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The Semantics of Job Titles and Career Choices

February 21st, 2011 by

The Semantics of Job Titles and Career Choices

While it wasn’t really my intention when I first drafted up the original blog post, this topic quickly emerged in the comment section in my Being Taken Seriously as a Freelancer piece. I can see how this tangential discussion point could emerge; I just didn’t foresee it at the time.

Words hold powerful meanings and that’s why word choice is so important when you are writing anything from a blog post to an academic essay. As such, sometimes we also need to be more mindful of the semantics of job titles and career choices. A prime example of this is, well, my current vocational situation.

Freelance Writer vs. Professional Writer

Ever since I embarked on my current career path, I’ve referred to myself as a freelance writer. Its definition seems to best suit what it is that I actually do: I write for a number of different publications with no long-term contract attached to any of them.

Even though I typically don’t have long-term contracts, I do have long-term relationships with many of my clients. I’ve been writing at Mobile Magazine ever since I started with full-time freelancing, for instance. However, some people may place a “freelancer” on a lower rung on the ladder than a “professional.”

Going back to the blog post on being taken seriously as a freelancer, the comments seem to indicate that more respect (as well as legitimacy, pay scale, and so on) could be instantly “earned” by switching the title from freelance writer to professional writer. An analogous situation would be that of the freelance photographer and professional photographer.

The Power of Word Choice

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this whole situation. I might be in the process of designing and printing some new business cards later this year, so the concept of a job title will definitely come into consideration.

I could continue using “freelance writer” as my official title, but I might consider switching to “professional writer” to see what changes, if any, would arise as a result. I might even drop the qualifier altogether and simply call myself a “writer,” though I find that might be too non-specific.

Then again, I’ve also been called a pro blogger on more than one occasion, though that isn’t nearly encompassing enough as I work on several other types of writing as well.

What’s your take on the matter? All else held constant, what job title would best suit my particular set of writing services? What job title would provide for the most flexibility?

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One Response to “The Semantics of Job Titles and Career Choices”

  1. Ray Ebersole says:

    I like Professional Writer, Author and Blogger for you Michael. I think it sounds more “professional” and takes on more an air of respect, especially for yourself. Think about it, the first impression is important and that title is one of the first things a potential client sees.

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