An Officer and a Gentleman with Dr. Peter Lohrey

Dr. Russell Strickland 27:21

It doesn’t it truly doesn’t matter in academia, academia in science, it doesn’t matter. Obviously, it matters somewhat, even in academia, they look upon that pedigree. But, but it matters what you’re saying whether you can back it up, right. And unfortunately, fortunately, or unfortunately, in this world, people take shortcuts and they use things like that as a way of determining authority. And so for those of you who are still working on your doctoral degrees, that’s a quick nudge to make sure that you get them because yes, Dr. Lohrey’s talking about the difference between a Harvard PhD and a GW PhD, well, most people don’t have a PhD, or a DBA, or an ED or whatever it might be. So he had just had time and just finish putting yourself so far ahead of everybody else. And some of you will swim in circles where you’re, you’re, you’re working with other doctors and other PhDs and so forth. And, and that’s fine. But for most of you, you’re going to walk into a room with 100 people and be the only one with with a doctoral degree.

Dr. Peter Lohrey 28:27

Yep. And if you allow, I just want to iaf unless you have something else, I want to get get give some some post PhD. thoughts. Okay, sounds good. And I’m thinking about one of my friends. And I won’t say his name again. But nevertheless, great guy, wonderful person. Work with Dr. Strickland and everything we’ve had. We’re actually working on an article together right now, but he is going through some things in his workplace with his firm Where I don’t like to criticize people, but I’ll be very honest, I said to my colleague and said, Listen, you have to back down just a little bit, okay? Because some of these people that are working around you do not have your level of understanding. So it gets into that soft spot of how you handle situations and how you communicate to people. And I said to my friend, Listen, don’t dig your heels in because you’re the only one with a doctor in the room. I found again, was 20 years ago, 2000 when I got mine I have found and everybody has their own style. So what works for me for Pete doesn’t necessarily always work for others, but what I’ve found for me, is if I go in with a very humble, low key thing, it works pretty well. Because if you gain the confidence of these people, and then oh, by the way, that’s Dr. Lohrey then that just is the icing on the cake right? But the challenge is you can turn people off if you carry your accomplishment and wear it on your shoulder or on your sleeve, because I will tell you and I’ve said this to Dr. Strickland before some people might find this sec religious and please forgive me. It’s my own sense of humor. But But I call it a pub higher, deeper. And the reason why I say that is I wrote a dissertation of 330 350 pages there abouts. So I knew everything I needed. I knew everything. I was the expert on that one topic of one time in 2020. That’s gonna be 2000, 20 years ago. And you know what? That dissertation was so good. My father used to have a copy on his card table. And I have 12 nephews and nieces and grandpa’s way of disciplining his grandchildren was if you don’t behave yourself, you’re gonna have to sit there and read that thing for 10 minutes. And what I mean by that is, it’s grueling. Okay, it’s a dissertation. It’s very, very detailed, and you all will be doing the same thing. But remember things change. And so, from my humble opinion, with a PhD has done is it’s taught me how to do research, how to think, how to communicate difficult material. And I think I hope it’s made me a better learner because we’re lifelong learners. We’re never going to stop learning. And so yes, when you accomplish your PhD, pat yourself on the back and be proud, okay? And you should be because you deserve it. But I’ll leave you with one last little story and I won’t name names. So I had a very good friend, Michael, Michael and I eat constantly together. He’d gone again, academic pedigree, he’d gone to Penn Wharton undergraduate and MBA from Penn work. And I’m just little Pete, you know, University of Delaware Royal University of Maryland that added that up so we we get Are hoods you’re gonna get hooded and it’s not like Robin Hood but it’s like a piece of regalia that you wear with your former gown. And they did it on a Friday evening at George Washington University. And then the schools, the respective schools had their own individual graduation ceremonies on Saturday. And then on Sunday, there was a so Mike’s parents, Mike was an only child. His parents were very, very proud of him and justly so. And and he said to me, Pete, you want to come over to the cocktail party on Sunday? And this was on Friday, when we were getting our hoods. And I said, Sure, yeah, I’d love to but I forgotten what time so I call over to his apartment on Saturday morning after we had gotten our hoods. He changed his answering machine. greeting to This is Dr. Michael so and so. And so again, it’s just me everybody’s everybody’s unique. Everybody has their own style, but when the beat when when I said, Michael, get over yourself, okay. You’re not saving people’s lives. Now. Yes, you have a terminal degree in our field. And when you’re in a classroom or an academic setting, or if you’re in the courtroom, yes, by all means people should know that because as we’ve been saying, you were one of 100 who have that. So yes, there is importance to that. But what I guess I’m trying to say to people that listen to this is keep it in perspective, right? Okay. Just keep it in perspective, because your knowledge, your communication skills, and your intelligence is what speaks for you. Okay, so my suggestion, just one view, lead with brains lead with insight lead with your communication skills. And when I’m at the office of the accounting firm, where I work, it’s P. Right? P. And I’ve even had students who’ve had me at the University where I taught, who get jobs at the right, firm, and the first two months like Dr. Lohrey, stop, stop. We’re not at school. I’m Pete here. I’m Pete, you know, so, again, you know, we all have different scenarios, and I’m not complaint, it works for you. And it’s important that you go into because everybody’s settings different. Right? So I hope that people don’t misunderstand that I’m just asking for me, I’m just one person, be humble about it. But be be good about what you do. And I think that’s good advice, particularly in this in, in this epic of tribalism that we’re going through right now in this country, to not try to set yourself apart

