I dread meetings with a snotty coworker who calls me by the wrong name

A reader writes:

I am coming up to my two-year anniversary as an apprentice and am struggling with a monthly task my manager has allocated me. As I am learning teapot administration, my manager thought it fit to offer my services to a monthly strategic teapot meeting so that I could have some experience of minute-taking and providing executive support. There are six people who attend the meeting, and five of them I am fine with as they show me respect and don’t treat me as a subordinate. One person, however, really gets my back up with how she treats me. She seems naturally snobbish in nature and has a lot to say. It’s safe to say she is definitely not someone I would choose as a friend.

Cutting to the chase, my main issue with her is that she has known me for two years and still calls me by the wrong name. I am not encouraged to speak in meetings as I am not a “delegate” per se, so it can be difficult for me to correct her and also embarrassing when she does it in front of a room full of people. I had hoped that one of her “equals” would speak up and correct her, but this hasn’t happened as yet. She is not the chair of this particular meeting but seems to take over a lot, and she constantly instructs me of what is to be minuted and what is not. I am there to take minutes and am experienced enough to use my discretion when something is not to be recorded, and it totally angers me that she continues telling me what to do throughout the meeting.

She is dismissive and obviously sees me as beneath her. It has gotten to the point that I dread the meetings and hate being there because she embarrasses me in how she speaks to me. I am close to asking my manager if I can stop providing support at the meetings as they are seriously getting me down. Would this be reasonable or should I just deal with it? How can I tackle this?

Don’t do that; it wouldn’t reflect well on you to ask to stop attending a meeting simply because one of the people there annoys you.

If she’s a blowhard, other people at the meeting will see that and it will reflect on her, not on you — and the more you can remain calm and not let her get under your skin, the better you’ll look.

If you’re at the meetings to take minutes, I’d try to totally disconnect yourself from caring that she talks a lot and takes over (not really yours to be aggravated by since it’s not your meeting), and even that she gives you direction about the minutes. Your manager sent you there to give you minutes-taking experience, so presumably this coworker has some reason to think that some direction might be helpful — but even if not, she’s hardly out of line in wanting some input into the content of the minutes for a meeting that it sounds like she plays a big role in.

But you absolutely have standing to address the name thing. It doesn’t have to be a big, fraught thing; just approach her after a meeting and say, “I noticed you keep referring to me as Cordelia, but I’m actually Jane.”

Beyond that, though, you’re going to deal with annoying and even snotty people throughout your career. Your best bet is to see their demeanor as being about them, not you.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 265 comments… read them below }

  1. Mena*

    She isn’t embarrassing YOU by talking down to you or by calling you the wrong name.

    She is embarrassing HERSELF by treating you poorly and not bothering to remember your name.

    1. Sadsack*

      I vote for cutting her off next time in front of the group and saying, “Mildred, it’s been two years now, I think you can just call me Jane.” Bam! (don’t say the bam part).

      1. Rat Racer*

        It’s hard to read sub-text in a letter, but this sounds like a very formal organization. (I’ve never heard of an apprentice administrative assistant, and the fact that meeting participants are called “delegates” makes me think of the UN or something). Anyway, I would not recommend interrupting or trying to score points here. Just a simple correction “Actually, my name is Jane, not Cordelia,” is a safer approach.

        1. Chinook*

          I love the idea of someone being an apprentice administrative assistant because some of those skills can only be taught through experience. Minute taking is a good example of that. Since the OP is starting with a meeting of only 7, this is definitely a case of being thrown into the shallow end of the pool to learn to swim. The skills she practices there, as well as the knowledge she learns by paying attention in the meeting, could take her far in that organization.

        2. Doriana Gray*

          Agreed Rat Racer, though I’d be very tempted to use Sadsack’s tone complete with the bam at the end. Once is an honest mistake. Two years is intentional.

        3. OP*

          I am based in the UK and Business Administration apprenticeships are very common here. ‘Delegates’ is probably slightly too formal a term; I tend to use ‘members’ on a day to day basis. I work for a formal organisation, but definitely not the UN. :)

        4. ExExpat*

          “Apprentice admin assistant” might just be an admin assistant with apprentice pay.

      2. Michelle*

        This ^^ Address it when it happens, every time it happens. I’ve worked with people like that and when you have to keep correcting her in front of people she respects or feels equal to, she will call you by the right name to keep herself from looking bad.

        Also, you can’t speak in the meeting??? What if you need clarification about an item?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think that means she’s not a participant in the discussion. I’m sure she can speak up if she needs clarification about something for the minutes.

          1. Artemesia*

            And this is very common — to be asked to attend meetings in a role where you are not a participant in the decision making. It is also quite common for people running a meeting to direct the note taker about what to include or not. I would not get in a twist about that; it is their meeting, they get to decide such things and they are not always obvious.

            I’d correct her privately on the name once. After that do it publicly if she keeps doing it.

            1. Elle*

              I’d be sooo tempted to say, with a big smile of course, “I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of anyone, but my name is actually Jane.”

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I attended a session on note-taking at an IAAP conference once, thinking that it was about the note-taking itself. Instead, it was more about encouraging the note-takers to feel free to speak up regarding matters of clarification. The note-taker may not have a stake in the meeting as a decision-maker or contributor, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to speak up in the moment if they didn’t catch something or to seek clarification. The trick is to have the confidence to do it, and then to do it matter-of-factly and succinctly.

        3. Inishlady*

          Sounds like the other woman likes bossing people around and making them feel so inferior that they “can’t” (or won’t remember) other people’s names. After a few instances of this, I would make up an alternative name for her (like Agnes Morehead did for her S-I-L when she’d call him “Derwood” on purpose) and then laugh playfully if/when she pointed out your “error”. Also, I would address the meeting chair by name for any clarification issues and reassure her that only the chair should be deciding what should be in the minutes and that you do have extensive experience in taking minutes. It seems this woman steamrollers her peers and everyone seems afraid to confront her; if you let her dominate things like this, she will continue to treat you shabbily in the future. All people should be respected, even if they are not on the same professional level! (She’s just verrryyyy rude!)

    2. SJ*

      I re-read the letter, and I can’t tell if the OP ever actually corrected this woman on what her name is (“She has known me for two years and still calls me by the wrong name” doesn’t really address what steps OP has taken already). It’s one thing if OP has told the woman over and over and she still never gets it right; it’s another if OP never actually corrected her at all and has just let this go on and on for 2 years. It still reflects poorly on the woman either way, especially if she sees OP’s name in emails and things and should definitely know it, but I’m wondering if OP has ever voiced the problem.

      1. Sadsack*

        Yeah, I think that OP should just do as others suggested below and nicely correct next time as if it is no big deal. “Actually, it’s Jane,” should be sufficient. If the woman apologizes and then starts using the correct name, you know it was just a mistake. If she says, whatever, and continues using the wrong name, then you know different. Just because you are subordinate to these people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t correct them on a simple matter such as what your name is.

        1. Papyrus*

          Yes, just a quick correction might be enough. There’s this one woman I work with, and let’s say her name is Jane, but it’s pronounced “Jah-nay” but I’ve been saying it like “Jayne” mistakenly almost every time because I’m so used to that pronunciation with that spelling. She’s never corrected me once, but if she did, it might finally shame me into getting it right. Perhaps this woman is just used to calling you by the wrong name because you never say anything.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            That type of thing would trip me up big time. The only cure for me would be to write it out phonetically and put it in a not-too-obvious place so that I could glance at it and get the name right. And this OP’s story is exactly why I would do that- it’s important to get people’s names right.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        I’m thinking maybe the Op never sees this woman except at the meeting once a month, and maybe hasn’t had a good opportunity before or after to correct her. Also, if she’s that snotty, Op probably doesn’t feel comfortable approaching her. But I’d do it in the moment, there’s nothing rude about it IMO.

    3. Anna No Mouse*

      I have an unusual name, and people often mispronounce it. I don’t let it get to me, even though anyone who actually reads the letters in front of them, or listens when I tell them my name, ought to get it right.

      There is one person I know (pillar of the community sort) who never gets my name right, despite having known him for over a decade. Some people are just too self-absorbed to care to try, and that’s their problem, not yours, OP.

      1. Pizza is a vegetable*

        I feel like if people can correctly pronounce Tchaikovsky, Schwarzenegger, Joaquin, Siobhan etc (even if they need to be told the first time) then they can pronounce ANY name. Often times people don’t want to (and sometimes IN MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE they’re is some unspoken biases/predjudices towards culturally different names from the “standard” – read between the lines here – and people just choose to act like some names are just SO outrageous and difficult to pronounce.

        I read a really touching piece a woman wrote about her name before, as it was culturally different than the “standard” I believe it was an Asian name, and how her mother encouraged her to be proud of her name and require that people say it correctly – because they CAN.

        I don’t think it would be outrageous of you, or anyone else, to require that people get their names right whether hard to pronounce or as common as David.

        1. NK*

          I completely agree. It might still take a couple times to tell someone how to pronounce it for a name that does not have an intuitive pronunciation for the speaker, but two years? Definitely not.

        2. Mona Lisa Saperstein*

          +1 to this. I’m Indian-American and have a fairly easy-to-pronounce name once I sound it out for people, but I’ve had more than one person say to my face “Ugh, that’s too hard, I’m just going to call you [egregiously mispronounced version of my name / Anglicized shortening of my name], that’s okay, right?” NO IT’S NOT OKAY, if you can correctly pronounce, like, Kim Kardashian and Saoirse Ronan’s names then you can make an effort to learn mine!

          1. Kat M*

            I was a teacher in a classroom with a child who had a fairly easy-once-explained Indian name. A new (young, very white, very sheltered) co-teacher started in the room and said, “Woah, I’m never going to be able to say that.”

            I answered, “Your last name is [13 letter, 4 syllable German name]. I’m sure you can figure out [8 letter, 3 syllable Indian name].”

            “That’s different. My name is normal.”

            She did learn it, in the end. I’m hoping she learned from the experience as well.

            1. Royal Merchant Ship*

              I’ve had US citizens throw up their hands in despair at my two-syllable Polish name that’s pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. These people aren’t trying, and they’re not trying on purpose.

              1. Just me*

                I hear you on the Polish name. Mine is 13 letters, 3 syllables and doesn’t sound how it looks.

                1. NoNoNoNoNo*

                  Thirty or so years ago I had a coworket whose last name was Jarezcekj.

                  It definitely doesn’t pronounce like it spells.

                  I learned to both say and spell it and can still remember all these years later.

                  People don’t try because they choose not to.

          2. Hornswoggler*

            My sister worked as a lawyer in a London firm for some years and had a secretary who was introduced to her as Cynthia. She called her that for a long time until a moment arrived where she saw an official document of some kind which had the name written as Cynthelia. She asked her about it and “Cynthia” said she had long given up the idea that anyone would ever call her by her right name. My sister immediately started using her proper name and started to encourage other members of the firm to do so. Cynthelia is black, of Afro-Caribbean descent, so her name was very unfamiliar, but I don’t think that’s any excuse.

            1. Kelly*

              Wow, that’s really a beautiful name…way prettier than “Cynthia” by itself – but I like them both.

