Of Sigs and Ego


I’ve recently been toiling with the issue of listing credentials in my email signature. Since I’ve had anything to put back there I’ve always added them for some reason, but at the same time I’ve always sort of felt uncomfortable about it — as if it was weak in some way.

Well, I’ve done some thinking and have come to a conclusion — it is a sign of weakness. (At least for myself)

The thing is, there are two cases here: there is the work signature, and there’s the personal signature. I definitely think including credentials in the work .sig is fine — work is what certifications are for. The very act of attaining a certification is to show ones value to those who don’t know you personally. And due to the shallow nature of IT (and many other industries), weight is often attached to content based on who the content came from. For these reasons, I have no qualms with putting credentials in a work .sig.

A personal .sig, on the other hand, is another matter altogether. With the work .sig, the reason for adding credentials and/or title is clear — it can assist with the communication process. As stated above, those who don’t know you on a personal level can use a standard baseline to assign a weight to your content. Well, what need does a personal contact have for your credentials? Why include that kind of stuff in your personal .sig file unless you are trying to affect them as well?

I have the answer — you don’t.

After some personal digging, I realize now that I was asking my personal contacts to acknowledge my accomplishments. I don’t think this was a negative thing really, but it’s not very “me” — or at least what I want “me” to be. I mean, it wasn’t me saying, “Bask in my glory!” It was more like,”I’m doing o.k, guys…see?” My personal belief is that my need to do such a thing stemmed from the fact that I haven’t finished my degree yet — hence the whole compensation thing.

Anyway, I find it unbecoming and I’m putting a stop to it.

Related posts: