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How should I handle a change in my title?

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Question: I am a 30-year employee of a nonprofit health care facility who has worked her way up in various departments from the Business Office to Administration.

I recently discovered that my title had changed from Administrative Secretary to Secretary. (This came to light only because it's my evaluation month.)

My immediate boss of nine years has always given me very good ratings on my evaluations, and I have received extra merit increases. This title change will make a substantial change in my salary.

I'm very disturbed at having my title changed to be the same as other secretaries within this department. First of all, I do not perform the same functions; second, my duties incorporate a higher-level responsibility.

I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to handle this.  -- Joyce in Illinois


As long your boss knows and continues to know the distinction of your functions, your higher level of responsibility, and consistently commendable job performance, then why fret over a title?

If this "change" affects your PAYGRADE you need to discuss it with your manager AND HR. If it DOES affect your pay, your boss is a coward and/or dishonest for not addressing it openly and in advance. I don't know what the job market is like where you are, but I wouldn't want to work for a company that pulls stuff like this. There are plenty of HONEST employers out there.

Are you saying that this title change will be an actual demotion (including reduced salary)? If so, I would definitely speak to your boss or someone in Human Resources to clarify this issue.

If it's simply a title change, with no reduction pay, I wouldn't worry too much about it. We change titles at my company sometimes (in the Marketing Department alone, the employees' titles have changed several times in my twelve years here). I have never been too worried about my job title -- I know that my boss knows my value and contributions to the company, regardless of what my title is. It's the work you do that's important.

Your boss sounds pretty gutless for not addressing this with you in advance, especially since it is going to greatly change your salary. He/she should be going to bat for you to keep your salary. Go speak to your boss and if necessary HR about this and if after 30yrs of service and good reviews they still want to reduce your pay greatly, go look somewhere else.

I have a slight issue with title changing. Usually, title changing doesn't entail salary being reduced, I believe that would be illegal. But, I would like to concentrate on title change and how would this look on your resume. How would one explain that change to a hiring manager without wondering if the hiring manager would have some reservations? I believe and I could be wrong, but title change can affect your future position with another company and marketing yourself. I believe we have worked hard to achieve that higher status and then have it changed and I continue to perform the same task. I would like to know from the company, where's the logic in all of this and explain how the title change could affect me in moving up and moving on. As I have said, I have a slight issue with a title change.

Everyone has their own opinion of titles within a company. Titles are not important to some and are very very important to others. I myself started in our company as the receptionist and have worked my way up to Assistant to the Executive Vice President (with lots of education, hard work and effort). I would be devastated if my title changed unless it was up the chain. I agree with the others that state that your superior should have had the professionalism to speak with you regarding this change and if there is a salary difference. Beyond all of that, how it will look on your work history, resume, etc. is important. I would speak with my superior and the HR department to clarify what exactly went on. The best to you in your endeavors.

I agree with the others. The "dark" side of my mind says: change older employee's title with salary reduction, hope she leaves and then hire somebody younger and "cheaper" to do the job. So, if you want to stay in your job, make sure that you speak to your boss and to HR and document everything. And if you do leave, you should put the Administrative Secretary title in your resume and in discussions of your work history since your title change has been recent.

Good Morning!

In my experience when I see policies and procedures being changed, considering your length of service,etc. sometimes these approaches are ones companies use for downsizing, etc. They sometimes make new policies that will frustrate someone that has been around for several years. I would continue and document everything to prepare for the next employee evaluation and be prepared to present your points. As well as presenting your concerns, be prepared for the worst as well as the best response.

Understand and I have been through this and have seen it in organizational restructuring and as a temporary employee.

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