        3. JessaB*

          Actress Uzo Aduba’s mother said this in a quote to a reporter once, when stating her annoyance that her daughter Uzoamaka ended up shortening her name to Uzo as an actress. Used most of the same names that you used above. If people can do that she said, they can pronounce a name that’s said pretty much how it’s written.

          My take on it is, they just don’t care to bother, add in that she’s a Black woman and you get into major microagression territory. Names in most cultures are Important Things. It’s absolutely not on for her to keep doing this.

          1. NoNoNoNoNo*

            One of my sisters-in-law is named Oumkalthoum. It’s Arabic (as is she).

            She is named after a pretty famous Egyptian singer actually, but go on try to get the majority of folks in Boston to say her name correctly.

        4. Sketchee*

          I’m a big fan of the Emily Post Awesome Etiquette Podcast and this problem has been discussed a number of times. It’s quite common for people to have trouble with names. The polite thing is to correct people on your name and to expect that they’ll attempt to get it right. After all, most of us would probably be horrified that we’re getting a name wrong and would appreciate the heads up.

          1. Sketchee*

            Also my name is very similar to another common name, so I often do have to correct people “It’s with a B”. Usually just use either a neutral or upbeat tone. It happens all the time, so I just treat it as if it’s not a big deal. Embarrassing others is not really the route I choose if I can help it. Politeness is about presenting myself, not about reacting to others. Hope this helps

      2. gingersnap*

        I have this problem also. After three weeks of correcting everyone at a a new job when they pronounced my name I finally gave up. At that point they were at least getting the consonant sounds correct, so it was close enough (and I was spending so much time correcting people, I was beginning to wonder if *I* was the one who didn’t know how to pronounce my name).
        Another thing that happens is that when I attend conferences, more senior people in my field will introduce me to others by pronouncing my name incorrectly. I immediately shake hands with the new acquaintance saying “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m [correctly pronounced name],” but it usually doesn’t sink in. And often when I’m giving a talk the person introducing me will pronounce my name incorrectly. So I’ll re-introduce myself with the correct pronunciation of my name….and nope. Everyone still misses it. I really have no idea how to solve this. (and sometimes I really do wonder if my parents just got my name wrong and it’s actually supposed to be pronounced completely differently).

        1. Oryx*

          I have a friend, Shelly, who is actually a Rochelle. When she went to school, though, her teacher was going through attendance and called her RAchelle. Shelly corrected her and her teacher told this little five or six year old that she didn’t know her own name.

          1. YaH*

            At the beginning of the year, I accidentally mispronounced one of my kindergartener’s names… but when she politely but firmly said, “It’s Huh-Huh-HADley” (making an exaggerated H sound to make it clear what letter her name starts with), it was so cute and I was so impressed by how she spoke up and corrected me. And I haven’t forgotten how to say her name since.

          2. Agile Phalanges*

            I was at the DMV in California (it’s exactly as hellish as you’re imagining, if not moreso), and they gave me the information they were about to print on my driver’s license to proofread before they finalized it. I said, “Um, you have my name wrong. It’s Jana, but you just wrote Jan.” (Not my real name, but same problem, leaving off the last letter). The clerk insisted that my name was Jan, and my birth certificate had said Jan. Um, I’m pretty sure I would know, but okay, I hauled out my manila envelope with my important documents again, rifled through them and found the BC, and showed it to her. And wouldn’t you know, it said Jana, just like it always has, and just as I’ve always been called. She printed a new copy of the proof form, I looked at it, and now I’m Jana, but have an AKA on my record that wasn’t there two minutes ago, of Jan LastName. Eyeroll. I’m guessing it’s a permanent part of my DMV record even now, in a different state.

          3. Short-Name-Always-Mispronounced*

            This happened to me when I was in high school! Our teacher was out, so another one took our registration. She got to my name, said it wrong, I politely corrected her, and she said, “oh, someone’s written it wrong in the register.” “No, that’s how you spell it.” “Really? Well I’m going to write in how I think it should be spelled.”

            Um. THANKS LADY.

            (My name is one syllable, three letters long, not that if it were 28 letters long this should make any difference. I am still angry about this almost 15 years later…)

            1. CM*

              If it helps you not be angry 15 years later, I think it’s pretty common for teachers and other attendance-takers to write people’s names phonetically above their correctly spelled name, so they can make sure they pronounce it correctly. I’ve seen people do this plenty of times. (Not that I’m dismissing your anger — I’m still super annoyed at the tech support guy who actually LAUGHED at me and said he couldn’t possibly attempt to pronounce my very simple and short ethnic name that rhymes with common American names that are spelled almost the same way. And that happened several years ago. It just sums up so well the many years of people’s reactions to my name.)

              1. Short-Name-Always-Mispronounced*

                Haha, if she’d said it like you just did, then I think I would have forgiven her! I don’t expect people to get the pronunciation right first time – it’s a toss up how you’d say it anyway.

                But she was super patronising about it and implied that my choice of spelling was faulty. (Or at least, 15 yo me felt that way. You may be right – I should probably move on. But she was an awful teacher and loved patronising students in general so…I’m comfortable disliking her memory!)

              2. Inishlady*

                I was a teacher for many years and taking attendance for the first time is always a mine field! Before taking roll, I always apologized in advance if I were to mangle their name when calling it out and asked my students to make sure to correct my pronunciation. Also, I asked the student how they wanted to addressed, as many students in the South go by their middle name or a nickname, and I made sure to record that info on my roll as well as the phonetic pronunciation of their formal name. I have a horrible memory for names, so I also apologized in advance if I forgot their name in the future and had to ask them for it as it was my memory issue and nothing against them. Most students were just fine with this arrangement.

          4. NoNoNoNoNo*

            I was given a nick name as my legal name instead of a proper name (thanks Mom and Dad) and my kindergarten teacher likewise told me I was incorrect. My dad enlightened her.

      3. Cordelia Longfellow*

        I’m in the same boat! When I was in third grade, I tried to change my name to Jennifer for a year, but eventually I just started rolling with it. My most awkward experience was with a coworker of five years (who had known how to pronounce my name correctly!) retired and came back to work at our company on a contract basis, at which point he completely forgot how to say my name.

      4. Daria*

        I never had a problem with mispronunciations until Daria Morgendorffer was created. I love her, but she has caused me much grief these past twenty years. I pronounce my name “Darry-uh” (The Darry like Larry) but co-workers and even friends I’ve known for years still get it wrong. It’s partly my fault; I’ve tuned it out for the most part. But as Anna No Mouse says, you’d think that anyone who listens when I tell them my name (or when they hear others pronounce it correctly) ought to get it right.

        Facebook now has a feature where you can put a “pronounces name” section on your page. You better believe I took advantage of that as soon as I noticed.

        A former co-worker of mine suggested putting a sign up at my desk with the pronunciation because even when she corrected people, they didn’t believe her.

  2. Roscoe*

    I understand being angry about the name thing. Is it completely off, or just a mispronunciation that could be a simple mistake? However aside from that, this seems like something not work getting mad at. You are upset because she is treating you as a subordinate, but you ARE a subordinate. I’m not really sure what she is doing to YOU that is so bad (aside from her dominating the meetings). But aside from the name thing, this is just something you have to deal with in the working world.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      “Is it completely off, or just a mispronunciation that could be a simple mistake?”

      Agree — never attribute to malice that which can be plausibly attributed to incompetence. Hopefully she’s not willfully doing this, even if she’s calling OP by a completely different name; perhaps she somehow has it in her head that OP is named Petunia when she’s actually named Sharon, and continues to call her by the wrong name simply because she hasn’t been told otherwise.

      I hope so, anyway.

      1. Michelenyc*

        I called one of our mailroom guys by the wrong name for almost a year. One day my manager asked me why I was calling him Jason instead of Brian. He never corrected me. I felt like such an idiot.

        1. NutellaNutterson*

          I was calling an employee at my kiddo’s school the wrong name, Mr Doug. Kiddo spoke up and said “we usually call him Mr Joe.”

          It was a surprisingly diplomatic way to say “mom, you’re a fool” while still retaining the chance that he was actually Mr Doug Joe, or something else that would have us both be correct.

      2. Barefoot Librarian*

        I was wondering this too. My name has an accented vowel in it and sometimes people miss that and pronounce it the way it is written. If you don’t catch it early and correct them, the longer you wait the more awkward it can be when you eventually do. I let it slide for over a year with a coworker once because when we originally met, we were in two entirely different departments and I thought he and I would never work together (so I didn’t bother correcting him). It was painful when I finally pulled him aside and told him how to pronounce it, but that was my fault. I should have said something sooner and not let it get awkward.

      3. Mallory Janis Ian*

        If I think someone looks like something other than their name, it takes me longer to learn their name; I get stuck on what they look like and have to make a conscious effort to push past that. My roommate at a summer academic program looked remarkably like my Aunt Wanda, and the name “Wanda” just jumped to my lips every time I would address her for the first several days. I had to make myself overwrite “Wanda” with “Becky”. I know it’s a problem, but I don’t intend any malice. I just have a faulty mental name-storage system that occasionally needs an intentional override.

        1. Cactus*

          Oy, that can get awkward.
          When my husband and I were staying with his uncle for a few days (the first time I met this uncle), I kept wanting to call the family dog, “Gilda,” by the aunt’s name, “Rita.” Why? Because when I was growing up, there was a family who lived down the street from my parents who had a dog of the exact same breed as Gilda…named Rita. And then my husband (who had never met this dog before) initially mis-heard the dog’s name as “Tilda,” so that made things even more confusing for me, because I had to keep correcting myself internally before saying anyone‘s name.

    2. Steve*

      If you’ve already talked to to the person and told them your correct name, you might consider the possibility that she may not be able to pronounce your name in the correct way. This isn’t super common but sometimes people e.g. with thick can’t pronounce things like names quite correctly, even if they know they’re doing it wrong. My manager’s first language is Spanish and he calls me “Esteve” and I know it’s not personal.

        1. Steve*

          Coincidentally a previous manager who was British called me Esteban occasionally, because it was funny I guess?

      1. Emily K*

        This reminds me of when my Chilean friend was trying to teach me how to pronounce Chile and I kept either not saying the -e at the end at all, or saying it too much. I could not for the life of me get that slight -e that he kept repeating at me.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          My husband tries to help me pronounce certain words in German, and I keep trying and trying, and I can’t hear the difference between what I’m saying and what he’s saying.

          1. Megs*

            I lived in a part of Switzerland where the high German word for “bird” was one umlaut away from an obscene Swiss German word. After a couple of embarrassing moments I just avoided saying bird for a year.

            1. Alice 2*

              You mean the verb “to bird” (translated literally)? That’s not just in Switzerland, but also in Germany. (its wide spread enough to make it into the book “Scheiße, or the German they never taught you in school” what a wonderfully enlightening book. :) )
              My boyfriend keeps giggling when I mess up words and say something completely different.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            After almost failing German in high school, I decided that this was a group of people that collectively had something against using VOWELS. I am part German descent, hence the passing interest. And the interest did pass….

