Monday, January 10, 2011

Unusual Names are really a Burden for Children

I'm happy to say I've recently started writing for Technorati.com.  If you're not familiar with Technorati, the official "about" blurb says it was "founded as the first blog search engine, Technorati has expanded to a full service media company providing services to the blogs and social media sites and connecting them with advertisers who want to join the conversation, and whose online properties introduce blog content to millions of consumers."


The article below was first published as Unusual Names are Really a Burden for Children on Technorati.  It's my first article for Technorati, but not my last. 

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When your first name is Shari, you spend a lot of time spelling your name. A typical conversation with a new service provider involves a lot of time spelling my first name. Just today I ordered something that required a phone conversation. The clerk spelled my name as Sherrie, Cheri, Sherry and Scherri before I finally interrupted her and spelled my first name. She said, "Oh, you don't see it spelled like that very often."

I think about this every time I see an article about how more and more parents are choosing unique baby names. I know why these parents are choosing unusual baby names. It's not really that they want to give their child an unusual name. It's that their names are Sue or Linda or Jennifer or Tom or Mark or John. They think that by giving their children unusual names, they will help them stand out in the crowd.

What they are really doing is dooming their children to the life of a spelling bee contestant. Their children will spend their entire lives spelling and defending their names to people who are thinking, "Who would saddle this lovely young woman or nice young man with that name?"

I know because I do it all the time. Whenever I hear that a baby is named Abygayle, I cringe. Whenever I see a name I need pronounced before I can figure out the letter combination, I feel sorry for the child.

A friend did her Master's thesis on unusual names. Her research found that Riischa is less likely to be high on the corporate ladder than Rene or Reena. Jaymees is not as likely to be a partner in a law firm as James. Basically, she found that unusual names are cute on toddlers, but not in the workplace.

It's something for parents to think about before naming their children. Yes, people think it's cute that your daughter's name is a combination of both your names, but will they hire her when she graduates from college?

1 comment:

noelle said...

I wrote about this same thing...but not quite as gently as you did!
http://featheredbythemoonlight.blogspot.com/2009/05/name-game-or-name-shame.html