Do we make too much out of them?
I have always been fascinated with our use of suffixes in names, such as “Senior” or “Junior.” I look upon the use of such monikers as a desperate cry for attention. Years ago I had a friend who put “Senior” after his name on business cards. Knowing he had no offspring yet, I asked why he did this. He explained it was wishful thinking on his part to someday have a son to carry on the family name. Of course, he was blessed with a trio of girls and eventually dropped the suffix.
Then there are the people who add Roman Numerals after their name to indicate they are the second, third, fourth, or whatever to bear the same name. I guess they see this as a way to add class and dignity to the family name. I think the highest was a “V” representing five people with the same boring name. I am tempted to add the Roman Numerals “MLXVII” to the end of my name, thereby confusing people or allowing them to believe there has been 1,067 generations of Tim Bryce. That should scare them.
In academia, Doctors use Ph.D. which actually means Doctor of Philosophy, or to be more literal, it is Latin for Philosophiae Doctor. The idea that a doctor is a philosopher in the strictest sense, isn’t very comforting if you are in the hospital where I would rather be treated by an MD (Medical Doctor, or Doctor of Medicine). In business there are the MBAs representing a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Interestingly, you do not see too many people denoting their Bachelor’s degree. I can only assume they are ashamed of the title as compared to the Ph.D. or MBA. As for me, I’m proud to say I hold a BSC degree, representing a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. I worked hard for this and am proud of the designation, but I do not print it on my business cards.
Depending on the line of work we select, there are often many certifications we can claim. The entertainment industry is full of them, most notably the American Cinema Editors (ACE). In my field, the computer industry, there have been numerous certifications. For example, I was among the first group to hold the Certified Systems Professional (CSP) title which, unfortunately died after the country stopped building information systems and focused on software instead. A Certified Data Processor (CDP) was also a coveted title requiring several weeks of study and testing. This too faded from view and was replaced by something called the Certified Computing Professional (CCP). It kind of sounds like the old Soviet Union doesn’t it?
The industry certification programs were replaced by those sponsored by specific vendors, such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and many others. In Microsoft’s case, there are at least six certification programs that I am aware of, including:
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE)
I would like to meet the guy who refers to himself as “John Doe, MTA, MCSA, MCSE, MCSD, MCT, MCE.” I do not believe there is a business card big enough to hold all this. Frankly, I believe this does more to advertise Microsoft products, than reveals any substantial skill.
Nonprofit organizations make extensive use of titles, particularly the Freemasons, the ancient fraternal organization well known for wearing aprons, sashes and other regalia. They also make extensive use of titles, such as Past Master (PM), Past District Deputy Grand Master (PDDGM), Past District Instructor (PDI), Past Grand Master (PGM), not to mention their prefixes of Worshipful, Right Worshipful, or Most Worshipful. I suspect this was all created to establish some sort of prestige competition. To me, too much emphasis is paced on these suffixes and not enough on the simple word of “Brother.”
A few years ago, I tried an experiment whereby I signed my name as “Tim Bryce, LSMFT” which, of course, are the initials for “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco,” an advertising scheme used for many years. I believe it is still printed on each pack of Luck Strike cigarettes. Nonetheless, very few people picked up on the ruse and were impressed by my title. Not many people asked me what it meant as they didn’t want to appear clueless. However, when someone asked me about it, I would explain what it meant and they would laugh, but then started to think about the point I was trying to make.
In the movie, “The Flim Flam Man,” George C. Scott plays the role of a southern swindler with the name, Mordecai Jones, MBSCSDD, which stood for “Master of Back Stabbing, Cork-Screwing and Dirty Dealing.”
I tend to believe we rely too heavily on these name suffixes. They’re pompous, arrogant and often result in negative political side effects. I’m of the age where I am no longer easily impressed. I have met way too many people with titles who are book smart but cannot produce a work product on time or within budget. I have also done my fair share of travel throughout the corporate world and have seen everything from the boardroom to the trenches. I certainly do not need another title. However, there are people who have led a sheltered existence and want to have their egos stroked with some form of recognition. These are the people who desperately seek such suffixes.
Keep the Faith!