My Boss Thinks It's Bragging to Say I'm an MBA
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Dear Annie: What is the protocol for listing one's credentials on e-mail signatures, business cards, etc.? I have an MBA and am a CPA, yet today my boss sniped at me in a meeting for listing these things on my e-mail signoff and business card. He has a Ph.D., and he asked me, "Oh, now I'm going to start putting that on my card?" I was nonplussed, since many other people here use the same professional designations without this kind of ridicule. What is going on? --Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: Hmm. Your boss is exceedingly modest. Most Ph.D.s not only note the designation on their cards but also like to be addressed as "Doctor," which seems fair enough after all those years of study. "It is customary to list one's credentials on one's card and e-mail signoff, although MBAs do it somewhat less than CPAs do," says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of an executive-etiquette training firm called the Protocol School of Palm Beach ( "Your boss really should include his Ph.D. on his card and e-mail signoff as well. For him to make fun of you for this--well, there must be something else going on." Indeed. I hate to break this to you, but it seems pretty clear that your boss dislikes you for some reason that has nothing to do with this at all. And since he is the CEO, you might be wise to figure out what it is about you that bugs him--or else start job hunting.

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