Who is to question the right of a mortician to call himself a beautician if part of his job is to make up the face of a corpse in order to make it appear less ‘alive’? He does such a good job in covering up the ashen shade of death that he is as much an artist as the woman who paints living faces with colours and is a beautician.
And who’s to say if lounge hostesses, who welcome you with smiles and sit and sip with you, are not doing as good good a public relations job for their bosses as the smart-looking , sweet-talking executives in posh public relations companies?
But no, there are people who think that there is a world of difference, and all because, one suspects, they fear that these charlatans are out to harm their respectability Many people believe that these misuse of job titles set back their professions back 25 years. I read a statement in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section of my local paper recently, which said, “we should stop the misuse before the correct users think that it’s alright to use it the wrong way too.” (To be honest, who really cares?)
This smacks of what one might call the “tie a handkechief and chope” syndrome, reminiscient of the era when people arrived at a cinema early, strapped handkerchiefs to the armrests of unoccupied seats next to them as a message to other patrons to keep clear.
People have changed the way they regard themselves. Many are no longer diffident and self effacing, having gained a new confidence and certain dignity with better education. Rarely do you hear a young person utter, when heaped with praises, the words their grandparents used: “no, no, I don’t deserve this.”
Which is why a young man in his 20s running a business with a solitary staff member, nbats not an eyelid when he hands out his gilt-edged business card proclaiming himself to be CEO. Should the top dogs in giant corporations therefore be insulted and thump their mahogany deck tops at the cheek of this young man, or smile and quietly admire the ambition he has?
And should geologist get hot and bothered because road sweepers are now called ‘ground specialists’ in some states in the U.S.?
All over the world, one sees evidence of people trying, quite charmingly really, to replace demeaning job titles with more respectable versions or to colour mundane ones. Most organisations now call errand boys, Personal Assistants. It sounds less belittling and takes away the sexist title.
Servants are now Domestic helpers. Hospital orderlies are attendants, and barbers are now hairdressers. Then there are the Travel agencies whose counter clerks are Holiday Consultants. Their consultancy service may not be the erudite kind that learned men and women in universities and commercial conglomerates offer, but they are nevertheless consultants in their own right.
And if my mother wants to be known as a domestic scientist instead of a housewife, who should quarrel with her over that?