          3. Tau*

            This was really fun in my linguistics undergrad course. We were a really international bunch, so when we hit practical phonetics there would almost invariably be a bunch of people going “but [x sound] and [y sound] sound exactly the same…” while a small minority who had both in their native language went “what are you people talking about they sound nothing alike.” You can train this later on, but in general what sounds you can distinguish is set to “those of your native language” when you’re a baby. There’s research. It’s really cool. :)

            1. Short-Name-Always-Mispronounced*

              Oooh I think it’s so cool as well. My partner studied Mandarin at degree level and now speaks it proficiently (with a Beijing accent, hilariously, from his time living there) and the subtleties of tonal languages are a) very interesting but b) unbelievably hard for people brought up with atonal languages to get to grips with.

        2. Marcela*

          Uf, Emily, I have the opposite problem: I can’t, for the life of me, say Chile (my country name) the way American do. I struggle with that e.

          1. No Longer Passing By*

            Marcela, why not just continue to say it your native way? Alternatively, you can try to pronounce it like “chilly,” as in a little cold or “chillie,” the food. You may have a psychological hump to intentionally mispronouncing it so it you replace it in your head this way, you may get over that hump.

            But I love the native pronunciation; so beautiful….

        3. Stella*

          Eeeesh. Just had a flashback to grad school when I was trying to give a summary of a book by Oscar Hijuelos. I could not say Hijuelos to the (Spanish speaking) instructor’s satisfaction. She interrupted me while I was in mid-sentence three times to correct my pronunciation. I gave up and said “the author” instead. I could hear the difference between what she said and what I was saying but I could not get the correct sounds out. I was angry at both being unable to say the name correctly and at being called out every. blessed. time.

      2. Yorick*

        I have a colleague who is Chinese. I cannot pronounce his name. I can hear the difference between what he says and what I say, but I can’t figure out how to make that sound.

        He uses an American nickname that he chose for himself, so I just use that.

    3. Pwyll*

      Yup, be careful with obscure accent issues, if she’s mispronouncing your name. I was the EA to a boss who mispronounced my name for TWO YEARS before I realized he just couldn’t make that sound. (Bostonians have issues with certain sounds.) It annoyed me until I heard him pronounce another word wrong, and realized it was just an accent thing.

      1. fposte*

        That’s pretty funny when attached to the Welsh username there. (And BTW, Pwyll totally threw his wife under the bus. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.)

      2. NutellaNutterson*

        The titles of Shaun the Sheep and Chu’s Day are both a lot funnier if you hear them pronounced in original (English?) accents.

      3. Double Shelix*

        OMG Boston. I’d been with one native Bostonian BF for 2 years before we realised his entire family didn’t know my name. Their accents made the error invisible. Again, awkward correction.

        Similar story: A friend working at bank got a call from a branch, and had to fax something to his coworker, whom he was told on the phone was named Farmer. The fax went through, but minutes later he got a call back from the coworker who said, “Thank you, but my name is actually Fama, not Farmer.” His accented ears filled in the Rs since the two words are obviously pronounced identically ;)

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      I think the Op just meant she treats him or her disrespectfully. No matter where you are on the totem pole, one still deserves some respect.

  3. some1*

    “you’re going to deal with annoying and even snotty people throughout your career.”

    Especially if you want to be an Executive Assistant! Often you’ll either be supporting an exec who thinks you’re beneath her, and/or your coworkers will treat you like the principal’s kid at school. (Afraid that you are spying on them for your boss). When I supported an AVP in a huge company, I had basically no friends.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      I guess I’ve been really lucky in my admin roles then. The worse boss I assisted told me how to dress but other than that treated me ok, complimented my work, sought my input etc.

    2. Doriana Gray*

      I’ve never worked at a place that treated their EAs/admins like this – that’s just awful.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      I’m an EA and find that most people treat me with respect. But there are always a few who think you are a “stupid secretary” and treat you like dirt. What these dummies don’t realize is that I am friendly with my former boss who is now the #2 at our company, and he loves to know who is a jerk to me. His current assistant is one of the worst offenders and he often reprimands her for being a mean human being – he “inherited” her and doesn’t like her and I love it because she is the Queen Bee type and I can tell she’s miserable about it. She is used to being able to fool the big bosses and is sweet as pie when they are around – but they are onto her game.

  4. Product Person*

    As I was reading, I was thinking precisely of this:

    “Beyond that, though, you’re going to deal with annoying and even snotty people throughout your career.”

    Take this as an opportunity to learn how to deal with annoying people, OP! It will serve you well in your career, many times :-).

    Perhaps reminding yourself that you are not there as a peer to these people will help you see this as an opportunity to learn what NOT to do. When you grow in your career and become a member of a strategic team like this one, you’ll be in a position to be kinder to the junior person acting as a minute-taker, and that will reflect well on you.

    1. Hlyssande*

      It’s similar to the saying about how you can see what a person is really like by how they treat the waiter. If someone treats a person in a lower position like crap, that is not a nice person.

      1. Roscoe*

        Thats not the same though. This person is literally a subordinate. Not that it makes them sub human or anything, but they are going to be bossed around, because they literally are there as support.

        1. Miss Betty*

          Bossing someone around is different than being snotty to them though. And actually, someone can direct and supervise and manage subordinates without bossing them around (which implies snottiness to begin with). It’s all in the attitude, and giving the OP the benefit of a doubt – as we do here! – it sounds like this person just has a bad attitude.

          1. Roscoe*

            True, but I’m not convinced based on the letter that she is actually being treated poorly. She doesn’t like how the woman carries herself and acts in meetings, that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with the fact that she is treating OP badly.

            1. fposte*

              It’s tough to tell for me; it’s true that what she says about the woman is mostly describing ways that she’s unlikable, rather than behavior that is inappropriate. But it’s my experience that people, especially early in their careers, aren’t always great at articulating the deficits in their fellow workers, and they often turn to storytelling how upset they are instead. But often under that story of personal reaction is some genuinely bad behavior–it’s just not something that got conveyed well.

              So to the OP I’d say keep going to meetings, speak up about your name, and don’t worry about whether she respects you or not; if there’s a problem that isn’t solved by that that interferes with you doing your job, talk to your manager.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I dunno… It’s not a big effort for me to believe OP, the woman dominates the meetings, has a steady stream of micro-managing instructions directed at OP and gets her name wrong. I picture a person missing a few people skills.

            OP,some folks role model how to behave and some folks role model how NOT to behave. Hang on to how this woman behaves and vow not to do your own version of that in the decades to come. And vow to remember the new people in the room. When she starts cranking away at her issues, think to yourself quietly, “Thanks for showing me how NOT to handle myself.”

            Sometimes I chuckle, you know we can tell people do not do x or do not do y and sometimes the point reeeeally hits home when we see other people do x or y. It is in that moment we say “ah-ha! Here is the reason why you do not do these behaviors.”

            1. TootsNYC*

              Also–if she annoys the pants off of you, she’s annoying other people in that room too. This is a great opportunity to watch how they handle it, and how, whether, and when they work around her.

              You are going to be SO smart!

        2. Pizza is a vegetable*

          Directing/managing subordinates is much better than “bossing” them around. Regardless of station or role, whether support staff or cleaning staff – no adult needs to be “BOSSED” around. Directed and managed, certainly.

      1. fposte*

        Whether you’re entitled is a different question than how much of a fight it’s worth, though. I think the OP absolutely should speak up, since it clearly bothers her; that’s the first action to take and it’s utterly appropriate. But I don’t think she should stop attending meetings or spend a lot of other time on the matter.

      2. Pizza is a vegetable*


        Require people to use your name and to say it correctly, period.

        But yeah, it’s not something to stop going to meetings over. It doesn’t sound like the LW has spoken up for herself in that regard and instead wants to just back out completely. This is a good learning opportunity for her. Being passive isn’t the way to get the respect you deserve (everyone deserves the respect of being called by the name they were given/chose)

  5. Sally*

    I’ve been in my current post nearly 7 months, and as a classroom teacher, it’s the done thing to refer to people as “Miss/Mrs/Mr Soandso”, especially in front of the children.
    My immediate supervisor still intermittently calls me Miss Richardson, when in fact it’s Nicholson. At first it was funny, but after 6 months it stopped amusing me. She called me the wrong name last week, in connection with a question she wanted to ask. I looked at her blankly and said “Who’s Miss Richardson?” She looked confused/embarrassed and back-tracked, and used my correct name. Worth a try. A healthy dose of embarrassment can sort out many a social ill.

    1. Midge*

      I like this strategy! I wish it would work on variations of how names are spelled. I have a less common spelling of a fairly common name (like Jennie instead of Jenny), and it drives me crazy the number of people who spell it incorrectly when replying to emails I have sent them.

      1. martinij*

        I have a coworker who took it upon himself to abbreviate Jennifer (what I’ve asked to be called and introduce myself as) to Jen. I’ve not responded, and have flat out asked whether there is a “Jen” on the line during conferences but he still abbreviates to Jen. I believe he thinks he is being friendly/social but hasn’t taken the (ten plus) hints…

        1. Amber*

          Personally I know 5 different Jennifers so it actually is difficult to keep track of which ones are ok with being called Jen and which aren’t. Same goes for the spelling, some go with Jen and others Jenn.

      2. It's Me*

        Yes!! As someone with a name that commonly ends in -ie but that I spell with a -y, this irks me to no end. My email JUST ends with a salutation of “Regards, Name-y”. So why start the email with, “Hello Name-ie”?

        When someone asks me for my name and I know they are going to be writing it down (such as, I’m making an appointment or signing up for something) I always (cheerfully) say, “My name is Name-with-a-y!”.

      3. Koko*

        Ugh, I totally did this to a coworker by mistake recently. Her name is Cristina, and I know this – I write to her all the time. But I was dashing off the email in a hurry and my fingers typed Christina just out of muscle memory. I realized it pretty much as I was hitting the Send button and it was too late to fix it. I seriously considered sending a follow-up email just to make a point of subtly-not-subtly spelling her name correctly in the follow-up so she’d know it was a mistake and not me ignoring her name spelling, but ultimately decided against it.

        I also have a tendency when I’m writing in a hurry to type words that sound similar to the word I mean, but are completely unrelated in meaning. Think swapping “abrupt” for “a broke”…which, yes, doesn’t even make sense grammatically. My brain sometimes just gets wires crossed. It’s like I’m hearing myself give dictation but I mishear some of the words. It has happened a time or two with names instead of random words in the middle of a sentence and I’ve been so embarrassed because I know some people really care about their name and take it as a slight if you get it wrong. But in my case it’s just a mistake I make from time to time with words in general and it being a name doesn’t make it any different unfortunately.

      4. Windchime*

        I also have a less common spelling of a common name. I get so tired of people misspelling it but I usually let it slide because at least they pronounce it mostly correctly. But one guy who used to work here really bugged me as a person, so when he sent an email out to the team saying that “Jenny will do [task]”, I replied, “Oh, good! I didn’t want to do that so I’m happy to hear that Jenny will do it!” He sent out a correct email with my name spelled “Jenni” instead.

        I felt petty about it but come on. It’s not that hard to pay attention to how people spell their names.

