Sunday, March 23, 2008

Little names

A couple of years ago, when I thought I might try to become some kind of corporate ass-kicker, I bought a book called Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office. Among the nuggets of wisdom (Learn to waste a little time, Don't feed others, Don't smile too much) was one section that says it is a mistake to use the diminutive of your name in the office.

"Even if you've gone by Kathy, Debbie, Maggie, or Sandy your entire life, begin introducing yourself using your formal name. Over time, people will take your cue. Change your business cards, desk nameplate, or formal letterhead to read Kathleen, Debra, Margaret, or Sandra. You'll be much more likely to be taken seriously..."

I wonder what Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives, would think of this.

To me, it sounds like an outdated opinion, but obviously it's not an issue I have to deal with. I definitely work with and know several women who use their nicknames in the business world and don't seem to suffer from it. But I also know those who have decided to go formal in the corporate setting and perhaps they're better off.

Just to be safe, I'm going to change the name on my letterhead to read Debra. I can't wait to see the looks of impressed awe on the faces of my coworkers.

Also in the world of names, Tiger Woods now has his own energy drink, "Gatorade Tiger." His parents made a good choice with that one. There's a reason we don't have "Gatorade Arnold" or "Gatorade Phil." Although focus groups suggest that the latter would go over well with math teachers and meteorologists.

5 comments:

Daniel said...

How successful do you think Gatorade Eldrick would be? That's Tiger's given name.

Jay Nicolosi said...

I would imagine the same advise would be applicable to males in the corporate world: Bobby should go by Robert, Tommy should go by Thomas, etc. My only piece of advise: Pick a name and stick with it. I'm both Jay and Jason around the office, and it has undoubtedly hampered my climb up the office ladder.

Sarah said...

Gatorade Eldrick: the number one choice in Middle Earth.

ellie said...

perhaps changing my professional name from ellie to elizabeth would restore some of the credibility i have lost showing too much cleavage and indiscriminately sleeping around the office.

Colleen Snell said...

My Mom named me Colleen so no one could shorten it and give me a silly nickname, and my dad has called me Colleener Machiner my entire life. Think that plan backfired, Mom. Thank God my coworkers don't know this.