company is trying to find out whose spouse has cancer, answering the phone when job-searching, and more

It’s six answers to six questions. Here we go…

1. My husband’s company is trying to find out whose spouse has cancer

My husband’s company is in the processing of signing with a new health insurance carrier. The owner of his company called him to discuss my health conditions (I am on his insurance). My husband told him my only problem was high blood pressure, which was under control. The guy calling said they were trying to find out whose wife was being treated for breast cancer. My husband thinks they plan to fire the employee! Can this be reported to someone? I find this appalling!

What the hell.

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects workers with disabilities from adverse employment actions based on their disabilities — and gives the same protections to workers who are associated with people with disabilities (like spouses and other family members). Employers also can’t grill employees about their spouses’ medical conditions in an attempt to ferret out who they want to discriminate against.

Your husband could report this to the EEOC (although I suspect it might not enough for them to act on yet), and he can alert his other coworkers to the call and what he thinks might be happening. If multiple employees get upset about this, that might create pressure on the owner to reconsider whatever his impulses are here. (It’s worth noting that it’s possible the owner isn’t in fact planning on firing the spouse of the cancer patient, but whatever his intentions are, what he’s doing isn’t okay.)

2. My boss is making us return to the office because our governor re-opened the state

I am so mad writing this question to you I almost can’t see. I am a Georgia-based worker and one of two employees. My boss is making us return to the office on Monday because the governor is re-opening the state. I talked to my manager about what needs to be done to re-open the office this morning and I told her point blank this was a horrible idea. She agreed, but our boss won’t budge and wants us back in.

I just got over the fact that three weeks ago my boss sent me to the office to make her binders for four days straight while the janitors cleaned our office without masks or gloves. I drop off the binders, and my boss doesn’t answer the door, just asks me to leave them outside for them to “air out.” I was livid for two weeks after since my boss recognized the risk of me creating these binders enough to have me wipe them down and leave them outside her house, but not enough for me not to go to the office in the first place.

I know you always advocate for pushing back, but it looks like my manager is rolling with this and unless the governor closes the state again, it looks like I will be back in office. Is there anything I can do? I’m at the bottom of the hierarchy and my only other coworker won’t push back but I’m scared to leave my house.

I wish you had better options here. If you had more coworkers, you could try pushing back with a group, which can have more weight. You could try convincing your lone coworker to take a stand with you and say neither of you are comfortable returning. You could take that stand on your own and try holding firm. It may not work. Ultimately you may need to decide if you’re willing to lose your job over it, which isn’t a position anyone should ever have to be in.

A couple of other things to consider if nothing else works: If you have accrued PTO, you could try using all that up. You could also ask to take the time unpaid, or ask to be furloughed.

But there just aren’t good options here, and your governor and your employer are being cavalier with people’s lives and our public health system. I’m sorry.

3. Should you always answer the phone when you’re job-searching?

I’m currently job searching. On applications and my resume, I list both my email and my phone number. Today, I got a call from an unknown number. I didn’t answer, since I’m used to getting spam and political calls. They left a message, and it was for an interview!

Should I just always answer the phone now that I’m job searching? Or should I expect that employers will leave a message?

While you’re actively job searching, if you’re somewhere where you could relatively easily answer your phone if it rings during business hours, it’s smart to. Most employers will leave messages, but some won’t. Others will leave a message but then when you try to call them back, you won’t be able to reach them. (Those are the employers who stop after they reach X number of people for phone interviews and discard candidates who come in after that.) So if you can answer, it makes sense to.

But adjust this for the realities of life. You don’t need to pull over in traffic to answer an unknown number or walk out of a meeting when your phone buzzes. But if you’re able to talk, it makes sense to answer.

Also, the more senior you are, the less this matters. When you’re applying for high-level roles, you’re much less likely to encounter employers who give up after not reaching you once.

4. People misspell my name

There are people I work with very closely who more than half the time will leave the last letter of my name off in emails, misspelling it with the far less common spelling. Think “Sara” instead of “Sarah.” I realize this is horribly low stakes but it drives me crazy, especially since my full name is right there in my email address and on my signature line. On a scale of 1 to “very,” how passive aggressive is it for me to respond to people’s email dropping the last letter of their name when they do it to mine? Or to find another spelling of their name to use — sorry Michael, you’re now Michail. Another great option would be to capitalize the last letter of my name on my signature.

