Which job titles actually mean something in the work world? When done right, a nontraditional job title can describe a person's skills with greater specificity, making that person's role at a company clearer and enhancing his or her marketability.
Some companies are also adding a little humor or edginess to titles, a reasonable idea but one that may not help the employee in the long run. Title inflation can cause problems for the worker and the employer.
If the worker is seeking another job, an inflated title might land him an interview for a job for which he is wildly underqualified. And networking sites make it easy for potential employers to figure out a person's place in a company, regardless of title. No recruiter's going to be impressed by someone carrying a title that overstates his or her abilities.
For the employer, inflating employee job titles can lead to legal problems, especially if the employee's title does not match his job duties. Companies can be audited by the state or federal labor department and can get in trouble if they have people working under titles that don't line up with their duties — particularly if the trumped-up titles are being used to skirt state and federal wage and hour laws.