An Open Letter to Dr. Jill

 

Dear Dr. Jill,

I’m writing as one doctor to another. Actually, two doctors to another since I have two doctorates—a juris doctor and a Ph.D. Yes, as you probably understand, it took a fair amount of time and a lot of hard work to earn those two degrees, and I’m rather proud of them.

I got the Ph.D. because I loved what I studied. I wanted to know as much as I could and be able to pass it on to others. I admit that the Ph.D. was a necessary credential to doing the kind of work I wanted to do, but it was the knowledge and not the credential that drove me.

For a variety of reasons not relevant here, I did not become a professor but turned to the law instead. I have to say my time in law school was very rewarding intellectually. I tried to explain to my fellow students, most of whom were some years younger than I, that they should thoroughly enjoy their time in school. But most of them were there for the credential and the prospect of a high-paying job. They saw the law more as a tool than as a calling. Maybe you understand that too.

As a lawyer, nobody called me “doctor.” Not once. And no other lawyer that I came in contact with, juris doctors one and all, ever asked for that honorific. It just isn’t done.

I practiced in a law firm with others who had a Ph.D. in various disciplines, and we were all judged on our skill as lawyers. Nobody thought that a Ph.D. entitled us to special recognition, even though we used that specialized knowledge in our legal practice and had clients who valued it. My Ph.D. was not just a trophy to hang on the wall. The education made me a better lawyer than I could have been without it, but it did not make me a better lawyer than the guy in the next office.

You are of course right that having a non-medical doctorate does not diminish your accomplishment. A lot of people seem to miss the point about medical degrees versus other doctorates. We call MDs “doctor” because we all need them in their professional capacity. We called our professors “doctor” because we, in our specialized pursuit, needed them in their professional capacity. It’s not that one doctorate is a cheap imitation of the other. It’s that most of us simply don’t need what you have to offer.

So here’s some friendly advice, one doctor to another: Nobody can take your degree or your education away from you, and you can give it an honored place in your own assessment of your accomplishments. But nobody owes you any special salutation. If your degree has value to you primarily as something for others to acknowledge, then you wasted your time in school.

In short, use your education to serve others, not to ask others to serve you. If someone needs your special skills, maybe that person will call you doctor. But don’t ask for it. There are plenty of people smarter and more accomplished than you or I who happily answer to Mr. or Ms. and who know that people who demand respect rarely get it.

Sincerely yours,
Hank Reynolds

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  1. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Spot on.  This should be widely published.  Promotion to the Main Feed is a good start.  From there, it can be shared.

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Hank Reynolds: use your education to serve others, not to ask others to serve you.

    Oh, AMEN!!!

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hank Reynolds: If someone needs your special skills, maybe that person will call you doctor.

    I think there is far too much assumed here.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    By the way, Can I call you Dr. Dr. Reynolds?

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Well said, Dr. Hank . . .

    • #5
  6. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge
    DonG (Biden is compromised)
    @DonG

    You know who else isn’t a doctor?   Anthony Fauci.   He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice.  I heard someone say he joined NIH avoid the Vietnam draft, which makes him a typical Lefty Boomer.

    • #6
  7. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):

    You know who else isn’t a doctor? Anthony Fauci. He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice. I heard someone say he joined NIH avoid the Vietnam draft, which makes him a typical Lefty Boomer.

    Organizations like NIH are infested with people like that.  They get an MD so they can get the job they want – they never had any intention of practicing medicine.  

    • #7
  8. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):

    You know who else isn’t a doctor? Anthony Fauci. He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice. I heard someone say he joined NIH avoid the Vietnam draft, which makes him a typical Lefty Boomer.

    This is patently false.  Fauci is an infectious disease specialist who–at least until recently–regularly sees and treats patients.  He was actively involved in treating patients during the Ebola outbreak and has turned down offers to run NIH and stuck with NIAID because the latter permitted him to continue to treat patients.  Good idea to stop listening to what you “hear[d] someone say” about him, especially if this is what you call draft dodging. 

    Really, Don, what have you done to improve the world that puts you in a position to make such scornful accusations against Dr. Fauci?  

    • #8
  9. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    My father had two PHDs in theology and literature from Vanderbilt but refused to be called Dr. He would proudly tell people that PHD actually stood for Post Hole Digger. He must be so amused by this kerfule.  I have an MD degree but have avoided using the Dr. surname because I don’t want to pay the Doctor tax every time a handyman has to come into the home for repairs.

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Arahant (View Comment):

    By the way, Can I call you Dr. Dr. Reynolds?

    Mr. MD.

    • #10
  11. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Hank Reynolds: There are plenty of people smarter and more accomplished than you or I who happily answer to Mr. or Ms.

    Or Mrs.

    • #11
  12. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Ahem. . .Dr.* Jill.

     * Not a medical doctor.

    • #12
  13. Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… Member
    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai…
    @Gaius

    Wait, are we calling a JD a doctorate now?

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Caryn (View Comment):

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):

    You know who else isn’t a doctor? Anthony Fauci. He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice. I heard someone say he joined NIH avoid the Vietnam draft, which makes him a typical Lefty Boomer.

    This is patently false. Fauci is an infectious disease specialist who–at least until recently–regularly sees and treats patients. He was actively involved in treating patients during the Ebola outbreak and has turned down offers to run NIH and stuck with NIAID because the latter permitted him to continue to treat patients. Good idea to stop listening to what you “hear[d] someone say” about him, especially if this is what you call draft dodging.

