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I'm in this project where I came in initially to provide consultative advice about a certain technology domain that I was knowledgeable in in my organisation.

So as the project progressed, I ended up taking more and more responsibility - basically because it was what the project needed.

So anyway, at some point, the guy who I worked with primarily quits and now basically, I've been told that I'll be doing all his duties too. Which is actually fine, I'll be a little busier but I've been doing that type of work for months anyway. However, it does mean that my job is now formally a lot broader than I was hired for. I've been told my role is no longer a technical specialist - I'm now a Project Assistant.

So for me, that sounds like a bit low level - it also sounds like it's very general work and not really the career path I'm trying to pursue. I'm scared this is going to affect me when I apply for the next job as they'll think I'm not technical.

So how should I approach this? In this organisation, I've observed that unless it's the very senior managerial positions, job titles are not really formal things because people often have broad sets of responsibilities. So I'm just concerned that it would appear petty to raise this as an issue, especially given that I have no problem with doing any of the work.

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    When you apply for the next job, they will typically review your current responsibilities, not your job title. – Laconic Droid Jun 5 '18 at 12:48
  • Yeah i have never put a job title on my CV just developer, and they can see as my experience builds my salary expectations grow – WendyG Jun 5 '18 at 14:04
  • as seen here, there exist methods to place the title that matches your job duties without holding that title at your current employer. – GOATNine Jun 5 '18 at 14:26
  • If you can finagle "Ruler of the Wasteland, Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rolla" without an increase in job responsibilities, it can only improve your future prospects, IMO (you can just list it as "Humungus" on your CV if you are pressed for space). – PoloHoleSet Jun 5 '18 at 15:35
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The good thing with job-titles is, they do not cost money. That´s the reason why janitors are nowadays called facility-managers. *

* (Usually, with increased responsibility there should also be an increase in pay.)

As you stated you are currently satisfied, if you ask for a change in title without a pay raise, this should be quite easy.

Just state that you are currently satisfied with your work and your wage, but think your title does not reflect well on what you are doing, and would not accurately describe your experience in your CV, going forward. Suggest your preferred title.

This may also be a good time to talk about general career goals and development opportunities for you. Your manager will probably be happy to get through such a talk as cheap as only a title-change!

  • Some companies do not view titles as cheap. The actually do mean something. – Mister Positive Jun 5 '18 at 12:38
  • @Neo: I agree, but this is not the norm (at least not in my experience) - and usually those company's would have given OP a raise and the right title to begin with. – Daniel Jun 5 '18 at 12:42
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    I disagree that titles do not cost money. Sure, you can change someone's title without giving them a raise, but it allows them to look on Glass Door, find out what other people with the same title are making and, either demand more money or transfer to a different company. This is no excuse to not grant employees a title commensurate to the level of work they're doing, but it's not necessarily meaningless either. – AffableAmbler Jun 5 '18 at 12:46
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    @AffableAmbler 1: I´m not sure I follow your reasoning. How would denying a title, that you think you deserve because you are doing the work you associate with that, prevent you from looking up that exact job on Glass Door? You´ll still feel underpaid, but also under-recognized. The most common tactic for negotiation down wages is to delay them into the future (I know you deserve, but we currently cant ... just gain a little bit more experience, and we can talk about ... etc. you heard the phrases ...) – Daniel Jun 5 '18 at 12:53
  • @AffableAmbler: Or put another way: The facility manger still gets a janitors wage, not a managers wage! – Daniel Jun 5 '18 at 13:07
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Maybe you don't need to. It is not uncommon to have a title that does not reflect what you are doing. We even have a question about it: How to label inaccurate job titles on resume

  • I thought of this too, but came up with more text to type. – Mister Positive Jun 5 '18 at 18:04
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Is it appropriate to ask to change my title?

Yes, it is appropriate, nothing is gained if your don't ask especially when you are doing so much more.

So how should I approach this?

I think you approach this just as you laid out for us. Have an open an honest conversation with your manager stating something like:

"Since person XXXXX has left, I have successfully assumed his responsibilities and I have enjoyed the challenge. I wonder however if you would consider a change in my title (and salary if applicable) that is more in line with my new set of responsibilities."

Be prepared however, based on what you have seen in your companies culture that they may not grant your request. On occasion I have been asked to do more without getting any sort of compensation. (title change or more cash)

I would also say, based on my experience, it is more important what you have done while working for a company versus what your title is.

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    no chance for pay raise (i earnt more than him to begin with) but the problem is, HIS job title was project assistant. At most, I'm now like the Technical Project Assistant or something like that. – Killjoy goodluck Jun 5 '18 at 11:47
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    @Killjoygoodluck The approach is still solid, just skip asking for more cash. Remember, if you don't ask, you usually don't get. – Mister Positive Jun 5 '18 at 11:49
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Job titles are company specific and prospective employers know this. Tasks performed, experience, technical expertise, certification etc,. are what they're looking at rather than job title.

So ask for a change if you must, the only slight risk is that when you start talking about looking good on CV's etc,. a manager might think you're job hunting soon and start looking for your replacement.

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Regardless of how you decide, you can always list in your CV "hired as technical specialist, then promoted to project assistant, taking over XY additional responsibilities". Though this might feel like a play on words I think it's both true and honest while highlighting that your competence led to you being entrusted with leadership / a higher position / more responsibility.

Unless I misunderstand that project assistant is in your line of work a higher position. It does sound like you'd directly report to / assist the project lead or supervisor while managing or distributing work to the employees who implement it for the project.

Going forward, it's pretty important for you to find out clearly how in your business these two titles are rated in the hierarchy or what sort of prestige is associated with each. In general titles do have meanings, some can only be used if you have certain qualifications or experience, so it does matter as you show you realize by asking here.

Also,reflect on the implications of what title your current contract states and if they intend to change or update your job title in there or if you'll get a new contract with the new title, replacing or post dating your current contract.

If your contract is being involved you should consult a lawyer.

In light of suitability for your CV and any possible disputes, I would go for amending your current contract with your new title.

As I understand you're doing the technical specialist work that they hired you for PLUS perform the duties of the project assistant.

So technically that means, you should have two titles now (;

As already mentioned, this also raises the question of a higher salary since you're expected to do more work. It is up to you if you deem the additional work worth the hassle of renegotiating salary.

hope this helps somewhat, db

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