Wednesday, June 2, 2021

how I managed to gain a doctorate during lockdown

Several years ago, I argued why impressive sounding qualifications can sometimes be a dangerous thing in offering a false sense of security that someone may be more knowledgeable and experienced than they actually are...

And I've always stood by this - including up to the point of actively hiding the 'alphabet soup' of letters that I've someone managed to amass that appear after my full professional name.

But then 2020 happened - and many of us found that we more time on our hands than we had before that needing occupying, and we started to hear in our Facebook feeds and Instagram stories how our friends and colleagues were all learning new languages, starting to paint, and other life enhancing things that made us wonder if we weren't wasting our lives by binge watching Netflix box sets while counting the days until we could next legitimately go to the shops...

I for one, found myself being quite 'active' professionally in various ways (see for some of the 'highlights' of what I got up to during lockdowns). But I also started to wonder if I shouldn't somehow also try and structure these experiences around some form of recognised learning (or at least have something to show for when people ask me in years to come "how did you make the most of the extra time you had during lockdown?", now that we're starting to emerge from it).

Now, I've always known that some of what I do (professionally) gets me noticed in countries outside of England - and I've always been encouraged by that, even if I've never had the aspiration to pack a bag and accept contracts I've been offered on other continents.

And it seems that some of this 'being noticed' has seen a University in America decide that it was about time that some form of academic recognition be bestowed on me - and following a short exchange of emails, I've received an honorary doctorate! (But not of a medical type, and not of the definitive article).

So I'm now technically: Dr h.c. Adrian Ashton of Business Counselling, (CCU/USA)

And this puts me in a bit of a quandary: I've maintained for years that professional qualifications and academic recognitions are not only something that I'm actually not that bothered about, but can also be dangerous things to 'flaunt' - but now I'm in the camp where I've a doctorate.

So what to do? 

Should I completely revisit my whole thinking about having the letters to bookend my name with, or just add this latest addition to the shelf with all the other paperweights and doorstops that I've amassed over the nearly 17 years I've been freelancing to date?

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