Tuesday, November 12, 2019

You're a doctor?

The other day I was with my daughter at a play date with one of her friends. I’ve known the parents of this friend for close to a year. I happened to mention I will be working the next day (it was Saturday).

Mother: “ I just realized I don’t know what you do.“

Me: “Well... I’m a doctor.“

Mother: “You are? Oh my God, I had no idea. Usually when people are doctors, I find out about five minutes after meeting them.”

I had a few other similar experiences recently, where it turned out somebody I knew for a long time didn’t realize I was a doctor. I guess this is information I don’t put out there too quickly. It seems odd though. It’s not like my career is a secret, but maybe I feel that people make assumptions of me once they know I’m a doctor.


  1. Had this experience last weekend. Other parent asked what I did, so I told them. Then she got all weird. I was like ok first off you asked. Second, I’m the same person I was before. I usually try to avoid telling people too, but if they ask directly I will tell them. I do wonder whether “doctor” is a loaded enough term the even if you don’t blab about it all the time, just using the word is enough to make people feel like you are.

  2. I'm not a physician, but one of my physician-friends says that for her, the biggest issue is friends/family asking medical questions. She's happier having time and relationships in which she's a person first and a doctor second.

  3. before i went into medicine i was clergy, nothing kills the "what do you do for a living" conversation faster.

  4. I'm a small town vet and avoid at all costs, which is hard when you live in a small town. I feel like all I hear about from people is animal problems or stories. It seems like people get nervous and don't know what else to talk about.

  5. The guy at my answering service always calls me Ms. when speaking to me on the phone. He's connecting a patient to me but still never calls me doctor. I can't even convince my own answering service I'm a real physician.

  6. I know, the young male nurses at the nursing home I visit keep calling me Ms (which after 40 years kind of bites). Just wait till you get into your 60s. A few days ago I saw a new eye doctor (in a practice I have referred to for years, mind you) and doctor --who looked to be 50-sih--asked me what kind of work I used to do. Honey I'm still working.....and might have sent you some referrals...except maybe not.