Brought about my email to knutties.....
When I married, my spouse became the Branch Manager of the company he worked for; he endured a lot of teasing about monkeys making the best branch managers. Then he joined another organization where he was the Marketing Manager. When I first called him up at work, I asked for him by name, but no one apparently knew that such a guy existed. It then dawned on me to give his designation. "The Marketing Manager," I said hesitantly. "Marketing Manager?....oh! YUM YUM! Right, right, I'll put you through!" said the telephone operator, whose South Indian origins I had no further doubt about. I realized that this particular organization never referred to their executives by name, and not even by designation, but only by the initials of that designation. My husband continued to sound like a food delicacy until his next promotion, when he became Gee Yum. Things got a little sad thereafter, because he then became Weepy, no matter how cheerful he was at work. With his next promotion, I was wickedly looking forward to asking for Pee! But at that point the custom changed, and I would be asked, "You want to talk to President?" (note, no "the" before "president" )....as if he was heading some banana republic! He was the President of the Hosur Division, and he would get envelopes addressed to KM, PHD...surely the most effortless PhD anyone has ever got, always leaving aside our politicians of course.
If this wasn't funny enough, the designations included families as well. Have you heard about Mrs. Chairman?.... and Miss Chairman,three of them? In fact, when I once referred to Mrs Chairman by name, the general manager of HRD and his wife (oh, sorry, Mr and Mrs GMHRD) came over to warn me that I persisted in this rude custom, my husband's career would suffer! I always found it very difficult to respond when Mrs President was called upon to officiate at some cultural programme...or keep a straight face about it.
It suddenly strikes me...I never did find out how, when the Miss Chairmans (Misses chairman? what is the plural of this danged term?) married, the sons-in-law were referred to in the organization!