A Rose by Another Name
Recently I have started to cringe at the thought of a new acquaintance addressing me by my first name. Yes, you read that correctly. I have this new found desire to be addressed by my last name. Here's why...
- 99% of people mispronounce my first name. The mispronunciation of my first name has been a lifetime nuisance. I hate repeating my name only for people to continue to say it wrong. Sometimes the other party makes no effort to pronounce my name correctly. I have been called Cathy, Catara, Catria, Catya, Catera and other failed variations of CaTyra. Just correcting pronunciation is frustrating and draining. If you can relate, leave a comment below!
- Salutations are an indication of a professional and formal relationship. I believe first name reference is reserved for family, friends, and those who are closest to you. I recently began introducing myself to new clients and associates as Ms. Polland. However, I have noticed that most people still ask me my first name. I am quite puzzled by this revelation. Furthermore, many people ask if I have a nickname I prefer. Reluctantly, I tell people Tyra is fine although I am not a fan of the abbreviation.
Another challenge of having a unique name is name bias. This is particularly prominent in the recruitment stage. There are dozens of studies that prove candidates with more common, easily pronounced and Americanized names are more likely to receive a call back. Unfortunately, name bias is still prominent. As a result, I, along with others who have uncommon first names resort to shortening, modifying or completely omitting our first names from resumes (using a middle name or nickname instead). This can be exhausting and downright embarrassing... after all, our first name says so much about who we are as an individual.
I am by no means ashamed of my name; it is a combination of my parents' first names. I like my name and appreciate its uniqueness. I frequently receive compliments on my name. I have no plans to legally change my first name and encourage others to embrace their unique names. However, I do believe in name choice. We should all decide how we prefer to be addressed. After all, a rose is still a rose even if it has a different name.
I would love to hear from others who struggle with the use or non-use of your uncommon first name. Share your story and how you play the name game! Do you prefer a nickname? Did you change your name legally? Do you use an alias or your middle name?
CaTyra Polland is a native of Rochester, New York. She earned her Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from the State University at Albany. Upon graduating she returned to her hometown and founded Career Prep in 2011. Career Prep is a writing and editing company that specializes in resumes, cover letters, business plans and editing.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts (Sociology/Spanish) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduating Cum Laude with Honors in Spanish and High Honors in Sociology. During her undergraduate career she studied in Puerto Rico for a semester.
She recently taught Spanish 101 at Georgia State University, served two terms as an AmeriCorps member and served as a Grant Reviewer for the MLK Day of Service Program hosted by Points of Light. She serves as a fundraising committee member of the M.K. Gandhi Institute and is a board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates in Rochester, NY. She is also the author of the book Professionalism, What’s That available on Amazon.