July 3, 2012 – Today’s photo is more of a response to an irritation earlier in the day. Actually it started Thursday, but it finished (hopefully) today. And when I came home and had this piece of mail in the box, it seemed like a good enough thing for a photo. And to cap it off, as I write this, a song just came on iTunes that also used my title (a former DFO student in a professional band actually wrote a song about me and the class I teach!), so it seemed just logical to mutter about this.
Last week one of my colleagues used my title in an email to to others to try and lend weight to his argument, I was cc’d. I asked him to please not do it again, since it lends a certain ‘unapproachability’. He responded that it was good for intimidation. And today I think I finally got my point across when I explained that this is exactly why I don’t use it internally, and that they are not for others to use. My job is not to intimidate anyone into doing something, it is to use information, logic, education, and understanding to work with them to make improvements, solve issues, and reach common goals. Not to beat someone over the head and try to make them think I am smarter because I have a few extra letters that I can use if I choose to.
I earned that title, but I rarely use it. In fact I generally tend to be embarrassed when it is used. I’ll use it on certain documents, use it as a signature for emails to my students at UBC, but that’s about it for the most part. When anyone calls me “Dr.” I usually correct them and say “Please, it’s just Paige, I’m just a PhD”.
I don’t really understand why some people really like to flaunt titles – Dr., Professional, whatever – maybe they have a need to be more than they think they are. I won’t belabour it since I already ranted a bit on the topic a few months back (see False Credentials for that grumble). It was just an irritant today.
I’d much rather know your name and hear about the things you enjoy doing. Fancy titles need not join in the conversation.