I know you’re going to say, just talk to them, but it feels like it’s too insignificant of an issue to bring to up. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. I thought with a name like Alison (or is it Allison or Alyson), you could relate. Should I just let this go?

Since you brought up me, I’ll tell you that personally I’d let it go. People misspell my name ALL THE TIME and it’s so much easier to just choose not to care. I’d care if it were a close friend or family member doing it, but a coworker? It’s liberating to not care. (I’d care more if they were calling me by the wrong name — like Alice or Alyssa or something — but if they’re just misspelling it, they can have at it.)

That said, it really bothers some people and there’s nothing wrong with mentioning in your reply, “By the way, it’s Sarah!” But there are only so many times you can correct people before you start to look … kind of like a stick-in-the-mud, a la the infamous “don’t call me Liz” scenario. I mean, it’s your name, and people should get it right, but in reality people mess this stuff up and there’s a point where you’ve corrected them, it’s not working, and you have to let it go.

As for the passive-aggressive replies you propose — if you have a jokey relationship with the person, go to town. (I once did something similar to my niece when she misspelled my name, and now she always writes it as “Allllllllllison” and I am okay with that.) But if you don’t have that kind of relationship, then no, it’ll probably come across as too much.

5. Collecting unemployment for short furloughs

I work for a hospital in a non-clinical role, and it‘s looking like they’re going start to furlough some employees in the coming weeks/months due to the loss of revenue from elective procedures/appointments. It’s still unclear whether my team will be affected or how this will be handled, but given that communication and support from hospital leadership has been … lackluster … through all of this, I doubt we’ll get much notice. The rumor we are hearing is that affected employees will be furloughed for a week on a rolling basis, and there may be a couple of waves of these rolling furloughs.

I know that in this economy I’m lucky to be one of the people who is able to work completely remotely and still has a job, but even losing a week or two worth of pay will hurt. (It’s a nonprofit children’s hospital and I work primarily on grant-funded projects so salaries reflect that.) From what I’ve been reading, furloughed employees are eligible for unemployment, but does that apply if the furlough is that short? Or if there are a couple of week-long furloughs over the course of 3-4 months?

Yes, you can apply for unemployment for short periods of furlough and should be eligible to receive it. This is going to be complicated by the fact that it’s taking a really long time to file in most states right now because their systems are overwhelmed, so you likely won’t get processed and receive payments as quickly as you normally would … and by the time they do it, you’ll be back at work, but they should cover you for the time you were out. (And depending on the state, it might be that you keep your claim active and just report the income on the weeks you do work, rather than filling new claims every time. I’m just guessing though, so confirm that with your state.)

6. Is it okay to join video meetings on my phone?

Is it unprofessional or inappropriate to join video Zoom meetings on my phone? The picture and audio quality on the phone are way better than on my old laptop, and it seems to make for much better meeting quality overall. But I can’t help but feel in the back of my head that I’m taking a selfie or Snapchatting or something. Should I just put that aside and use my phone? Or should I figure out a better computer set-up? (I always prop my phone on the desk so it’s steady, and so I can access documents on my computer.)

Nah, you’re fine. Use your phone!

{ 805 comments… read them below }

  1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

    #4. Don’t expect people to necessarily notice if you misspell their name! Some will, but some totally won’t. A coworker at my new job once called me by the wrong name for a month, and I didn’t even realize it until he and a different coworker got into an argument about what I’m called. I’d probably be more likely to notice a mistake written down, but others would be less likely. Just tell yourself that your misspeller is dyslexic and can’t see the difference. It might even be true.

    1. Avasarala*

      I think this is also extra frustrating because it’s your name. When’s the last time you noticed someone misspelling/mispronouncing someone else’s name?

      Personally, I am a details person, so I notice quite often. I notice when people misspell words, use the wrong “its”, and so on. It’s just red and bold in my brain. But many people are not details people, and literally don’t notice the difference! It used to really frustrate me because I saw it as being careless and rude. If I knew Sara for 15 years growing up and meet a Sarah today, I will take extra care to get her name right, as a sign of respect. But big-picture people literally don’t notice the difference, and it’s not due to malice; they just have different things red and bold in their brain. Maybe they understand Sarah’s place in the group better, they see her strengths and weaknesses more clearly, they can quickly build a rapport with her, or some other skill. Maybe they made a different deal with the monkey’s paw and instead of details-and-anxiety, they got design-but-sloppy. And you need all colors to make a rainbow!

