How many letters do you have after your name?
Somewhere between the realm of meaningful education and “money grab land” lies the mass hysteria that seems to be engulfing every professional field. Everyone is in a race to add more letters after their name, no matter at what cost or with how much effort. Email signatures are laden with meaningless acronyms that are supposed to means something to somebody. People add these acronyms with pride and with the inherent expectation that whatever their email contains is somehow more factual, or should be taken as sacred text. With some emails the window has to be maximized or else the person’s credentials will start running on the line below. Is this a sign of a competitive job market, brilliant marketing campaigns by professional organizations, or has it simply become a new syndrome associated with our culture today, something I like to call “Accreditation Complex.”
.I’ll give one example of a meaningless acronym. The University of Waterloo offers a two year MBET program. The program is very interesting, and I’m sure is quite solid, but MBET!?! Why call it a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology? Can you really teach Entrepreneurship? When one of the university staff was trying to sell me on the program I was turned off by the name. MBET translated to bulllshit in my head.
Of course not all of these acronyms are created equal. A BSc, MA, PhD, MBA, MD, and heck even a CPA demand respect. But what does BEMP, FMP, or a CSA really mean? Signing to myriad to 2 day courses will result in a myriad of certification. This reminds of a George Carlin line “not every ejaculation deserves a name”. Similarly, not every training course deserves a certification. Every specialization in every profession needs an acronym... are you a roof installer? We have an organization and a certification for you? Do you stack shelves in a super market? Well then you would be glad to hear of River College’s SMSCA, Super Market Supply Chain Analyst.
These certifications are of course not freebies. After the gruelling 2 day course the professionals are faced with certification maintenance. Every year or two you must pay some fee to some organization to maintain your name on some website. Sometimes you need to be retested, since in the information age knowledge is expanding exponentially and as a professional you need to keep up with the latest and greatest.
The sad part is that these useless acronyms are what someone’s experience is reduced to. While HR professionals go through resumes they Ctrl-F, at least mentally, one of the acronyms that are supposed to make a candidate better than another with more experience but lacking this or that credential. Our merit has been reduced to 3 or 4 letter acronyms, maintained by money hungry organizations. It’s the age of marketing, consumerism, and accreditations.