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July 15, 2006

Job Titles and Business Cards

Writing about what "SDE" stood for made me think of something that happened back in the old NT days. A certain person in charge of NT development decided they wanted business cards with the title "Supreme Commander" on them. At the time business cards had to be approved by someone, and the rumor was floating around that you could only order business cards with your official job title on them (I don't know if this was true, although it makes some sense). In the end the Supreme Commander found someplace to make the business cards for him, but they weren't through the official Microsoft supplier so they didn't look quite right.

Then later, there was a rash of ordering business cards with jokey titles on them. I suspect that the approval process for the cards had been pushed down from a central location to each business unit, and somebody decided that if it was good for someone's morale to get funny business cards, then it was worth the $10.

Now, when you order business cards for yourself it is done through a website, and there is a stern warning that nobody at Microsoft reviews the order before it is sent to the vendor, so make sure your title is correct (as a note, to those who claim Microsoft has gotten more bureaucratic, this is a case where it has gotten less bureaucratic). Of course this creates the obvious temptation to order busiess cards with a fake title, immediately followed by the sneaking suspicion that the orders really ARE reviewed and the message is just a trap to catch employees who are fixin' to waste company money. But whenever I order cards I am sorely tempted to get some that say "Mandator, Umbria Division" on them. Since I recently moved to EEG I have a reason to order new cards....hmmmm.

Posted by AdamBa at July 15, 2006 10:14 PM

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I still have one of those Supreme Commander business cards. I believe Paul Maritz actually ordered them and I guess he didn't need anybody's approval.

But you are right that they don't look quite right. The paper is too lightweight.

Posted by: jvert at July 16, 2006 08:12 PM

I moved into a formal PM role about a year ago and since then haven't gotten new cards. I go to conferences and such and people ask for my card and I just tell them, "no, if I give you one then you'd call me, and I can't have that". I guess I'm lucky since my email is my first and last name and if they can remember my name, they can remember my email and that's the only way I want to be contacted. And if they can't remember all that, they probably shouldn't be contacting me anyway. As for titles, totally useless at Microsoft. I've found that those that care about titles are most often those people who you wouldn't want to work with anyway, and those with the most basic titles are often the smartest.

Posted by: MSFT PM at July 17, 2006 04:05 PM