Dr. Russell Strickland 34:27

in a way that that’s going to create an us versus them. You want to make sure that you that you’re included, but then that you’re respected. And that’s a vast difference. I have kind of the CounterPoint story a little bit and my roommate in college was his mother was the was the Dean of the College of Education at one of the local universities. And she was always so you know, down to earth and just you would never know other than that she was obviously smart person, but But never put on airs in any way shape or form. Well, I went up to graduate schools at the University of Chicago. My roommate is getting married back in North Carolina. So I fly back there. They put me up in a hotel for the wedding. Wow. And something’s wrong we could get into a hotel room and we’re having trouble we’re supposed to go into rehearsal dinner and everything. So his mother’s there I’m gonna change the names a little bit just to make sure that you know everybody’s protected but but she was taught asking them you know, what’s the problem was supposed to be able to get into this room already been paid for what’s going on? And this hotel sir, just kind of exasperated, looked at her and said, Mrs. Green, we have to and before she got the next word out of her mouth. She bowed up her back. roommates mom said, That’s Dr. Green and immediately apologized and went to somebody else to handle a situation. situation was handled and defeated. Yes, and I’m in my room and I thought

Dr. Peter Lohrey 36:00

That’s kind of cool. No, but that’s really true, like you just say it and I was trying to get across is you got to know when to use it when exactly. It’s an art. And that obviously was a case where it was appropriate. And the outcome was the right.

Dr. Russell Strickland 36:12

Right, whether it was appropriate or not, it was effective.

Dr. Peter Lohrey 36:15

Yeah, well, listen, sometimes you got to do it. Right. But you know, it’s like having that gold American Express gold card. You know, that kind of thing. And so, you know, I think that’s really important. But you know, it’s kind of funny because Dr. Strickland, I can talk for hours. And I just think it’s really important, as you said, with this tribalism we’ve all lived in, I only encourage anyone, to to, again, just kind of blend in, take it in. It seems like everybody’s on on this wired up, and it’s like ice, just calm down. Now, you know, and so it’s definitely a stork historic period of time, but just try to do your best and, for me personally, working for focusing on the work that I do or writing articles Which I’m in the middle of doing, trying to get more publications. Again, I’m not going to try and tell anyone what to do. I’m just saying for me as an individual, that that’s probably the best medicine, it gets my mind off of all of these various things that are coming up. And I just hope and pray and keep my fingers crossed. We all come out better on the other side, but we don’t know when we’re going to get to the other side. But, you know, just just keep focusing on what you do well, and and continue to do it. And it’s kind of cathartic. It’s kind of a real tool to keep you grounded. Absolutely. And I think I think it’s a wonderful advice. Now that we’re, I have one more question for you. But before I get to that, if folks wanted to reach out to you and benefit from all of this wisdom that you’ve bestowing right now, that’s that’s really in the field of accounting is what you’re focusing on now. Is that right? How did they do that? How would they do that? Well, you could you can reach you can google me. My name is spelled Peter Lohrey I think it’s underneath My name and basically you’ll find me I work at a firm an accounting firm called Prager Metis CPAs LLC. If you go to the Prager Metis CPAs, LLC website, it’s just okay? And and then go to the people and you’ll find my name listed there and with my email address, and if you have anything you want to talk about, I’m happy to try to give you a you know, some some thoughts, you know, but again, it’s ultimately your choice in your decision and if I’ve said anything in our discussion today that anyone feels is either not copacetic or not politically correct, please forgive me. That’s not my intention. My intention is to try to be helpful and and through people like Dr. Strickland, we can hopefully make this journey for you in terms of your dissertation. I hope a better journey.