      5. Hobbits! The Musical*

        I do this by accident and when I realise, I’m embarrassed *for myself*, and specifically check I’ve used the correct form – e.g. Rachel/Rachael: one is my sister, the other is my volunteer supervisor; I’ve also got friends who use specific unusual spellings and/or pronunciation… you’d think I’d be careful but noooo, I still put my foot in my mouth.

        It would be nice if this person just has a persistent brain-block, but the OP is the one there in person, only they can tell.

    2. Ad Astra*

      This works best, in my experience, if you can work up some genuine-sounding bewilderment and not let on that you know who she’s actually referring to. The offender still gets a dose of embarassment, but they don’t feel like they’ve been corrected — which gives them a chance to correct themselves and say “Oh gosh, I always get you mixed up with Mrs. Richardson because you both started the same year” or whatever. Of course, that’s only worth doing for people who aren’t rude.

  6. Analyst*

    I get why it irks you. I have a vendor right now who misspells my name in every single email, and he’s supposed to be a high-level support for a system we rely on. And I think is attention to detail stinks. But while it still bugs me, I challenge myself to just see it as amusing. And nothing is more amusing than him telling my superiors that “Analyzt is wrong” in an email, and then I can send my rebuttals with carefully-pulled data from the system logs.

    However your case is weirder and I can easily see why it’s so frustrating. If I were you, after two years I’d be replying “still Jane!” every time she calls you the wrong name. Probably with a smile, as why not be amused by her asshole behavior. I’m glad she’s not your direct boss.

    1. Shell*

      I’ve given up on being annoyed by misspellings of my name (e.g. Stacey vs Stacy–not my actual name), but I regularly get people addressing me by the entirely wrong name in written correspondence. E.g. instead of Stacey or Stacy (understandable misspelling, which I don’t mind), they call me Sarah or Sheila. Argh. My name is at the bottom of every email and in the FROM field of every email. Not impressed–especially when I’m the customer they’re providing service to.

      1. anononymous*

        Haha! I get Justin ALL the time (real name: Jason). I have a name plate on my desk, introduce myself correctly, email signature, etc. Doesn’t seem to help.

        1. Analyst*

          HAHA! I know a Justin and EVERYONE under the sun wants to call him Jason. He says it happens all the time so he knows to just also answer to Jason.

        2. Doriana Gray*

          I have a very common A name that happens to be a color, and I always get called Amanda, Ashley, or April. It never fails.

          1. Hornswoggler*

            Weirdly, I get called Margaret sometimes, even though my name is nothing like Margaret (starts with a different letter, different length, etc.). I realised that it’s because my surname is linked to a famous Margaret (probably not the one you’re thinking of), and people got that hooked up in their brain somewhere.

          2. Hobbits! The Musical*

            My sister and I both have names that start with ‘R’ – we went to the same schools, had the same teachers, and not just the teachers but even our _families_ use the wrong names for each sister. I’m the younger so I just answer to both names; I think it’s a common mixup as often people who don’t know I even have a sister use the wrong name – I correct them but always saying “it’s ok, I’m used to it”.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      With people that I am on friendly terms with I say, “I’ll be Jane today. Check back tomorrow, I might be Sheila tomorrow.”

  7. themmases*

    I get the annoyance with feeling like someone is putting themselves over you, but it sounds like the other people in this meeting really are senior to the OP. Not only are they only there to take minutes, they’re an apprentice who is there to *learn* to take minutes. That doesn’t mean it’s OK for people to bask in their place in the hierarchy and condescend to you, but it does mean you may need to check your pride in order to do a good job.

    I take minutes for some important meetings at my current job (think advisory board of many leaders in my field) and it is a great learning opportunity if you let it be. These might be people I would rarely meet otherwise, and I get to hear them just problem-solve together for an hour. As a junior person, taking good minutes can be an opportunity to be visibly useful and show that you get what was being discussed.

    Even though people now know I take good minutes, they still sometimes tell me not to write down something sensitive. It’s nothing personal, they just might want to make sure that a personal opinion was off the record or that a promise to do something gets recorded. I just say something like “Got it, that’s what I thought” and keep going.

  8. Nico M*

    Could you get the nicest of the 5 to obviously get your name right early in the meeting?

    “Gee Barry thats a great idea. JANE please minute that and JANE could you follow up point 3 with teapots. Thanks JANE”

    1. fposte*

      If I’m going to be running interference for one of my staff, though, I’d be doing it directly–“That’s actually Jane, not Cordelia.”

    2. Elizabeth*

      I was going to suggest something like this. OP, if you’re comfortable with approaching one of the other people in the meeting (outside of the meeting), maybe it’s possible to have one of them say “Her name is Jane, Ethelreda” in the moment next time she makes the error.

    3. caryatis*

      Why can’t she just speak up herself? Like Alison says, this should not be a highly fraught issue that requires a third party’s help. OP should correct the name thing herself, and realize that people forget things sometimes, and that someone who gets your name wrong–when you’ve never bothered to correct them–is doing nothing wrong.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yeah, I had someone get my name wrong for two years because I was too afraid to correct them. After a while, if you keep answering to the same wrong name they are going to assume that they have it right, and they won’t be doing it out of spite.

    4. Pizza is a vegetable*

      This is a bit too passive. LW needs to just speak up for herself, first.

      If that fails, then either someone can step in, but be DIRECT about it, or the letter writer can just continue to remind her of her real name – as someone amusingly said upthread “still jane” without looking up from their notes.. ha.

  9. Liana*

    I totally understand being annoyed, but I think Alison’s advice to try and let it go is really useful. I’ve mentioned this in previous comments, but I work for doctors, and while most are nice, there are some that constantly talk down to the admins and/or become easily impatient, and for someone sensitive like me, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Chances are really, really, high that it’s not YOU specifically – it’s her terrible attitude of treating subordinates like they’re inferior to her. When I started this job, it took a couple months of internally chanting “it’s them, not you” before it started to sink in. Try doing that for a bit, and every time you feel frustrated, forcibly remind yourself of this. It’ll help you keep calm, and I can guarantee that if you look cool and unruffled in front of her snobbish behavior, it will reflect much better on you than it does on her.

    1. themmases*

      Good point! I developed a thick skin working with doctors. Some fields, medicine among them, are just hierarchical based on role or degree and it really has nothing to do with you.

    2. ChelseaNH*

      Or, the next time she’s rude, try feeling smugly superior because you at least understand manners. (Just quietly, to yourself.)

  10. EA*

    I get where you are coming from being annoyed at condescension and people not even bothering to learn your name – oh do i! I’ve been an EA for a while now.

    Politely correct the name, ignore everything else. When I say ignore, I don’t just mean not say anything, I mean consciously try not to be upset by it. I use to get so annoyed when my old boss wouldn’t say hello/acknowledge me when he walked by my desk, especially when I said hi to him. Yes it was rude, Yes he is a jerk, but he is also going to stay a jerk. I would give myself a small amount of time to be annoyed, and then I made myself stop thinking about it. Gradually that time decreased. If you really can’t do this – or it bothers you too much, don’t be an EA. Really, the only thing I think that has made me successful at it, is that I am really good at accepting people how they are. Many people, in many fields will treat support staff as subordinates. They will do this in a very obvious way.

    I’m not saying this to be a jerk, I just think people should be aware. I have friends who move on from job to job looking to be ‘treated like an equal’ with who they support, and are continuously unhappy. EA jobs seem fun at first- more interesting work, more pay, but you really do pay the price for it in how you are perceived.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think, too, there are often explanations other than “this person is a jerk / thinks they’re better than me.” When I’m absorbed in work, I can be oblivious to what’s happening around me. I can totally imagine not even realizing someone said hello to me as I passed their desk, if I was in the middle of thinking about something. And I’m also likely not to say the first hi in that situation, because I assume I’d be interrupting their train of thought.

      1. SJ*

        I agree — there’s actually an admin assistant in my office who says hello or tries to talk to me every single time I walk by her desk (which is many times a day), and because her desk is right next to the front door of the building, she’s always throwing comments at me as I’m hurrying out the door for a meeting or to get lunch. I honestly find it pretty annoying — when I’m walking by her desk, I’m walking with purpose (and usually thinking about a work matter), not looking for a chat. Sometimes I give a brief reply that’s loaded with “I’m distracted and don’t have time to stop and talk” vibes, but when I’m hurrying out the door, I often just pretend I don’t hear her. I don’t do it because I’m a jerk and think I’m above her but because I don’t think I should need to say hello to the same person ten times a day.

        1. SJ*

          Though I should add that she does this with everyone, and most people in the building handle it the same way I do. I think she’s used to it — she just loves to hear herself talk.

      2. I'm a Little Teapot*

        YES! I’m very much the same way. A coworker a couple jobs ago got angry when I simply didn’t see her wave at me, and *every time* she saw me after that she made a snide remark about how I was stuck up and too good for her. I apologized repeatedly, but she never stopped harping on it.

        1. No Longer Passing By*

          After the first apology, I would have stopped. She seems overly sensitive; some people don’t even notice waves because of unpublicized vision limitations. I’m glad that you no longer interact with her.

      3. SystemsLady*

        Also: sometimes, in most cases subconsciously, we tend to think of women who are “in charge” as abrasive, rude, or snobby when it isn’t really deserved (in other words a man with similar mannerisms wouldn’t strike the same chord, so to speak). There are quite a lot of studies to back this up.

        This goes regardless of what *your* gender is and only jerks do it intentionally, OP, so definitely don’t take this as an attack or me dismissing your complaints as sexism. This is only something to keep in mind and might even help you get less worked up when she’s being a jerk. Just trying to think of a possible reason something about a person is annoying me helps me be at least slightly less annoyed at them.

        Really the name thing is the only concrete thing here that bothers me.

        1. SystemsLady*

          (This goes even when the person is legitimately only being a jerk, in my experience! Though the reasons I come up with end up turning into passive aggressive internal humor in those cases, hah)

  11. Kate M*

    I think it’s important to separate the ACTIONS she does that annoy you from any perceived motivation you might find behind it that might not actually be there. And further to that point, even actions might be up for interpretation.

    For example, you say “She is dismissive and obviously sees me as beneath her.” The action is that she is dismissive (although could another interpretation be that she is generally brusque? To the point?). The motivation you are finding behind it is that “she sees me as beneath her.” But really, you have no way of knowing this. She might be dismissive of everyone, and you just don’t pick up on it. She might dislike you for another reason, not having to do with you being a subordinate. (Although as others have mentioned, you are subordinate, so it’s not unusual not to be asked to speak up in meetings.) What I’m trying to say is, it’s likely going to be easier on you not to try to read her mind. You can dislike how she treats you and her actions, but 1) they speak more about her than they do you, and 2) it’s impossible to know what she’s thinking, so don’t try to assign her thoughts that are going to upset you.

    Now, she might be the most snobbish person in the world. But you don’t have to be friends with her. If she is snobbish, other people will realize that, and you have nothing to worry about, and no reason to feel embarrassed about it. But it might be worth trying to see her actions in a better light – try to see her direction as being helpful/training you, not as her putting you down.

