Of Titles, Age and Angst - Page 2

Feb 25, 2009

Esther Soloveichik

With age came some wisdom, however small. I recognized that most of us muddle through life as best we can, and a top accolade would be “Master Muddler.” Despite this insight, the subject of titles produced increased angst, a sort of philosophical anxiety. When I worked for a flat organization, my title became broadly generic. Senior consultant, for example, conveyed wide capability, without specifics. When I worked for a stratified firm, my title narrowed, e.g. business analyst. I didn’t much care what title I assumed, but I did care for my client’s respect. Realistically, a title that conveys knowledge and experience makes people hear what you are saying and facilitates gaining the sought-after respect. As such, I much preferred the broader label, because the narrower one inferred limited talent. None of the titles, however, conveyed the aesthetic I was after: trust; business partner; problem solver; finding the better idea; work well done.




A coworker and I once submitted applications for a seminar. My colleague tendered “Lord High Executioner” for his title, and I put forward “In Charge of Getting Things Done” for mine. His manufactured title turned out to be prophetic, and I started getting mail addressed to: Esther Soloveichik, In Charge of Getting. Now, that gave me pause. Would I rather be in charge of getting or in charge of giving? Einstein said, “He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.”


I finally settled into the comfort of my name as my title. Like any artisan, I prefer to be asked for by name and reputation. And it is a rare joy to work with those select business partners who have a constant need to know, who are interested in results and truthful assessment, and who look for talented people who can work with others—without worrying who gets the credit. Well done is better than well titled.


Esther Soloveichik is a senior consultant with Intrasphere Technologies, a technology consulting firm with a core focus on life sciences. Intrasphere provides end-to-end technology services and has successfully implemented large-scale projects for some of the world’s leading global companies, including Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Novartis and Eli Lilly, among others.

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