A long time ago, I pondered the sociological implications of my nickname. If a group of people refuse to use my nickname, does that indicate something about our working relationship?
I have found myself in a new nickname situation.
When I was first starting out, I was super concerned about appearing professional. I was afraid that the nickname that I spent my entire life with was too silly, so I introduced myself using my full name ("Shortencia") and only suggested using my nickname ("Shorty") if someone asked me point-blank if there was a shorter version that could be used. It is an awfully long name.
As I've gotten older, I've become more comfortable with using my nickname. At this point, I introduce myself with the nickname right away, although my e-mail signature, business cards, and correspondence carry my full name. However, I have a new project that involves working with a large group of people, including some high muckety-mucks, and it sounds exceedingly strange - almost invasive - that they are all calling me "Shorty" in high-level planning meetings. I guess I still need to fully accept that I have an undignified name.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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Here's a thought from a non-pro of any kind. If you hang with Shortencia through the first few group interactions, people will have already formed an opinion of you from your work and the way you present yourself. Then you can, in a series of individual interactions tell multiple people, "You know Bob, I'm comfortable with my friends and collaborators calling me Shorty." Look at it as a strategic opportunity to extend a token of connection. It will probably spread from there if there is any sort of group synergy. It's up to you to decide whether the rise of "shorty" in the popular culture complicates things. What's your middle initial? Esskay Esstee Essjay all roll off the tongue.
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