An anti-title rant
Why I don’t wanna be a “senior”
Like many of us in tech these days, I just went through a job search. Thankfully, I found my perfect match after just about 2 months — I fully appreciate that this is not to be taken for granted and I am grateful for the stars that aligned.
I also worked really hard, speaking to about 2 dozen companies, most of whom had not actually posted an open role, but who for one reason or another, were willing to speak to me once I reached out. One of the most common reasons I was not a good fit for these companies is because I was too senior. I had the experience that meant I was ready to tackle the sticky, strategic projects that a lot of companies in this market felt they couldn’t afford to address right now (for better or for worse). They were looking for someone to put out fires and that’s just not what I’m looking to do right now. I mean, a little firefighting can be exciting, but day to day I feel that it’s a better experience for someone newer to the field, looking to go broad first and deep later, and to perfect a foundation in microcopy before branching out to ops and more.
Sometimes it was simply the budget that didn’t match up — you gotta pay seniors a senior salary, that’s just the way the world works. I had one recruiter literally say in the first minute of the first call, “According to your resume, you look expensive. Worth it! But out of our budget. Can you confirm that before we waste both of our time in a process only to find out we can’t afford you in the end?” I respect that transparency, honesty, and self-awareness. And she was right.
All of this is to say that I am a senior content designer. But LinkedIn doesn’t say that because I realized in this job search that a senior title is completely meaningless. I was interviewed by hiring mangers who are “seniors” and “leads” with far less experience than me — fewer years on the job, fewer years of transferable experience before getting into the field, a smaller range of projects, etc. One interview felt like the interviewer was a student in one of my university classes taking notes.
I’m sure (I hope) these people are wonderful at their jobs! The titles just lost all credibility in my mind. So I’ve decided to “take a stand” in my own silly little way, and go anti-title. I suppose if I become a people manager I’ll indicate that in my title because that’s an actual different thing, but in the meantime, I’ll be a content designer with a whole bunch of experience that I believe speaks for itself. Call me whatever you want.