Here's Why Your Job Title Really Matters

A reader recently wrote in to Lifehacker with an interesting conundrum: He or she had received a raise, and a bunch of new responsibilities to go with it, but no job title change. What this reader wanted to know was, should that matter?

Blogger Adam Dachis replied, in short, that they do matter -- but they matter more when you leave the company than they do while you're there.

"Job titles are silly little things that make us feel like we've made progress when we receive them," Dachis wrote. "For the most part, they just don't really matter that much and you shouldn't put too much stock in them. ...That said, job title promotions show that the company recognizes that work. If they don't show that in other ways -- like a pay raise -- you should ask. Job titles have value once you leave the company. Even if you don't plan to do that anytime soon, things could change."

Very few of us retire from our companies with a gold watch and a pension. Job titles are more than just a free way for your company to tell you that they appreciate you. (Hopefully, on top of a raise, and not instead of it.)

Even if you want to stay, think your position is solid, and don't want to come off as ungrateful, it's worthwhile to broach the subject of a title change, either during the promotion conversation or afterward -- but you have to approach it with care. Dachis's sample text for this is great:

I really appreciate the raise and new responsibilities, but I feel like I'm now doing the level of work associated with a(n) [INSERT JOB TITLE HERE]. I don't want to ask for too much because I'm very happy here, but do you think that's an accurate title for the work I'm doing?

And, of course, the best way to know what job title goes with your new responsibilities is to do your research ahead of time.

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