      1. allathian*

        I’m the same way, I notice details. That said, I’m bilingual from birth and am used to the fact that my name is pronounced in different ways in different languages (heck, I pronounce it differently depending on language), so I’m not a stickler for the exact pronunciation, as long as it’s spelled right.
        But I used to know a guy whose job email address had his name spelled wrong… He wasn’t fazed by that, but for me it would have been intolerable.

        1. Ace in the hole*

          My job email had my name spelled wrong for quite a while. I was more amused than annoyed, but made them change it anyway. My name is spelled differently from the near-universal “standard” spelling (i.e Soosan instead of Susan). Problem is my work used a third spelling (Suzen). So instead of the standardized spelling making it easier for people to email me, it made it nearly impossible for anyone to figure out my email address without me literally spelling it out for them… can’t guess it from hearing my name, can’t guess it from reading my name.

        2. Meredith*

          My job spelled my name wrong on my business cards when I first started. Thankfully, I didn’t use them too much and I was promoted in 6 months, so I got new ones.

          My boss spelled my last name wrong a few weeks ago. She’s spelled other names wrong in the past, though.

      2. Musereader(Lindsay)*

        I have accumulated a list of 198 ways of spelling Lindsay, some of them are theoretical only based on other permutations, but I almost invariably get Linds*e*y even if my name is right infront of them when they are replying to my emails. If this is someone I am working closely with I might say ‘by the way my name has an a not e’, and I did request program log ins to be changed, where possible but it wasn’t always. but most if the time I internally groan and let it go because it happens with such frequency I would spend all day telling people how to spell my name.

        It does make me more sensitive to other peoples name spellings though, I spent some time correcting other team members that it was kelvin not kevin

        1. Valancy Snaith*

          My name is Lindsey and I’d love to know how you’re getting people to spell it that way! 98% of the time it’s spelled wrong, usually with an A, but also frequently with Y and Z and whatever else.

          The only time I’ve ever made a note about it was encouraging people to double check my email was spelled correctly, though, because if you spell my email address with an A I won’t get the emails!

          1. I edit everything*

            I have a less-common (but still standard) spelling for my name, too, and I have to point out the difference in my email address as well. “Please note the ‘s’ in my name…” It usually works pretty well in getting people to notice, at least that once.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          My freaking cousin misspelled my name on a FB message. Despite having had to type that name in to FB messenger in the first place, and despite having the correct spelling literally right next to it in the message window. [annoyed hand flapping]

          1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

            I have a common first name that was popular in the 70’s and early 80’s. It is not currently a popular baby name though.

            At any rate, the name has a standard spelling many (if not most) Americans are familiar with and invariably when people learn this is my name, they begin to spell it the standard way. However, my mother decided to get creative and spell it in a non-standard way. Therefore for all of my life, I have had to spell it out over the phone with customer service representatives, sales clerks and other people who have never heard of or seen this name spelled this way. To date, I have never met anyone in person with my name spelled my way (although I’ve come across people on FB and the internet with it).

            Even with my name spelled RIGHT THERE in emails (including my email signature), documents, letters, records, etc., some colleagues will reply by misspelling my name with some variant not present in the original document. I have been dealing with this for decades now, so I don’t even bother correcting folks at this point. It still infuriates my husband though.

            Recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I placed a web order with a small company that sells personalized items and found that the company owner’s name is the same spelling as mine. lol

            1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

              I am in HR and where I work, many of our employees are non-American born, hailing from countries in Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe and the Middle East. Therefore, many have names that many Americans would find uncommon or long/difficult to pronounce. Some of these employees have taken on an “American” name or nickname for use in the office.

              However for those who do not, I make a concerted effort to spell and pronounce their names correctly (and have no compunction about asking how to correctly pronounce their name). Some have actually apologized for having a “weird” or “long” name and I always reassure them that their name is not weird and I will make the effort to get it right.

              1. With a y not an i*

                As someone with a foreign name, I appreciate that people are being kind if they’re interested in how to pronounce it correctly.

