Pretender, in the non-pejorative sense (and à propos of nothing in particular). Wikpedia’s definition will do: “A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished.” So, for example, Plato was pretender to the Philosopher King’s throne in a perfectly respectable sense. He wasn’t an imposter. It was his proper title. This seems to me a concept deserving of wider application and all-around democritization. When you write up your resume or CV, why list only the position you’ve got? That’s an extremely random sort of fact about yourself, on average. If we must be defined by our jobs or stations, most of us are much better defined by the offices or stations we should have – but that someone else is squatting on, through no merit of their own; or that, through no fault of our own, just don’t happen to exist. I’d be perfect for a lot of way cool jobs that don’t happen to exist. And if being perfect for the job isn’t some sort of entitlement, I don’t know how anyone can be entitled to any job. (Not that I don’t have a good job now. I do. And I’m lucky to have it.) Pretending, in this sense, is the highest form of ethical authenticity. “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.” That is, you ought to put ‘pretender to freedom’ on your business card. If you put ‘accounts executive’ or ‘associate professor’ you are selling yourself short. Think about that kid in “The Squid and the Whale” who pretends he wrote “Hey You”. He’s not trying to fool anyone. He just thinks he should have written it. It was only a sort of accident that Roger Waters got there first. Makes a certain amount of sense.
What should your business card say?