    And the name thing – definitely correct her after a meeting. But if she’s been calling you the wrong name for a long time, she just might not realize it anymore. It reminds me of Chandler’s coworker calling him Toby at work for years.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is a great people skill to grow and keep- watch how the person treats others. Compare the way they treat you to the way they treat others around you. I have had people treat me like crap and once I realized it was not personal but rather it was a way of life for them, and then I am down from the ceiling on this point. Always remember that people who are crappy to others experience a negative impact and it can reduce their quality of life.

      My husband used to repair office equipment. The people who were nice to him definitely got more work out of him. For example, he would see a problem they did NOT mention and he would fix that problem as well as fix the original complaint. He really was not supposed to do that extra work as he was timed as to how long he spent on a call. But he found he could do little meaningful tweaks for people and he did not get in trouble for it.

      This is one example. I could give you dozens of examples where someone gave me extra help simply because I was decent to them. Call it karma if you like, but there are reasons why some people have difficulties that others do not have. If she is behaving like this with others, things may not be going as well for her as they could be going. Just keep that thought in the back of your head. The way we treat people can impact our quality of life in the long run.

      1. Hobbits! The Musical*

        Yes so much to this – comments in previous posts about service jobs (retail, call centres, food service, etc etc) talk about going above and beyond for the customers who are simply polite not even especially nice.

  12. Rachel B*

    She sounds awful. This is a little like the previous letter but I think this situation might be a little easier to address. At the next meeting, couldn’t you just wait until the first time she gets your name wrong and correct her in front of everyone? She might be more careful about your name in the future and you will have shown her you’re going to occasionally push back against her BS.

  13. Engineer Girl*

    I find it odd that the OP says that they wouldn’t be friends with the one woman. Why is that in any way relevant? OP is there to do a job and the quality should be the same for her as anyone else.
    OP states that the woman “takes over a lot”. It’s possible that she is a blowhard (they come in both sexes). It is also highly possible that she is a subject matter expert and has every right to contribute greatly to the inputs and even control the direction of the meeting.
    OP, you report to the entire committee and that includes this woman. She has every right to tell you what to do!
    On the name issue, just interject. If she calls you Mary then smile politely and say “actually my name is Jane”. Done. Continue with your work.
    BTW the minute taking is actually a pretext for this mentoring experience. You are seeing the thought processes behind the strategic planning. It’s quite a gift and you are risking blowing it because of your ego.

    1. LBK*

      I find it odd that the OP says that they wouldn’t be friends with the one woman. Why is that in any way relevant?

      I just read it as a means of implying that she has a difficult personality. And being a subject matter expert doesn’t excuse being rude; not even being a manager gives you the right to act like a dictator without people judging you for it. Just because you have authority over someone doesn’t mean you’re free and clear to shirk standards of polite, professional communication.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        There is no indication that the woman is actually rude other than forgetting the OPs name

        1. Engineer Girl*

          BTW the woman dictating what should or should not be part of the minutes is reasonable if she sees herself as mentoring the OP. OP has only been on the job for two years and may not fully know what is needed for these types of meetings. The OP may get 80% but may miss the subtle 20%.

        2. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

          I would say that “She is dismissive and obviously sees me as beneath her. ” is being rude.

          I read “sees me as beneath her” as “she sees herself as a higher life form than piddly ole me.”

          I could be wrong but from the overall tone of the OPs letter, I get the impression that this woman is rude.

          1. Artemesia*

            She seems to be basing that on the fact that the woman is directing her note taking i.e.that the boss is ‘bossing her’. I see that as likely to be the OP’s problem as the know it all participant in the meeting (who may be the expert, who may in fact know it all). And on getting her name wrong. which if she has never been corrected is trivial. If she has been corrected repeatedly then the OP’s sense of being diminished is well taken — but not if she has not or if she is simply being resented for directing her note taking which is her job after all to do.

            1. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

              I will agree with you Artemesia. It really does depend upon how “bad” and “belittling” this person is.

        3. LBK*

          We generally take the OP’s word on stuff like this, though, since we don’t expect them to produce an itemized list of every piece of evidence they have that the person in question is a horrible coworker. Sure, there’s some merit in saying “maybe this person isn’t as bad as you think and your expectations are off,” but to just flat-out tell the OP she’s wrong and she shouldn’t be put off by this behavior seems unhelpful to me.

          OP, you report to the entire committee and that includes this woman. She has every right to tell you what to do!

          But again, telling someone what to do doesn’t have to be done rudely. I’d say generally if it’s done right, you won’t even feel like that’s what’s happening.

          1. Artemesia*

            I can’t imagine anything more helpful to an OP than to suggest they may want to reframe how they interpret something. PLenty of people louse up their careers with a chip on their shoulder by resenting SOP because they don’t realize it is SOP.

          2. No Longer Passing By*

            I think that part of the problem is that the OP is inexperienced and apprenticing so it’s possible that his or her opinion is limited by unfamiliarity with the norms in that particular department, which isn’t where OP normally works.

      2. Ad Astra*

        I often hear stuff like “I probably wouldn’t choose her as my friend” used as a sort of euphemism to describe someone who maybe isn’t objectively terrible, but has some traits that you don’t like. Whether you literally want to be friends with someone isn’t relevant to your work life, but I assumed the OP used that phrase to show that there’s a personality clash there.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Additionally, some people just do not come across in a likable manner from start to finish, they just are not likable. I think most of us would find this type of a personality challenging. Some of us might get through the situation with less struggle than others, but that is not the same as saying “without struggle”. People who are not likable can require an extra effort on our parts.

        2. Kiki*

          I wouldn’t choose any of the people I work with as a friend. But, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I don’t need to be BFFs with the people I work with, I just need to work with them.

      3. Pizza is a vegetable*

        I agree LBK, I agree that the tone of this letter implies that this person is rude and dismissive overall as a person. Just because the LW didn’t give every single detail and occurance, I think she said enough to try to express that overall this person is a difficult and not-so-nice person (she was trying to be succinct by wrapping it up with the bit about she wouldn’t take her as a friend)

        1. SystemsLady*

          I believe OP that she’s rude and dismissive, especially because of the name thing (the sooner addressed the better!), but I still think the fact that the letter was mainly about that shows it would benefit them to reframe what the problem is.

          For example, OP says that they don’t like that this person tells them what to put in the minutes, but it comes off more as “I don’t like the way this specific person tells me to do this” than that being an unreasonable request to make of OP during a meeting (which would be more actionable).

          That’s a personality clash, and especially in a position like OP’s, it could benefit them to kick themselves out of the “I don’t like this person” rut. Reframing the issue in terms of the person’s intentions can help a lot with that.

          Even if this person is generally a jerk, I highly doubt they intend to demean the OP by asking them to add things to the notes. Using the wrong name to do so if they’ve been reminded multiple times/it is clearly intentional, sure, but that’s it.

          That goes whether this woman is objectively a dismissive jerk or that’s just the way OP is perceiving her, because OP does feel legitimately dismissed either way!

          Personal example: a coworker of mine will frequently send me a text to remind me to do things that I think would be very obvious that I’d know to do. I know he is trying to be helpful, and this is supported by the fact that he only does this on tasks I’d been consulting with him about anyway, but it irks me nonetheless.

          Consciously reminding myself that he’s just trying to be helpful keeps me from both being angry at him and feeling patronized when this happens.

          (Incidentally, as he’s actually a friend of mine, I know he doesn’t mean it the patronizing way, but you don’t need to be friends with somebody to reframe their actions. I have other examples that would take longer to explain with coworkers I *don’t* like)

    2. Michaela T*

      I thought the “…choose as a friend” line was weird too, I can’t think of a professional situation where I would have a thought like that. I think the OP may be new to the business world and not as familiar with work hierarchies and professional relationships. Not trying to be harsh, really, but it is very normal to be treated as a subordinate when you are one.

      1. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

        I try and treat everyone the same from the Dean of the College to the housekeeper.

          1. Artemesia*

            Exactly. No one treats the everyone the same way because everyone doesn’t have the same role. I ask waiters to bring me my coffee all the time; I would never do this with a team subordinate.

            1. Pizza is a vegetable*

              You and Michaela are being too technical.

              Cajun2core is expressing that regardless of someones JOB they don’t deserve less or more respect on an interpersonal and human level and not giving someone MORE respect or, rather respecting their humanity more, simply because of the title they’ve achieved.

              1. LBK*

                Yeah, this is overparsing…I read C2C’s point as saying that what you can say to people at different levels changes, but how you say it shouldn’t change. You can maybe be a little more direct to people below you, but there’s a difference between direct and rude (one that has been discussed very often on this site).

                1. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

                  Yes. Of course I would not ask the Dean to take out the trash. She is my boss. I wouldn’t ask (and expect her to) to do anything. I did recently asked the housekeeper to fix the paper-towel dispenser in the rest-room, because I don’t have a key to fix it. If I had a key to fix it, I would have fixed it myself (or at least tried). I did *ask* her and when I noticed it was fixed, I thanked her. I have picked up trash on the floor, I have wiped down counters, and done many other jobs that some people would consider “beneath” them.

                  What others said, is true. I do (at least try) very hard to treat everyone with the same dignity and respect regardless of their position.

                2. Not So NewReader*

                  @(Mr.)Cajun2core; I thought that was what you meant, that you were talking about dignity and respect.

                  My grandfather was Irish back when that was a bad thing, getting employment and keeping employment was a huge challenge. My grandfather taught his kids, “Treat everyone from the CEO to the janitor with the same level of respect.” At his funeral, the church was overflowing with people.

                  While it is true that you will not ask a CEO to empty a garbage can, you can still be respectful in your discussions with the CEO. And when you ask the janitor to empty the garbage can you can ask with respect. The topics change, but the respect does not.

                3. Cajun2core*

                  @Not So NewReader . Thank you for understanding what I was attempting to say and for putting it clearer and more eloquently than I could. Your Grandfather sounds like he was a wonderful person.

      2. NJ Anon*

        Meh-not that weird. Just interviewed someone that would be awesome to hang out with but work? Not so much.

    3. EA*

      “BTW the minute taking is actually a pretext for this mentoring experience. You are seeing the thought processes behind the strategic planning. It’s quite a gift and you are risking blowing it because of your ego.”

      I second this, although i dislike typing up minutes, the information I learn from the meetings is very useful. I often know about things before coworkers, and I have insight into what management is thinking. I once heard them talk about what kind of person they were looking for in relation to a development opportunity. Don’ task to stop going – not only will it make you look lazy, but you will miss a broader opportunity.

      1. Chinook*

        ““BTW the minute taking is actually a pretext for this mentoring experience. You are seeing the thought processes behind the strategic planning. It’s quite a gift and you are risking blowing it because of your ego.””

        I third this. Being an Admin Assistant and/or the person taking the minutes in a meeting means you often have to leave your ego at the door. And I think the OP’s ego is involved when she says things like “as I am not a “delegate” per se” or “I had hoped that one of her “equals” would speak up.” Where those finger quotes show makes me think the OP thinks she should be seen as an equal and with the same rights and privileges as the delegates when she really isn’t. You are the minute taker with the limited responsibilities and privileges that go with that task.

