Death by designation – or – if there are more initials after your name than IN your name you may be a “designation junkie”

Gedney Farms – White Plains NY – Single Family Homes
February 1, 2010
Real Estate Issues
Death By Designation – Trends from the comments and some further reading.
February 8, 2010

alphabet soupOk – so by the  criteria in my title I could declare more designations than most – since my name is relatively long.  But recently I ran into an agent that had the following designations on her card ….”Sally Smith, ABR, GRI, CDPE, CRS, & EPro.”  Ya gotta be kidding me!  This person has more designation letters then letters in their name.  It must be exhausting to write all that after your name!

Personally, I have a problem with designations simply because the testing required doesn’t have any teeth to show that the agent actually learned something.    Much of the testing is open book – and sustaining the designation involves paying your way and has nothing to do with learning new skills.

Agents have always wanted to look upon themselves as “professionals.”  Often likening themselves to doctors and lawyers and other high-paying professions.  A truly skilled agent is indeed worth a great deal.  However, how can our “value” be disseminated by the public when “qualifications” are shrouded in a blizzard of inexplicable letters?

Those other professionals that we often choose to intone in the same breath with our own  actually utilize degree granting institutions to confer professional or academic degrees upon their candidates.   Wow!  What a concept!  They actually expect the candidate to earn a degree that requires a some amount of academic rigor.   Maintaining the degree does not involve a fee. Another unique concept!  It may seem strange but my alma mater has not threatened to take away my doctorate just because I didn’t contribute the the alumni association. Once conferred, most  degrees actually stay with the candidate. Again – a unique concept.

Its also interesting that most professionals that go through extensive  courses of study don’t put every single degree they ever earned at the end of their name.  Had I splattered my degrees after my name the way some agents display their designations, it would have turned signing my name a massive ordeal.  It would also have looked absurd.   Somehow, I can’t imagine calling myself Dr. Ruthmarie G. Hicks, B.A., M.A., M.S., Ph.D. At least not while keep a straight face.   In all seriousness, who would do this?  Had I put all that gobbledegook  on my professional card, I would have been a laughing stock.

So why do agents persist in this?  Perhaps we are trying too hard to show that we are serious professionals.  But in so doing we actually trivialize  our position and make ourselves look foolish. Wouldn’t actually BEING a serious professional be more effective then leaving a blizzard of initials in our wake?

We need to ask ourselves, does any other profession really do this?  Perhaps if we want to be taken more seriously, we need to rethink what message it sends when throw designations all over the place like they were confetti.  If we don’t, someone will come up with a series of designations that read


Don’t think it can’t happen.

© Ruthmarie G. Hicks,  All rights reserved.

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