Is Your Name Important? - page 7

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

14,441 Views | 84 Comments

For starters, I will reveal that I am an African-American female with a very common anglicized first and last name. I am also friendly with a small handful of nurse managers, staff development personnel, and others who have at... Read More


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    Quote from Good Morning, Gil
    Okay, on the name note: I need objective advice, which I know friends and family won't give me since they just want to be supportive of a name I picked.

    Is it okay to name your child what would normally be a nick-name? I'm not pregnant yet, but I do have my heart set on a particular name since it's a name in the family, and I could always be sentimental and remember this person after she's long gone , but I don't like her full name, so I wanted to name my future daughter the nick-name version of it. I really really like it...but would she not be taken seriously? One of my friends has a nick name as her formal name, and it works well.

    Great thread by the way.
    While you have every right to name your child whatever you choose, I'd encourage you NOT to name your child a nickname. As the former owner of such a name, I found myself changing it to the longer version at my first opportunity. My former first name, while cute on a little girl, was TOO cute for a grown woman and would have been ridiculous on a little old lady. And it was often mistaken for a stripper name combined with my first husband's last name!
    esperanzita likes this.
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    A friend of mine who is a police detective tells me that folks with the truly "unique" first names (L-A, TreShaun, TiQuanda) or unique spellings of traditional names are inordinately represented in jail. At first, I blamed bias. And then I was told that "parents who name their kids William or Elizabeth rather than ChlorSandra or LaShaun are more likely to read to their kids, take them to church, get involved in their education and raise them to be responsible, law abiding adults." Perhaps that's bias, but I've run that theory past several other friends who are teachers, and it seems to hold water.
    BrandonLPN and Spidey's mom like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    A friend of mine who is a police detective tells me that folks with the truly "unique" first names (L-A, TreShaun, TiQuanda) or unique spellings of traditional names are inordinately represented in jail. At first, I blamed bias. And then I was told that "parents who name their kids William or Elizabeth rather than ChlorSandra or LaShaun are more likely to read to their kids, take them to church, get involved in their education and raise them to be responsible, law abiding adults." Perhaps that's bias, but I've run that theory past several other friends who are teachers, and it seems to hold water.
    The unique 'black-sounding' names became wildly popular after the miniseries 'Roots' came on the airwaves in 1977. Many black parents started naming their babies unique names after having watched this movie. Apparently the popularity has not wavered 30+ years later, because people are still naming their kids these types of names.

    I am a black female who was born in '81 when other girls and boys in my cohort were receiving these unique 'black-sounding' names. My parents wanted me to have a more plain name that did not give clues about my race, so I ended up with a common anglicized two-syllable name.
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    The responses on this thread make me sick. I'm AA w/ kids that have neutral names but folks who complain about the uniqueness of a name are those who believe in conformity. We were made to be individuals! Ridiculous!
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    Thank you for posting this discussion. A couple of days ago I actually began a similar post, but I felt like I may be overreacting. According to your post, I am not.
    I am a white american female with a very unique first name, it is hard to prounounce/spell and may even look foreign. I have always wondered if my name ever interfered with or was the reason for me getting a job interview. I am currently in the process of finding my first RN job ( I have been an LPN for almost 3 years). I have had ZERO phone calls! I have been tempted to reapply to all of the same facilities using my middle name instead. It is a common female name, easy to pronounce... etc.
    Would it be wrong to omit my first name and use my middle name instead? I am really curious to know if this makes a difference.

    I am going to really be upset if I find out the reason I hardly ever get called for an interview is because of my name. I have never been turned down for a job once I have been interviewed so I know I am a desirable employee.
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    I have an somewhat uncommon but normal name. Before my journey into nursing school, I was in the Navy as an Aviation Electrician. The hopes and dreams of a 23 year old were alive and well. Now this was in 1994 so times have changed somewhat. BUT I wanted to work in the civilian world as an electrician. I applied to every type of electrical company and aircraft maintenance company that I could find. Over a hundred resume's sent out and there was a definite need at the time. Aircraft companies were in desperate for qualified applicants. THEN I took my first name off my resume and replaced it with my first and middle name initials... ex. A.B. Smith

    I sent out more resumes, even to the same places. I received about 40 calls for interviews from 50 resumes. Then the sad truth was revealed as I walked into the interviews. There were times that I was told the position was filled as soon as the interviewer came out and saw a 100lb, 5'8 female in a skirt standing there. Some let me interview and gave me the we will call you if anything comes up. In the end, I was never given a chance until many years later to work as an electrician.

