Archive for July, 2019


Should you use capitals for job titles?

July 23, 2019

Back in May 2019, I attended the biennial IPEd Conference for Australian and New Zealand editors. One of the things I took away was a snippet about capitalising job titles from Penny Modra’s plenary on Day 2 ( and how that can represent (consciously or subconsciously) hierarchies of greater and lesser jobs.

For example, if you cap Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, or Senior Geologist, do you also cap Cleaner, Plumber, Sewage Truck Driver? If not, why not? Why should some job titles get capped and others not? What’s the implied social stratification here?

I’ve kept that in mind when working on the corporate reports I deal with, and today I queried an author who had used ‘truck operator’ when referring to a particular occupation, yet in the same sentence had used ‘Production Coordinator’ and ‘Site Supervisor’ when referring to other occupations in the same company.

My opinion: If you capitalise some job titles, then for consistency you need to cap them all, so a cleaner or truck operator needs to have the same recognition for their job as a production coordinator, otherwise you’re implying a hierarchy of ‘good’ or prestigious jobs over those that are less well-paid or recognised (less ‘worthy’). Either cap them all, or cap none of them (my preference). This may seem a trivial thing, but every time someone sees their job diminished by no caps when other positions are capped, it just further affirms (perhaps only subconsciously) that their job is less important. Yet if you took away all the sanitation workers, society would soon realise the importance of these jobs and the people who do them, and not give two hoots about any of the managing directors until the waste was sorted out.

Most style guides will have a section on when to capitalise occupational titles when referring to an individual (e.g. Doctor Sally Jones) or to a generic position (Sally Jones, a doctor). Just keep in mind that capitalising ‘Principal’ or ‘Doctor’ doesn’t make that job any more important than the uncapped ‘teacher’ or ‘nurse’—and ask yourself why you are giving some job titles more prominence than others.


Fixing a file association issue

July 1, 2019

Somehow after the latest Windows updates, a file association for a particular program got lost. Forums suggested modifying the Registry, but I was hesitant to do that. I tried all sorts of other stuff, but still Microsoft kept telling me to look in their apps store for another program.

However, my IT guys came to the rescue and sent me a link for another way to associate a file type with a program:

In my case, according to Microsoft, the file type already associated with the program, but I reassigned it anyway, following the instructions in that link. Everything then worked as it had before the update.

(Note: I can’t say for certain that the update caused the problem, but the file association worked before the update and not after. After finding out it didn’t work and trying a few things, I shut down that PC and rebooted it the next day then did the reassigning as per the link. Because I didn’t check if it worked after the reboot, I can’t say for certain that reassigning the file type worked, or whether the reboot fixed the problem anyway, without me having to reassign the file type with the program.)