Monday, June 01, 2009

The Stupidest Person in the Room

The world I live in is a little different from the norm. No, I’m not talking about the traveling or surviving in different cultures every few years. You see, I live in a world where 90% of the people I know have PhD’s.

Pretty much since the moment Hubby returned to grad school to finish his doctorate, I have been surrounded by people with more letters after their name than I have in my name. Like Hubby, these are über smart people who have decided, for one reason or another, to enhance their smarty status by attending school for an extra six years.

I cannot tell you how many events I have attended with Hubby where I was literally the stupidest person in the room. A fact that was only reinforced by the pitying looks I would receive from some people when I told them what I did for a living and it didn’t involve being a professor or Nobel Laureate.

(Before I get too far into this sulky pityfest allow me to clarify one thing: 95% of those 90% of people are amazing folks I have adopted into my own personal world. They are, for the most part, simply awesome people who happen to be brilliant. I'm just annoyed by the other 5%.)

Where was I? Oh yeah: I’m still the stupidest person in the room. Among the Master’s candidates, ABD would be PhD’s (all but dissertation), actual professors, researchers, and genius’s there I stand: the blogger without any letters after her name. Most of the time this doesn’t bother me that much but it all came to a bit of a head last week.

I was being introduced to someone who works at the Institution and the person making the intros literally paused for ten “um” filled seconds before making something up to justify why I was with them. “She works as a consultant with her husband.”

I know I’m not an awesome, internationally recognized smart guy like Hubby. Nor am I busy publishing papers on world issues like my wonderful friend Adelpha. I’m not a stay at home mother. I’m not even writing the great Canadian novel.

I’m just Typ0 and most of the time I’m totally okay with that. But sometimes it takes ten seconds for someone to justify my existence. I’m sorry I’m fat and unattractive and don’t fit in with your group. I haven’t found my niche in life – but I’m looking.

Sorry to dump on all of you. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled unwhiny posts.


N said...

Don't worry because I think you're awesome! Smart people think too highly of themselves sometimes. I love your blog and your's far more interesting than an academic paper.

Roxane said...

I'm sorry you feel that way, those kind of people can really get you down if you let them (I know, I work for people like that).

However, I would dare to say that none of those uber cool PHD holding geniuses have a loyal band of 72-some followers reading their every thoughts! So you must be pretty awesome, because we keep coming back for more :)

theUngourmet said...

I have always felt "less than" because I don't have a degree. I kick myself for not going to college right out of high school. I have tried to complete my degree but then I start thinking about how much money I would owe in student loans and it scares me too much! Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it right.

Sorry you are feeling this way. Just wanted you to know you are far from alone in the way you are feeling!

I think you are brilliant and I love reading your blog! :0)

Unknown said...

Believe me, if I had a dollar for every time I've felt I was the dumbest person in the room, I wouldn't have to work! My dad even used to tell me I should go over to the talks at the Institute in Princeton, I would learn something - because I'd be the dumbest person in the room! He actually said that! Eventually I've come to realize that if I actually talk to the lettered people, I'm nowhere near the dumbest! And anyway, f&*$ 'em! You're awesome!

Miss Kim said...

I have a great answer for the most common question we get as expat wives... "What do YOU do all day???"....

Answer... "Whatever I want!"

illahee said...

oh my. that person obviously wasn't very smart because he/she HAD TO LIE. ew.

don't worry, i think you're an amazing person. and i think my opinion counts for something!!

LadyFi said...

Sounds like that smarty pants person who introduced you is the one with issues - not you! Don't let it get you down - we love you!

LadyFi said...

Once when I was at work, everyone was introducing themselves giving themselves wonderful titles. The scriptwriters from the other company that was merging with us, we very keen on showing us just how high a status they had: I'm a senior scriptwriter, I'm a senior senior scriptwriter. When it came to my turn, I replied, "I'm a senile scriptwriter."