        Now, I have been in groups where the secretary is the minute maker and a voting member of the group, but more often than not, that isn’t the case. The minute taker is there to silently take notes so that the participants can actively participate and not have to take notes at the same time. As harsh as it sounds, you are a type of recording instrument AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! (capitalized on purpose). You rendering a vital service that frees up the others to do their job, which is one of the purposes of an administrative assistant. It doesn’t make you less valuable as a human (and doesn’t mean you should be treated rudely either).

        Look, I know some of us look down on people having assistants or servants (any N. American review of Downton Abbey seems to have to include some put down about the family having people to cook, clean and dress them) but there is nothing dishonorable or embarrassing about doing a job that helps others succeed. These types of jobs and tasks where no one notices you doing them until you make a mistake or stop doing them are like the grease that keeps the machinery of business moving smoothly. If no one did it, everything would grind to a messy and loud stop.

        1. EA*

          I agree with all of this. It’s why I suggested above that if this really bothered her, she should look for another line of work. I’ve long accepted that many people are not really going to know what goes into my job or respect me for it, and I just accept that as part of the package.

        2. OP*

          And I think the OP’s ego is involved when she says things like “as I am not a “delegate” per se” or “I had hoped that one of her “equals” would speak up.” Where those finger quotes show makes me think the OP thinks she should be seen as an equal and with the same rights and privileges as the delegates when she really isn’t.

          ^I am referring to HER equals speaking up and correcting her on my name, i.e. the other people at the meeting who are higher up than I am in the hierarchy.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Oh God YES! I have taken minutes for groups I belonged to in the community. I have learned sooooo much, it blows me away. I never realized how much knowledge and, in turn, power a person can accumulate by doing this.

    4. insert witty name here*

      “It’s quite a gift and you are risking blowing it because of your ego.”

      I think you’re being too hard on the OP. She wrote in for advice, which means she’s not sure. If anything, I applaud her for asking Allison and considering her options as opposed to acting rashly.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        OP was thinking of resigning from this sweet position because of perceived slights. OP hasn’t addressed the name issue but is annoyed by it. To me it comes off as a maturity issue. Don’t get upset about a problem you haven’t addressed. And don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.
        The truth is that there will be plenty of times when things happen and you will have the opportunity to take offense. You’ll be most successful if you choose not to take offense and keep your eye on the prize.
        Don’t give up this great learning opportunity because you don’t mesh with one person!

        1. insert witty name here*

          All I’m saying is that we can’t all be as wise as you are. Some of us have to write in and ask for advice. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  14. LBK*

    I think your moment to address the name issue was the first or second time it happened with a quick “Sorry – my name is actually Chandler, not Toby” but at this point it’s been going on too long and will probably end up reflecting weirdly on you that you’ve been letting her call you the wrong name for 2 years. I think you just need to let it go and think of these meetings as a practice for inevitable situations down the road that will be even more frustrating. Look at it this way: at least you’re only there to take the minutes and don’t have to participate in these frustrating conversations!

    1. Seal*

      There are a few people that mispronounce my name who have known me for YEARS. As in they call me “Sale” when my name is actually “Seal”. Since my real name is a bit unusual and not hard to pronounce, you’d think it would be easily remembered. Yet after correcting them repeatedly and even after them hear me introduce myself at countless meetings and presentations, they still say my name wrong. So I eventually gave up on trying to correct them – to them, I’ll always be “Sale”.

      As side note from a Star Trek fan: on TNG, Deana Troi’s mother Lwaxana always called Worf “Woof”. He would always wearily correct her with “It is Worf, madam”. Always makes me laugh.

    2. SMGWiseman*

      Bob: Hey! How’s my pal Toby doing today?
      Chandler: If I see him, I’ll ask.
      Bob: (laughs) Toby!

    3. LiveAndLetDie*

      I disagree. Asking the OP to continue dealing with someone calling them by the wrong name, especially when it has been made clear that it bothers them, is pretty uncool. That’s not their name, and they should not have to pretend it is. No matter how long it has been.

      1. LBK*

        I just can’t see a non-awkward way to tell someone they’ve been calling you the wrong name after *two years*, especially since the OP already seems to have a contentious relationship with this woman.

        1. LiveAndLetDie*

          In this specific case it sounds like LW was afraid to speak up because of this weird power dynamic where she’s just there to take minutes and is “beneath” everyone. But even still, the OP deserves to be called by their name, so it’s just going to have to be awkward if she wants it done. Sometimes there just isn’t a non-awkward way to do it, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            She can explain that away by saying there were other matters going on that required her attention and she just never got around to mentioning it before now.

    4. Persephone*

      I think this is the issue here more than anything, that it’s been 2 years and no one has corrected her. It will come across weirdly. It’s not a typical wrong name situation where it’s happening at the beginning or still early on in a working relationship.

  15. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

    I would like to hear from the OP about how severe she is treating the OP. I mean if she is saying something totally condescending like, “You need to note that Jane, you can spell ‘teapot’ can’t you”? Is she also saying things like, “You don’t need to note that, but I wouldn’t expect you to know that” in a very condescending voice? How does she see you as “beneath her”? Is it only in a professional setting or does she see you as beneath her as a “lesser human”? I mean, if she were to drop a used tissue on the floor, would she ask you to pick it up rather than picking it up herself? Is she really belittling to you?

    Are we talking the worst of “Cat Grant” from Supergirl?

    I agree with the others that you should politely correct her concerning your name. However, if it continues and she doesn’t see to be sorry about it, then I think you have a real beef.

    Does your manager know how she treats you? If not, I think you should talk to your manager about it. Be sure and be prepared with specific examples though.

    1. (Mr.) Cajun2core*

      To add to this, if she sees you writing something down that she thinks shouldn’t be noted, does she say:
      “Jane, that doesn’t really need to be recorded” or
      “JANE, why the heck are you writing that down? DON’T record that. I would think after two years here, you would no better.”

    2. fposte*

      Even then, I don’t think it’s worth a real beef. It’s once a month with somebody who otherwise doesn’t seem to impact the OP’s workday. If it’s being deliberately disrespectful, you’re not going to make her respect you by making this into a fight–and if somebody is doing this to be deliberately disrespectful, her judgment of what’s worthy of respect isn’t something you should worry about anyway.

    3. auntie_cipation*

      I want her to be completely literal and include in the minutes the instructions she’s receiving about what to put in the minutes!

      In other words: “Marcia has instructed the notetaker to exclude the lunch restaurant discussion from the minutes.” “Marcia has reminded the notetaker how to spell TEAPOT.”

      She could even describe and then “(sic)” each time Marcia calls her by the incorrect name…

      What, too passive-aggressive? ;-)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, but I loooved it anyway.

        OP, sometimes just thinking of solutions like this -that you would never use- can take the edge off the tension of the situation.

    4. Lentils*

      Oh my god, Cat Grant was the first thing I thought of and I was wondering if anyone else was going to make that reference.

    5. OP*

      It’s definitely not as severe as overseeing my spelling. :)

      My issue more than anything is that she tends to steer the conversation off piste a lot, and whilst I am sitting waiting for them to get back to item, she will say, “Don’t minute that” or, “That’s NOT to be minuted”, when I know that what they’re saying is of a sensitive nature and is not to be recorded.
      She only has to glance over at me to see whether I am writing, and even when I make a point of putting my pen down on the table to show I am not writing, she still says it. If I am clearly writing and she asks me not to minute something, then that’s fair enough (even though usually I am just tidying up any small errors I made on previous items whilst waiting for them to get back onto topic!).

      Thanks for your comment – it has helped with perspective.

      1. Short-Name-Always-Mispronounced*

        Hi OP, I am often in your situation – junior person sitting in senior meetings taking minutes, and I also have a slightly tricky name to pronounce (that’s being generous – it’s an atypical spelling of a super common name, which means people tend to say it wrong).

        From what you say, it sounds like this person is just a bit lacking in social skills and I’m sure everyone else gets the same vibe. Remind yourself that her comments in no way mean that everyone else there thinks you need this much micro-management to do your minute-taking and try to let it go. It’s almost certainly not a specific or personal dig at you. The only thing you need to worry about on your apprenticeship is what your mentor and direct managers are telling you about your performance. And as others have said, getting to sit in these meetings is often a real privilege – you’re getting to see the key debates in your business play out!

        About 80% of people get my name wrong first time round, another 40% will subsequently get it wrong again, and a solid 10% of folk will never, ever say it right, and I’ve given up correcting them. The nicest people are often the ones who hear other people say it wrongly and then ask me quietly later if they’re saying it right. Unsurprisingly, the people who keep pronouncing it wrong rarely notice they’re not in step with others! Some people are just tone deaf to these things, and if they also have other unpleasant social habits, then they go on my private black-mark list.

      2. Cajun2core*

        You are very welcome. If you pen is down and she says “don’t note that”, then she is being a bit of a jerk. However, I would agree with others that this is minor and not often enough to raise a stink about.

        She may have had bad experiences with people who are not as professional and experienced as you and has had a minute taker publish in official meetings, “Jane thinks this is the most stupid idea she has ever heard.” She may just be overly and unnecessarily fearful that someone will do something like that again and she is just trying to cover her a$$. She may just be over-reacting based on a previously bad experience.

        I do like @auntie_cipation’s suggestion of writing down, “Ellen said don’t write this down” which may help let some of the steam off. Of course, don’t put that in the published minutes.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        When you pen is down and she says don’t note that, without speaking show her empty hands and maybe a raised eyebrow like you are not sure what more you can do to be “not writing at the moment”.

        I guess no one has told this woman that minutes are usually in draft form and voted into acceptance by the group later on. On the rare occasion that you noted something you should not have, it could be deleted and the revised minutes could be voted in. The woman sounds like she is over wound. Try not to get caught up in all the energy coming off of her.

  16. Cafe au Lait*

    I am often assigned the wrong name. My legal name is the male version, but as I’m female many people I’ve met assume that my name is the nickname of the female version. It’s annoying but not life-shattering.

    Here are steps I’ve taken to address the issue.

    1) Private email. “Hey Jane, my name is actually Charlie, not Charlene. Don’t worry! it happens to me all the time. I wanted to let you know since you’ve used ‘Charlene’ several times lately.

    2) Direct with a smile. Sandra– “Blah blah blah blah blah, Charlene here. ” Me–“Actually, it’s Charlie! It’s my legal name, cross my heart.”

    3) Catch them in the halls, and correct. I see Sandra walking. I catch her, and say “Hey Sandra, recently you’ve been calling me Charlene. My name is Charlie, not Charlene. I didn’t know if you knew that, but I wanted to touch base and let you know that Charlene is not my legal name.

    (Note: For some reason using the phrase “legal name” clears up the issue of nickname vs. actual name quickly).

    1. No Longer Passing By*

      Seems presumptuous that they’d just assign you a name. Charlie also could have been Charla or Charlotte! Even if it was a nickname or the diminutive of your legal name rather than your actual legal name, I find it weird that they’d just go out of their way to use a name that differed from what you were using professionally. As if they knew better than you.

      This name thing is really getting to me….

