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Thread: A quick question on protocal

  1. #1
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default A quick question on protocal

    Yesterday, I sent an email with an inquiry regarding a job opening at one of the US military colleges. While I received a quick response, I was a touch "bothered" (as in "hot and bothered") by the way it was worded. I had signed the email "Marc" right over my signature line which reads "Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D." The response was rather terse and addressed to "Mr. Tyrrell". Is this a normal form of address from a staff person who is listed as the email contact for a job opening?

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Dr Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Yesterday, I sent an email with an inquiry regarding a job opening at one of the US military colleges. While I received a quick response, I was a touch "bothered" (as in "hot and bothered") by the way it was worded. I had signed the email "Marc" right over my signature line which reads "Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D." The response was rather terse and addressed to "Mr. Tyrrell". Is this a normal form of address from a staff person who is listed as the email contact for a job opening?
    Marct,

    Unfortunately, this might be "normal," but it certainly isn't appropriate. The "staff person" is most likely also not the person who ultimately makes hiring decisions, so I would encourage you to look past the poor protocol and to seriously consider options at our military schools -- we need good people with diverse capabilities and expertise (anthropology being one of the hot areas right now!).

    I get internal e-mail all the time from staffers written to "Mr" but I just consider the source. My colleagues and the great officer students know the deal...

    Dr Jack

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    No that is NOT correct Dr. Tyrrell,

    All of the Military schools (West Point, Naval Academy, Air Farce Academy) should be apropriate and have in the past done done so in their dealing with me and others. I don't think others outside of academia are going to percieve the error in protocol the way we would. But if the military academies want respect they better dang well give it.

    Your doctorate is an academic rank and the only other rank that matters is assistant, associate or full professor depending on the school. If you're not sure if Doctor is apropriate then use professor. For those that think it doesn't really matter.. It does matter much the same as any military rank. For much the same reasons.
    Sam Liles
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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Marc,
    I'd say its normal - formality is somewhat pervasive, being all "sirs" and "ma'ams". The old - "when in doubt, be formal" is a fairly common rule. You should have just said you were Canadian and they'd have understood. Having you at a military college would be very beneficial to us - I hope you strongly consider it. Once they get to know your touchy feely side you'll proabably Marc'd to death.
    Regards, Rob

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    Default Idiots to the right of me, morons to the left...

    Marc--

    It is NEVER appropriate to address a person who has identified himself as PhD (phuddy duddy) as Mr.

    However, there are exceptions based on local convention at certain schools and in certain departments in those schools. Back in the stone age, when I was a grad student at Indiana, the convention in my department - political science - was to call all faculty Mr., Mrs., or Miss (Ms did not exist). My minor department, anthropology, used the title of Dr. for PhDs. Today, George Washington U addresses all faculty, regardless of degree or rank, as Professor.

    That said, local convention should under no circumstances outweigh the respect that a formal inquiry - even one made through informal means - demands. Nevertheless, my good friend Dr, Tyrrell, the person who responded to you was either an ignorant idiot or moron with the operative word being ignorant

    Your obdt servant

    John T. PhD (Piled high and deep/phuddy duddy)

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    Default PhDs as prima donnas

    Since all of us PhDs are prima donnas - by definition - it is well for us to remember a story told about Oxford Don, C. Northcote Parkinson during his tenure at the British MOD during WWII. It is said that Parkinson had a sign over his desk that read, "Never forget Rule 6." Most of his young male assistants were afraid to ask but a few of the braver ones did. The answer they received from Parkinson - without even looking up from what he was doing - was, "Don't take yourself too seriously." That satisfied most of the young men. But occasionally a really bright one would ask, " But, Dr, Parkinson, what are the 5 preceding rules?" Parkinson would stop, look up, and respond, "Young man, there are no other rules."

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Since all of us PhDs are prima donnas - by definition - it is well for us to remember a story told about Oxford Don, C. Northcote Parkinson during his tenure at the British MOD during WWII. It is said that Parkinson had a sign over his desk that read, "Never forget Rule 6." Most of his young male assistants were afraid to ask but a few of the braver ones did. The answer they received from Parkinson - without even looking up from what he was doing - was, "Don't take yourself too seriously." That satisfied most of the young men. But occasionally a really bright one would ask, " But, Dr, Parkinson, what are the 5 preceding rules?" Parkinson would stop, look up, and respond, "Young man, there are no other rules."
    I love it! Actually, I think that's one of the reasons I really prefer "Marc" or, from close colleagues, friends and students, phases that can't be posted on a public board .

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Dr. Jack and Rob,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Jack View Post
    Unfortunately, this might be "normal," but it certainly isn't appropriate. The "staff person" is most likely also not the person who ultimately makes hiring decisions, so I would encourage you to look past the poor protocol and to seriously consider options at our military schools -- we need good people with diverse capabilities and expertise (anthropology being one of the hot areas right now!).
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    I'd say its normal - formality is somewhat pervasive, being all "sirs" and "ma'ams". The old - "when in doubt, be formal" is a fairly common rule. You should have just said you were Canadian and they'd have understood. Having you at a military college would be very beneficial to us - I hope you strongly consider it. Once they get to know your touchy feely side you'll proabably Marc'd to death.
    Regards, Rob
    I really don't have much of a problem looking past an instance of poor protocol, per se; I'm not really that touchy about it . As for "considering the option", well, that was actually what the email was about - all of the job ads I have seen at the various military colleges state "must be an American citizen", and I was asking if Canadians could be considered. The response was rather emphatic:

    Mr. Tyrrell,

    You must be a US citizen.

    Thanks.
    I was honestly wondering if the person responding didn't like Canadians or, maybe, just thought that I was being "uppity" for even asking .

    On the whole, I would be quite happy to go for a position in one of the military colleges (as would my wife who is an American citizen) but, as you can guess, the response I got was somewhat off-putting.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I would expect that you ran into the bureaucratic "drone" who'd seen that same question a few times before (or just got his/her ass chewed by the boss for something or another) and decided to send a petty sounding result. Or it was someone who sends text messages more than e-mail and has lapsed into the lazy ways of brevity.

    We have two NCOs in my office: one of them would send an e-mail like this just because he doesn't communicate well. The other one would have sent you 500 words saying the same thing for the same reason.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I would expect that you ran into the bureaucratic "drone" who'd seen that same question a few times before (or just got his/her ass chewed by the boss for something or another) and decided to send a petty sounding result. Or it was someone who sends text messages more than e-mail and has lapsed into the lazy ways of brevity.

    We have two NCOs in my office: one of them would send an e-mail like this just because he doesn't communicate well. The other one would have sent you 500 words saying the same thing for the same reason.
    LOLOL - Maybe we should produce a series of boilerplate for drones . Even something like "Dear Dr. X. thank you for your inteterest in ________, but I am afraid that the position must be held by a US citizen without exception." Then they could just cut and paste the response and fill in the blanks.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    My PhD advisor works hand in hand with NIJ, Homeland Security, DOD, CIA, etc... and he's Canadian. One of my committee members is a long time spooky cloak and dagger type and he's Russian. If the academies and colleges aren't hiring outside the US their loss.
    Sam Liles
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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Certainly didn't stop DOS or DA

    Kilcullen is Australlian right? Are we playing favorites? What would the founders of the 1st Special Service think? This calls for a SWC petition! We should get behind our Canadian brothers Equality and fairness for all Anglo start up states I say - and for those PhD types too

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    Talking

    Having been through the military academia job search a coupla times, let me throw in my $.02.

    1. There is usually a section listing negotiable and non-negotiable requirements. Some jobs are from the start "status only"; others have citizenship requirements. All apps are usually filtered through bureaucrats before they get to SMEs. Lord only knows how many star performers fall through the cracks in the process. Rule 6 applies.

    2. I used to get really annoyed at high-ranking officers who would introduce themselves by their first names to us lowlifes. When their expectation was that we would defer totally to their real rank/status, why go through the charade? Dr. Tyrel is a valued member of this forum, but given this thread, I now feel that the "marct" and "marc" monikers are somewhat tests of our deference. Rule 6 applies.

