Do you use the Dr title?

W

I finished my PhD five years ago, but I remained in academia and always used the Dr. title before my name in my email signature and on any business related communications. I never changed my bankcard, passport or driving license and only used it at work…. In work - I never expected anyone to actually call me Dr, it’s more for credibility in comms etc…. Anyway, in the last six months I have moved to an industry based job, in a different field of research, but I continue to use the word Dr in my email signature I have noticed that other people with PhDs in this company have put (PhD) at the end of there name instead….

My question is - is using a Dr title not the done thing outside of academia? I never highlight it and I’m not abnoxious about it (I’m a mum of 2 working part time !)… someone (no academic qualifications) past a passive aggressive comment in a team meeting today about people using Dr titles - it was not directly directed at me, but it felt as though it was as she has the same job title as me…. And it’s made me feel rubbish as though I’m doing something really wrong. Should I be using PhD after my name instead?

What do others do? Advice and other experiences of using a Dr title or not is appreciated?

D

I work in academia and I use it on presentations, e-mail signature, job applications, etc. - i.e. strictly professional and formal situations. Personally I'd never think to use it outside of academia, unless it was directly relevant. For instance, we had teachers at school who'd go by Dr XYZ instead of Mr XYZ because they had a PhD in the subject they taught.

This is an age old debate and people will have different answers, but in an industry-based job in a different field, I would not use Dr anywhere. It would rub me up the wrong way a bit if someone did, as well, but not enough for me to make passive-aggressive comments in team meetings about it. Then again, my old housemate started putting Dr on his bank cards, Amazon packages, anything you like as soon as he passed his viva, so some people clearly have different views.

I can see how PhD is slightly better, although to be honest I'd be discinlined to use either. Then again, I'm a man, and I recognize that it's often more difficult for a woman to be 'taken seriously' in professional situations, and showing people you have a PhD could conceivably help with that - so maybe go for (PhD) after the name instead?

A

I think in UK culture as we're typically very deferential and apologetic, it is easy for mention of a PhD title to come across as bragging, even if you follow it with a quick cliche ('but not in medicine, so not a real doctor') quip, can still be 'humble bragging'.

Definitely never use it when checking your car in for a service as they'll assume you have money ;)

I never bothered with bank cards, etc., as I don't see the point. I think in other cultures, there is a lot of pride and status associated, but in the UK, it's not really a cultural thing to be proud of what we do (we leave that for the parents to induce the cringe) - we'd rather get into a competition over who has the worst job down the pub, rather than who has the best. I do put Dr. infront of my name if corresponding / signing something at work, but then, I'm still in academia, so it's the obviously done thing.

I think Dr (like many professional titles), is most valuable within the 'industry' it's from - academia. In an academic meeting people will typically use and note it. It's an important distinction there as being research active/competent. If you've left academia, it is likely hard to use it and not sound pretentious - but there's an equal argument as to why *would* you use it, other than to sound pretentious. It is true that often, in industry, there are people with a heck of a lot of academic knowledge and talent that don't have PhDs, and it's not because they're incapable of getting one, it's that they legitimately see it as irrelevant. That said, it's obviously not great you have sniping team members, and I'd think that's not you doing anything wrong, rather your colleague is showing some of their own insecurity there.

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