  17. Ghost Town*

    My immediate supervisor sometimes gets a pronunciation in his head and it will not go away. We have a colleague, who started when I did (nearly 7 years ago now), and he consistently mispronounces her name. (Think Ahn-drey-uh instead of An-dree-uh) He also calls my husband by the short form of his name when he goes by (and was introduced as and referred to by me as) the long form.

    He’s been corrected. But, at this point, we’ve given up and roll our eyes.

    Seems that everyone knows what your name is. They are probably internally rolling their eyes when she does this.

    1. Michelenyc*

      That is something that used to drive me crazy is when people would try to call me Shelly even though since my birth I have gone by Michele. I had 1 teacher in 3rd grade ask if the class could call me Shelly and she asked why. Because my mom thinks it’s ugly and it’s not my name. I have also had people come up to me on the street telling me they have been yelling Shelly to get my attention. Seeing how that isn’t my name why would I respond.

      1. Ghost Town*

        Some days it gets under my skin more than others, and it isn’t even my name being mispronounced.

        For my husband’s name, add to the fact that he’s a III, so my FIL is Nickname. My dad is Nickname. One of my grad school mentors was Nickname. My husband is not and never will be Nickname to me. He is, and always will be, Long Name. If only for my sanity.

        It’s your name. I defer to the name-haver for how to address them.

  18. Liza*

    OP, this is something I did that helped me and might help you: Since Liza is a relatively uncommon name, I used to get a lot of people calling me Lisa, and it used to really anger me (though I always did my best to hide it behind a mask of professionalism). One day I was finally ready to accept that the anger didn’t make them any more likely to get my name right, it just made me unhappier about it–and so I decided that every time someone called me the wrong name, I owed myself a Lindt chocolate truffle. That worked even better than I’d hoped! Before long I was thinking of it as a game, and feeling a kind of amused tolerance toward the people who got my name wrong.

    I’m not suggesting you do that in place of the advice about how to gently correct her on your name, but it might be a helpful complement to it.

    1. TheLazyB*

      I worked with someone for two years before she told me I was pronouncing her name wrong, I’d been introduced to her as ‘Denise’ (unvoiced) and one day she said ‘actually it’s ‘Denise’ (voiced – sort of longer and z instead of s). I was mortified and started calling her the right name. I never heard anyone else in my office get it right. Dunno if she told anyone else.

    2. Schnapps*

      I work with someone who spells her name Liza and pronounces it Lisa. I have flubbed that many times and she is always understanding.

  19. KH*

    I see this all the time and I absolutely do not understand it: Why on earth are so many people embarrassed when someone ELSE is rude to them or gets their name wrong. Why would you be embarrassed because someone else called you by the wrong name. It’s THEIR mistake – why are you embarrassed? And why are you embarrassed to speak up about it.

    I truly truly don’t understand that mindset.

    Have you corrected her about your name before? If you have corrected her privately, then there should be no shame to giving a quick correction in the meeting in front of other people. If you haven’t corrected her privately, then you owe her the consideration of doing so. AT this point she probably does think your name is whatever she is calling you, if you haven’t corrected her.

    1. LBK*

      Being embarrassed on someone else’s behalf is normal for plenty of people – I imagine almost anyone who’s seen an episode of The Office has experienced that phenomenon. There’s even a word for it in German (fremdschamen).

      1. Megs*

        I’ve only ever watched about 5 minutes of a single episode of The Office because it was so mortifying. It’s a reaction, not a mindset – I know it’s irrational but it still happens.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I gave up with The Office pretty fast. It’s too real, there are too many people like that in work places. When I come home I want to shut off that part of my life.

      2. KH*

        I get secondhand embarrassment for stuff like that. I get it all the time. But OP is not embarrassed FOR the woman who keeps calling her by the wrong name. She’s embarrassed BY being called the wrong name. So embarrassed that she won’t say anything about it.

        Why are people embarrassed for THEMSELVES when other people are rude to them?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I’ll take a shot at this question.
          I think that people have embarrassment (in part) because on some level they know they did not effectively stand up for themselves. And why? Well for one thing they do not know how and that is embarrassing because everyone else seems to be doing okay. (The lies we tell ourselves.) Worse yet, for some folks it drags up childhood memories of when we did not stand up for ourselves, so add this to the mix and our current situation becomes some unwieldy hot mess that we just. cannot. handle.

          In OP’s case she sees a domineering, micro-managing woman who cannot even get OP’s name right. OP, you have granted this woman too much power over you. I think I know a little about this subject because I have made this mistake too. Take back your power. Start by saying, “My name is Jane.” (Taking back our power is not hard. We only lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that it is hard.)

          Next step. You know how they say hold your friends close and hold your enemies closer? Counter-intuitively, I think that you should go to Ms. Big Shot and ask her how she came to be so interested in meeting minutes and ask her if she has a list of pointers to share with you.

          Now some folks would say “kiss up!” but I say if you want to get out of the fire some times the only way is to walk right through the middle of the flames. I have done this a few times. Sometimes the conversations go poorly. Other times I am surprised beyond imagination by what the person comes up with to say. Anyway a side bonus of doing this convo with her is that I bet she remembers your name going forward.

        2. Shannon*

          I think in this particular case, though, the OP might be embarrassed because this woman is basically saying that the OP’s name isn’t important enough to learn correctly after two years.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I also think that people focus too much on the embarrassment part and not enough on the “wouldn’t they want to know? Tell them right away.”

      Sort of like alerting someone that there’s toilet paper stuck to their shoe, or they dropped their pen.

      We place too much importance on it.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I like the comments about:

      -don’t assume you know her motives. You could easily be right, but you could also be wrong. And even if you are right–why go there?

      -try to think of this as reflecting on her, and not you.

      -best move is to just think of her micromanaging as reflecting her own insecurities and her own need for control. It really doesn’t have anything to do with you; think of yourself as humoring a hypochondriac, maybe.

      -if you focus on what you’re learning from each meeting, about How Life Works, or How Committees Work, or even How the Sane People Are Handling the Condescending Micromanager and Getting Things Done Despite Her, that might help you care less about her style of communication

      -the name thing: hang back after the meeting and approach her. Say, “I’m sorry to bring this up so late, but I thought I should alert you–you’ve been using the wrong name for me. I’m Jennifer, not Jessica. Maybe remember it by thinking of Ben Affleck and his “Bennifer” relationships? [insert other mnemonic device here–very patronizing and helpful, and totally polite] Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you could switch to my real name. Sorry for waiting so long to point it out; it felt awkward.”
      Then, walk away feeling confident; you just scored one, quite politely.

      ALSO: Have you learned as much as you can learn from this? Is it getting in the way of other stuff? I think you could totally ask your boss if he thinks this is still a good use of your time.

    4. Hummingbird*

      I have a name that has other names as close cousins and shortened nicknames. None of which I go by. My current boss originally started calling me by some of those other names and when I politely asked him to stop, he continued. He started to twist it around that it was my problem, that I couldn’t take a joke or have fun. That’s why I sometimes hate to correct people. According to my mom, I was better at correcting people as a child on this issue!

  20. LiveAndLetDie*

    As someone with an unusual name, this kind of thing (people using the wrong name) is something I am acutely familiar with. People who care will take the time to learn and remember your name. This can be even more aggravating in workplaces with a lot of digital communication (like inter-office chats and emails) where your name is plainly visible on the screen, and yet people manage to use the wrong name or misspell yours repeatedly. Obviously people with thick accents may have more trouble, but I have found in the course of my life that the people who have trouble pronouncing names because of reasons like a language barrier are often the most careful about trying to get it as close to right as they possibly can.

    Someone pointedly refusing to learn your name, particularly after two years of working with you, is being exceptionally rude. It is important to stand up for yourself and insist that your actual name be used. It may be that she learned your name wrong and since it hasn’t gone corrected, she has no idea. Solving this should be simple: I like the suggestion of making a simple note of “Actually, it’s Jane,” and honestly if that doesn’t work then you have proof that it’s not just an innocent mistake.

  21. Sarad, in Scotland*

    I’ve seen a lot of comments along the lines of “but if she’s not been corrected, she might not know your correct name”… but surely if the OP is writing minutes then their name will be on each set as an attendee at the meeting. I imagine the OP is also emailing out the minutes so their name will be well known by all regular attendees. So this does sound like a powerplay on this persons behalf. But PPs are correct, this reflects so badly on them and, if it’s managed professionally, can reflect so well on the person it’s happening to.

    I took a LOT of minutes when I was starting out, really hated it, but it’s a very handy skill to have. I think there is a problem when you are in the process of taking notes and someone tries to direct the minutes (if that is what’s happening) – I always found it very difficult to participate in the meeting while note taking. I would say it’s entirely reasonable to respond to that type of instruction by asking if that was the view of the whole group / the meeting (that discussion should, or should not be, included in the minutes ).

    1. InsideTheBox*

      Not always. We do not include admin assistants as attendees on our meetings. It’s not necessary since we use the “attendance” for audit of stakeholders. Someone soley there to take notes would not be included in that category where I work.

      Also the one taking the minutes usually doesn’t disseminate the minutes either. Typically their supervisor is the one sending it out after the review. OP’s workplace could be the same.

    2. Shannon*

      “but surely if the OP is writing minutes then their name will be on each set as an attendee at the meeting. I imagine the OP is also emailing out the minutes so their name will be well known by all regular attendees. ”

      No, if the OP has a name with a traditional spelling and unique pronunciation (see Denise/ Denize above), Jochaim/ Wakeem, Lisa/ Liza, I’m sure the list goes on, I could understand the mispronunciation.

      1. Sarad, in Scotland*

        Absolutely, if it’s a pronunciation issue. For some reason I had the feeling it was an absolute wrong name issue

        Interesting that others don’t record the names of everyone attending a meeting. Maybe this is a UK variety or just reflecting the type of meeting I worked with, but certainly I would expect to see the minute taker marked as ‘in attendance’ – along with any other person attending the meeting without being a participant.

    3. OP*

      My name isn’t on the minutes, but you’re right in saying that it is at the bottom of every email I send to her along with the other people who attend. Her colleagues also refer to me by my name regularly throughout the meetings, which is why I can’t understand how she STILL hasn’t got it.

    1. SystemsLady*

      I know there’s one talkative guy I’d like to stop being assigned to projects with…

      (He’s my #1 example of a generally good person who I have difficulty working with…let alone somebody I couldn’t be friends with in real life)

  22. InsideTheBox*

    Two pieces of advice for you OP, from someone who, four years ago, found myself drafting very similar letters to AAM.

    1. Always assume positive intent.

    2. Try and banish thoughts of “Equals” and “subordinates” from the way you interact with others. Also do this for the way you perceive interactions from others.

  23. VGN*

    About minutes – I’ve taken minutes for years and occasionally still have people say they don’t want something in the minutes. They may have said something they don’t want recorded or the topic may be particularly sensitive topic. They probably know I wouldn’t put it in there, but still feel the need to make sure. Also, there is no one way to take minutes. Some people want a record of the discussion points, while others just want the bare bones decisions and action items. It’s also not uncommon for people to remember meeting outcomes differently. She may just want to make sure her warning that chocolate teapots will melt if heated above 86*F and the approval she was given to spend extra time tempering chocolate in a double boiler instead of the microwave are recorded.