                But just a PSA to everyone: it’s a little painful to go through multiple rounds of the pronunciation game. If you’re not a speaker of my language or a linguist, you probably can’t hear the difference because the sounds are not distinguished in English, and you’d need me to give you a linguistics lesson to teach you how to produce it (because “hard L” and “soft L” won’t mean anything to you).

                Some of us are happy with having it pronounced differently in our language vs in American English. It’s like having an accent! It’s fine! Please don’t fixate on “but how do you REALLY pronounce it?” if I’ve introduced myself with the English pronunciation.

                1. With a y not an i*

                  I realize I should have added that some people might have different feelings on this (just as with the spelling issue). All I ask is people take the lead of whoever they’re talking to, and don’t get pushy about the pronunciation thing if whoever you’re talking to isn’t into it.

                2. a k name person*

                  Amen! Amen! It’s great to try to get it right, and I appreciate that. Also, US English does not have the sound that begins my name. I have a “close-enough” version I’m happy with and I’ll let you know you’re there, and I appreciate you just going with that! People who really get into trying to say it ‘right’ still get it wrong in a different way that make it much uglier, in my opinion. (Soft K/hard K/G — no, I don’t like G…. please don’t make my name start with G, that’s also not a letter in my language so it sounds extra-dumb…)

                  Sorry, I’m a little sensitive about this haha.

                3. SD*

                  I’m an American whose name is Suzanne. It bugs me when people look at that on paper and call out Susan or I say Suzanne and they write down Susan. Really? What doesn’t bug me is when a French speaker goes with Susan. I’m pretty sure the two names sound just the same to French speakers; they’re not hearing a difference. I also don’t mind when Spanish speakers from Latin America go with Susanna. The hard z just isn’t an easy sound in Spanish as spoken in Latin America and Susanna is a fine substitute. Native English speakers, be polite and get it right. It’s just not all that difficult or exotic.

            2. Ace in the hole*

              I can relate so much. I’m in the same boat… as far as I can tell, I’m the only person in the US who spells my name the way I do, plus a very unusual last name. I remember my middle school teacher reprimanding me for spelling my own name “wrong.”

              After dealing with it my whole life I don’t even notice anymore. I just launch straight into spelling my name whenever someone asks for it.

          2. LifeBeforeCorona*

            I’ve been shopping online and mailing packages to my family. 9 times out of 10 I spell their name wrong. I got into an argument with one sibling about how to spell their name.

          3. SciDiver*

            My grandmother’s preferred communication channel is FB messenger and she always misspells my (quite uncommon) name. At this point I chalk it up to habit and muscle memory from doing so many times. I’m honestly much more infuriated by strangers misspelling my name (you’d think people would double check before sending that email!).

        3. Risha*

          I decided very early on that I couldn’t be bothered to be bothered by (US) people misspelling Risha, a relatively uncommon Indian name. That doesn’t mean that I don’t notice, of course. The literal worst spelling I’ve ever received, on a card, was ‘Reaschea’.

          1. Artemesia*

            My last name is not common but also not either difficult to pronounce or spell — it has a common English word as its root — and yet it is usually mispronounced and often misspelled. One of my brothers in law consistently spells it wrong after nearly 50 years and many occasions e.g. wedding invitations for the kids, Christmas cards etc etc to see it correctly spelled.

          2. Ealasaid*

            I feel you. I have a Scots Gaelic name (Ealasaid, pronounced ell-ih-sade, rhymes with lemonade), and collect mispronunciations. I’ve gotten some really wild ones over the years. My all time favorite is “ay-allah-sayeed” from a Geometry teacher.

            Misspellings are almost always just leaving the first letter out, so I don’t get much entertainment there. My college newspaper misspelled my name in my byline more often than not, and I had to learn not to get riled up about it because I couldn’t take more stress on top of my class load.

        4. LJay*

          Yeah one of my online names is a variation of “Lindsay with an A” since people really seem to want that E in there.

          I do have a moment of annoyance when people respond to one of my emails – that has my name with the correct spelling right there – with the incorrect spelling. But ultimately it’s not worth correcting for me.

          My favorite misspelling I got was Lynzy.

