How A Title Changes How You’re Treated
You’re all familiar with positional power right? It’s power that you get based on your own position. But underneath all of that power, we are all treated in a different way. Of course, a lot of that hinges on how you use that power, but that’s only in a company hierarchy situation.
Once employees understand how their manager works they can either be feared, hated, or loved. But all of that changes when you use that title in the outside world.
People lack the contexts behind how you manage or how you work. People judge you solely by the position you claim to have.
Which is why it’s all the trickier for us entrepreneurs to describe ourselves.
Whenever we get that dreaded question:
“So what do you do?”
I’m the owner of a single company — my brand, but my duties are vast. I’m a marketer, a writer, the human resource department, the financer and accountant. I also create videos on top of all of that which has a slew of other duties.
But I tell every person who asks me what it is I do this:
“I’m a writer.”
Even though my business is a one-man band, peoples overall impressions are different depending on what you tell them. If you say you’re an owner or entrepreneur people will react differently than if you tell them you’re a writer.
All the same, if you tell people you’re in a high paying position, people will see you in a different light. Mainly because money can also be seen as power. And money can do a number on people.
I understand now why one of my uncles isn’t quick to say that he’s extremely well off and invests in people. People treat you differently if you’re a millionaire versus someone who looks middle class.
But even if you’re not a millionaire, or well off, I think it’s important for us to downplay our own titles. Sure, people may eventually figure out those details if they ask more questions. But starting off humble is key.
People’s impressions of writers and artists are still pretty low impressions. Despite several artists making millions of dollars, the “starving artist” stereotype is still around. But these type of titles makes us feel more human.
I say I’m a writer because it changes how you’re treated. An owner or CEO is associated with someone well off. And to be honest, I am not well off. I’m well below the poverty line. But sticking with this humble title allows me to see people in a different light. I get to see how other people treat me differently. It also opens up my eyes to how my family treats me.
And that can make all the difference.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
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