What’s in a name?

I had a guest speaker come to my class to talk about discrimination and stereotyping. She said when she came to Canada, and wasn’t getting any call backs from résumés she’d sent, she sought professional advice. The résumé expert strongly suggested that she take Jamaica out of her résumé completely. Sandals hotel chain could stay but Jamaica had to go. Once she took Jamaica out, the call backs started coming in. It then occurred to me that I’ve never sent a résumé with my name on it and got a callback. The jobs I’ve had have all been people who met me. My current employer saw me teaching. My previous employer met me and suggested I apply for the opening. Before that, someone referred me and so on. When I lived in Norway and applied for about sixty jobs with no call backs, I felt it might be my name but I didn’t think it would be like that in supposedly multicultural Canada. Apparently I’m wrong. Articles I’ve researched say that the popular names get the jobs, names like Sophia, Isabella, Emma, and Olivia will get the interview. Foreign names don’t even get called back as often as managers think they are immigrants and less likely to have the language skills required or managers are subconsciously biased. There is so much information on the net about Indians and Asians Anglosizing their names for success. Apparently  we also stereotype people with certain names. If you’re Abigail you’re intelligent, if you are Ruth, you are a leader, Ingrids are hard workers. If your name starts with A or B, you’re more likely to score A’s on tests, feminine names get traditionally female jobs and masculine names get traditionally male jobs. But what about Peta-Gaye? It’s a name I’ve only heard in Jamaica and  I’m tired of the blank stares I get when I say my name. It takes people awhile to wrap their tongues around it, linguistically speaking of course. I’ve even been told by another Peta-Gaye on Facebook that the correct pronunciation is Petta-Gaye instead of Peeta-Gaye. How clearly misinformed but what to do. So the next time I submit  my résumé, I think I’ll put my very common Anglo middle name, a name easily recognized by many cultures: Theresa, Therese, Thérèse. Whatever spin you put on it, it clearly says normal and saintly. Perhaps saintly and normal enough to get the job!


1 reply
  1. Annamarie
    Annamarie says:

    You should be who you are always…if they don’t hire you because they are judging you based on your name then you don’t really want to work for them anyways. I like your name it’s unique and that is part of who you are. Love, Annamarie

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