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10 Ways to use your “Dr” title for good and evil

So you worked hard in the lab for all all of those years. You endured failed experiments, committees, over-bearing supervisors, thesis writing and thesis defending. And for what?

Well, who knows? But no matter where your PhD takes you in life, you can always rely on one thing:  you can call yourself “Dr” whenever you want to. And that can be more useful than you might think.

Now most people I know who have a PhD do not call themselves “Dr” routinely, instead leaving that to those guys who have the skills to save your life with a tracheotomy. But used sparingly, the your doctor title can be fun, rewarding or downright evil. Here are 10 suggestions from the BsB office on how to use your title to the full….

1. First class… for freeee!!!! 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that using your Dr title when booking flights and hotels can increase your chances of getting a free upgrade. Also, having “Dr” on your bank card seems to make the guys at the phonebank treat you more politely. This is just our opinion though – what are your experiences with this?

2. Annoy egomaniacs

You may have noticed that there are some people in the world who have a “Superiority Complex”. That is, they are not happy unless they are top dog and everyone knows it. This sort of person is normally quite annoying to people drawn into their Superiority Feifdom. But (assuming this is not happening in the lab)  you, doctor, have a secret weapon that will take them down a peg or two. For it seems that the mere mention of the title “Dr” hits a very raw nerve with the alpha-person-wannabes and provides endless entertainment for all involved.

3. Be an egomanic

If you are actually one of those alpha-person-wannabes, you could impress everyone around you by using grandiose taglines to describe yourself just like that real egomanic non-medical Doctor, Dr Who.

You could go for something plain and simple like “I am The Doctor”. But why not push the boat out and try this for introducing yourself to people at cocktail parties:  “I’m The Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I’m nine Hundred and three Years Old and I’m the man who’s going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below.” Demand the respect you deserve doctor.

4. Impress your relatives

The perrenial benefit of having a PhD is that your (non-scientist, non-medical) relatives are always impressed by the fact that you could call yourself Dr, if you really wanted to. Numerous possibilities arise from this.

5. Career choices

Another obvious benefit of your PhD is that it opens career doors for you. It closes some too.  But overall, with Dr on your business card, you should be generally more employable and have more choices in your career path than without.

6. Get free parking*

Here’s one you might not have thought about. If you are visiting any major hospital, don’t forget to take full advantage of your PhD by using the spaces that have been set aside just for special people like you. They are normally quite close to the entrance, and marked “Doctor”. An amazing fringe-benefit that you thoroughly deserve for those years of hard work.

7. Dr Dr

If you are actually a tracheotomy-performing, reserved-space-using medical doctor and you also get a Phd, you can confuse the hell out of people by being a “Dr Dr” or “Dr X Phd”. We tried to figure our what would happen if you are a surgeon who gets a PhD, but stopped when our brains began to overheat.

8. Find out what’s wrong with you in words of more than two syllables

I recently found out that registering yourself as Dr X (using your own name in place of X obviously) with your doctor’s surgery has an interesting benefit. That is, if the Dr has to explain something to you they will tend to be more technical in their explanation of your medical problem. Of course, you can just tell them that you are a scientist and ask them to give you more detail, but the “Dr” tag means you automatically get the advanced level description. This is just my experience. Yours, of course, will depend on your doctor.

9. Dress (non)-sense

As laid out by the thesis committee who awarded the 1st ever Phd in Paris in 1150, attaining a PhD apparently gives you the right to forgoe any sense of fashion and things like bow ties and elbow pads on your jacket. Yes, even if you are a woman. You also have the right to go the other way and dress beach bum every day when you go to work. You have a piece of paper that says you are respectable, why do you need nice clothes to say the same?

and finally…

10. Get an instant superhero or rapper monicker

When your parents named you, they probably didn’t think you’d be inserting Dr at the start of your name. So your title may inadvertantly give you a cool name that resonates in popular culture, like Dr Livingston, Dr Phil, or maybe even Dr Who.

This can be taken even further: My initials (Nick Oswald) mean the second I got my PhD I became the infamous Dr NO, while our very own Martin Wilson became the footwear and fashion icon Dr. Martin (Marten). And a former colleague of mine, one D. Reuter, became Dr DRE when the admin people at the company we worked for used the abbreviation “DRE” for his name in meeting minutes.

These are our 10 ways that you can use your “Dr” title to benefit you and those around you. Please feel free to share your suggestions, experiences or superhero monikers with us in the comments section!

*Re: number 6. Of course, this one is a joke, please DON’T park in the doctors’ spaces at the hospital!

5 Comments

  1. colin merry on November 30, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Should you put the Dr. name phD on a headstone?
    Obviously a serious question but some light hearted answers won’t do any further damage now

  2. Meesa on August 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Don’t forget to use “PhD” and “Dr. XXX” when filling out apartment applications, or any applications – instant clout! I also put myself down as references for friends/family — another time to definitely add your degree. Definitely use what you’ve earned, when it gets you a leg up!

  3. Robert on August 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    “Now most people I know who have a PhD do not call themselves “Dr” routinely, instead leaving that to those guys who have the skills to save your life with a tracheotomy.”

    The irony is that those who earned a Ph.D have MORE rights to the title of “doctor” than medical professionals do. Same with clergy who have a doctorate (DD, ThD, DMin, etc.)

    While it is true that in the United States and the Western Hemisphere the title is generally associated with the medical profession, the public needs to be re-educated in what it means to be a “doctor”, meaning any accomplished individual who has worked hard for a terminal degree in a field of study.

  4. kimba listic on July 27, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Do you have any idea if I can use my Ph.D. with a non de plume like if I write as Missy Space Cade,t but my birth name is Ann Jones, can I be Missy Space Cadet, Ph.D. without any issue?

    Also, are you aware if I have been given an Honorary Ph.D. can that effect my FAFSA Student grants? I can’t find these answers anywhere…please help if you can.

  5. Nonyelum Ndefo on July 5, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Hahaha!!! Very nice

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