Sunday, December 09, 2007

When In Doubt...Clarify Your Meaning

So having a frank and honest conversation with my dad last night and with my wife again this morning, it was pointed out to me that my BLOG post the other day might have possibly offended some of my readers. I thought that I was hopefully clear in communicating throughout the post that this was not my intention nor my desire to diminish the accomplishments of any professional in any industry. I stand by my comments but realize the main point of what I was trying to say might be have been said clearer. So let me give it another shot.

Titles or impressive letters following one's name don't make the person...the person makes the person. My intent was to communicate that titles, certifications and professional achievement though important and absolutely something you should be proud of, very well may be intimidating to new people when you first meet them. The real question is, does your title or letters after your name tell the average person something important about you that they, as a common person can immediately recognize and understand, or does it have the opposite affect? Does the average person possibly get intimidated or annoyed with the fact they don't know what a PhD does, let alone how to connect and communicate with him or her so they just don't.

Simply stated....I would hate to see someone great miss out on meeting someone else who is great simply because a title or professional certification presents a connection barrier.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe the impression I get is not every one's and that's okay too. I simply think it might be worth examining on some level.

So now that I have opened this can of worms what do I do to get them back in. Well if you sport one of these acronyms, signifying letters or educational accomplishments on your card, ask yourself if you think the average person could identify with their meaning. Don't stop there..get the opinion of family, friends and some complete strangers along the way. See what other's have to say about their first impression.

If this unscientific yet powerfully insightful survey yields mixed results consider getting two cards printed up. One to use when you are out in the general business public that states what you do in simpler language and one that you can use in environments where those who attend will get and understand what your higher level of achievement means and signifies.

In closing, I just want to say I apologize if my comments offended any of you in any way. But the goal with my BLOG is, and will always be, to get my readers to look at things from hopefully a different and sometimes controversial perspective. But please trust that I would never do anything that is intentionally mean-spirited or diminishes you my faithful readers in any way. And if Thursday's post did...please accept my apology!

Ripple On and Enjoy Your Sunday!!!



PRINCE RAHMAN, msole said...

Hey... these are the kinds of feathers that require ruffling, from time to time, least one get too carried away with the aura of titles and official designations... least one forget that it is ultimately always the qualities, character, and presence of a person that truly provide authentic personal power.

Tom Magness said...

Ripple Man,

No offense taken. To me that is the sign of a good blog post. Lots of discussion - on the various sides of an issue - that gets people thinking and talking is what rippling is all about! You are the man.

Tom Magness, LBR

**LBR - Loyal Blog Reader

Anonymous said...

Well Steve, you’ve really done it now! Thanks to your courage, or maybe naiveté, you have certainly got this one being examined. I would encourage you to not be too apologetic though. Authenticity often flushes out obscure social issues that need to be examined. I think the defensive reactions indicate you have done just that. To be specific, you have touched a social nerve in the Social Economic power of Academic Discrimination and Elitism.
This power is revealed with Academia’s assertion that people with academic credentials will be paid more money than those without them. While education can enable us to be more productive, we need only to look around to see that people without the credentials are paid less money for the same, or even greater, levels of productivity.
The defensive reactions shed light on people’s attachment to the social economic entitlement that academic credentials provide. I think this is what has ruffled their feathers. They don’t want to look at the worms you let out of the can. Which I don’t think you’ll be able to get back in the can.
I think you have done well to bring this issue to the fore. This too is a ripple that can make a difference even though it up sets so many.

jag said...

Although I found the apology unnecessary - anyone who has read your blog more than twice knows you meant no offense - I found the added clarity helpful!

I work in an organization that has a lot of PhDs... and truth be told, as a cohort, they have a culture unto themselves - and that can be intimidating. On an individual level, I have found them (or most of them!) to be quite personable.

And BTW, worms outside a can do way more good than when they're trapped inside... :-)

Pace e bene,