Marc Andreessen argues that people ask for many things from a company: salary, bonus, stock options, span of control, and titles. Of those, title is by far the cheapest, so it makes sense to give the highest titles possible… If it makes people feel better, let them feel better. Titles cost nothing. Better yet, when competing for new employees with other companies, using Andreessen’s method you can always outbid the competition in at least one dimension.
Millennials tend to consider work as the defining aspect of their identity (see Horowitz’s What You Do Is Who You Are (2019).) Job titles aren’t just descriptors of what they do but a reflection of who they are—not just service technicians at an Apple Store, but Geniuses. A self-elevating job title helps them cling to the notion that work has meaning and, consequently, their work-lives make sense.
Moreover, since they’re experiencing more of their lives online than any generation before them, millennials tend to be conscious of their personal brands on social media. Being a ‘senior numbers ninja’ rather than a mere ‘cost accountant’ offers instant branding appeal.
Idea for Impact: However superficial they sound (“bogus grandeur,” I called them previously,) a fancy title could help you land a better position further down the line. Get creative with your job title even if you have to take a hit on your expected salary—it could pay off in the long term.