Job Title Help

EDIT - this is a throwaway account in order to keep the company I work for private. Hope that is ok!

So I’ve recently been asked by the owners of my company (furniture design) what my job title should be. It sounds crazy but it’s a small team and my initial job title of two years ago no longer fits.

The company as it pertains to my role (who I interact with)

    • Production Manager (assists on upholstery questions for new product)
  • Head Designer (I work with very closely on new product development)
  • (2) Co-owners of the company (who have final say on new designs brought into production)
  • Me

My role:

I work very closely with the head designer to come up with new product. The creative output if I were to simply quantify it, 70% him and 30% me. It’s his direction and initial idea that I further develop (both on my own and alongside him). The process is simple, I get a rough sketch from him (front ortho, side, maybe a simple perspective) that I further develop with more rough sketches and 3D modeling. Once I have a few iterations that exist as a 3D model, we sit down together and tweak them (as in I edit my model in real time with his suggestions and mine) …it’s very much a collaborative process.

Once a new product is designed and signed off by the owners of the company, it is my sole responsibility to engineer the piece. Using CAD I figure out how the product will be made and consequently develop the manufacturing documentation. I also order the pieces with our vendors and answer any technical questions.

I then oversee the new product to completion. It’s a collaborative process finely tuning the designs between myself, the owners, and head designer to ensure an optimal product is brought to market. My expertise is in advising how changes will affect the overall design along with ensuring that the finished product can smoothly be brought into production. At the end of the day, I am responsible for advising what is and is not possible (except for upholstery specific questions) in order to ensure consistency and reliability for future client orders.

There’s daily tasks I handle as well, but essentially I’m responsible for all manufacturing documentation for client orders.

Honestly, at this company it would be fitting to be called a “Senior Designer”, however I am wary of taking that title as I have only been in the industry for 3 years. On the other hand I am 33 years old, so if I had followed a traditional career path I would be at that stage in my career.

“Designer and Lead Engineer” is the best I can come up with, however I don’t know if “lead” even means anything? I also don’t love there being an “and” in it.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!!

That is a tough one. Personally I find tittles to be of little use in a current position but highly valuable in framing up your next one. with that flip in mind, someday when you are looking for a new job, what do you want that title to be? If you want your next job to be a senior designer, then you’ve got your answer. Tell them you want that… My advice is when people ask you what you want, don’t over think it, be honest and tell them. If it isn’t reasonable you’ve at least anchored them in where you want to be.

I remember when I was buying my first car and the “finance guy” at the car dealership asked me what percentage I wanted for my loan, to which I immediately said “oh, its up to me, I’ll take 0%”… he got all mad and said I was unreasonable. I explained that he asked me what I wanted and I thought 0% was a highly reasonable answer when I could have said -5%… and that I also had a pre-approved loan from my bank so he would have to beat that…

This is a very good point and smart way to approach it. Thanks!