    The point that I am trying to make is that if you feel that your name may hinder your employment prospects, then leave it off. If the job market in your area is robust and you meet all the qualifications, then I would look at reworking your resume. Leaving the first name off is an option.
  7. 0
    Yes names will hurt you when you are a good worker and are willing to do the work that someone with a less ethnic sounding name may or may not do. In my case, I wanted to go by middle name (which was listed as an 80s name) because my first name, to be honest, is too Black sounding. Terribe I know, but I cannot control the image and stereotypes that pop into people's head. On the other hand, names that lead to certain cultures or groups of people can be helpful for those that are foreign. As a Black American, we are not seen in the best light compared to other non Black American groups, so it works out better for them than for me

    Even though I have my worries, the newly graduated nurses (many of whom will be White) filled out 100s of applications, went for several interviews, and spent almost a year or more without work in the field. Maybe things will be different for me but I can see my first name being a hinderance instead of viewing my actual skills and education, which is par for the course

    Now let me take it a step further. The studies have proven that resumes with ethnic sounding names, once changed with more Eurocentric names and pictures, got more call backs for interviews and job opportunities. Besides my name, racism, sexism, stereotypes, and whatever else I cannot think of, will work against and I have already experienced it.
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    The sad thing is due to stereotyping and racism we are being taught to have neutral names and more White sounding/less ethnic sounding names. I just feel that this is another way to conform because lets face it those of us who fit the description that is hindering us are not in charge in the hiring process or coporate world
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    I am named after a from the original Star Trek show...I have been in healthcare for over 10 years, and never had a hard time getting a job...I always got the job on the strength of my experience. My name has a significant meaning...it means freedom, and once someone, whether it be corporate, management or peers and patients understand the meaning, my personality and how it impacts my nursing practice positively, it is not an issue...every job I wanted, I have gotten. If I didn't get it, I always chalked it up that it wasn't meant to be. *Shrugs* I just think if your name has a significant meaning, and it matches your personality, perseverance, or you can sell resiliency attached to it, you should be able to get a job..or maybe most people who have interviewed me LOVED Star Trek and either had a crush on her or wanted to be like her...either way people call me Free for short...I've even been called Lieutenant by my manager, even my peers! So...My uniqueness had stood out positively, not negatively...and I don't have a criminal record, began reading at he age of 3-reading newspapers was a childhood past time with my father, and reading and knowledge was a staple in my household...and yes, I'm AA and proud!

    Just to attach my two cents..sometimes "euro-acceptable" names may pose a challenge as well, ESPECIALLY when the bias enters the persons mind. My fiancée has a unisex name that can also be misconstrued as a female, so when they first hear him, or see him at a interview, they are not accepting a 6-ft football-looking AA gentleman...he is a project manager, and he is looking for a job...and they have passed over him, to the point that contract firms are calling him for a SECOND time because the position is still open...we've had this conversation recently, and he used to playfully tease me about my name, told him I guess the shoe is on the other foot..
    Nscorpiored likes this.
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    I also wonder if it is more bias than anything...kind of how in nursing textbooks what they tell you about what "cultural norms" are...totally random and a different topic, but I think it goes hand in hand...are you not going to hire me because you think I'm not going to pass the Pre Employment screening because I ingest a diet that is heavily saturated in lard, or rice, or my hygiene may be in question because of whatever "cultural norm" (which IMO is inaccurate-wildy inaccurate-at times) that you read in a book or heard of from a "study"??? Mind you, I don't eat lard, not overweight, exercise and do wash myself when I'm hospitalized, thank you very much!!! (*rant*)...ok am off my soapbox!!!


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