Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Drop Your Vice

A month ago, I made a humorous (more like an attempt at being humorous) comment in Meera Sundarrajan’s post about “vice”.  I wrote something like Vice Admirals and Vice Captains must drop their “vice” before becoming Admirals and Captains.  A pun on the word “vice”, however I kept thinking more about that word.
 
What is the difference between Vice and Deputy and for that matter Assistant? How come some titles/designations have Vice preceding it whereas others have Deputy or even Assistant? Really, aren’t they all one and the same? 
 
The President has a Vice President. The Prime Minister has a Deputy Prime Minister. Why aren’t they called Deputy President or Vice Prime Minister? Maybe because those titles sound stupid to your ears and Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister sound more dignified.
 
Aren’t they all just Assistants to the Top Dog? Someone once said a “deputy” takes over for the boss, a “vice” takes care of the work of the boss, and an “assistant” only assists.  Not sure if I buy into that logic or even know what that logic means. 
 
When the President of a country dies, the Vice President automatically takes over his/her job.  When he/she is alive, does the Vice President take care of the work of his boss?  No way.  While waiting to become President, his only job is to attend funerals all over the world representing the country.
 
Getting away from politics, many corporations have a president, and many vice presidents, and even many assistant vice presidents.  What?  A VP is the assistant to the president and an AVP is the assistant’s assistant?
 
How about a principal’s second in charge?  I’ve seen it as Vice Principal and Assistant Principal and Deputy Principal. Thanks for that.  Now I’m very clearly confused.
 
Don’t even get me started on Secretary. A secretary in the corporate world is really an assistant right?  However secretaries in certain governments are the same as ministers in other governments?  And of course we have the dignified title of Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary but are missing the ugly sounding Vice Secretary.
 
If anyone can clear this up, I’ll be glad to hear your views.

30 comments:

  1. Who Posted This?July 2, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Deputy and Vice sure sound better than what they call me.

    Regards,
    Co-Pilots and Rear Admirals

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  2. Thanks for your comment Co-Pilots and Rear Admirals. I sympathize with y’all. You are the butt of jokes all the time. You have to listen to things like the following every day:

    How do you now there is a co-pilot in the party? He will tell you.

    A Rear Admiral’s vice is Vice Admiral’s rear.

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  3. it may be one more british legacy..in corporate, many people need to be given fancy titles, so they make Dy GM, ASS. GM, and all that instead of giving them the title just below GM, Because anything with GM looks apealing...

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  4. .....and there is an under secretary too.

    Never gave a thought to this, though i feel vice president sounds appealing than an asst. President.

    Today most corporates adorn their associates with glam. designations One of my cousin is an HR head in a firm and she is called Talent acquisition head.

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  5. A wise doubt about 'vice' and the like.Vice has a negative meaning also.
    From time immemorial language experts might have been expressing their expertise in creating or adding words. And some compatibility with spelling,sound, meaning etc might have been arranged in due course of time. They might have been the rules to follow.Deputy is deputed and assistant assists.Vice may take over.Co- goes along with and rear stands behind.(my version only).

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  6. Thanks for your comments Renu. You are correct. Anything with a GM attached to it, looks appealing.

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  7. Thanks for your comments Asha. And, welcome to my blog. Nowadays corporations give out bizzare/strange titles also. At Microsoft Corporation, there is a title called IT Pro Evangelist. Thank God, there is no actual preaching involved.

    Asha, please visit here as often as possible. Thanks.

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  8. Thanks for your comments Sarala. Your version seems to be OK.

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  9. There is one British Title that I never get to terms with - 'LORD'. Suffixing such a title before their names makes them GOD? I wonder whoever thought of that title first and how they got the permission to actually use it as a title!

    I feel that titles do not really matter - Every company/organization has people with fancy titles who don't actually do a thing. If these people are fired, most of our products would be right-priced.


    Destination Infinity

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  10. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. Is Lord Labakdas really a British nobility?

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  11. Hi

    Pple use terms interchangeably..nice post!

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  12. Now SG, you've made me to rake my brain. I wouldn't sleep till I find answers

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  13. Thanks for your comments Insignia. Long time no see. Where have you been all these days? Please share with me your findings. Thanks.

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  14. Thanks for your comments AS. Long time no see. Where have you been? Yes, people use these terms interchangeably.

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  15. Hi SG

    I was wondering the same..where have u been???

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  16. Thanks for coming back AS. Where have I been? Just 2 words. Travel. Lazy.

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  17. :) This is really funny especially the Secretary bit! I had never thought of these- designation vs function. You know I must share here a unique experience I once had when I went to a Block office near Dharmapuri for some data. The BDO asked some one to "Get the computer". I was amazed that they had one there ( this was in the early nineties). But imagine my surprise when a small man walked in. They introduced him as "Computer" -not a joke that was his designation. His work was maintenance of statistical data for the block :)

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  18. I find your posts very interesting. Another nice post.

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  19. Interesting! That's some food to chew on... never thought about these designations. :)

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  20. After a long time ,on your blog .

    I had not even though about the same, only now i could feel the same confusion coming up. I googled (the ultimate solution ofcourse) but found out vice and deputy are often used and interchanged, not much turns out there too.

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  21. Thanks for your comments Meera. That's a good one.

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  22. Thanks for your comments Z.

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  23. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. I am glad you liked this post.

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  24. Thanks for your comments Revathi. And, welcome back.

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  25. Thanks for your comments Krishna.

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  26. Mind boggling vices and rears! Though even I used to wonder why Vice and Deputy are used for the same meaning. Nothing more! Your details are mind boggling but very interesting to read!

    Thanks for your support for my problem, SG! The glass top has been replaced free of cost, yesterday!

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  27. very interesting points! I'll have to think about it before commenting on your question!

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  28. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. I am glad your stove is working now.

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  29. Thanks for your comments Roshni. And, welcome to my blog.

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