Everyone laughed and the game of I'm better than you are stopped...

Unknown said...

The fact is that these same "brilliant" people, the ones that look down on the unwashed, are incapable of having a conversation
that doesn't involve


Petty office politics

Petty "oh woe I have to work so hard to finish this paper so I can go to a conference" whining

When they are prattling on and on and on I usually sit there thinking

"I hope you die in a fire"

Doesn't everyone do that?
Everyone does that, right?


Zuzana said...

You know what - after following you blog for a while I would say you are light years from being the most stupid person in the room.
You are very intelligent and smart person.;))

Titles means absolutely nothing; the most intelligent people I have ever met did not even finish school and the most ignorant were professors at the university.;)))

United Studies said...

Just for the record, I had assumed you had an alphabet soup after your name because you do come across as very well-read and educated.

I sometimes feel the same way...even though I am college-educated I have been at home with Emma for the past 5 years and I sometimes feel like I am no longer smart.

G in Berlin said...

As an sahm and expat wife, one of the hardest things I have had to do is to figure out what to say when asked what I do. I usually say "I'm retired and enjoying life". This often produces stupefaction and I continue only as I choose. Perhaps you might choose, "professional observer", Traveller, or whatever gives you an easy answer to those who really don't need or want an answer, but who use a question or introduction simply as a place holder to get to the next sentence. I do understand the problem on both sides, although I have never needed to lie and that woman was a moron to do so. Why she didn't introduceyou as a spouse is probably because she was uncomfortable defining a woman as an appendage to a man. But since your presence there was as an appendage, there really shouldn't be a problem: my husband was often enough addressed as my appendage at my functions!
Please don't feel degrees imply intelligence, btw. They imply a desire to either collect degrees or the results of degrees (that specific knowledge, those specific opportunities).

Betty said...

We love you just the way you are!

Unknown said...

Don't EVER let anyone else define you! It's their problem.

I used to be embarrassed that I didn't go to college but I got over it in my 40s when I realized that I don't to have 'book smarts' to be smart. Feel good about yourself and your decisions.

Caution/Lisa said...

Academia is amazingly pretentious : all the time/everywhere. You, however, Ms. Typ0, are one of the most creative bloggers/travel writers on the Internet. Your insights are detailed and entertaining, and if I could meet any blogger in real life? It would be you. You're that special.

queenbee4 said...

I am often the stupidest person in the room. It's totally cool.

Don't sweat it- the simple fact is that they just can't handle how fabulous you are. Period.

YOu don't ned a lot of letters after your name to be worth something.

We heart u.

Becky said...

Awww, don't let them get you down!!! I seriously think that many people fall in love with their own status and forget about the 'real world.' I want to get an advance degree (in history, which is even more obsolete), but I never want to forget how to apply it in a practical way! :)
But, that is so ridiculous that they MADE UP your title!!! I hope you gave them a really good WTF 'look.' You don't need to JUSTIFY anything to these people about what you do. Because... in the end, when you are old and grey, it matters if you were a good PERSON to everyone around you. THAT is important and you just remember that!

easytravel said...

Thanks for share your opinion. I have a travel blog also. I always wait you on my blog,thanks let me give a comment

Kimberly said...

Somethings in life can be "faked" smarts often can be "faked". - like geometry re: proofs and theorems. So suck it up and just fake it if think you need to fit in! But one (me) has to ask - had you rather have book sense or common sense?

Sturgmom said...

Sometimes PhDs have the least amount of sense. They have knowledge, but not alot of sense.

On the other hand, having kids now makes me feel like the worst-read person on the planet. What's that? You read an ARTICLE in a JOURNAL? Or a NEWSPAPER? Or any other respected PERIODICAL? All I read was Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Or Goodnight Moon.

So long, intelligent conversation!

The Blonde Duck said...

Just tell them you're a blogger studying the social media ramificiations in the world of the average woman and the effects on family and career.

That'll shut them up. :)

Unknown said...