          1. Cascadia*

            My childhood best friend’s name is Katharine, and she got so mad that people would spell it with an ‘e’ that she would change how she introduced herself. Whenever she would meet new people she would say “Hi, I’m Kath-Ahhh-rine”. It became a running joke and now a lot of people who knew her as a kid jokingly call her “kath-ah-rine”.

            1. delta-cat*

              I spent most of the first part of my life introducing myself as “Catherine-with-a-C” because people who didn’t ask pretty much always assumed it was with a K. Then I moved to Quebec, and I don’t have that problem anymore, people assume the C because that’s how it’s usually spelled among French speakers. An acquaintance of mine here is Katherine-with-a-K and has the exact opposite problem.

              Meanwhile, if I have to give my last name, I spell it, every single time. My last name is spelled exactly the way it sounds, but it’s an uncommon name, and there is a similar name that is just a teensy bit less rare, so people assume. Sometimes even when I spell it, people ignore me and input that other name (of course, ancestrally, they’re derived from the same name and if you go historically, both my name and the slightly-more-common version are misspelled and mispronounced). It used to drive me batty, but then I decided to be amused by it. It’s a very Anglo-Saxon name, and I’ve discovered that my French-speaking friends and coworkers all find it completely unpronounceable and unspellable and hoo boy have I ever developed a good list of amusing alternative spellings and pronunciations.

              1. Yet another Kathryn*

                And I’m a Kathryn. :)

                If I’m at Starbucks, I’ll let them spell it any of the millions of ways there are to spell my name (unless specifically asked). No issues with that at all. But if you send me an email with any other spelling, I notice and it seriously irks me. Of late, my boss keeps making me a Katherine. I’ve worked for her for 18 months, and known her for years. WHY?!?!?!?

                I think it’s only common courtesy to spell someone’s name correctly, ESPECIALLY when it’s right there in the email. I’ve been known to find out if it’s Jen or Jenn.

                And I HAVE to spell my last name. It is NOT a common last name, and still somehow at least half the time, they get it wrong. (My last name ends in SEN not SON.)

                And no, I never found my name on a key chain growing up (or at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter earlier this year).

                1. JT*


                  My name has at least two spellings that are common: one that is considered a feminine form of the name in [Language 1] and [Language 2] but masculine in [Language 3], and a version that is *traditionally* masculine in [Language 1]-speaking countries but is technically gender-neutral (and has been more and more popular as a name for AFAB babies since the rise of feminism – not quite to the extent that “Ashley” has become in English, where it’s like the assumed gender has entirely swapped, but very much to the point where it’s impossible to tell the person’s gender or even assigned birth sex from that spelling).

                  My name’s spelling is the latter, gender-neutral one, because while I’m an AFAB woman, my mother knew damn well that women face biases in various fields and wanted to make it easier on me.

                  However, people who know I’m a woman and who speak Language 1 almost ALWAYS spell it wrong, usually the “traditionally feminine” spelling. I’ve learned to live with it at say, coffee shops or among classmates who barely know me, but…

                  One of the store managers at a previous job of mine CONSISTENTLY spelled it wrong. Which I found mildly irritating but mostly just BAFFLING, since this person was ALSO in charge….of writing the schedule every week.

                  You know, the schedule that had my name on it…correctly spelled.

                  Still don’t know how they managed that, and for THREE YEARS no less!

                2. Jojo*

                  Sounds like a Scandinavian problem. Erickson, Ericksen. I am good at catching those little pronunciation things having grown up in Minnesota.

          2. Musereader(Lindsay)*

            I’ve got lots – this is one of he longest Lynddessaye and this one looks roman Lindeci and here’s an irish variant Lyndesheie, and it think it is the three ys but this one looks funny Lyndysay and no joke Leighnzeigh

                1. Wired Wolf*

                  I have a clearly-female name that starts with “I”; it came back as a popular baby name a few years ago. There are only 2-3 possible variations all of which apply to the way the name is pronounced.

                  Despite my name being on the order ticket at Starbucks, the barista called out “Isaac” (which was hand-written on the cup). A friend had to tell me “I think that’s your drink they just put up”. I don’t look even remotely like an Isaac.

          3. WindmillArms*

            My name used to be Lindsay-with-an-A, and one time a coworker had to write it down, so he asked the spelling. I short-handed it by saying “S-A-Y” because the A/E distinction is normally the problem. He looked at me weird, and later I got an ID card where my name was “Say Lastname.” Apparently he was doing the trick of asking someone to spell their name when they entirely forgot what their name was. Oops.

