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Why job titles aren't important in Denmark

By Kay Xander Mellish

  One of the most important words in the Danish language is "ligestilling"  – equality. The belief that all (Danish) people are basically equal permeates every relationship and every interaction. Fancy job titles do not fit into that passion for equality. They suggest you think you’re better than someone else. Which you might actually be, if you’ve worked your way to the top of your field, but that admission is slightly embarrassing. If you do have an impressive job title, it's considered bad taste to show it off. Office doors in Denmark, for example, usually have just the name of the person inside, not their title. When you introduce yourself, whether to one person or an audience of 500, you give just your name, preferably just your first name. And it's considered laughable to strut about in a way that shows everyone you're the boss. In fact, when you enter a room of Danish businesspeople, it is almost impossible to tell who the boss is. Everyone’s dressed the same, everyone acts pretty much the same, and nobody shows any particular deference to the boss. This can be a problem when you’re a job hunter or salesperson and have to figure out who in the room has the power to make a decision.

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