    1. Shannon*

      It only takes an embarrassing situation to occur once and I will rectify it by being explicit when I do not want something on the record.

      Also, the OP is an apprentice. I wouldn’t expect someone who is still an apprentice to have the skill and discretion to know what a more experienced admin assistant would know reflexively.

  24. Honeybee*

    I once had a colleague whose name was consistently mispronounced by people. She developed a habit of automatically correcting people in a very neutral tone simply by dropping the correct pronunciation of her name into the conversation and then looking at you to continue. Let’s say her name was Janae but people always called her Jane.

    Person: “Hi Jane, could you -”
    Janae: “Janae.”
    Person: “Oh, sorry. Janae, could you…”


    Person: “So I was talking to Jane and-”
    Janae: “Janae.”
    Person: “right, Janae, and…”

    The one thing, though, is that she was insistent. She always kept her tone really neutral and stayed polite and professional, but she wouldn’t let it drop – she’d correct you EVERY time you got her name wrong. Eventually, most people got it right.

  25. Not So NewReader*

    OP, I wondered if you could make a place card with your name on it and put it in front of you at the meeting. Or maybe you could make place cards for everyone including yourself?

    I will say this. When I started reading Alison’s advice my first thought was “UGH!” But I kept reading and I read all the comments. Big picture focus, everyone here is rooting for you in the ways they know to be to your advantage. So while this woman maybe what you describe times ten, you still have to complete your apprenticeship and the tasks involved in the training. They are saying put your teeth together and get through this by picking a path that you can make work for you given your personality and setting. Your time with this woman will not last forever, all though it feels like it will be forever right now. At some point in the future, you will be away from her. And you will meet other difficult people. How we respond to those difficult people could mean the difference between employed and unemployed. There are some types of difficult people that we work around and there are other types of difficult people that cause us to give notice (in extreme situations). Her personality is a type that is one that we stand pat, we keep the job and we keep participating in the tasks that involve her.

    Personally, I believe that 50% of any job is working with all the different personalities that come with the job. And this is nothing they teach in schools.

  26. Love to learn*

    Wear a name tag. If someone asks why you are wearing a name tag, you can say that there appeared to be some confusion regarding your name, so you thought it might be helpful.

  27. Former Retail Manager*

    I LOVE all of the sarcastic recommendations regarding the name issue. What I find most surprising is that no one in the group has ever corrected Evil Co-Worker. I let bad grammar slide and many other things, but names of people, regardless of their position, do not slide. If I can’t do it in the moment, I will immediately pull the person aside when the meeting is over to discreetly tell them the correct name and encourage an apology if it appeared that the person whose name was wrong was offended (i.e. you see this person almost daily and you should known their name). Orrrr…..Evil Co-Worker has been corrected and does it deliberately. I have known people like that too. Either way, best of luck OP! Hopeful for an update someday.

  28. Schnapps*

    Ok, a bit late, but hopefully the OP is still reading.

    I’ve mentioned in the past that I do meeting coordination, including minute taking. I take minutes for City Council meetings and advisory body meetings (people who are appointed by Council). In more formal settings, the rule of thumb for the minute taker is to be seen and not heard (unless clarification is required). In my case, I take notes and minutes (decisions), make sure there’s a quorum, run the meeting management system, and provide procedural advice when needed. For the advisories, I help them with developing motions from the sense of the meeting. If the chair calls me by the wrong name, it’s really not my problem. My job is to be there to take minutes and make sure the meeting runs smoothly. As someone upthread said, it sounds like a formal organization. It would probably be a career limiting maneuver (CLM) to call out a meeting participant/board member in the middle of a meeting because she got your name wrong.

    That said, I’m rarely called by the wrong name, mainly because I have nameplates. I have a wooden one I take into Council meetings with me, and a paper “name tent” for advisories. I’d suggest to the OP to get one, or make one for herself and perch it in front of where he/she is sitting.

    And for the OP, I say this with the greatest care. This sentence in your original letter rubbed me the wrong way: “There are six people who attend the meeting, and five of them I am fine with as they show me respect and don’t treat me as a subordinate.”

    But you ARE a subordinate. You’re there as an apprentice so you’re there to learn. That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be treated with respect (being treated with respect and being treated as an equal are not the same thing). Now if being called the wrong name is disrespectful to you, you have some choices to make:
    – Approach her yourself, outside of the meeting. Whatever you do, don’t say anything during the meeting, because that’s probably something she’d feel disrespected by.
    – Approach your manager and tell him/her that there’s this a meeting participant who constantly calls you by the wrong name and it really bugs you, and you’re not sure how to approach her. Ask for his/her advice on the best way to approach and ask if he/she would role-play with you. He/she may intervene on your behalf but I think approaching it as, “I want to solve this myself, I just need some advice”.
    – Speak to the chair of the meeting if you are on good terms and ask him/her to intervene when it happens, or for advice on how to deal with it. It is the Chair’s job to keep order and part of keeping that order is to make sure people are addressed correctly.
    – Or let it go. Some people are just like that and get through life on other skills.

  29. OP*

    Still reading. :)

    I agree with you that I am a subordinate in this context. If I break that sentence down, what I mean is that the other five people talk to me in a respectful manner when they make requests of me. The lady I refer to in my OL does not.
    I am totally fine with being told what to do, and other people at the meeting give me instructions regularly. I think there is a difference between being spoken to and being spoken down to and that is the issue here.
    If I were to rephrase that one sentence I would say:
    “There are six people who attend the meeting, and five of them I am fine with as their instructions are given to me respectfully and they use my name correctly.”.

    1. No Longer Passing By*

      OP, thank you for clarifying. I think that the tips given on dealing with difficult people will be helpful and please remember that her behavior also is noticed by others. Don’t internalize it and make you give up a good learning experience.

  30. OP*

    Alison, I just wanted to say thank you for answering my question. Thanks also to the people who have taken the time to comment with constructive advice on the situation.
    I can see that the resounding response is basically to get on with it and that’s what I’m going to do. I can see from people’s comments that I am probably taking things too personally when that’s just the type of person she is. I am fine with taking instructions as other members give them regularly, it’s the fact she speaks down to me which gets to me, but I’m just going to try and let her comments go over my head as many of you have advised.

    I have made a vow to myself to correct her the next time she gets my name wrong as I know now that other people aren’t going to do it for me. Perhaps I should have nipped it in the bud ages ago but it’s hard to know the ideal way to do so being junior in an organisation, hence the reason I wrote in to AAM. I will provide a short update when the renaming process takes place to let you know how it went.

    1. CM*

      OP, I think you have a great attitude about the advice you’ve been getting here. I can assure you that if you continue being gracious about this and not letting this person get to you, others will notice. It’s happened to me more than once that someone has said to me, sometimes much, much, later, that they were impressed that I managed to stay calm, polite, and professional with someone who was not behaving the way they should. You should totally correct her on the wrong name, as others have suggested above, but also know that the other people in that room are most likely noticing that their colleague is being disrespectful and that you’re handling it with maturity.

  31. POF*

    I have a great memory for numbers and the written word. Names continually elude me. I at times call my son by my bother’s name.

    I’m that person that will refer to someone incorrectly in a meeting. I will catch myself and apologize and I try t oavoid it – but slips out. I have a new staff person ( not a direct report – 2 levels down whose name is Mike. In my head – he is Mark although I try to catch it….. I often slip.
    I am not being disrespectful and try to be nice in meetings, but some people can have name issues.

  32. Lily in NYC*

    Embarrassing story: I went on a blind date with the guy who took over for Larry David as Seinfeld’s executive producer (he was a friend of a friend). It was right when he started that job so I was kind of excited to meet him. He was in town and needed a date to some lame gala so I went with him. I called him by the wrong name the entire night and he never bothered to correct me! We were not meant to be, but that’s ok because he ruined that show. I still don’t remember his name!

  33. Jill*

    So when this happens to me, this is my strategy – and I use it whether I’m in a group or alone:

    If Amy refers to me as Wrong Name I respond with, “Ok Susan” When she says, “I’m Amy, not Susan” I say, “Well, I’m Jill, not Wrong Name.” The strategy works well on the person that occasionally slips up because they have actively engaged you in a conversation so it forces them to pay attention to the correction.

    Now, for someone like the OP’s coworker, (assuming she’s not so high up in the hierarchy that it would be disrespectful) I’d make a habit of constantly referring to her by the wrong name. When she finally explodes in frustration that you keep calling her the wrong name, I’d calmly say, “Yes I feel much the same way, since you keep calling me Wrong Name when I’ve told you multiple times that I’m Jill. Can I assume you’ll get it right from now on?”

    1. Lily in NYC*

      This seems like a passive-aggressive and very unprofessional way to go about correcting people who get your name wrong, especially if it’s the first time they’ve done it. It’s disrespectful to everyone, not just senior staff. If someone spoke to me like this over an honest mistake, I would not look upon them kindly.

    2. over the rainbow*

      I did this once. A woman kept using a nickname i loathe instead of my given name, so i started shortening her name as well. Turns out she absolutely hated the short version of her name. Next time i got the chance, I politely told her that I, too hated the nickname version of my name. She got the point and never used it again.

  34. Call Me Anything But Late To Dinner*

    Having a name that for whatever reason fifty percent of the time visually registers with people as something else, I’ve found it productive to preemptively announce Yep! say that fast and people respond with GESUNDHEIT!!! I’ve also had to respond with No, I’m not a candy, I am not a famous (deceased) news anchor and yes I agree, if that name Wasn’t hyphenated I’d wonder what country I was from too!

    I do however try to link it to something, anything as a mnemonic for the new person having difficulty, in a nice joking way. While the OP has been back to clear up a few things this wouldn’t be the hill I’d choose to die on. It 100% is reflective of the other person and I’d be willing to bet she already has a reputation that this behavior just solidifies. In fact it would be a running joke with myself, I’m Jane everywhere but in this meeting when my SuperPowers are recognized and I become AUDRY welder of the almighty gel pen!

    Agreed this situation is temporary and in reality this woman will be retired just as you are hitting your stride in the workforce. Focus on yourself and let it go. There’s a Debbie Downer in every organization, it’s how you respond or don’t that proves your longitivtiy. Most people will sympathize you ignored her lack of manners with good grace.

  35. Jackie*

    I find it very weird that you are not called by your correct name. You could gave this person an index card with your name spelled out phonically for her to refer to in the future and help with her memory…. lol I once was sitting in the chair right next to my boss and she announced to the group I couldn’t be there because I was sick. People are very weird indeed.

  36. nonegiven*

    I have had to resort to completely ignoring people who try to get my attention by calling me the wrong name.

  37. Peggyhill*

    This made my day, it’s making me laugh so hard. “Would it be unreasonable-” Wow. Just. So much laughter. I can’t even. Jesus help me.

  38. CKFT*

    I know this is somewhat tangential to the question, but I couldn’t find an answer online that made sense, and I’m a bit confused. What is this whole ‘teapot’ thing about?!?

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