job titles, office

A Note on Job Titles

We were fortunate enough to recently meet with a former consultant from Marakon Associates who is now with a startup that ranked in the Wall Street Journal’s “Next Big Things” this year.  We talked about job titles at some hot startups and how some of them (seemingly, all of the good ones) have title deflation.

His thoughts, “To find a company that is about to take off, that’s hard.  It is fairly easy to get the title you want somewhere, but a lot of companies don’t amount to much.  But to find a company that could become a household name, that’s hard.  From a career standpoint, it seems that 70% of someone’s value comes from the company or companies he or she has worked with.  And 30% comes from what you’ve actually done there.  If you can play a meaningful role with a company that takes off, then you’ve got the pick of the litter for the roles you want in the future.”

That makes sense to me, and hopefully people will focus less on whether they are Manager or Director or Vice President, and more about the meat of the position, the quality and path of the company, and the elements that matter the most in determining exit options. For example, we recently saw a professional choose a Director position with a company that was going nowhere over a Manager role with a very hot company that is quadrupling its revenues this year.  To him, managing dozens of people in a go-nowhere company was better than proving himself with a team of 8 on a rocket ship.