May 22, 2012

Paper Snobbery

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:47 am by profart

OK, here’s the rankle of the day: what I call “paper snobbery.” People who get their undies in a twist because they have a piece of paper. It is seriously annoying. 

 

You know, maybe my view is rooted in being an adjunct so long, where the difference between having a master’s degree and having a PhD is about $50 a month in your paycheck, and you remain pond scum. Maybe its from watching other people bullshit their way through grad school, to be the faculty in departments that the students don’t want to get, while I sit here in my corner of adjunct-dom. But I truly find it annoying when someone puts forth their opinion of a situation as better than everyone else’s, and dismisses everyone else’s perspective- because they have a higher degree. Or even several. 

 

There is something innately arrogant in people who dismiss experience in favor of paper. If you have a piece of paper that says you have, say, a maser’s degree in something, that should say to me that you have certain skills and knowledge- specific knowledge on a specific subject, plus general skills in researching and communicating that can be used anywhere. If you display to me otherwise, I don’t give a damn about your piece of paper. You are still an ignorant idiot. 

 

After all, I have a double-major BA, two MAs, and a PhD. Heck, I have a PhD in art history; that doesn’t mean I’m an expert in Michelangelo. And most PhDs in art history know almost nothing about my own speciality in ancient arts of India. (Or llama herding. Whichever.) And it certainly doesn’t mean I’m a shining expert in, say, biology. 

 

There is a difference between people who have higher education and are able to use those skills constructively and generalize them to other fields and areas of life, and people who use their precious pieces of paper to lord over others and demean them. Paper snobbery can easily degenerate into paper bullying. 

And the big red annoying flag is when you’ve been a nasty, ugly snob to me for weeks, then had a sudden and dramatic attitude change when someone called me “Dr. Art” instead of “Ms. Art.” 

Really, really annoying. 

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