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Titles don't equal reputation

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Avatar for zolabundance2
Written by   123
1 month ago
Topics: Filipino, Society

My father was a geologist. Or more specifically, a hydrogeologist. It was his job to study water availability in specific areas to determine whether it can sustain the requirements of whatever business or project will be set up in a particular location.

He was just among a handful in his profession here in the country. And modesty aside - not because he was my old man - he was probably the best. His clients were the biggest corporations and organizations, and many times, he would be called in to troubleshoot something another hydrogeologist already worked on, but was unsuccessful.

Anyway...on several occasions, I would hear people address my Dad as 'Engineer,' which is funny, because he wasn't one. And neither was his profession a branch of engineering. I guess it's because those guys who called him that didn't really know how to address him as a professional so they went with engineer.

I'm not sure if secretly my father liked being referred to as that, or he just got tired correcting these people, a number of whom were engineers themselves assigned to oversee the projects that my father was working on.

Honestly, it annoyed me. Not just the title, which was not appropriate, but the need to use one.

It's a culture thing here in the Philippines, for professionals to be addressed with a title. So, it is always a big deal for someone to become an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor - the big three in college degrees - because they'd have that title stuck to their names forever.

But let's not forget political titles. Someone may have been a mayor 50 years ago, but people who knew him as such will definitely keep addressing him that long after he has retired.

Even if the person was merely a councilor or a village chief (barangay captain), their names will always be preceded by their title - present or past.

So you often get confused when meeting someone for the first time who is introduced as 'Kap', (for barangay captain) or 'senator' or 'cong' (for congressman), and think this was an incumbent, when in fact it was a title from a long-ago job.

Why is it even necessary to attach a title to someone's name, whether incumbent or not, practicing a certain profession, or just for earning a degree?

Will trumpeting what you are, or were, add to your credibility or importance as a human being? Or will you become less of a professional if people did not refer to you with a title?

And here I thought you built a reputation because of what you can actually do, or what you've done, not by some title you want people to reverently address you with.

What about those other professionals whose jobs have no formal titles for them, are they any less competent?

Sometimes, people don't even deserve the titles they so zealously protect and almost demand people to address them with. There are those who finish law, barely pass the bar, and end up as notary publics. Yet, they are 'Attorney' so and so.

People who complete their PhDs always want to be referred to as 'Dr', many of them from the education department. I know there are physicians who aren't happy being lumped with someone who has a doctorate degree, because they argue it's not the same as being a medical professional.

I'm all for broadcasting to the world what you do for a living, and if you're any good at it, your work will speak for itself, no titles required.

It's a mindset that isn't healthy, and can be discouraging.

I totally understand parents who preen like a peacock after a child earns one of those coveted degrees, especially if they had to toil and sacrifice so much for this to happen.

And if their children end up as successful professionals, well and good. But let's not shout it at the rooftops every single time that your son is an engineer, or your daughter a doctor, especially if they don't have much to show for it yet.

Even if you're a successful entrepreneur, some even disparage you saying you're just in sales. And never mind if you're the most skilled and talented mechanic, able to bring to life some decrepit vehicle that could fall apart anytime, you ain't much because there's no title for that.

Titles should not define who we are and the work we do. The results and output that we give out because of how we do our jobs will build our reputation. And that's far more important than any high-falutin' title attached to a name.

Come to think of it, when someone does some heroic deed regardless of what they do for a living, is their name prefixed with 'Hero'?

I didn't think so. But I know people far and wide know exactly who that person is and what he did. And that's all that really matters.

Images: Lead image created with Canva; other images from Unsplash

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Avatar for zolabundance2
Written by   123
1 month ago
Topics: Filipino, Society
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Comments

That is really truth my dear... Nice article 👍

$ 0.00
1 week ago

This is so true, personally I experienced it I didn't know he was a PhD and I called him sir, he corrected me saying Dr not sir lol. How I hate this kind, for me with or without a title we all do give the same effort to whatever field that we are. My father is also a Engineer but always telling his team to address him with his first name.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

And I thought 'sir' already denoted bought respect and courtesy... Egad, these people. I understand there are some who really worked hard to earn a degree, especially doctorates, but I also know there are those who had someone write their dissertation... So I'm not sure if they are totally deserving of a title. Still in all, it's the kind of work you do, and the person you are that garners respect.

