Friends know me for who I am. Colleagues know my strengths and weaknesses. And musicologists can read my scholarly musings and draw their own conclusions.
Others, however, see a short, round, middle-aged, greying nonentity behind a library counter. Now, the majority of those "others" are nice, decent folk who appreciate that I try to help them as much as I can. The rest neither know me, nor have any appreciation of the expertise that I bring to my role, but they're polite all the same.
Lastly, there are those who feel so superior that they must stamp on me from a great height, raising their voices as they interrogate me about our working practices, determined that they are Right and we are Wrong. If someone talks down to me, is rude and does their damnedest to belittle me, then I'm sorry, mate, but you're a bully. I don't even know who you are, and I've never met you before, but I object to your manner.
Now, having a PhD doesn't make me an efficient librarian. A handful of librarianship qualifications don't prove anything either. And an old music diploma? Pshaw! Irrelevant. Thirty years in the profession? Put her down, she's past it. But what would it take to prove to you that I know my job?
I feel mentally battered, but also very angry. I wouldn't speak to anyone like that, be they senior management or the rawest office junior, so why should I have to be on the receiving end? I went out and bought smarter, more "efficient, professional" looking shirts today - just in case my plain, beige Traidcraft tee-shirt contributed to my Nonentity Look. I hate myself for that. Because actually, I know that nothing would stop a bully being a bully.