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Mata
post May 1 2009, 11:28 PM
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A producer at work, in an email that was cc'd to several other very important people, was passing some work on to me. In the email he referred to me as 'Mr. Haggis'. I didn't say anything, but I felt very tempted to correct him to point out that it's 'Dr. Haggis'.

I couldn't decide how to say this without sounding like a really arrogant pillock, which is mostly why I didn't say anything, but it does bug me when people don't use my correct title. I worked damn hard to get that and I'd prefer that people use it. He didn't mean any harm by what he typed, so am I wrong to get a little miffed about this or should I have said something? If so, how are should I have said 'Oi! It's 'doctor'!' without making myself look bad? I realise it would have to be done with humour, but I couldn't think of a way in which the humour wouldn't come across as thinly veiled prentension.


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Phyllis
post May 2 2009, 12:45 AM
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Honestly, I can't really see any way of saying "It's doctor, actually" without sounding a wee bit pretentious.

According to Miss Manners, only medical doctors (and, in the US, dentists) can correctly use the title of Dr socially. I'm not sure that work e-mails would fit into that category, but she generally discourages PhDs from using the title of Dr anywhere outside of their CV. It sucks, since you did put a lot of work into getting the title. Since I know you and I know your preference I'd write Dr if I was addressing formal mail to you, but I'm not sure that the producer has actually committed any etiquette faux pas in this scenario.

I'd just let it go. It'll make it seem more impressive when s/he eventually hears that you have a PhD. It'll be a bit like learning that a quiet, modest friend speaks fluent Turkish. It's far more impressive if she never bragged about it (not saying you want to brag; this is just for the sake of an example) than if she had boasted about it at every opportunity.


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LoLo
post May 2 2009, 01:34 AM
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You buy yourself something like this stethoscope necklace and then when it comes up just whip it out from under your shirt and say, "That's Dr. Haggis to you sir/mam!" Then you can giggle and let them know that actually it is Dr. Haggis and perhaps it wouldn't be so awkward.


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elphaba2
post May 2 2009, 02:05 AM
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If you have an official email sig (eg, Mata Haggis, such-and-such an address, such-and-such phone number) maybe add on a PhD. That's where I used to check if I wasn't sure if the scientists I worked with were doctors or just very smart gentlemen. Unfortunately I think most people don't look for doctors where they don't expect them, so that likely won't solve the problem with people you aren't emailing...

There's nothing painfully pretentious about a verbal correction either, mind. All it takes is a light tone and friendly eyes; the other person might be a little embarrassed but nothing worse--you *did* work long and hard for that title and deserve it. Go you!


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Daria
post May 4 2009, 12:05 AM
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Grow a moustache, wear a pince-nez and mutter and grumble under your breath about everything. Then, if it happens again, you can just cough and say "I didn't work so bloody hard for three letters for someone to forget them!" and then shuffle down the hall muttering "what what".

Or, as 'Phaba says, just make sure your signature contains those details.


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Mata
post May 4 2009, 10:11 AM
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Hmm... I suspect having it as a signature on emails might be a bit *more* pretentious rather than less!

I'm not sure about the advice of Miss Manners. The last time I registered with a doctor's surgery, on my first appointment, I clarified that it was a PhD rather than an MD, and the doctor said 'Ah, so it's a proper doctorate then'. Her view was this: a PhD gives you the right to use 'doctor' because of the contribution to knowledge, but an MD is a job title. When a doctor is no longer practising then their MD is no longer contributing to society, but a PhD has an effect that continues until we burn ourselves in a nuclear fire (or the ants devour our flesh as we sleep. Something like that). I think she also thought that the PhD often takes a lot longer to achieve than an MD so was worth more.

I think I'll probably stick with not correcting it in people's emails (which comes across as too forced) but picking it up if it comes up in conversation instead.


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Moosh
post May 4 2009, 02:59 PM
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The majority of British doctors don't actually have an MD. The qualification you get that allows you to practice as a doctor is a MBChB (exact lettering may differ depending on which University you got it from), or Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. The MD is an academic degree for people doing medical research, so most doctors don't actually have a doctorate-level degree.


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post May 4 2009, 05:49 PM
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My friend who teaches latin at the school is called "Dr". As far as I am aware it is a personal preference


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Mata
post May 4 2009, 10:39 PM
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Cheesemoose: That would likely explain why she said her title was a job title rather than a real doctorate. I see! I've learnt something new today, and there's still 25 minutes left to go before midnight! smile.gif

Ryn: I think it does seem to be a personal thing. For me, I used the title as a way of inspiring myself to get through the course, so I'd be letting myself down if I didn't use it. It's also really handy for getting more respect when dealing with crappy companies over the phone! (That really does work amazingly well for some reason.)


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Phyllis
post May 5 2009, 12:03 AM
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Huh. I knew that the dentists here aren't (usually) doctors, but I had no idea about the medical doctors. Weirdos! tongue.gif

Miss Manners is American, so it makes sense that some of her advice doesn't apply over here. If you were an American PhD I would urge you to not use the Dr title, but it seems to be generally more accepted here. Whee, cultural differences. Miss Manners probably still wouldn't approve, but we just won't tell her.


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leopold
post May 5 2009, 09:02 AM
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It's a tough one. I think people automatically assume that males are "Mr." because they just don't know whether the man they're speaking to has a qualification which grants them the right to be referred to as "Doctor". I mean, it's not like getting a PhD puts a neon sign over your head that says "Oi, I worked blimmin hard for my qualification, so call me Doctor, damn you!"

So really, the only way people can ever find out what your title is, is to tell them. Which just brings us full circle to the initial problem of how to broach the subject in the first place.

On your signature, just use the "Dr." prefix. It's not pretentious, because it's your title. It's really no different to using "Rev."

In conversation, it's a bit of a thorny one. I'd be more worried about it sounding rude, rather than pretentious. But if it bothers you, then you should say something. It's a bit like those people who've been blessed with names which have accepted short forms; some people want to be called by the more formal name, others have a preference for the shortened version, and others don't mind either way. Although I've yet to meet anyone called David who isn't hugely polarised on their name. I've no idea why that is, but I've never met a David who has no preference, nor one who doesn't get the hump when called by the one they don't like. Maybe I've just been unlucky and not met any of the laid back Davids who don't mind being called Dave.

I seem to have derailed myself there... anyway, in summary, use it in your signature, on application forms and in any written correspondence. You have the right! In conversation, correct people if it's important, but in informal conversations I guess it's not a huge deal and I wouldn't bother. Then again, I've not worked by butt off for a Doctorate, so I'm not really the best person to ask. My brother in law is one and I've never heard him bring it up in casual conversation, if that's of any help at all.


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post May 5 2009, 12:01 PM
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Working with academics from the civil engineering field I can say from personal experience that the "it's doctor actually" line is a very common one but that no matter how well meaning and well mannered the person saying it there is a wee bit of the ooOOOOooooo that can go on... depends on the recipient.

The engineers I worked with, all PhD holding Doctors Professors etc (some multiply so) all wanted to have people use their correct designations because it was a way for each of them to filter each other in a very snobby academic world, outside some where mroe shilled than others and if they weren't representing themselves in an professional capacity didn't mind too much as how else would someone know unless you tell them.

I use professional designatory letters after my name (gained through work- membership and qualification) to represent my position in relation to those of my industry (not now engineering) that I deal with. I probably wouldn't use them outside but then your's are worth using and has a lot more wait behind it.

Just start putting PhD after your name on a standard block sig... nothing too pretentious there and people will note it.


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Mata
post May 5 2009, 12:39 PM
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To me it feels more pretentious to put PhD after a name, like it needs an ominous music chord... Mata Haggis dum dum DAAAAAA P!H!D!

Anyway, if I put all the letters after my name that I'm allowed to it sounds like a sheep falling down the stairs: BA OW OW PhD smile.gif

One thing that really bugs me is when on American television (I've never seen this on UK TV) they say 'Dr Bilbury Hobbins, PhD'. You either say 'Doctor' or 'PhD', I think. I guess that saying both clarifies that you're not a MD, but if that's important then just say 'PhD' at the end and leave off the 'doctor' at the start.


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Cath Sparrow
post May 5 2009, 01:20 PM
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QUOTE (candice @ May 2 2009, 01:45 AM) *
Honestly, I can't really see any way of saying "It's doctor, actually" without sounding a wee bit pretentious.

According to Miss Manners, only medical doctors (and, in the US, dentists) can correctly use the title of Dr socially. I'm not sure that work e-mails would fit into that category, but she generally discourages PhDs from using the title of Dr anywhere outside of their CV. It sucks, since you did put a lot of work into getting the title. Since I know you and I know your preference I'd write Dr if I was addressing formal mail to you, but I'm not sure that the producer has actually committed any etiquette faux pas in this scenario.

I'd just let it go. It'll make it seem more impressive when s/he eventually hears that you have a PhD. It'll be a bit like learning that a quiet, modest friend speaks fluent Turkish. It's far more impressive if she never bragged about it (not saying you want to brag; this is just for the sake of an example) than if she had boasted about it at every opportunity.



QUOTE (candice @ May 5 2009, 01:03 AM) *
Huh. I knew that the dentists here aren't (usually) doctors, but I had no idea about the medical doctors. Weirdos! tongue.gif

Miss Manners is American, so it makes sense that some of her advice doesn't apply over here. If you were an American PhD I would urge you to not use the Dr title, but it seems to be generally more accepted here. Whee, cultural differences. Miss Manners probably still wouldn't approve, but we just won't tell her.


I never said any such thing and I'm certainly not American! I'm british born and bred!

