Job Titles That Really Aren’t!

Like it or don’t, folks, titles are important.  What you’re called dictates how others treat you.  For example, when I worked in radio (yeah, I’m that old) there was always at least one person who occupied a desk, did the typing, answered the phone, took notes, ran errands, etc., etc., etc.  She (and in those days it was usually a she) was called the executive producer.  She wasn’t a secretary because secretaries were paid by the hour and got overtime, whereas executive producers were on salary and could work all the hours that God made — at no extra charge.  It was a tricky/dicky thing to do, but the harsh reality was (and still is) personally and professionally, executive producer packs a lot bigger punch than secretary does.  So, many young women took the pay cut and added the prestige to their social life and the title to their resume.

These days, we live in a world of degrees, diplomas and certificates, so it’s a little more difficult to call yourself something without a piece of paper to back up your claim.  However, it’s not impossible.  Here are just a few examples of job titles that look as though they carry some credibility but really don’t mean anything.

Nutritionist – Apparently, this is not a professional designation like dietician.  Anybody can call themselves a nutritionist — even if they advocate eating cheeseburgers and fries four times a day.  The truth is some nutritionists have some training, but the majority have either just read or just written a trendy food book and haven’t any real scientific knowledge about what the human body needs to keep rolling.

Life Coach – The difference between an ordinary person and a life coach is – uh – nothing.  The qualifications a life coach needs are – uh – none.  And the only ability essential to being a life coach is – uh — convincing you that they are smarter than you are.

English Teacher – There are many schools around the world that will hire you just because English is your native language.  In most cases, these aren’t “real” schools, and the money is ridiculous low — but they will pay you.  Or you can just show up in a medium-sized village somewhere in the back of beyond and start charging people for English lessons.

Preacher/Evangelist – This is one of those weird ones that only works if you’re not associated with a recognized religion.  As long as you don’t claim to represent anybody but yourself, you can preach hellfire and brimstone — or eternal salvation — to anyone who cares to listen.  You can even charge them for the privilege!  However, once you start presiding over weddings and miracles, you’re going to draw some serious attention from local law enforcement.

Tour Guide – Unlike travel agents, tour guides don’t need any qualifications.  All you need to do is point at things, pronounce the names properly and pause long enough for pictures.  If you know a little history – bonus!  If not, call it “Hidden History,” and make it up.  After all, Marie Antoinette might very well have been a lesbian.

But my absolute favourite (and I’m thinking about doing this myself) is:

NBA Free Agent – The National Basketball Association has virtually no rules about who can play in the league.  You have to be male and over 18 years old.  That’s it!  So, in order to become an NBA free agent, all you have to do is inform the league — in writing — that you consider yourself eligible for the draft.  Bingo!  You’re an NBA free agent.  (Now, that would look really good on my business cards!)

What Did You Say?

English is a wonderful language.  It can be as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel or as broad as a two-handed claymore.  It can describe anything or leave everything to your imagination.  In fact, English is so kickass we can say things without ever actually even saying them!  For example, when your wife/girlfriend says, “Are you going to wear that?” you know she’s really saying, “There is no way in Hell you’re leaving this house dressed like that.”  It’s a beautiful bit of linguistic gymnastics that people use all the time.  Here are a few more examples.  (With translations.)

“Sorry I’m late.”
Translation — I hate these morning meeting, I hate this job and I hate you.  The only reason I even dragged my sorry ass out of bed is I’ve got a car payment and a massive student loan hanging over my head.

“I know I’m only going to be gone for a couple of days, but I’m really going to miss you.”
Translation — Any chance of having sex before I leave?

“No offence …”
Translation — I’m going to offend you.

“… no offence.”
Translation — I’m covering my ass just in case I’ve already offended you.

“I’m vegan.”
Translation — I want to talk about me.

“I don’t judge.”
Translation — What you just told me is totally weird, and it caught me completely off guard.  So, rather than saying something unfortunate and sounding like an insensitive jerk, I’m going to shut up now and hope you change the subject.

