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{10/02/2012}   What’s in a name?

Apparently people with short first names are more likely to be successful at work.  I don’t consider myself successful … obviously I can blame that on the fact I have a three syllable name!  Hurrah, it’s not just my lack of ambition and drive after all!
I have recently been unexpectedly interested in names.  This is clearly a character flaw on my side but I heard somebody’s name being called the other day and without seeing the person, I formed an image of that person.  The name was Tarquin.
A few years ago, it alarmed me more than I’d expect that it turned out my friend Ann’s name should really be Catherine.  I was surprised by my reaction, it threw me completely.  I recently found out my friend Luke wasn’t born Luke.  And my friend Chris, as far as I’m concerned, shouldn’t be a Chris.  It’s bothered me for the six years I’ve known him that his name is wrong.  I’m convinced he has a double life/identity!
I find it strange that most people seem to suit their name.  I have five friends I’m regularly in touch with called Sarah (one sounds the same but is Sara and that makes a difference!).  They are all quite different, yet they are all Sarahs.  Maybe that’s just because you have always known them with that name.  But I’m sure that’s not it.
At school, I was always the only Karina.  It wasn’t a name that lent itself to being shortened so it never really was.  But one friend called me Kori and she’s the only person who can ever call me that.  At university three of my closest friends (we hung around together) called me K.  They are the only ones who call me that, though I do sign things “K” and not to be lazy.
Another friend recently changed her name to her middle name as she’d never felt her name was right.  Her “new” name suits her so much better.  Bizarrely, she got married around the same time and changed her surname so the first email I got from her with two “new” names confused me until I read it.
As for my name, I was teased a little bit at school as Karina was an unusual name then.  But I don’t think it ever particularly upset me.  My name came from a Bob Dylan song my mum liked, with Latvian spelling because of my dad being Latvian.  I think being named after famous people is quite a popular way of sourcing a name.  I like my name and I think it suits me, or maybe I suit it.
I read a magazine article once about names.  The author said she had a diary out with friends’ names on.  A friend saw the list of, coincidentally, less common names, including a Karina, and declared it sounded like a list of call girls!  I am not nor have ever been or ever will be a call girl!  I have heard of other Karinas but never met one.  I even know there are other Karina Robertses *shudder* but another one with the same middle name would freak me out.  It’s my name, my identity.  It does drive me mad when people call me Katrina after telling them my name is Karina.  What’s with the T?  Is it because of Katrina and The Waves?!  I am not a Katrina.  You might as well call me Jennifer.
But as for short names making you successful at work, now I think about it most high earners/senior managers I know do have short names.  But I would not say they are all good managers (not referring to any of my friends), just done something right along the way … or been given a gift of a short name!

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