It’s no secret that companies, especially in Silicon Valley, are getting increasingly more creative with their job titles. In fact, if you cruised a marketing event in the Bay Area, you’re much more likely to encounter someone with “Senior Ninja” or “Associate Engagement Wizard” emblazoned on his or her business card than “Marketing Administrator.” But if you’re curious what the strangest titles in corporate America are, read on—and if you’re looking for a cutting edge new title, consider proposing one during your next performance assessment. And if you’re in the market for some truly great job advice, don’t miss these 6 Secret Weapons for Turning the Job You Have Into the One You Want.
This title is primarily for founders and CEOs who want to make it known they like to shake things up, like web design company Matrix Group’s founder, Joanna Pineda.
Direct Marketing Demigod
A demigod is a mythical person who is the offspring of a god and a mortal, like Hercules. A direct marketing demigod, on the other hand, is the person in charge of writing email blasts and mailers. So…not quite the same, but it does sound impressive. And if you want a job that’ll actually impress, These Jobs Will Get You Dates.
Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence
As you could probably surmise, there was only one Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence. It was a position at Microsoft for somebody who did cloud research all day, so it was actually a more important role that its ridiculous name would suggest. And if you want to see some really out there occupations, check out these 15 Ridiculous Jobs So Useless You Won’t Believe They Exist.
Microsoft has a spot for an innovation sherpa, which is a consultant who helps people figure out how to innovate, but saying sherpa definitely makes it sound like there’s more to it than that, like maybe a life-changing trek.
Swiss Army Knife
Did you think a Swiss Army knife was a knife? Think again. It’s a jack-of-all trades, typically in a start-up, who does a little bit of everything because they don’t have enough employees to cover every role yet. And if that sounds like a career for you, Steal This Executive’s Biggest Multitasking Secret.
Wizard of Lightbulb Moments
This job title sounds like it’s all about brainstorming, but it’s actually a lot more varied than that. Actual duties can include marketing, innovation, being a founder, or having enough seniority that you can just decide to call yourself Wizard of Lightbulb Moments. Lightbulb Moment Wizards also market themselves as independent consultants to help companies manage their innovation—usually in the tech sector. And if you’d like to have a few more lightbulb moments yourself, learn the 20 Best Ways to Be More Mindful at Work.
The role of security princess started at Google with Parisa Tabriz, who spends her time as a white-hat hacker attacking Google to look for flaws. The title caught on, however, and now it’s beginning to spread. If you’d like to make the upgrade to professional princess, discover the 40 Best Ways to Jumpstart Your Career.
The title “happiness hero” is vague enough that it could entail any number of things, but typically it’s typically assigned to those working in customer service. The position started at social media marketing firm Buffer as a means of describing people who responded to emails, but now it’s a not-uncommon title in a number of industries. And if you can’t imagine putting that on a job application, check out these 30 Hilarious Things People Have Put on Their Résumés.
Chief Heart Officer
This is a role seemingly exclusive to VaynerMedia, where the Chief Heart Officer works to “infuse the agency with empathy.” And if sounds like you could use a CHO in your life, learn 20 Easy Ways to Be Less Mean.
Galactic Travel Agent
In this case, “galactic travel agent” isn’t some fluffed up job title. A galactic travel agent is actually in charge of booking space travel for Virgin Galactic. And if that seems hard to believe, check out these 30 Craziest Predictions About the Future Experts Say Are Going to Happen.
This sounds like a very powerful job, but it’s actually just a gussied-up term for a website manager in the tech world.
Instigating and disrupting are both pretty hot in the business world right now. Like the Chief Troublemaker, chances are the Chief Instigator is a founder of a start-up who thought “CEO” sounded a bit too stuffy—like Andrea Myles, who serves as both Chief Instigator and CEO of tech incubator China Australia Millennial Project.
Popular among “hip” companies—often in the marketing sector—in need of copy, a word wizard is just a writer. Unless you happen to hire a writer who is also magical, in which case, congratulations, you have hired an actual word wizard.
A look through LinkedIn shows that most of the working dream alchemists are in the fields of marketing or promotion.
Play your cards right, and you could become a watercooler reporter at Mashable. This is a person who writes for their Watercooler channel, by the way, not somebody who hangs around the actual office watercooler all day and then dishes hot gossip.
David Shing might be the person responsible for the proliferation of all these ridiculous job titles. He dubbed himself AOL’s digital prophet in 2011 and now tours the world as a thought leader.
The people who work on cybersecurity at Yahoo! are called the Paranoids. Thus, the head of cybersecurity naturally goes by “Paranoid-in-Chief.”
Google has an in-house philosopher whose job is to use a “humanistic perspective” to solve engineering problems.
Wizard of Moz
When the founder of software company Moz stepped down as CEO, he decided on a sillier title. In its place, he became the Wizard of Moz, a role he held for four years before moving onto less ridiculously-named pastures.
As chief storyteller, you’ll be doing more than putting kids to bed at night. You might be expected to help people tell their stories to promote your brand, or tell the story of your company to promote the brand. Basically, you work in marketing. Microsoft has a chief storyteller, but plenty of other companies have followed suit.
With such a delightfully vague title, a happiness advocate could do almost anything! But usually, they’re working in customer service or as an HR person at a tech or media firm, striving to keep their bosses from being sued.
Social Media Ninja
This is a surprisingly common job title. A social media ninja does social media for a company—often in the media or tech sector—but often in such a way that problems are addressed before anyone else at the company knows they exist.
Chief Flavor Officer
Probably the best known chief flavor officer is Justin Timberlake, who was named the Chief Flavor Officer of Bai. In theory, he comes up with new flavors for Bai beverages. In practice, it’s a pretty good publicity stunt.
Hacker-in-residence may sound cool. However, at most tech companies, it’s just a fancy way of saying you work in cybersecurity. LinkedIn had a hacker-in-residence who kicked off the trend, and now the position is popular at tech companies and incubators.
If you’re a brand warrior, a position popular in marketing companies, you’re not just out there promoting your brand, you are actively fighting for its dominance in the market.
Chief Knowledge Officer
A chief knowledge officer helps a company maximize its value through knowledge management. It’s a senior executive position most frequently seen at large organizations like Aon, a risk, retirement, and health consulting company. Knowledge management doesn’t have an official, across the board definition yet, though, so results may vary.
Dean of Pizza
Pizza Hut has a Pizza Hut Academy to train employees, and you can’t be in charge of an academy without being a dean. So, yes, there is an actual Dean of Pizza out there, and 10-year-olds everywhere are very jealous of their job.
Problem wrangler is used in much the same way “guru” is in corporate America: it can mean you’re an IT professional, a PR rep, or even a mediation coach. But it’s also a common title for an executive or administrative assistant.
Chief evangelist isn’t a religious job. Rather, a chief evangelist is just a brand warrior taken to its ultimate conclusion. It’s another senior-level marketing or promotion job.
The best known mischief champion worked for Paddy Power, an Irish betting company. The mischief champion coordinated PR stunts, campaigns, and mischief to get the company in the news, so although the job title is a bit silly, it’s also pretty accurate. And if you’re wondering why you don’t have a fun job title, check out 20 Red Flags That Scream You’re in the Wrong Job!”
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