    Really, Don, what have you done to improve the world that puts you in a position to make such scornful accusations against Dr. Fauci?

    Yep! According to Wikipedia, Dr. Fauci received his M.D. at Cornell and did his internship and residency at Cornell Medical Center. I don’t care for his persona, but he has certainly earned the title. How did he get dragged into a discussion about “Dr. Jill,” anyhow?

    • #14
  15. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):

    You know who else isn’t a doctor? Anthony Fauci. He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice. I heard someone say he joined NIH avoid the Vietnam draft, which makes him a typical Lefty Boomer.

    This is patently false. Fauci is an infectious disease specialist who–at least until recently–regularly sees and treats patients. He was actively involved in treating patients during the Ebola outbreak and has turned down offers to run NIH and stuck with NIAID because the latter permitted him to continue to treat patients. Good idea to stop listening to what you “hear[d] someone say” about him, especially if this is what you call draft dodging.

    Really, Don, what have you done to improve the world that puts you in a position to make such scornful accusations against Dr. Fauci?

    Yep! According to Wikipedia, Dr. Fauci received his M.D. at Cornell and did his internship and residency at Cornell Medical Center. I don’t care for his persona, but he has certainly earned the title. How did he get dragged into a discussion about “Dr. Jill,” anyhow?

    No dissertation.

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    How did he get dragged into a discussion about “Dr. Jill,” anyhow?

    Both are pompous fools who like pushing people around.  The discussion is relevant.

    • #16
  17. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    By the way, Can I call you Dr. Dr. Reynolds?

    I think the correct use of the honorifics might be something like “Dr. Hank, Esq.”

    • #17
  18. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Arahant: Dr² Reynolds

    • #18
  19. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    This wasn’t harsh enough and didn’t mock her nearly as much as she deserves.  She is the female equivalent of her status seeking husband, and seeing as how she will be an Edith Wilson she needs to know how little we think of her accomplishments.

    • #19
  20. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    This kerfuffle reminds of something from my childhood. My dad was an attorney. He got his law degree circa 1950, and I recall that around the time I was in junior high school (mid-1960’s) his law school sent him a J.D. degree to replace the LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) he had earned. I think this was done when law schools universally required a bachelor’s degree for admission, something which was not required circa 1950. Anyway, I recall him joking with his friends and fellow attorneys about being a “doctor” now. They all thought it (the name change of the degree) was kinda silly.

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    This kerfuffle reminds of something from my childhood. My dad was an attorney. He got his law degree circa 1950, and I recall that around the time I was in junior high school (mid-1960’s) his law school sent him a J.D. degree to replace the LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) he had earned. I think this was done when law schools universally required a bachelor’s degree for admission, something which was not required circa 1950. Anyway, I recall him joking with his friends and fellow attorneys about being a “doctor” now. They all thought it (the name change of the degree) was kinda silly.

    In England, the medical degrees are Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. So, physicians and surgeons are not “Doctors.”

    • #21
  22. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    When Pete Wilhelm received an engineering award named for my father, a wag pointed out that they were the only people in the room who didn’t have a Ph.D. They didn’t do too badly.

    https://www.nrl.navy.mil/news/releases/nrls-peter-wilhelm-bestowed-naval-research-award-outstanding-lifetime-achievement-science

    https://www.nrl.navy.mil/news/releases/father-gps-and-pioneer-satellite-telemetry-and-timing-inducted-national-inventors-hall-fame

     

     

    • #22
  23. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Skyler (View Comment):

    This wasn’t harsh enough and didn’t mock her nearly as much as she deserves. She is the female equivalent of her status seeking husband, and seeing as how she will be an Edith Wilson she needs to know how little we think of her accomplishments.

    Kyle Smith had that covered: Jill Biden’s Dissertation: Contradictions and Conceptual Errors | National Review

     

    • #23
  24. Podkayne of Israel Member
    Podkayne of Israel
    @PodkayneofIsrael

    I think we should call her Jill Doctor Biden, like they do with cardinals

    .

    • #24
  25. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    If your degree has value to you primarily as something for others to acknowledge, then you wasted your time in school.

    Money line, right there.

    • #25
  26. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Let me see if I can find some historical analogies here.  The wife of a president wants her title acknowledged publicly, does she?

    You know who else was a doctor, and asked to be called such?

    Image result for dr. mengele

    There.  Wait – one more, another Dr. who demanded the honorific:

    See the source image

     

     

    • #26
  27. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    I already had determined that I would not refer to the incoming First Lady as “Dr. Jill Biden.” Mostly because it was too stupid to contemplate. Plain “Jill Biden” would do in the few instances I would have anything to say about her. But then I heard that Kamala Harris said it was unAmerican to leave off the pretentious honorific.

    That changed my mind. I will make sure always to call her “Mrs. Joe Biden” from now on.

    • #27
  28. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I already had determined that I would not refer to the incoming First Lady as “Dr. Jill Biden.” Mostly because it was too stupid to contemplate. Plain “Jill Biden” would do in the few instances I would have anything to say about her. But then I heard that Kamala Harris said it was unAmerican to leave off the pretentious honorific.

    That changed my mind. I will make sure always to call her “Mrs. Joe Biden” from now on.

    Or one better:  “Who?”

    • #28
  29. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):
    He got an MD, but never did a residence and never got licensed to practice.

    Government is like that.  I’m not a licensed engineer, but I got to practice as an engineer in my 29 years at DOE (Energy, not Education).

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    How did he get dragged into a discussion about “Dr. Jill,” anyhow?

    Yeah.  She’s ten times better looking . . .

    • #30