Being set-apart by employers is surely not achieved by titular one-upmanship, yet the number of people clawing at hyperbole to abet language abuse is growing. Social entrepreneur, tech entrepreneur, wine entrepreneur; even ‘visionary entrepreneur’, titles like these float with curated grins, inoffensive hair and suffuse rosy glows. Who would suspect a single word would cause the job ready to suborn in a court of employers? The problem with this exercise in promotion is that to be an entrepreneur is a compliment, not a job title.
In the world of gainful employment, it simply does for argument’s sake to categorize jobs into three flavors: One either makes things, uses things in an expedient way or of course one markets or publicizes things—either for oneself or for others. Otherwise, why not invent a French phrase Chef de Chômage? (a mere chômeur just wouldn’t do).
Measuring the degree of success with which one does this is also important, but it is to be judged by a metric (market share for example, provided you’re not a monopoly in a junta state); you cannot decide yourself, taking a few eye drop of indulgent caprice to widen the pupils before your LinkedIn photo has been taken.
Take the CEO of Microsoft: the job title is simply that. CEO of Microsoft. What it isn’t is ‘entrepreneur of dreams’. What then to make of titles almost proffered as epithets, generating John, a self-professed entrepreneur maker? The only way Atilla The Hun is an allowable epithet is because Atilla was actually a Hun.
Enhancement of the superlative is also proliferating; pointed out before, but not by me. A chef used to be the ‘chief’ of the kitchen, but now head chef is ubiquitous language. Do we then progress to the chiefest chef? Why do these terms always originate from the French? Does the fact that French is not the mother tongue for many English speakers mean that we can get away with it, because nobody will notice and/or care?
Connotations have also been forgotten. The marriage of sound and association underscores another abuse. Inventing a completely extraordinary, propitious ‘thing’ that nobody has ever thought of would be grounds for earning the title of ‘entrepreneur’—something so dramatic that we cannot currently think about what it could possibly be, yet in the future we simply cannot live without it in our daily routine. A great example would be the failure to predict the pervasiveness of the Web, but from the ignorance of the 1940s. The men and women who brought about the World Wide Web can then be thought of as entrepreneurs, as can Bill Gates, yet in this case it’s far more proud to actually state the job description: do you think entrepreneur sounds better, or the actual job title of ‘Inventor of the Interwebs’?
Likewise, we scoff at the man who self-styles himself as a glorious leader—albeit this is only common insofar as levity of language is concerned, in the latter case this nom intitulé has the added severe consequences of the most inglorious. But at any rate: if you have to state it, you’re not really, are you? What even is a wine entrepreneur anyway? A chronic boozer, I suspect.