        5. 'Lindsay' for this comment*

          Another Lindsay checking in- at current job everyone was fine w/the spelling until about 1.5 years in, when a new person arrived: Lindsey. All of a sudden, I’m getting Lindsey’d all over the place. 3 or 4 years later, Lindsey has since left, and I’m gradually working on getting back to having my name spelled correctly – trying to slip in a polite reminder once in a while for frequent offenders (it is right there in the email signature!).
          More egregious was a prior workplace where we had meet and greets about once a month, since we had groups of guest artists show up 10 times a year, so there was a lot of going around the circle and saying: ‘Hi, I’m ___, I work in the ___ department and I’m from ____’ in that workplace. And only about 50 full-time employees to keep track of. Despite this, after I’d been there over 2 years, one guy’s still calling me ‘Leslie’.

          1. Avasarala*

            That happened to me too… 2 years into my tenure, someone of my same race but different ethnic background, nationality, age, personality, etc. joined. Our names sound similar in the local language but have different first letters. Suddenly my boss started calling me by her name… I’m not Lindsey! I’m Ramsey and you’ve known me for years!!

        6. BeachMum*

          I have introduced myself to people (Hello, my name is Sarah) and they immediately answer, “Nice to meet you Susan.” It’s not these names, but the same ones over and over again. I laugh it off.

          However, when my name is spelled incorrectly, it makes me batty. I usually mention it the next time I speak to someone. My maiden name was worse. People could neither pronounce nor spell it and it was six letters.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m a details person, a former proofeader even. But variants without rules elude me, whether that be Eric/Erik or gray/grey.
        If you are the first person I’ve met with a name, my brain registers that as the correct spelling and then muck up everyone else’s variant.

        For writing I use a dictionary….but names are unique. I have taken to admitting this as my Kryptonite when I’m first introduced to someone. “I used to work for a Cersei, so my apologies in advance for how long its going to take me to learn to spell Sirsay.”

        1. Lyudie*

          Tip: grAy is more common in America, and grEy is more common in England (and pretty much all other English-speaking countries). I always got it confused until I realized the A = America and that made me life (as a former editor) so much easier.

          1. Llama Face!*

            And just to make it confusing Canada is technically GREY because we do the British spelling but lots of people will accidentally switch over to US spelling. :)

      4. Dust Bunny*

        I notice a lot because my name is one of those obscure ones that gets misspelled and mispronounced constantly, so I try really hard not to do the same to other people.

        1. Leslie Nope*

          I’m in the same boat. Most people pronounce my name is a “Z” sound instead of a soft “S”, so I’m one of those folks who picks up on other people having their name mispronounced. I think it all started back in high school, when there was an obnoxious kid in my class who thought it was funny to say, “Hey, Lezzzzzlie” like he was a buzzing bee or something. He was a jerk.

        2. TardyTardis*

          Although my husband, a retired teacher, once had four Catelyns in the same class, all spelled differently. I think he forbade them from changing seats that year (seating charts are your friend!).

      5. emmelemm*

        For sure. I am a “smallest details make my brain see the reddest”, but I have come to understand that other people’s brains simply do not work like that. They just don’t. And that’s OK. And if it’s not OK, well, it kind of has to be OK.

    2. Cathie from Canada*

      I found that when I consistently misspell someone’s name, I go into a double-think – “hmm, is it Dianne or Diane? I always spell it wrong so if I think it’s just one n then it must be two! Or maybe I’m not making a mistake anymore and it actually is just one n! Oh darn what kind of awful friend am I anyway?”
      So maybe this is what OPs coworkers are going through too.

      And for some odd reason my parents decided my name should begin with a C instead of a K, and the abbreviation should end with ie instead of y. So I have gone through life with my name spelled wrong too.

      1. allathian*

        I feel for you. Alternate spellings are tough as you’re always correcting people. Of course, you could always state you’re sick of it and start spelling your name Kathy instead. ;)

      2. annab53*

        As someone named Diana, and whose brother has never once called me or spelled it as anything but Diane, I can relate. And to give you an indication as to how long this has been going on (in spite of my many reminders to him), I’m 66 and he’s 73.

