Am tired of partners getting my name wrong

I have a western first name and an asian last name

for some reason partners keep getting it wrong

either mistaking me for the other junior associate in the team who was asian at my old shop well pre pandemic (who looked completely different)

or as at my current firm, two partners who keep referring to me by my last name not first name. I have worked with them for 12 months now - and this has happened 2-3 times each now. v odd as my first name is not really a first name in the UK (have seen it in the States a bit)

how to best address this issue? or do I just ignore and mention to HR in my exit interview in due course (not pursuing partnership here)

asking RoF as I hear crowdsourcing is the best way to get a good answer

I would scream MY ***KING NAME IS [BILLY WANG] YOU STUPID ***KING GOAT LICKING *** SNAFFLER.

 

they will never get your name wrong again.

cheers Billy sorry I mean Jelly for the tip

any others that won’t get me fired or sectioned?

Just ignore it. Dux will tell you that it isn't uncommon to use surnames in the public schools. 

no Chuffy HR are useless at my shop sadly. Would piss off a bunch of people I would then need to work with without effecting any change

I would, tbh, promote you if you said that.

 

tbh, it's a lack of respect / interest in your career that people you work for cannot get your name right.  I'd mention it to the partner in question - calmly/matter of factly.  Or wait until they tell you your attention to detail is lacking.

this sounds a bit like when ted dexter called devon malcolm , malcolm devon.

if these partners deal with you regularly, there is no excuse. 

RoFers, do you automatically tune out any thread complaining about “Partners”?

gsm - why? is your name actually grouville st mary?

You should take it up with them directly but in a friendly way. The merest insinuation that they might be racist will scare them in to line.

Yeah of course it is. I changed it when I moved here. 

One of my colleagues didn't recognise a black colleague who had straightened her hair.  He thought she was a new joiner.  He literally said to me "who's that? Is she a new joiner"? The two had been sitting within 15 metres of each other for maybe the previous 4 years.

Is it Ng? 

I've never known how that surname should be pronounced. 

If it's any consolation I have an Irish surname that is consistently mispronounced (and almost impossible to spell). 

Heh, I remember when the boss at one of my secondments called me by the name of the guy who had been on secondment before me from my firm (also Asian and wore glasses but otherwise looked nothing like me). 

She was mortified 

I think best is just to correct them in conversation in the moment, ideally not in front of anyone else (so they don’t resent you for embarrassing them not because they don’t deserve to be embarrassed).  “Thanks for that Wang.” “It’s Billy.”  Yeah it’s a bit awkward, but it’s their fault not yours.

pinkus - not that kind of asian so no not “ng”

tho i think it is pronounced like the verb in the sentence “he was “ung” like a horse”

I went to school with an Ng. I recent found out that Ng, Wang, Whang, Huang and Wong are all the same name just differently spelled. 

OP - did you ever get to the bottom of that point about shadow directors giving stat decs?

 

Oh, hang on, it wasn’t you it was the other one. 
 

Never mind. 

We got our neighbour's name wrong for years. I was convinced he was called Alan (yes, I know this is rof) but his name is Ray. After about 6 years of us getting it wrong he put a Christmas card through the door saying "Happy Christmas! From Ray (Alan)". 

In the firm I trained at, there were two south asian partners in our team who had clearly experienced this. They used to make a "joke" of it by calling each other Patel even though that wasn't their surname.

tho i think it is pronounced like the verb in the sentence “he was “ung” like a horse”

Neat, thanks. And heh. 

How much contact do they have with you? I am terrible with names and get people's names wrong all the fvcking time particularly if I don't see them regularly. This is a completely gender and race blind issue for the avoidance of doubt. There were two English blokes who joined our office about 5 years ago and I had a complete mental block about which one was which (they looked only vaguely alike). 

If they don't see you very often they probably only have a vague impression of who you are. 

Also calling people by their surname is very much a British thing (particularly public school boys).  No disrespect is meant at all. 

