This seems obvious to me. Yet this point eludes some of our nation's PhDs, specifically the ones who insist on being called Doctor, and the ones who sign their name in the style of this email I recently received. It was an email from a marketing firm, apologizing for sending me an incorrect survey. It was signed:
Dr. Jan G. West, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO
National Business Research Institute, Inc. ('NBRI')
15305 Dallas Parkway; 3rd floor
Addison, TX. 75001
What kind of a tool do you have to be to sign your name this way? Who on God's green earth is impressed by a PhD? You know what this is? This is stolen valor. You know, the crime of impersonating a veteran? That's what putting "Dr." in your signature is. Or asking to be called doctor outside the confines of the campus. You deliberately stoke the confusion of others who are temporarily and erroneously impressed that you're a medical doctor - you know, an actual doctor.
There's nothing wrong with getting a PhD. But to tack it on the end of your name - wow. Does a PhD really demonstrate superior intelligence? Does it even demonstrate mastery of a specialized area of knowledge? I'm assuming Dr. Jan G. West, Ph.D. got her doctorate in marketing. If you need a refresher on the rigors of a masters level marketing education, I report about my first hand experience of it here. As usual, I give a pass to anyone whose PhD was earned in engineering, comp sci, the hard sciences. Areas where specialized knowledge is very real and urgently important. You know, like the specialized knowledge an actual doctor has. But when you talk about the specialized knowledge a marketing PhD has, you are talking about the richest, most pungent and concentrated bullshit known to man. You're talking about pure bullshit extract, a clear liquid dispensed with an eye dropper while wearing rubber gloves. There is nothing useful, nothing, in marketing at the PhD level, except to practice your ability to weave impenetrable tapestries of gobbledegook on the page, for the benefit of professors who will grade you only on how inscrutable it is.
This is the substance of Dr. Jan G. West, Ph.D.'s implied boast. She's boasting that only a smart cookie such as herself could have qualified to forgo joining the workforce in order to spiral deeper and deeper into marketing academia. Furthermore, it's a statement that she thinks there's actual value in a marketing PhD. And finally, it's predicated on the assumption that others would be impressed by the decision. Dr. Jan G. West, Ph.D. is wrong on all three counts. In fact the only thing in her signature that impressed me at all was the inclusion of her middle initial. Oh no, wait - it didn't.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to a very important meeting.