The Problem with Boss Babe

Career Blog

To stand out in a competitive world, many career-minded professionals try their hand at personal branding. Finding your niche is a valuable endeavor, but when it degrades into ill-conceived monikers like IT Ninja or Marketing Architect, you come across as amateurish. 

Recently, the trend has jumped the shark into the girl power trend, with juvenile titles such as Girl Boss and Boss Babe making the rounds on LinkedIn and actual resumes. In addition to being ridiculous and offensive, terms like Boss Babe have two significant problems.

1. They make you small

If you feel you have to highlight that you’re “the boss,” you’re probably not ready to be one. Besides, employees don’t want a boss. They want an inspiring leader, a visionary founder, or a strategic CEO. At the very least, they deserve a competent, others-first manager.

So ignore the social influencers who hyper-focus on self-promotion. Self-congratulatory titles speak more to insecurity than empowerment.  In the work world, substance trumps style, and actions speak louder than hashtags.

2. They make you a Commodity

Highlighting your gender or any irrelevant, ubiquitous attribute instantly dilutes your brand. First of all, who cares? Sorry, but female is not a skill set, and even if it were, you’d have a lot of competition. Potential clients and employers want to understand why they should hire you, the unique human in front of them. Highlighting your gender, race, orientation, etc., doesn’t offer them anything of substance.

What’s worse, these monikers wreak of self-absorption. Instead of focusing on your customers, employees, or investors, they send the signal that you believe you’re the most important person in the room. Chances are, you’re not.

Playing Dress up

There’s nothing wrong with kids playing dress-up. In fairness, we all wear the uniforms of our selected profession. But the nature of the game changes as we get older. 

An eight-year-old can call herself Princess, Ninja President. And as an adult, she can feel and project that trifecta of awesomeness every day. Still, she might want to stick with the SVP title she actually earned. Swapping that for the cute “Boss Babe” is…well… just “cute,” as in not to be taken seriously… I doubt that’s what the professional wants.

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