Dr. Russell Strickland 38:54

And if I’ve said anything that’s been politically incorrect today or offensive, please get over it because I’m over We’re adults Come on guys. let’s let’s let’s try to work together. I’m hoping that I’ve done some you brought you something that’s entertaining and uplifting, and at the same time helped you to to learn a little something that’s going to get you through this dissertation process today. And hey, if you didn’t like what you pay for it, you can get all your money back, which was nothing. No,

Dr. Peter Lohrey 39:26

go ahead, send Dr. Strickland, you were bargain. That’s all I have to say.

Dr. Russell Strickland 39:30

Well, listen, so my last question for you, Peter. You’ve given us some good advice of your own? Is there a mentor that you can think of that has shared something with you that made you look at things a little bit differently, whether it was post PhD or as you were going to get your PhD? Was there one piece of advice you got from a mentor that stands out to you at this point,

Dr. Peter Lohrey 39:51

and I’ve kind of already voiced it, but but I have no problem. One of my favorite professors at the doctoral level, you know, and He actually was one of the members on my dissertation committee. Two things first, he said, Call me, Jeff. Yeah, we were we were in we were in, you know, these seminars, there was only two or three of us. And then yeah, that Professor, he says, and I was like, um, you know, I’m used to being formal, you know, and he’s like, No, no, no, no, in here, when we’re discussing stuff. I’m okay with you call me, Jeff. Now, if we’re out in public, or in front of other students, undergraduate students and things. Yeah, it’s better because again, terms of protocol, right, those kind of things. And so, it was a bit of an adjustment, but but I have taken that to heart. The other thing and this this has to do with strategy. Okay, so I’ve heard horror stories about people’s dissertations. And unfortunately, it does happen, where you have occasions where members on your committee aren’t necessarily the most congenial toward one another. All right, that they have different views, they have different opinions. And unfortunately, our our world of academia can get very, very political. So talking to one of the faculty, the same guy, Jeff, he says to me, says, Pete, listen, here’s, here’s what you want to do. What you want to do is you want to make sure that everybody on your dissertation committee gets along, before you ask them, yes, we’ll go with their chair or whatever. And then they’ll go out and choose others or invite others to be on that committee. Well, the risk that you run is, while you’re very happy with your chair, or your main lead professor, you run the risk that someone else who you’ve invited may not get along with your chair so that can create problems where you are the student. And I’ve heard it and seen it where one person says why don’t you do this after the first reading and you go do that. And it takes you two months or three months. Then you come back, the committee reconvenes, and the other person says, No, no, no, no, no, I want to do that. So, so what I did having given been given it was given to me the advices. I went to my chair, and he’s pretty, pretty cool guy, smart guy. And I said, You know, I told him what I just shared with you all, and I said, Is it okay? If If I asked you, if you get along with someone, and he said to me, I’m not going to say anything in words. Okay. But if you want to name names, I will give you a nod or a shake of the head. Okay. That way he could never been accused of being saying something. And that’s exactly worked out great, because we didn’t have any inner committee fights. Yes, I was like, Thank heavens, but that is a suggestion is very,