    3. Official correspondence probably ought to be signed somewhat formally. Rule 6 applies.

    That said, feel free to just call me "Old". ROTFWL

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    How 'bout "TOB" (Tough Ol' Bird)?
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Well, you may have a point but was your email spotless to begin with. I mean before flying off the handle did you look at your own work as well? Using "Marc" above your position and title was a mistake. You should have just left you full name and title. You got relaxed yourself. In the U.S. the norm for inquiring in writing or submitting a resume can make or break your chances to begin with. Simply missing a period or some other grammatical error will send your prospect into the trash.

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Dr. Jack and Rob,





    I really don't have much of a problem looking past an instance of poor protocol, per se; I'm not really that touchy about it . As for "considering the option", well, that was actually what the email was about - all of the job ads I have seen at the various military colleges state "must be an American citizen", and I was asking if Canadians could be considered. The response was rather emphatic:



    I was honestly wondering if the person responding didn't like Canadians or, maybe, just thought that I was being "uppity" for even asking .

    On the whole, I would be quite happy to go for a position in one of the military colleges (as would my wife who is an American citizen) but, as you can guess, the response I got was somewhat off-putting.

    Marc
    Marc --

    Unfortunately, the service schools (undergrad through Command & Shaft) most often do not hire foreigners -- another Canadian friend of mine ran up against this, despite having a good friend at Leavenworth, eg. I'm not sure about the policy for the War Colleges. Part of the problem is that some of the work inevitably involves classified/sensitive information, and there's very little wiggle room around the clearance issues. (It can be done, but it must come from way up on high.) Nothing to do with Canadians, just a basic yea or nay based on citizenship.

    As for West Point, they can be iffy on the correspondence -- I know people who have received no response from them at all. I'd take the "Mr." as an honest oversight, and the "terseness" for that basic military "get to the point and don't elaborate much" characteristic.

    As for the "title" issue, as I am still a candidate, I get very nervous when folks start referring to me as "Dr." -- no, no, no, I haven't _earned_ it yet, and I don't want to be jinxed! Of course, I'm not so emphatic when I point out the confusion.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Culpepper,

    Quote Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
    Well, you may have a point but was your email spotless to begin with. I mean before flying off the handle did you look at your own work as well? Using "Marc" above your position and title was a mistake. You should have just left you full name and title. You got relaxed yourself. In the U.S. the norm for inquiring in writing or submitting a resume can make or break your chances to begin with. Simply missing a period or some other grammatical error will send your prospect into the trash.
    I would certainly agree with that for a written submission or an actual application, but for a general email inquiry? The norm in Canada at least and in some parts of the US for that type of inquiry is to use a semi-formal email type. Would you suggest, then, that I shold have gone with the fully formal email version of a signature, - ://ss// Marc W.D.Tyrrell, Ph.D.// over the signature line?
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Job Offers with poor protocol

    Evening Marc !

    You didn't happen to mention your background in witchcraft consultancy & education, pagan rituals, or casting spells...did you

    That would account for several interesting responses, albeit with poor protocol.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Stan,

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Evening Marc !

    You didn't happen to mention your background in witchcraft consultancy & education, pagan rituals, or casting spells...did you

    That would account for several interesting responses, albeit with poor protocol.
    Nope - not one little bit . Nor did I mention the singing either - which is where my head is at right now . It was just a straight query on citizenship restrictions. Since this seems to be such a restriction, I'm fully expecting my wife to start bugging me again to take out US citizenship <sigh>.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Stan,

    Nope - not one little bit . Nor did I mention the singing either - which is where my head is at right now . It was just a straight query on citizenship restrictions. Since this seems to be such a restriction, I'm fully expecting my wife to start bugging me again to take out US citizenship <sigh>.

    Marc
    You know, now that I think about it, your singing career, potential as a US Citizen, and (ahem) wit, may actually swing the balance in your favor

    Sadly, it won't change job offer responses from those pesky U.S. Gubmen.

    Have a good evening, Marc.

    Regards, Stan

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