Sorry to hear that Jamie, it must be really annoying.

I would just tell them politely.

It's fvcking rude and also racist imho.  

What about “Please feel free to call me [first name], it feels very formal when you call me by my surname”. 

Also calling people by their surname is very much a British thing (particularly public school boys).  No disrespect is meant at all. 

that would be fine if they extended this courtesy to any other colleagues

I have a lovely Celtic name, but spend a lot of time teaching people how to say it even though it isn't that unusual these days

 

I like Betty's suggestion

Are you saying that you'd like me to call you by some other name feebs?

OK, it's not that then. It is possible this is some horrible, potentially racist deliberate attempt to undermine you.  It's much more likely to be an honest mistake/carelessness though.

If it bugs you there is no harm at all in saying 'actually my first name is x'.  They will probably be mortified and apologise. 

we can stick to Pheebs in the pub and Madame Caulfield in the bedroom

I seem to have trouble saying my very mainstream name because people often mishear it

yesterday I spent several minutes trying to explain it to a receptionist who was looking for it on a list

it turned out she has the same name

These things can cause problems. I was at a conference once, pre-Brexit when tensions were already very high, and that awful man Martin Schultz was sharing a platform with the UK's Information Commissioner at the time, Christopher Graham. Schultz accidentally referred to the IC by his surname (an easy mistake to make tbf). Our man in Brussels then made a point of several times referring to "Schultz" in a highly sarcastic tone. He asked me afterwards over a Chouffe if he should go and apologise, and I told him he absolutely should not. Sadly, he ignored me, and a diplomatic incident was averted.  

pretty racist from the OP to expect english people to be able to speak forrin

I have (and I realise this is probably outy) a first name which can be a surname and a second name which can be a first name.

It gets people all fcked up particularly if you work at a place where the emails go Wang, flying or similar.

Once on a deal the parter I was working for said to the partner on the other side (who was, with all due respect, a bellend) "fook dave, can you call hin flying and not Wang, he worked for you fo four years ffs".

I don't really care, I have worked in an insurance call centre

It's fvcking rude and also racist imho."

Yes- I'm sure it can be racist. Do remember though, some of us are generally terrible with names. The reversing of first and second names on email addresses confuses me and makes the second name come to my mind first.

Also, I can't remember faces and recognise most people by hair/glasses/really noticeable distinguishing features such as skin colour, type of nose, teeth etc. Someone changing their hair or glasses throws me.

Is it racism when you've been accustomed to learn to recognise people by western features (nose size and shape, freckles, more options of hair colour) and that doesn't translate so easily to other races? Clearly very irritating for those misnamed/ not recognised but most errors are embarrassing for the perpetrator too!

"Heh, I remember when the boss at one of my secondments called me by the name of the guy who had been on secondment before me from my firm (also Asian and wore glasses but otherwise looked nothing like me). 

She was mortified"

Well I guess your predecessor was just better in bed.

I think this thread is a series of decent examples of what people mean when they talk about “micro aggressions”. 

Like Wang I have a surname that can be a first name and get called by it all the time at work (including by my boss). it’s annoying as fvck especially as my first name obviously isn’t a surname. And then my first name is often misspelled too.
 

sorry it happens to you Jamie, it’s unlikely to be racism, more probably laziness.

Of course it's lazy and rude.  My point about racism is that very often these are not mistakes people would make with those called "Bob Smith" and white skin.  I don't mean to imply it's deliberate, though i suppose it could be.  Also:  if you're a partner then FFS you really ought to take the trouble to learn the names of the people you work with. How hard is it, really?

Wouldn't help in the first situation but the OP could fix the second problem really easily by changing their name by Deed Poll.

I genuinely thought this was going to be about your romantic partners getting your name wrong, which would have been more interesting.

‘Can, I ask you for some advice?’.

’Sure’.

’Should I change my name to Horace Rumpole?.

’Why would you do that?’.

’People might remember it better than my current name, which is Candid Li [insert real name]’.

