The longer the title, the larger the salary

Editor: such a crisp, clean, emphatic title, with a bit of a ring to it and the added benefit of being easily understood by the public. Like The Pope and The Queen, everyone knows what The Editor is, even if it is often unclear exactly what The Editor doe

Editor: such a crisp, clean, emphatic title, with a bit of a ring to it and the added benefit of being easily understood by the public. Like The Pope and The Queen, everyone knows what The Editor is, even if it is often unclear exactly what The Editor does.

Still, it's great to have a title you can sign off in a single line with a dash of the quill or a mere half dozen taps on the keyboard.

It's even better when the name of your publication is as succinct as possible. 'Editor, Ham&High'. You can't argue with that. Mark Twain would approve: never write 'metropolis' when you can get paid the same for writing 'city', he advised.

Alas, for those of us who have revelled in short titles that mean something, they are going out of fashion. Everyone now must have a really long title, if only to fool the gullible into thinking that they are very important people. And if the title isn't long, it's impenetrable.


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For instance, Colin Atkins, who wrote to us this week on the subject of CCTV cameras (his letter complete with title is on page 16 of the Ham&High main edition) is the grandly-titled Security and Resilience Project Manager, London Underground. Now the security part makes sense, but what on earth does 'resilience project manager' mean? Does he go down on all fours to test the rails for metal fatigue? Does he take a sledgehammer to the tunnel walls to check their strength? Can a tube train's 'resilience' be measured, and if so, how?

Local authorities and academia are the worst. Haringey Council is advertising for a Personal Assistant to the Building Schools for the Future Programme Director. Another council not far from here left the mind boggling with its search for a Young People's Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator.

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In academia, there's a clear correlation between the length of the title, and the size of the salary. The City and Islington College will pay you £35,000 a year to be its Embedded Language, Literacy and Number Co-ordinator, presumably supplying a tin helmet and flak jacket during the 'embedding' process in the event of coming under enemy fire. And who wouldn't be a Senior Lecturer in Sport And Exercise Biomechanics, whatever that is, in return for £43,000 at Edge Hill Uni.

All these pale into insignificance when compared to one English council's quest for a Temporary part-time libraries North-West inter-library loan business unit administration assistant. I found that out by visiting a website that is clearly entering into the spirit of things. It's called itself: Thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameat longlast.com. Try putting that on a letterhead.

Geoff Martin, Editor

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