Phewwwww.....I totally dislike those kind of people.
I have an example of that around here. Here it's not about letters after the name, it's the being bored part. She simply cannot understand that I am busy, have fun and whatnot. She always manages to get me down and I return home angry and with a headache. She's the main reason we didn't go fishing much, or well, I didn't.
Hugs, dear, don't let them drag you down!
Btw. we still need to make an appointment :)

Casey (@ Chaos and Cardboard) said...

I totally get you! It seems like all to often I am nothing more than an officer's wife. Don't worry. You are something, and we like the something you are! :)

Crazee Juls said...

I could definitely see where that could be intimidating... Thank heavens for the 95 percent of the 90 percent. :) Sounds like good people---
I am thinking that Typ0 from what I know--sounds like a pretty awesome, genuine, brilliant person.

Carol said...

how many of those extra 6 year students went on because they were too lazy to go to work? Just a thought.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Egads. And that is the world that I was almost in. I have my ABD. And I constantly get friends wanting to know when I am going to finish. And that is sooo not going to happen. Because these children of mine have sucked every last bit of sense right out of me.

I really think that if you need to label yourself a writer. Because it's honest. And to some...sounds impressive :-)

Oh...and August 10th - first day of school!

Unknown said...

Oh yeah, that reminds me.

At the orientation, i was surprised
to have to stand up and give a little "who I am and what I do" speech.

It was morning, I was jet lagged, insufficiently caffeinated and wasn't expecting that _spouses_ would have to speak.

So I stood up and said

"Hi I am Jack, I am a trophy spouse"

3 years later, the president's wife still refers to me as "The trophy spouse" on the rare occasions we meet. And she wasn't even there.

So, Typ0: since I am departing I now hereby convey to you, the exalted status of "Trophy Spouse".

"There can be only one"

Miss Footloose said...

I am so late with this... I loved your post, loved the comments and can so identify with many of the sentiments. I hope you feel better!


Miss Footloose, no letters behind her name either.

MsTypo said...

Thank you so much, everyone!! You guys rock!! ***hugs***

Jemma said...

he he he, I used to work in a place that have a lot of German people that are obsessed with their titles. I mean, it is bad- I think some of them went to school just to have their titles on their business cards. One time a guy came to me and said uhh, Ineed some help with my business card because there are not enough lines for all my titles. He came with Johann Humperdink BS,BA,MBA,PH.D,Cert of VS,Cert of BC, and some other crap. Really it was ridiculous so I started to laugh and told him just to stop at PHD because customers actually dont care about this- they get so hyped up in their own little world. I think he sawwhat a twit he was once he had a sanity check. All of us feel like the dumbest person in the room at some stage or another and you just have to embrace it- you probably have a much more interesting life and have made more observations thinking of blog material more so of than any of them droning away on the computer all day!

Veronica said...

I like the Blonde Duck's comment.
And think of PhD as Piled higher and Deeper ... and you know what some of them are piling ...

Brenda said...

Lol! Thats a funny post! I would feel pretty uncomfortable with that too, but I'm sure your husband is very supportive

Rita Barakat said...

I have been in those situations too and I hate it! I suppport you n your pity party, but hey if hubby is a braniac and he picked you that says somehting doesn't it?;0

Anonymous said...

Nope I won't do it. You deserve to be celebrated not pitied. I'll give you some about F.I.E.R.C.E.?

BPOTW said...

But, I bet they can't pack a suitcase better than you!

Thanks for linking with BPOTW this week!

betty-NZ said...

I disagree with you. I believe youhave found your niche. Just because it's not the same as the snooty ones doesn't mean it's not important that you have an audience of....lots of bloggy friends!

Pam said...

This is hilarious. I found you through BPOTW and I'm your newest follower. And, btw, I think your life sounds incredibly adventurous and wonderful. I'm a SAHM, want to trade places? Yeah, didn't think so. LOL!