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1 month ago

True, degrees are useful to know if the person is suitable for a certain job. But once selected, he/she must demonstrate his/her knowledge and ability to work. And not everyone who has a degree demonstrates efficiency on the job. Very interesting post.

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1 month ago

This is a discussion we have now and then with my partner regarding officemates. There are those who were so proud to be in the management department that they look down on others. What use is their title when they outside the office? Nothing. That little power they have tasted gets in their head. So what if you're a manager? You don't own the world. I laugh at this kinds of people. They need a title to be respected? Let your good deeds speak about you instead.

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1 month ago

And that is what is most annoying! As if getting a position gives a person the right to belittle others and make them believe only they can do a good job. They can crow all they like, and hopefully, they really are good, but unless people like them in and out of work, they are just pathetic examples of the human race.

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1 month ago

I am someone who love title's though not in a way too violent. I would want to be known by the lives I touch and not by the name I'm called.

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1 month ago

Beautiful... and the best to aspire for. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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1 month ago

It's great to know there's someone thinking like me in this regard. I'm an academic, and spend the most of my time within the walls of a school. I'm always confused whenever I see some people get infuriated just because someone had referred to them as Mr instead of Dr to reflect their PhD. Really? Is that necessary? As for me, I don't like it when someone refers to me without using my name. Referring to me by a title or a nickname isn't exactly pleasing to me. I want to be known for what I do, not what people call me by.

$ 0.02
1 month ago

Precisely. It's you and what you do that matters. For all we know, someone bought a title.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

True that!

$ 0.00
1 month ago

I hate the concept of titles, or anything that relates to the status of a person. Some people I've met are so rude when they aren't called with matching title beside their names. I hope that people would understand that titles are worthless if the person has no character. And I personally don't like to have any title added into my name even if I earned it. People will label me as such.

$ 0.02
1 month ago

So true, and many with titles have no character. They only rely on their title to supposedly gain respect.

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1 month ago

I agree that university degrees do not define who we are. On the other hand, all the sacrifice that is made to try to get a degree is meritorious. Whatever profession we are in. But it does not tell us how much we are worth as people. It is our love for our fellow man that makes us degree winners.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

It is what we do with those degrees, or how good we perform our jobs that should give us the sense of fulfillment and define our success.

Before I forget, thank you for the sponsorship. I am humbled and extremely grateful.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

In Malaysia, when it comes to professions, only doctors are addressed as such.

As we discussed the other day, we have plenty of honorary titles... And they WILL get offended if not addressed accordingly. 😂

Offt topic: In my cellphone contacts list, I will key in "Steve Plumber" or "Ken Mechanic", for example.

If not 'Engineer' then how should your dad be addressed?

$ 0.01
1 month ago

Yes, my contacts also bear the occupation so I know exactly who they are. And that's more important to me. Doctors as in physicians, or even those with PhD?

Honorary titles are even worse! But not everyone wants to be addressed with these, do they?

My dad was way okay with 'Sir', if you are deferring to him, or Mr. xxx, or by his given name. I know when he introduces himself he just gives his name, no titles required. Anyway, if you need his services or expertise, it's most likely someone already mentioned him because there really aren't many in his field, especially if you want someone topnotch.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

Both medical doctors and PhD holders are addressed as "Doctor so-and-so".

You bet they want to be addressed as such, since they "earned" it and also as respect to the person who bestowed the award, usually a ruler.

And sometimes, we can't just use the title "Datuk" or "Dato" but have to preceded it with an honorific title.

Here is a comprehensive research. http://www.mcgkl.org/ENAK%21+-+Recent+reviews_335_1.htm

$ 0.00
1 month ago

I don't believe title matters. Does Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey have titles on their names?

As for your father, his profession is taken by mistake as Geodetic Engineering.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

Yes! Yes! Yes! That's precisely the point. They don't even go with Mr. or Ms. They're just introduced with their names. And everyone knows what they've done.

I'm not quite sure about mistaking it. But water under the bridge as my Dad has passed on.

$ 0.00
1 month ago