Well I can’t make this up, and it’s not a new series on HBO Max (though I may pay to see it), these are the new correlations to CEO and CFO at Tesla, Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica, Elon Musk formally declares himself Technoking of Tesla: “Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now Tesla’s Technoking, the company said in an official filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tesla Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn is now “Master of Coin.” The two men will retain their previous titles, the brief regulatory filing states.”


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Is this the kind of “fun” that is the canary in the coal mine of the next market bust? Stuff like that always reminds me of the fist internet boom and bust cycle. Venture backed companies of all sizes were having fun with titles while drinking champagne and swimming in pools of gold bullion.

Over the last ten I have seen a much more traditionally professional tact at corporate titles for a while. We’ve gone back to “director,” “VP, and standard “CxO” titles. So with the silliness a very legitimate question regarding title inflation does come up every once in a while. The AngeList blog has a still very relevant post, Those Inflated Job Titles Aren’t Fooling Recruiters: “Why would title inflation be a pitfall? Because your resume is a story. It tells recruiters how far you’ve come, what you’ve learned, and what kind of trajectory you’re on. Listing inflated titles (and recruiters know them when they see them) makes your story less credible, and as a result, less compelling.”

More recently, HireBetter exposes the pitfalls not just for resumes but for corporate as a whole, The Dark Side of Job Title Inflation: “Please think twice before you decide to hand out titles. A new title may seem like a quick and easy fix, but it is important to consider the downstream effects and consequences. It may sound like hyperbole, but title inflation is real. It can have severe effects not only on your bottom line, but also on the employee’s future and even their future employer. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by promoting your best employees beyond their skillsets. Let them excel at what they’re good at! Loyalty alone is not a reason for promotion.”

As the job market heats up in 2021, be prepared as a business to really dive into what an individual has been doing. Look beyond the title, and much more at the size of the company there are coming from, and the day-to-day work which accomplished.

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