Dr. Russell Strickland 42:47

very important. And actually, Dr. Lohrey can attest to a lot of the work that he and I have done together. We have talked about who is going Who are we doing this work for and what are they going to want to see It’s important, it is important, right? So so many of our students at Dissertation Done, come to us with committees intact and that they they’ve been working for a while and struggling, and that’s when they reach out. But we do occasionally get students who are really early in the process. And the advice I always give them is figure out who you want your chair to be. Make sure your chair has the the goal in mind of you getting to graduation as quickly as possible, because that’s, that’s who our students are. That’s their goal. So make sure you share that goal with your chair. Yes. And then once you have a chair that’s going to advocate for you getting through this process as quickly as possible. Ask your chair, who do you think we should invite onto the committee? Because they’re not going to tell you hey, this guy is, is we should be on the committee and they’re not going to tell you this guy that’s going to drag it out for a year and a half. They already you already agree about what your goal is to finish as quickly as possible. And the chair obviously agrees that who with who he wants to work with, so overshoot and you can you can way,

Dr. Peter Lohrey 44:01

I can add one other word story real quickly about that, that I got taken out. I got sabotaged, not at the dissertation stage, but at the comprehensive examination stage, yes. So the accounting and finance faculty would have research colloquiums and things and yours truly Mr. No rah, rah, gung ho. Okay, one of the finance professors had a paper he was presenting and he made an incorrect assumption about depreciation. How accountants handle depreciation expense. So yours truly dumb mister rah rah in his second year of studies, raises his hands and says, well, Doctor so so that it up well, bam, I didn’t realize that Oh, can worms I don’t know big can of worms because other faculty then started assassinating him. That guy did not ever forget, because when it came, I had to do comprehensive exams in both fields, accounting and finance. So, at GW you can get a straight pass a mid level pass or repeat or whatever. So, right three people, okay on the committee. So, first time I go through the finance I got through the accounting, okay, but now I have to do the finance one. So the first time I go through get a high pass High Pass,fail, repeat. Wow, okay, great. So I go through it again. High Pass high pass a remedial work. I want you to redo this, this and that. So, it got so bad. This guy dragged me out for six months, six months, because, remember, your faculty are making their livings. They hopefully are they’re financially sound. You’re the one who’s hand to mouth. You’re the one that’s not only making financial, you know, sacrifices but personal sacrifices if you have families or things, so time to your committee members really is nothing so what Dr. Strickland said. Really, really important. Make sure that your chair one wants you to get through because they listen, it’s no sweat. So again, I lost six months time, because I was the dummy, dumb doctoral student who basically didn’t realize it. But I’d thrown a hand grenade at that guy. He got me back. He should really got me back,

Dr. Russell Strickland 46:14

you know. So it’s another word of advice then is make sure that you remember how you treated your professors in class. Yes. When you’re picking committee. Yes, yes. Because they might remember something that you would have forgotten. Yep. That’s for sure. Well, listen, Dr. Lohrey, I appreciate you being here with us. I’ve had a wonderful time. Once again, the podcast today is brought to you by Dissertation Done. If you are having difficulty with your your dissertation and you want to get out and graduate as soon as possible. Reach out to Dissertation Done we’ll have a talk and see if we might be a good fit. And if you want to reach Dr. Lohrey again, you mentioned you can look them up just Google, which obviously we can all do that, but you’ll find him at, which we should have done. You’re on the lower third. If you’re watching on YouTube and in the show notes, if if you’re listening to the podcast, so, but again, that’s Prager Metis, Is that correct Dr. Lohrey? You got it. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us. I had a wonderful time. And then great having you.

Dr. Peter Lohrey 47:21

Thank you so much. I always enjoy spending time talking to you. I wish we had both had more time.

Dr. Russell Strickland 47:27

As always the case?

Dr. Peter Lohrey 47:28

Yes, definitely. Thank you again.

Dr. Russell Strickland 47:30

All right. Thank you.

Outro 47:36

This has been An Unconventional Life. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed today’s episode, subscribe now to keep getting inspirational stories of unconventional lives as soon as they’re released. Until then go out and live your best unconventional life.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.

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