What I Hated the Least Today 48/365: Doctor


I made some dubious life choices, including completing a PhD in English Literature. The result rendered me perfectly useless for job market but highly increased my credit. I don’t mean my bank credit, on which the effect was rather the opposite, I mean my street credit.

Obviously, having a PhD means one is not a real doctor. I’ve been affectionately called vet, as vets are not real doctors either. On the other hand, I’ve been receiving cute emails with the salutation Dear Doctor Mara because in my region academic titles are all the rage.

I got one of these emails today, felt vaguely flattered for no good reason, and then responded with a standard salutation translatable as Dear Ms Whateveryournameis, not even bothering to look up the person’s potentially existing academic titles and completely getting her name wrong.

I think I’ve proven beyond doubt that I’m indeed a PhD holder. In this case PhD translates as pathetically and hopelessly dysfunctional. I think I’ll register this domain name. It’s totally a thing.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

5 thoughts

  1. Yeah, there seems to be a general mix-up when it comes to ‘doctor’… everyone takes it for granted it’s a medical doctor/physician.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the first job I held … eventually the company became German owned, so I talked with the on the phone many times a day. There [in Germany], I had the impression they were somewhat obsessed with titles … long titles. Herrn Doktor Whatever … so you had to include both Herrn and Doktor [and possibly more words, depending]. I was so tempted at times to ask; «Is Herrn your first name or what?!»


    1. Haha, the Germans are even more obsessed with academic titles than us. I’m not sure that I can see the point of that. But I hear that in Austria, at least, ALL titles are used, which would make me Bc. Mgr. Dr. Ms. Mara (the first two are equivalents of BA and MA). Hilarious 🙂 Still, though my doctorate is of no practical use, it’s good to see that the degree obsessed people here pay me for respect for that. It is actually considered to be very impolite here, even offensive, if you address a person just as Ms or Mr and not with their title.


      1. Wow [about the last part]! Here, I see on business cards, that doctors, for example, put all those abbreviations too. I would imagine lawyers, architects et cetera … they all would do it. If I meet the mayor, I would address him Mayor Norton, but otherwise … I don’t know. I’ll ask my husband what’s customary here … it’s interesting!


        1. Oh you absolutely have to put your titles on your business card, or it’s naturally assumed you don’t have any. I think this custom doesn’t apply in North America, from what I know.


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