Man with PhD now wants to be addressed as "Doctor"?
I live in an apartment building. It is a college town (Fort Collins, Colorado), but not campus housing. It's just a nice apartment building with a community center at its core. A man moved in about 2 years ago. He is a full-time student. He recently earned his PhD, and put a notice on the community board that he now wants to be referred to as "doctor". He is not a medical doctor, mind you. He has a PhD in sociology. I am in my 50s, and hard-working. I drive a bus between here and Denver International Airport. So I am by no means highly educated. Nevertheless, there is no way in hell I am going to address him as "doctor". In fact, I go out of my way to call him "Lawrence", which is his name. He has corrected me on a couple of occasions and asked that I address him as "Doctor". Not going to happen. If I were on campus, I might play that game. But this is the real world. I am not impressed by academia, or those who make it their life. I'm more impressed by the guy who gets up every day and goes to a job. Does that make me a jerk?
- MSLv 710 months agoFavorite Answer
The title of Doctor is certainly appropriate for this individual to use. Anyone who has earned a PhD has earned the right to that title. I myself have a PhD. I certainly don't expect people to refer to me that way in my everyday life, but it is how I introduce myself to my students on campus because that is the norm at my university. He DOES sound a little pretentious and I admit that I'd roll my eyes at that as well. Maybe he's just extra proud, and I imagine the novelty will wear off before long. He did work hard for that degree - no PhD program is easy, and I can also guarantee that he's not living some life of easy leisure now either. But I would just stop referring to him by name at all if you don't want to use his preferred title.
- Sam SpayedLv 710 months ago
He is a doctor, and worked hard for his degree. From a professional standpoint, calling him "doctor" (as opposed to "Mr.") is completely appropriate.
You're not in a professional setting, however. He's just someone who lives in the same apartment complex as you. Even if he were a medical doctor, it's not a situation (in the U.S., anyway) in which you would refer to anyone by their title). If you wouldn't ever have called him Mr. Smith, then you shouldn't call him "Dr. Smith"! Continue to call him "Lawrence."
- dripLv 710 months ago
Doctor Doesn’t just refer to someone with a medical degree. After all he has gone through to earn that doctorate degree he has a right to use the title. It has taken a lot of time, money and effort. You have no idea of the work involved.
You are being a jerk.
- Bulldog reduxLv 710 months ago
It would be appropriate for you to address him as Doctor So-and-so, saying his last name after his new title. But just calling him by his new title, "Doctor," without using his last name would be inappropriate. (I happen to know about these things because I am a Dr. So-and-so myself.)
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- foxprojoyLv 610 months ago
I hold a doctorate in psychology and am okay with the title "Dr.", but do not insist on it. I live in Denver, not too far down the road from you. With my client's I like to be called by my first name, but in a professional setting, I think a formal title is more appropriate. I think the answer is somewhere in between how you feel and what he wants. Basically, most American's work hard no matter their vocation; some vocations require more physical labor while other require more mental labor, but it's all work and it's all related to ethics and purpose and respect.
- TavyLv 710 months ago
My son here in the U.K. has a PhD, it took him 7 years to earn the title of Doctor. He works a 50 hour week, so what have you done with your life?
- Karen LLv 710 months ago
Yes, you're being a jerk. Maybe the guy who wants to be called Doctor is being a bit pretentious, but you didn't ask what I think about him.
The polite thing to do is address people by the name they want to be addressed by. If your next door neighbour asks you to call her Mrs. Smith, would you instead insist on calling her Mary?
- LaurieLv 710 months ago
It’s too bad you are so selfish of spirit.
- VPLv 710 months ago
Yes, you are acting like a jerk.
The title of "Doctor," is not just reserved for MDs or medical doctors. Unfortunately, your limited schooling hasn't taught you that someone who continues school after getting their Master's degree and successfully produces their thesis is awarded their Ph.D.
Anyone who gets their doctorate IS a doctor. It takes several years of schooling AFTER getting a Master's degree to get a Ph.D. (which is Latin for "Doctor of Philosophy" -- meaning this one knows his sh*t).
Of course, it's harder to get a doctorate in some areas of study than others, but rest assured that they're not giving them away. Because, like diamonds, the fewer there are the more they're worth.
It's very similar to the ranks that police or military members attain. Lieutenant, Captain, Chief, Sargeant, Master Sargeant, Colonel, or General. You may not like the person; you may not think they deserve their rank; but they've earned the right to be addressed by their rank -- no matter how vain it appears to be.
- Donnie PorkoLv 710 months ago
I’m with you. I wouldn’t call him doctor. Even if he were a medical doctor, I still wouldn’t call him a doctor. If he wants to be called a doctor then he should live in the hospital.
The next time he tells you to call him doctor, kick him in the balls and call him a doctor.
- Anonymous10 months ago
What are you afraid of, the PhD Police?