the bottom line if the owners want to sell out. But lean is not always good for the people trying to get the work done or product out the door. People choose to leave when they are required to work ridiculously long hours. The staff shrinks as people take new jobs that provide better work/life balance. Workers left behind are expected to pick up the slack and there are promises made… but never kept.

One young woman said her boss left and she was given the additional duties – doing her old boss’s job and her own simultaneously. She was going to be given the title “soon” for taking on additional management responsibilities so she slid into the dual position. But it never happened. Why? The company was being sold and they wanted to keep a lid on costs to look good to the buyers.

Another young woman is being tasked with the responsibilities of numerous staff members that have left a high tech company because the company is priming itself for a sale - once again - by running lean and mean.

A corporate accountant was tasked with temporary chief financial officer responsibilities over a year ago… it has been far too long since the previous CFO left to say it is "just temporary"

These are all people I have tried to write resumes for and although they have increased responsibilities, the title they have does not match.

Why does a company’s attractiveness to potential buyers have to be balanced on the backs of employees working ridiculous hours to get the job done but with no promotions and no additional remuneration?

It is your responsibility to work hard and help deliver quality services to customers and you should be promoted with the appropriate title and a substantial raise if you are doing the job of multiple people. It is not your job to enrich the owners in this way.

Your title and your salary matter. It tells you your work is important and valued. More importantly it tells future employers what your responsibilities really were so they can decide if they want to hire you into the higher level job and pay you appropriately.

When you are not titled correctly – you lose status, you lose pay, and you lose future earnings all the way into your future retirement pay. I know! I’ve been there.

If you are doing the work you need your title to reflect the higher level of responsibility and skills that you use in your current job and you need your title to reflect the higher level for future jobs.

Without the title – you have no claim to the level. This is unacceptable! It is time to have "the talk". Or when the situation comes up, you need to say, "I can do this for three months to help bridge the gap but if you do not find someone by then and I am doing the work I want to be promoted and given a raise".

If you find yourself in this thankless position, perhaps you need to reconsider if you want to stay with a company that clearly does not care about your contribution, it is time for you to get a better job. This heated economy will not last forever. Trust me and get moving!!!

Cici Mattiuzzi is the Author of The Serious Job Seeker.