“Do you need any help?”
Translation — Please, please, please, please, for the love of God, please – say no.

“Do these jeans make me look fat?”
Translation — I’ve spent all day dealing with perky salesgirls, women’s sizes are works of fiction, nobody has any decent colours and my bra is cutting me in half.  The least you could do is take 5 seconds and tell me I’m sexy.

“It’s really not that bad.”
Translation – Wow!  Are you ever screwed!

“That’s okay: I’m a good listener.”
Translation — This is the longest sob story in history.  Now I know how Mandela felt.

“My children are my whole life.”
Translation — Five minutes!  All I want is five minutes.  I haven’t even gone to the toilet in peace in 2 years.  Five minutes!  Is that too much to ask?

“I’ll remember that.”
Translation — I’m too busy/lazy to write this down, and I’m going to kick myself in a couple of days.

“We’ve put together a pretty solid financial plan that will get us out of debt in a couple of years.”
Translation — The grandparents haven’t died yet.

“Have you lost weight?”
Translation — Call me scum, but I’m so glad you’re fatter than I am.

“I’m a people person.”
Translation — I don’t have any marketable skills.

And finally one of the most common ones:

“We need to get together/do lunch/go for drinks, soon/more often/sometime in the vague future.”
Translation — You and I are connected by circumstances and you seem like a nice person, so let’s play pretend for a few minutes — until we can go back to our real lives.

Learning English — Good Luck!

Several years ago I spent some time in Italy and when I got back to North America I was hit with a bad case of reverse culture shock.  North American streets were too wide, too clean and too new.  The food was too much and too fast.  And the language was too quick and colloquial.  After hearing a lot of English spoken as a second language, I realized that it’s a damn good thing I was born with English because there’s no way I could ever learn its nuances second hand.  And honestly, I applaud anybody who can, because they’re tons smarter than I’ll ever be.

Check it out:

In English, we “take” things.  I think it comes from our marauding imperious past.
We “take” a bus.
We “take” a taxi.
And we “take” the train.
Of course, we give them back when we’re done with them, but there are other things we “take” and just devour, like:
We “take” a look.
We “take” a vacation.
We “take” a nap.

However, we can’t simply “take” everything in life because (thank God) a lot of stuff we just “get” like some kind of all-inclusive gift package.
We “get” an education.
We “get” a job.
We “get” married.
But when we “get” married we don’t automatically “get” children.  They’re not a gift.  We “have” children.  It’s as if they were some pre-ordained possession, like:
“having” friends,
or “having” an attitude,
or “having” dinner.

Unfortunately, once again though, we can’t just “have” everything.  Sometimes, we must become active participants and “make” it first.  For example, unless you’re incredibly wealthy, you need to “make” dinner before you can “have” dinner.  It’s a curious thought, but we “make” all kinds of things.
We “make” mistakes (by screwing up.)
We “make” progress (by not screwing up.)
We “make” money (although, strictly speaking, that’s illegal: we should “earn” it — like trust or good credit.)
And we also “make” love.
Although this is actually changing and most people don’t “make” love anymore, they just “have” sex and if that doesn’t say a bunch about contemporary society’s willingness to active participate in romance, I don’t know what does.

And now that you’re hopelessly confused, there’s the other side of the coin.  Not only do we “take,” “get,” “have” and “make,” we can also “lose” things.
We “lose” our keys.
We “lose” our patience.
We “lose” our tempers.
These are all things we can find again if we try hard enough.  However, there are other things that we can never get back.  Sometimes, when we “lose” our temper, we “get” into an argument, and if we “lose” that — well — it’s gone forever.  Kinda like “losing” your virginity — which, as we all know, can only happen if we “make” love, “have” sex or get “wasted at a sophomore kegger” — a phrase that’s impossible to translate into any other language — although most people understand the reference.

So to all those people who endured my terrible Spantalian (Spanish/Italian) and spoke to me in my language because I couldn’t really speak to them in theirs: I’m still in awe at your linguistic skill because — take it from a native speaker — the intricacies of English must be a bitch to learn.