Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get Real!

The title of this blog is not a joke nor a flippant statement on my part. Being real is ever so important to one's work as a writer - and really to one's credibility whether they are a writer or not. Being real, not exaggerating oneself and presenting oneself as honest to the core is everything in the writing world. Absolutely everything. It's also everything in the world of education.

I've been doing some editing for a man lately.  This man has a legitimate Ph.D, which he rightly earned. (Not all who claim to have a Ph.D have it legitimately. Many colleges, even local community colleges, reject claims of such a higher degree if they are not legitimate. More on this in a minute.) This man I'm editing for is a good writer, has a great handle on the English language and has some vital things to say. The problem is, he misrepresents his Ph.D by putting "Dr." in front of his name. While this may seem acceptable, the reason it is not is simple: the title "Dr.," in written form, has been reserved for medical doctors only.

When I first saw this title on his work, I immediately thought his Ph.D was not real; or essentially not legitimate. I interpreted his mistake as ignorance and this level of ignorance is usually associated with those who do not come by their accomplishments legitimately. Such was not the case with this man. Upon questioning him, he already knew using the title "Dr." was a bit on the risky side, yet he used it anyway. His reason was simple; he wanted to distinguish himself from another writer of the same name.  My response to him was simply that while I understand the need to distinguish himself, doing so by deceiving his readers is a mistake his writing career will not recover from. I made sure he knew his readers would assume he's a medical doctor and allowing them to make that assumption is deception. I warned him that he would lose all credibility as a writer should he proceed with that as he's published.

The rule of thumb is that if you are a Ph.D, you list your name as:

Jane Doe, Ph.D.


Dr. Jane Doe

Immediately, when people see "Dr." they assume medical doctor. This assumption is widely accepted in the writing world, as well as in education. When someone finds out Jane is not a medical doctor, they either think she's a liar or ignorant.......and neither of those is a good way to be perceived!

Get real.  Be real.

Only represent your real accomplishments. Only list what is true about yourself. If you got your Ph.D through a for-profit university, it's likely it will not be acknowledged in most colleges, thus it's not appropriate to claim. Most colleges check these things; you will be found out. It's best to be real and up front, saving yourself the impossibility of trying to overcome such a disaster in your career. Most people's careers will not recover.

So, just get real. Be real. Stay real.

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