Phil Friedman

6 years ago · 2 min. reading time · 0 ·

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Supermen Need Not Apply

Supermen Need Not Apply


Occasionally, you run across a writer whose work is truly excellent and without pretension or self-promotion. Which is why I strongly recommend you spend a few minutes to read a post by author Thomas Jackson, the link for which will be found at the end of this brief introduction.

In the post, Jackson's admonition is simple and elegantly expressed, but deeply meaningful...

"Do not make claims, in your ... profile, or elsewhere on social media, to being things that you are not. And do not claim titles that are purely self-ascribed..."

Moreover, he advises, be certain that, when you do make a claim about your skill set or experience, you can back it up.

When I read Jackson's piece, it resonated for me with unusual clarity, for I've personally thought this many times as I read the title lines of profiles on social media. And I've thought to myself over and over again...

What in the world is this person thinking ... if anything at all?

A prime example of highly questionable self-designation is the frequent use on LinkedIn of the title "CEO". I think we all know that a CEO is a chief executive officer. However, consider that owning your own one-person company, or operating your own one-person business, does not thereby make you a CEO. For how can you be a chief executive officer, if you do not have any other executive officers of whom to be chief?

In a one-person (or very small firm) you can be a president, or a managing member, or a director, for these are legal terms applied in virtue of registering the company as a corporation or limited liability company or partnership or sole proprietorship, and as such have some validity in law. But "CEO" is not, and does not.

More importantly, if you're looking for a job, why in the world would you even want to designate yourself as a CEO? Have you thought about how few openings there are for CEOs? Have you never heard or read that most firms do not like to hire someone who's over-qualified.

If a potential employer believes you when you claim to be, or to have been a CEO, most will not even consider you for a middle management position, let alone for a non-management job...

So, if you are looking for a job, give the boot to titles like Guru, Thought Leader, Prophet of Disruption, Innovation Messiah, and the like.

In the first place, not many active recruiters search on those key words. And not many, indeed probably no companies actually want someone who self-proclaims to be one of these.

Beyond that, appellations such as "Guru" and "Renown Expert" only have value in the real world when applied to you by other people, say, in letters of recommendation.

And by the way, letters of recommendation need to be other than from your mother or favorite Aunt Nellie, and from people who themselves hold responsible positions in a relevant business sector. The truism of which Thomas Jackson reminds us is:

"Get real! ...On [social media] and in the world..."

I strongly recommend that you do yourself a favor by reading Thomas Jackson's original piece at:

Things You Probably Aren't by Thomas Jackson

Phil Friedman

Author's Notes:  I am not  Thomas Jackson. I am also not  a Thought Leader or an Innovation Provocateur.  I am a marine industry consultant, professional writer and editor, and an author on beBee and LinkedIn. I do not know Thomas Jackson personally. Although he recently joined Writers 4 Writers, one of the LI groups I own and manage, I know him only from his writing. But I can tell you that his writing deserves to be widely read.

If you found this article of value, you may want to take a look at some of my other writing about small business operations and management:

"What I Learned About Entrepreneurs From the Founder of"

"Selling Bull Chips in a Bag"

"Tips for Successful Consulting"

"Maximizing Throughput on Fixed Assets and Overheads"

To receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other LinkedIn articles — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I ask only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to the original work.

If you are interested in yachts, are allied with the yacht building industry,  or operating a small business in another sector, you should consider joining my beBee Hive, 

THE PORT ROYAL GROUP for Yacht Builders, Buyers and Owners,

where you will find experienced industry professionals discussing a wide range of topics. The ongoing conversation is always interesting, informative, and 100% industry insider.

About me, Phil Friedman:
  With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.

The (optional-to-read) pitch: As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve the clarity of their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and deal confidently with criticism and disagreement.

To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email:

Text Copyright © 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved
Images Credits:  Phil Friedman,, and Google Images

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Phil Friedman

5 years ago #2

Thanks, Kevin. I thought our two pieces might fit together well. Goes to show that two people don't have to be "like-minded" for them to agree when the occasion presents itself. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #1

A great piece from the archives which ties nicely into my post today. Sharing this Phil!

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