Yours sincerly

Miss Cathryn Manners BA hons, ADI (pending (I think) )

Anyway I think the 'Oi! It's Dr!' would work the best. It's casual and joky and make your point. tongue.gif


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Phyllis
post May 5 2009, 02:03 PM
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QUOTE (Cath @ May 5 2009, 02:20 PM) *
I never said any such thing and I'm certainly not American! I'm british born and bred!

tongue.gif I actually thought about writing "Miss Manners (as in Judith Martin)" because of you, then decided against it.

I don't know how it'd be best to handle the signature thing. I never sign my name as Ms Candice Mylast -- especially not in an e-mail. It'd seem odd (and kind of forced) to switch to using the title if I became a doctor (in some alternate universe in which I'm not a major procrastinator, no doubt). I agree that it's better than putting PhD after your name, though.

Putting your name and title in writing where people are bound to see it might just work. I kept my last name when I married moop, and for ages his family (except his parents, sister, and one grandmother) addressed post to me as "Mrs S Hislast." I didn't know how to go about correcting them without sounding annoyed, so we got some address labels that said "Ms Candice Mylast and Mr Stephen Hislast" and used them on all correspondence with his family. This year I didn't get a single birthday card with the wrong name. They even got my preferred title correct! If they can be taught after two years of marriage, then there's definitely hope for your co-workers.


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Mata
post May 5 2009, 10:21 PM
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Maybe Lo's right and I should just wear a stethoscope all the time until people get the message biggrin.gif


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post May 6 2009, 09:04 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ May 5 2009, 11:21 PM) *
Maybe Lo's right and I should just wear a stethoscope all the time until people get the message biggrin.gif


Maybe the wrong message, think of the awkwardness when someone corners you for advice on their most embarrassing health related woes!?!?!


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leopold
post May 7 2009, 08:29 AM
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Make it a kids' plastic stethoscope, that should stop any confusion. happy.gif


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post May 7 2009, 11:26 AM
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Mata, if you're not wearing this stethoscope next time I see you then I'm going to have a hard time believing you are actually a real doctor!

My two cents: putting it in your email signature is far less pretentious than having to point it out to people.


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post May 7 2009, 12:14 PM
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Yep, seconded, Mata now forever more when in public must wear a kiddies stethoscope or some such similar doctoral equipment that wouldn't actually be used by an MD (MD of course not to be confused with Managing Directors who can just stay out of the argument... unless they're also MDs or PhDs).
Pehaps a broch/badge of a stethoscope or scalpel?

Or he could hire a minion to run around discreetly notifying people or use cue cards/billboard signs over his shoulder a la Road Runner saying: "Not that kind of doctor" or "PhD! - he operates on cerebral thoughts and the mind but not the brain itself... that might be illegal dumbass" although the second may be a bit wordy...


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post May 7 2009, 12:23 PM
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I don't put MA after my name although I'm perfectly entitled to do so as, like you say Mata, I worked DAMNED hard for that. I've I could put 'MA Distinction & Best Postgraduate Student in the School of Art and Design 06/07' I WOULD laugh.gif

I will be putting MA on my business card as people I'm giving that too need to know I'm qualified.

Personally saying "Actually it's DR Haggis" would just have me rolling around on the floor laughing at you tongue.gif I wouldn't say anything. They'll find out eventually and then they'll be the ones to look silly and not you should you point it out smile.gif


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Mata
post May 7 2009, 12:28 PM
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QUOTE (snoo @ May 6 2009, 10:04 PM) *
QUOTE (Mata @ May 5 2009, 11:21 PM) *
Maybe Lo's right and I should just wear a stethoscope all the time until people get the message biggrin.gif

Maybe the wrong message, think of the awkwardness when someone corners you for advice on their most embarrassing health related woes!?!?!

Where you see embarassment, I see profit. I could start a whole website sharing all the details! biggrin.gif

Qualifications on business cards are completely acceptable. It's just in conversation where I sometimes want to correct people but tend not to unless it has some bearing... but I *do* want to!


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DarkInferno
post Jun 6 2009, 08:48 AM
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IMHO, if somebody is refering to you as Mr. Haggis in conversation, then it's formal enough to to be corrected.


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gerbilfromhell
post Jun 6 2009, 03:11 PM
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You've gotta go totally over the top; don't just wear a stethoscope, wear a laminated copy of your PhD around your neck at all times and correct people by clearing your throat loudly, holding it up and pointing to it. You could even have it printed onto a shirt, possibly with the caption "That's DR. Haggis to you." Saves you from having to actually correct anyone while still allowing you to make it funny. Seems foolproof to me biggrin.gif

(also agree that it seems kind of pretentious to leave it as an email signature, though I also am totally unused to people addressing anyone as Dr, even a medical doctor, outside of their professional capacity. Then again, I don't know any doctors personally)
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