What’s In A Name

Gill has written in again, but this time not with anything nearly as out there or controversial as last time.

This time she’s talking about names. I’m not sure I entirely understand what her point is, but I also have a headache that’s making me feel a little dizzy and unfocussed this morning, so maybe it’s me. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.

Hello Isabel, Olivia, Emma, Sophie, Sophia, Madison, and Evelyn. Welcome to the world Eathan, Jacob, Matthew, William, Jonathan, Nathan, and Jack. No friends I didn’t barge a maternity ward, but I have heard the latest names, and many harken back to our grandparents, and great-grandparents times.

Why are we talking about this? Shakespeare once asked “What’s in a name?` and if you know the truth plenty can be conveyed in those letters that form the word that seals your fate. Poor little Hashtag and Grinnade, might just have it tougher than Olivia or Jack, but that’s not to say they will get the shaft entirely.

Does your name have a story? Some are simple, it could be that your parents just liked that name, or when you made your entrance in to the world they saw you and instantly knew. Others have cultural significance.

How does your name influence employers? Unfortunately we are a very judgmental society, and if your name is judged hard to pronounce, or too weird that may leave employers less likely to hire you.

So what else can your name say of you? If your name like mine has back story it can mean your parents thought, or tried hard to get you to this place.

Lets also face it we associate certain names to jobs. I associate the name Olivia to some kind of cook or housewife. That’s mostly because of Olivia Walton.

What’s in a name? Plenty. Maybe proud cultural tradition, a best friend from your parent’s childhood, or just some creativity on their behalf.

What careers do you associate the following names with?

Emily, Hayden, Kimberely, Dashawn, Ruth, and Max.

Join the Conversation


  1. I don’t know if I buy the “if they can’t pronounce your name, you’re not gettin’ in” line. Don’t ask me to pronounce several of my coworkers’ names. I don’t even try to emulate what JAWS says. I hope someone says it first. Although I guess that could be true in some lines of work.

    My name…lordy I wish I knew why it was selected. Especially when you know my sister has the K a r e n spelling. We ask mom over and over why that is…she just shrugs and hopes for a next topic.

    When I hear Olivia I think soap opera, although as soon as I meet an Olivia who did something else, it probably would break what I think of.

    Let’s just hope your name didn’t come out of current events, like Saddam SARS.

    1. Oh yeah. Your company definitely flies in the face of the get out of the interview room, Johnny Crazyname theory. How many times have you sent me somebody’s name and asked “How do you suppose I should pronounce this?”

      And while we’re at it, when was the last time you took a cab? You want some names, taxi around any reasonably sized city for a while.

      At one point there was definitely some truth to this, but those were also the days when immigrants changed their given names to fit in and not cause a stir. I’m sure that sort of hiring discrimination still goes on somewhere, but it’s not going to be to the same extent.

      First names don’t often associate themselves with things in my brain unless they’re stupid, in which case I associate them with ridicule and potential tragedy due to ridicule. But if I hear a full name, sometimes I’ll think oh, that guy sounds like a lawyer or somesuch.

      Hopefully, before it’s too late, we’ll finally get the story behind C Carin and K Karen.

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