Can you justify your job title?

It is no secret that Lebanese salaries are embarrangs low, and I have yet to understand 1.  how companies who are visibly making money get away with paying their employees so little and 2. why people put up with it – but then I remember that I am one of the only people I know who doesn’t live with their families and has fixed monthly expenses to pay.

Anyhow I’m writing today because I have noticed an alarming trend ever since moving to Lebanon..and that is, the use of hyper inflated, grandiose job titles to compensate for low pay.  One would assume that with a title like Senior Consultant, Senior Manager, Assistant Director, Associate Director, comes an equally as impressive salary, but as I’m quickly learning, in Lebanon, that isn’t necessarily the case.  And, I’m sorry, but how can you be a Senior or a Director of Anything while still in your mid to lower twenties?

It’s ridiculous is what it is, and people shouldn’t settle for it.  But then I remember, I am living in Lebanon.. a country defined by “appearances” and it shouldn’t shock me that people would settle for a low paying job as long as their business card or email signature presents them in the best light.  Who cares if your title is Senior Assistant Director Extraordinaire if you make $1000 a month?  It’s just embarrassing is what it is, and a bad precedent to set.  What do you think?

 

Inflated Job titles

Yeah, can you?

 

photo credit

14 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon, Working in Lebanon

14 responses to “Can you justify your job title?

  1. Lebanese are maybe the BEST people with labels, yeah labels. We Label the crap out of thing, people, situations, cultures, ANYTHING!
    From politics, to a night out with the girls (notice guys label girls and vice versa)
    You’re in the supermarket? There’s a label waiting for you at every isle maybe….

    (is it obvious I hate that mindset yet?)

    In the recent economic change, the person who picks your trash up, and straight up to his administration have become leaders in whatever it is they do. Whoever you are, you’re a leader (without the label, a few words that make you feel like you’re something, while your work is “playing with fingers”)

    I don’t really know when actions will start speaking louder than labels in this country….sad but oh so true.

    (sorry but this subject in particular fires me :P)

  2. Issam Klink

    correct. it’s region wide not only in lebanon btw and yes people settle for low salaries for the sake of getting a high title

  3. You are right about the fact that some companies may give overly inflated job titles, yet I do not agree on your position regarding age. Let’s not forget that Facebook’s CEO is only 26. Age should not be a determinant when you judge competency for a job, especially in our fast paced high tech world. Our generation is a generation of overachievers who like to get to the top fast… Lebanese Business owners are just abusing that, but that does not mean that these people are incapable of doing their jobs. In my old job I used to do all the work of the VP Marketing ( a company with over 25 Million Dollar in Revenue) and coordinate everything directly with the CEO and yet as a legacy, the VP Marketing Clung to the job while I was given more and more extensions to my title and taking on even more responsibilities. When I quit, the guy said he will not handle marketing anymore and want to focus on the BD department instead. So it really strikes a chord when someone judges if you deserve or do not deserve a title just based on your age. (Age is a sensitive point with me, I guess you know that)

    • Simon

      Darine what you’ve done is that you’ve chosen the exception to the rule to back up your point. Facebook’s CEO is a genius, and Facebook is Worth $35 Billion, he’s one in a million (more like a billion!). Also I have no doubt what so ever bout your capabilities or the capabilities of any talented young person.

      Dani wasn’t talking about competency, but about the titles held by young employees (competent or not)

      Titles like Senior, VP, Team Lead etc… in most countries other than Lebanon have set rules to achieve them. In Australia, in my domain, you start from a graduate, to associate software engineer, then software engineer, followed by senior or team lead… (2 years of grad, then 2 of associate, then if ur awesome, u jump to senior…)

      Lets assume a person graduates from engineering at the age of 23 (5 year course), then how is it logical that he/she has a senior title by the age of 25? Senior software engineer is one that has at least 5 to 6 years of experience.

      I think titles in lebanon are just a placebo effect to make them feel better.

      • meinlebanon

        Thanks for the comment dude..!! You get me, you really get me. In the States..it takes I want to say 6-8 years for the average person to achieve a “Senior” position. So, when I meet people in the States with a Senior title, I’m pretty confident that they have been working in their field for at least that amount of time, and actually deserve the title they have been given. But in Lebanon, I meet people around my age (23-25) with “Senior” in their title ALL THE TIME, who were given that title the first day at work when they had never even worked in particular industry or in that capacity before! That is what this blog post is about.

    • meinlebanon

      Darine, there are always exceptions to the rule. You, my friend, are one of them. But do you think it is accurate to say that the majority of people in Lebanon are NOT like you and are NOT like the CEO of Facebook?

  4. Bassil

    Well said… A lot of people around here are about looks, titles, and impressions. I guess that’s what helps take some out of their misery and sad life.

    I was introduced to a guy once whom I asked about what he does in life… ‘Packaging Manager’ he replied with proud smile.
    I was impressed, he looked very young and it didn’t “show” <- again with the labeling…
    But then I asked more about his job details, responsibilities and whatnot, and that's what I got; He works in a restaurant, and what he has to do is make sure that whatever people ordered is found in the bag before its sent out to delivery"
    Imagine… Packaging Manager!

    … Life is so full of it🙂

  5. I don’t think the Lebanese prefer a title over the salary but they have no choice but take a nice title and a low salary. Should the title suck and the pay be good I think they’d take it in a heartbeat.

    I think Lebanon is not just what we see now… this is a country that has seen so much and suffered much and what exists today is a result of years of problems. The obsession with image is all the Lebanese have. It’s the sad reality truly but to compare the way Lebanon does things to other countries isn’t the way things are to be done. There are no laws defining how titles are to be given to people maybe there is a general agreement on that in some places in the world but that’s not the case in Lebanon.

    I think once put into context of time and place it makes sense is all I’m saying.

  6. S

    I just love it when western people move to lebanon – and complains about it. It’s not like you’re asked when offered a job: “do you want a high salary or a fancy job title?” you simply just take what you get. gooooooooosh

    • meinlebanon

      Maybe I didn’t make myself clear..I changed the title of the post because of your comment. What I meant was that I think it is ridiculous how employers in Lebanon try to make up for paying such low salaries by giving people titles they don’t deserve. That’s all!

  7. hi I was luck to search your topic in wordpress
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  8. Laurie

    I can’t stop laughing. Everything you type in every one of your blogs has come out of my mouth in my attempt to vent at some point over the last 17 months of living here. I need to show my Lebanese husband your blog so he can see that I’m not the only one.

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