So you’re suggesting he speaks candid li to the partners in question?

at first I thought the OP wanted advice on how to resolve the issue but perhaps he wants advice on whether this is racism.  Answer there = sorry mate I’ve no idea. 

I have had this on a couple of occasions where my first name is not common (but is a nice name!) and the same people have on more than one occasion got it wrong/misspelt it. What I do is as follows:

Simon e-mails me misspelling my name for the second time

My response: Dear Steve

Response from Simon: Dear [my name spelt correctly]

Alternatively as you are leaving, don’t bother and don’t bother mentioning to HR on exit interview.

betty - was asking for advice on how to deal. your advice is currently the most sensible i think.

satnav - not leaving in near future 

arbiter - heh! imagine if that got into the legal press

Wang's Upon a Time28 Apr 21 15:16Reply | Report

I have (and I realise this is probably outy) a first name which can be a surname and a second name which can be a first name.

 

I am now going to out Flying Wang.

 

Ohh I thought you were leaving. Well my method has worked every time - people should be called out on it especially if it is repeatedly the same people. I'm not easily offended and I'm not in these circumstances but just think it is unprofessional at the very least! 

arbiter - heh! imagine if that got into the legal press

Send an email to the whole firm and then just leak it yourself.

 

Dear all,

As members of the firm have shown a consistent inability to refer to me by my first name (John) and instead seem to insist on calling me by my surname (Patel) I have executed the attached Deed Poll to legally change my name to Patel John.

I'd be grateful if HR and IT could make the necessary amendments to the systems and files.

Kind regards,

Patel

 

Just own it.

Or do what Betty says.

Maybe the latter.

People get my name wrong all the time, but since I am white I cannot accuse them of racism.

Since you are not white I would definitely make a big thing of it though. That will definitely make you look good and they will respect and admire you for it.

 

I'm still surprised by the number of my non-UK clients (who have come to this country to live/work permanently)  with extremely 'difficult'  names for a native UK national to pronounce/spell correctly - esp. Eastern European - but still carry on using them in full here in business life...

I know it's not PC to say so,  but if I was going to live and earn a career in a foreign country where my mother tongue was not well known, I would 'adopt' a local name and also a 'local' e-mail address. 

Why make it harder to assimilate into your 'new' environment? 

It must be extremely wearisome to have to repeat each and every time the correct spelling and pronunciation of your name, e-mail address etc...

 

Just about everything about my first name goes wrong with people, mostly they reverse two syllables to make a completely different name but even if they get it right they make the same tired old joke about it and then proceed to spell it wrong, and even when they get it right they make the other tired old joke about the spelling...

my maiden name, so, only for work now, defeats them totally, they give up after the first two syllables. even my nice normal British married name gets an extra letter inserted so emails go astray.

on and on it goes.

best i can say is, having an unusual name eventually pays dividends with work because at some point old clients etc remember you by it.

Marshall Hall, unless you are going to actually change your name you cant just proceed with a simplified version, passposrts, bank accounts, id etc. Forrin names like mine are often an arbitrary spelling transliterated from a non romance language, vowels chosen, is it an i or an e, people choose different versions. But you have to stick to your birth certificate version.

Minkie - there is nothing stopping you from informally using an email address that isn’t completely impossible for a UK National to assimilate easily, or indeed call yourself by an Anglicised name.

Eg. If my name was Marcizk Sceponawicz I would use Mike Smith here, and change/use e-mail addresses accordingly.

Marshall did you used to work for my old firm? We had a trainee (BAME) who had a first name along the lines of princess, and they made her change it 

In our Hong Kong office the secretaries all had English names that they used. Rainbow Poon was my favourite. 

Linda, no but if I had been said ‘Princess’ , I would surely have changed my name by deed poll, as it is a name that is likely to be treated with some amusement/derision here in the UK, and I would be concerned that it would be an impediment to me be treated on my merits.

