Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's in a name?

Would a rose smell just as sweet if it wasn't called Rose?  Would a scientist be just as smart if she wasn't called Dr.?

A few years ago when I worked closely with a certain hospital Administrator, I had to correct her from calling me "That Girl".  Guess what? This girl has a name and if we deal with each on various occassions/on a regular basis take the time to learn it and use it properly. But this is not the point of today's ramble.

Working in a 'good ole boy' institution, where those with additional appendages and missing legs on the chromosomes kinda reign supreme, it's become an unsettling phenom to listen to how some of the female brains are being addressed by their first names, while broken chromosomes are referred to as "Dr So-and-So".  This happens not just from colleague to colleague (to be expected) but also lower level staff members as well.

I can consider a few of the female physicians "friends", women I will meet after work for happy hour or on the weekend for non-work related events. Off campus, we dispense of formalities (although it has taken me an entire year to drop "Dr" for one in particular). And although I am older than some of the med students/residents, I still give them their respect (some days) and call them Dr, especially in the presence of my boss. I would never, on the other hand, even fathom to address my boss or his colleagues (researchers or clinicians) by their first name to their face.  Age does not necessarily trump those initials behind that last name.

So do you become the snooty, uppity PhD and correct everyone within 5-mile radius or do you let it ride?  Do titles really matter?  Hmmm, Secretary's Day is coming up.  Oh wait, that's been changed to Administrative Professionals Day (now everyone gets a piece of the pie). But that's another rant for another day.


The Merry said...

Wow, that's a 180 from my workplace. Working for a company that makes computer hardware & software, most of the men I work with are Ph.Ds, but the culture is such that it's "simply not the done thing" to mention it. Also, everyone from the head honcho on down are referred to by their first name. And admins rule -- they have loads of power.

God's Favorite Shoes! said...

Titles don't really phase me much. I call people whatever they want me to call them usually. I noticed from a comment you wrote on Erin's Work With What You've Got's blog that you mentioned Lakewood...and I said she has got to be in Houston!

So am I! let me poke around your blog for a while:)