At least I thought it was a promotion. Turns out that it’s merely an acknowledgement that I’m not snowed under by my workload.

“How’s Ryan doing?”

“Oh, not too bad. He’s managing.”

“Shall we change his job title then?”

And so they did. It sounded good in the beginning, until I realized that in fact, I wouldn’t be managing any other people, nor would my income or office size really increase. A promotion with zero increase in power, prestige, or purchasing power is hardly a promotion. All they did was increase my workload, to see if I could continue “managing.”

However, when I learned what other job titles were out there, I realized I could have done much worse than Manager. (Though, admittedly, I also could have done better).

It breaks down like this:

“RULER”: When you just kick your workload’s ass, all day everyday, and collect high-fives all the way to the lunchroom, pretty much everybody knows that you rule.

“IMPROVER”: You do not rule, but you are actually getting better. And we noticed!!!

“MANAGER”: Just getting by, like me.

“STRUGGLER”: Your workload is kicking your ass. Maybe it’s just too much or too difficult, or maybe you’re lazy or incompetent. Whatever the reason is, you’re just not cutting it, and now everybody knows it.

“SUCKER”: This job title actually has two different meanings. Either you willingly take on all the grunt work of those above you, and are therefore a ‘sucker’ in the sense that PT Barnum would use it, or you just plain suck at your job. Or both. Sucker.

“LOSER”: When you’re demoted to loser the biggest loss is your status as ‘gainfully employed’.

How quickly the sheen has worn off my gold star, to reveal the words “Bare Pass” written in fine print.