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.