Changing Your Name + Dealing With Confrontation
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Recently I (Yasin) started applying for jobs with a pseudonym – Jack. Why, you may ask?
Well, the competition for jobs is extraordinarily high. And recruiters must make split second decisions about who to bring in and who to look past. So, when you have an unusual name, a name that seem foreign – like Yasin – it is not so far outside the realms of possibility that a recruiter might subconsciously think you’re a poor company fit.
I started feeling like my name might be making my hunt unnecessarily difficult. And all the research I could find on the matter confirmed my suspicion. I started looking into what names might give the best response and found out that names that names associated with wealth and business success do the best.
With this in mind, I found out what the most common names amongst C-suite executives were. Jack was on the list. As was Alex. These two names stuck out to me. I could look myself in the mirror and see and Jack or an Alex. Though I prefer the name Alex, I didn’t want to be confused for a girl.
All that lead to me changing the name on my CV to Jack.
I also planned to legally change my name, but procrastinated on it – this is likely because I have an attachment to my original name.
HOLD UP! I know this is dry, but I’m setting up the story. Stay with me. We’re getting to the good stuff.
So I change my name. I’m now Jack. I start applying for jobs and I get a flurry of responses where Yasin got crickets.
I start going for interviews. And very quickly I land a job at Godaddy. Amazing.
They think my name is Jack and I feel like I’m too deep to let them know any different so I go with it. I go through the whole process without a hiccup. Well, almost… They ask for my passport and I realise I must reveal my true identity. Hey Godaddy HR person, I’m Batman.
They’re ok with this. They tell me I can have a nickname at work and people will call me that instead so I stick with Jack. I figure if it works on a CV, it’ll work in emails and in person.
I get to work and I’m going around the office introducing myself.
I’m Jack. Hey, I’m Jack. Nice to meet you, I’m Jack. Jackety Jack. Jackie Boy. J-Dawg. Jay-Meister. Jack Hammer. JayJay.
Occasionally someone will ask my name and I’ll say:
And I get a weird look in return.
Sometimes I get excited telling a story and talk about myself in the 3rd person:
Yasin, what the fuck were you thinking!
More weird looks.
Sometimes a colleague would holla:
Jack. Yo Jack! JACK!
Oh shit – that’s my name now!
But things only got super weird when I found out what my email address was. Yasin.firstname.lastname@example.org Oh fuck…. Wait, think, Yasin. There must be a way to change this. I ask the computer whizz guy who set it all up and… nope. No way to change it. My name is now both Jack and Yasin. Jack for in person communications and Yasin for all computer based communications. Well this is gonna be awkward!
And it’s been like that ever since. Everyone knows my real name but still entertains me, like I’m a child believing in Santa Claus. I’ve been unable to bring myself to rectifying it – certainly not setting an example to you all the importance of confrontation. But life is messy and I’m far from perfect and it’s pretty damn funny to experience so say lah vee – as the Germans say.