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Press Dossier    By Date   06/03/2023 Is it disrespectful to ignore job title?

Kuwait Times, Monday, Mar 06, 2023 | Sha'ban 14, 1444

Is it disrespectful to ignore job title?

Kuwait: A couple of days ago, a tweet saying it is disrespectful to call someone without mentioning their job title before their name, such as Dr X or Eng X, went viral in Kuwait. The tweet garnered 1.3 million views, and many of the users commented on it mockingly, while someone wrote “the only one who didn’t comment on this tweet is Obama!”

Kuwait Times discussed the reasons many people prefer to be called by their job title as a mark of respect outside their workplace. The tweeter justified at the end of her tweet that people didn’t study and work hard for their efforts to be ignored, and being called by their first name only without their job title.

Nouf said she usually calls people by their job title out of respect and not due to the certificate they have, but added there is no reason to call people who we don’t know by their job title outside of their work circle. Huwaida also disagreed, saying, “A degree is just a piece of paper; real education is seen in behavior.” Marah said respect that comes due to the job title is not real. “People must not be that shallow to study a hard and exhausting major that needs great efforts only for other people’s appreciation,” she said.

Psychologist Dr Hassan Al-Mosawi told Kuwait Times in the Arab society and culture, using the job title as a kind of social appearance is the main reason people use their job titles to introduce themselves. “We have to consider the big sociocultural role when we compare between the Arab and foreign cultures. It is noticeable that we are giving great importance to this issue, while they only call each other by their first names even in high-profile jobs. This is due to their respect for human beings for their performance, work and connection to their titles,” he said.

“In our Arab culture, for many people it is not acceptable to call them by their name directly without mentioning their job title. Even among doctors, for example, it is inappropriate to call each other without their job titles,” he said. Dr Mosawi clarified this issue as kind of psychological problem, as people think they are not respected if others don’t mention their job title, or people don’t recognize their job or certificate, stressing this is a belief specific to Arab societies, unlike Western societies.

“Also, many people unfortunately obtain postgraduate degrees as a kind of social appearance, more than working with it and benefiting the people with their knowledge. Someone who cares about getting a certificate for social appearance has an inferiority complex, which is when a person feels people will respect them only when they add their job title before their name,” Dr Mosawi said.

Dr Mosawi said social media’s positive affect helped the new generation to understand that this is not a big issue anymore, as they have the awareness to focus on people’s performance and achievements rather than the job title. On the other hand, he said some people are looking for getting some privilege by having higher degrees, such as increment in their salaries, social status and more respect, regardless of their weak knowledge.

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