Pragmatism v Principles

Who on here, has ever enjoyed acting for a client for their god- forsaken principles...?

"it is a name that is likely to be treated with some amusement/derision here in the UK"

Or it would just mean you were probably black 

 

I know of a firm run by an Asian lawyer. Going back a few years when forrin types were way less accepted. Abs Law firm names we’re v restricted.
 

He got his (white) trainee to change his name by deed poll so he could use his new name as part of his firms moniker. 

total LAD. 

Linda, please do alight from your high horse.

If your surname was Cholmondeley, would you seriously use it if you emigrated to Poland and wanted to assimilate, and try to become a success in your new surroundings?

Er yes of course I'd use my own fvcking name are you mad 

*I* am a mentalist?

WTAF 

Have you tried suggesting to everyone with a non anglican name in your firm that they change it? And how did that go for you?

You need to get chinning MH. Clearly your alcohol blood level is out of whack. 

@minkie the headmistress who took over from MMM was so appalling at any unusual name that she’d give a half hearted attempt at pronounciation at assembly sat and then say: oh you know who you are.  

It is a truth, universally acknowledged in Bristol, that Linda has no common sense.

You think it's common sense to tell people to change their name 

you can only be trolling. What a fvcking weird troll tho 

Linda, your lack of common sense/emotional intelligence must be why your career has, in truth, been something of a disappointment to date.

Er ok 

you are being really weird and don't know anything about my career but sure 

Marshall is like the Bantom of the Opera. 
 

watching at a distance.  Bantennae twitching. 

This matrimonial tag-team approach is pretty weird...?

Marshy.  Are you Emo Phillips weirder and less funny cousin?

All Claire/Clare/Clair-s should have to conform their names to one spelling

Marshall as someone with an ethnic name- I think you are nuts. Why the eff should I effectively denounce my heritage to call myself something like Jane Smith which doesn't tell 'my story' just so people like you feel comfortable?

Frankly I'd hope to work with tolerant, accepting people, who are happy to try and expand their minds just a little and can learn a couple of new/different syllables. It's really not that hard. My name has two syllables and people constantly eff it up. TWO SYLLABLES. It's just lazy. 

 

Have you seen the Goodness Gracious Me sketch when 'Jonathan' goes to India and they want to rename him? Reminds me of that.

"Marshall did you used to work for my old firm? We had a trainee (BAME) who had a first name along the lines of princess, and they made her change it"

christ

I think suggesting you change your name to fit in is a bit off tbh. it's your name ffs

Dear all,

As members of the firm have shown a consistent inability to refer to me by my first name (John) and instead seem to insist on calling me by my surname (Patel) I have executed the attached Deed Poll to legally change my name to Patel John.

I'd be grateful if HR and IT could make the necessary amendments to the systems and files.

Kind regards,

Patel 

 

ahahahahahahaha

Don't quite have the balls to pull that off. Yet.

 

 

I have a non-English surname. After a hundred years in Oz of mispronunciation we gave up and went for the Anglo pronunciation. Big deal.

Folks change their legal names all the time eg, on marriage.

What’s the big deal?

 

Marshall Hall, or should I say, john smith, you have no idea what you are talking about.

I am not going to go the full  five yards on changing my name to please you.

Just learn it.

I know a bloke called Jeff who I called Jeff for years even though his name is actually James.

As one poster has said, just correct each partner privately and politely at an opportune moment. You have every right to be called by your correct name and, unless they are sh*ts, they shouldn't think any the less of you for mentioning it. Indeed, they will likely be embarrassed for their ignorance.

@Zero Gravitas - not sure Ng and Wong are anglicisations of the same surname. Those names are pronounced differently from each other by Chinese speakers. Aside from that, one reason there are different English spellings of Chinese names (quite aside from the fact transliterations can only be approximate) is that the pronunciation of many words differs between Mandarin and Cantonese.

It happens to us all. It’s not a racial thing.

I have a German surname that sounds like an English first name and I regularly get called by my surname.