Monday, September 6, 2010

My Name Spelled Any Other Way is Disrespecting Me

What's in a Name?  My name is Jane Doe. That has been my name since birth. It's the name I answer to when called. It's the name I put on
  • applications
  • badges
  • hello tags
  • legal documents,
  • raffle tickets,
  • paintings,
  • and, so on
While it might not be the most important name to you, it is how I identify myself to the world and how the world identifies me. So, why are you so careless when retyping my name? I understand that you're busy (who isn't?) and that it is possible to forget the spelling when my name is just spoken and then I've moved on and you need to get a list made. Chances are, you refer to previous documents on file with my misspelled name to include me on your list.

But, when I have taken the time to print out my name, there is no excuse for you not to take it down as written. I don't care how busy you are, this is just an affront. Even more irritating is when I have given you my name on my own printed cards, pictures and/or on banners, only to find out later that you have decided it's wrong and changed the spelling. I don't care if you have a cousin or a friend with the same name and that they spell it different from the way I spell mine -- it is not your cousin or friend who is going on your list.

If I try to correct you, I'm the one that gets treated as if I'm a petulant child, stamping my foot because the name isn't right in your publication. If it's a one-time thing, I'm probably not going to do anything more than mention it, once -- and, of course, every time I meet someone new at the event! But, if it has been misspelled in a publication, for the rest of the life of that publication, my name is misspelled. The end result of that is, somewhere down the line, I'll be involved in another situation that requires my name being shown and someone will decide that the way my name is spelled must be as it is in that erroneous publication they have kept – because, that is how it was printed!

A Mountain Out of a Molehill - Or, Can You Prove It

Imagine this scenario: You or your child has won an award and it includes a beautiful printed certificate or ribbon for the winner. It's a memento, something to cherish for the rest of your life and put in a scrapbook for the next generation. Would you want to have to add an explanation that the award is real, even though the name is wrong? Of course not. It takes away from what the award is and turns it into a misspelled name story. This is simply a matter of giving credit where credit is due and you would want the same for yourself or your child. It only takes a second to check a name, but a lifetime to correct the mistake.

By the same token, if you are in charge of displaying awards to the public, please see to it that the winners' names are visible so that they can be recognized. There is nothing more disheartening than watching the light go out of your child's eye because no one will know they won an award for all their hard work because the tag has been turned, covered, or crumpled, and no one has taken the few seconds it takes to make it right. This is all a part of the event coordinator's job and the crafter should not be made to feel bad because they point out that their name can't be seen. Simply saying, "Well, you know you won the award," doesn't cut it, here. That doesn't make it go away and it is usually said by someone who didn't get an award.

My Name Spelled Any Other Way is Disrespecting Me

My name is Jane Doe – it is spelled J-a-n-e -- not J-a-y-n-e, J-a-i-n-e, J-e-h-n-e, J-a-n, or, any other combination you can imagine, my name is spelled exactly the way I have written it down for you. To look on the bright side, at least, I have finally found a purpose for the one word I loathe in common usage today, 'disrespecting.' Please stop disrespecting me and allow me the dignity to go through my life with the one thing that totally belongs to me – my name – and I will do the same for you.


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