The Designation Trap | The Daily Star
03:10 PM, April 05, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:14 PM, April 05, 2021

The Designation Trap

While we graduate, or by the time we collect a few years of job experience, we have some high-profile dream words in our mind, like head of marketing, regional sales manager, head of sales, gm-marketing, marketing manager, head of communications, head of brands, director, and so on. We knew it might take ten, twelve or fifteen years to reach those designations, but at the same time we knew that we would achieve something upon reaching there! I mean, simply speaking, becoming a head of marketing is one of the dreams poor-little-marketeers like me usually possess.

Then we realize the "designation-structure" is not as simple or uniform as we used to think in undergrad days. Some companies take fresh BBAs as executive, who becomes assistant manager in roughly two years. Some companies have structure like junior officer to officer to senior officer to assistant manager, and by the time someone becomes manager, they have just a few more positions left to be a CEO. There are companies who have 20+ GMs (most of them reporting to some "Head-ofs") who do not even have any one to report to him! I saw a company having a department named Distribution, so they have a Head of Distribution. Under that department, they are having someone who distributes products, so he is the "Head of Products". Now please think about the value judgment an outsider would make upon seeing his designation!

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I completely agree to the fact that different companies have different designations for internal reasons. So, as a job seeker (or dreamer), its your duty to gather some knowledge on what a "Head of Marketing" means in a particular organization while you apply for it. There are HoMs who looks after entire marketing activities of her/his company (including branding, communication, even sales, distribution), and there are HoMs who works under a category head and looks after marketing (mainly communications) of that particular category only. We have seen people happily joining a company as a manager-marketing (and happily foreseeing they will be HoM very soon), then later they found out about the hierarchy which has the likes of DGM, AGM, GM, then Head of Marketing!

Now coming to "Functional Designation vs. HR Designation" issue (seeking apology for using too many inverted commas). We may find a position called senior brand manager, so any manager might feel comfortable applying for it, then we may get to know that the position is actually assistant manager as per HR. The name sr. brand manager is given for functional purpose only!

Requesting jobseekers to get to know hierarchy in detail (of the company you are applying for) before dreaming/expecting big. Because, at the end of the day, organizations are not bound for follow uniform set of designations for our easier understanding!

The writer is a senior marketing manager at Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited.


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