            1. paxfelis*

              And this is why I ask if I’m pronouncing or spelling names correctly. Getting someone’s name right seems like basic respect to me

              Signed, Morgen (Morgan, Megan, Margaret, Maureen), married to Steven (Stephan, Stephen), mother of Caroline (Carolina, Carolyn, Kari, Kerrie)

              1. SheLooksFamiliar*

                Agreed, calling someone by their preferred name is not negotiable. It’s just what respectful, kind people do.

                I admit I’m not too picky about misspellings after decades of having my own name battered, but I appreciate it when someone asks me about it.

                1. Tabby*

                  THIS. I will tolerate being called Elizabeth, though I don’t like the name. I will tear your head off for shortening it in any fashion if you are not one of my family members. No, you may not call me: Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Betsy, Liza, Eliza… none of the nicknames for Elizabeth will net you anything other than a stony glare and a stern, “That is NOT my name. Don’t do that again.”

                  True story: a veterinarian I worked for once tried to call me Elizabeth (I go by Levi in everyday life), and I straight up ignored him, because he KNEW I didn’t like being called Elizabeth. He kept trying it, kept getting ignored, and when he finally asked me about me ignoring him, I calmly pointed out, “Nobody calls me that, and that includes you. I don’t care if you’re management and I am not. Don’t call me Elizabeth, or I will continue to ignore you, PERIOD.”

                  He learned that day that while I am generally very easygoing, I DO have boundaries, and that’s one of them. I don’t like Elizabeth. I intend to change the name when I have the money to do so.

                  Even though I randomly use it here occasionally, because I can’t decide which handle to use! lol

        1. emmelemm*

          As an aside, my partner’s aunt has always been called Diane. Her family called her Diane. I was introduced to her as Diane. She’s 70ish. Through some circumstance, she happened upon her original birth certificate, and the name on the birth certificate is Diana.

          ??? Weird, right?

      3. PossiblyEnoughDetailToBeIdentified*

        My name is Nicola, but I go by the diminutive form in all interactions except where required by law.
        One manager(!) several years ago got so flustered by the, admittedly not common, short-form spelling that they genuinely left a note addressed to Nickkiey.
        I mean, he wasn’t entirely wrong – all the letters are there, plus a few extra to be safe.
        I took it in the spirit in which it was meant and had a genuine good laugh about it. It turns out he had a niece, also called Nicola, who once didnt speak to him for a week after his phone auto corrected the spelling of her name to a version she didnt like.

        What bothers me is when my name is further shortened. You do NOT get to call me Nik or Nic unless you are my mum or my best friend. That goes for in person as well as in text and doubly so if you haven’t earned the right to that familiarity and have assumed it because of your place in the hierarchy. (For some people, I’m actually petty enough to by Nicola to them – they don’t get to choose the level of intimacy with which we interact – my spouse calls me N which I find hilarious)

        1. SweetestCin*

          Yes!!!! You do not get to automatically shorten my name! My own spouse doesn’t even do that! (Spouse knows that the short form used to be ROARED by my parent when I had done something “wrong”. Like not stacked dishes in the sink properly. Parent has long since learned better coping mechanisms, but I cannot STAND the shortened version of my name and am likely to blow my stack about it.)

          1. PhyllisB*

            Yep. You would be surprised how many ways there are to spell Phyllis. My own mother, (who insisted on spelling it this way because she named me after her brother) used to spell it Phyliss. I would get so mad and she couldn’t understand why. I would say, “if you want it spelled like that, why didn’t you put that on the birth certificate?” She finally quit doing it when I was in my 30’s!!
            When I was in college I worked on a play. In the program the director not only misspelled my FIRST NAME he misspelled my last one, too. My best friend couldn’t understand why I was so miffed.
            The phone company even has my name misspelled on my account. When I tried to get them to change it, they told me it would be too much trouble.
            Now I just shake my head. I still don’t like it, but don’t make a big deal of it anymore.

            1. allathian*

              Phone company? Switch providers… (Maybe that’s urban privilege talking, I know that it’s not always that easy.)

            2. iambrian*

              My name is Brian, and my phone company has my name on their servers (but not billing) as Brain. When I call someone and they don’t have me in their contacts, Brain comes up.
              I have asked them to fix it, but apparently once the guy I bought my first phone off of five years ago put it in that way, it’s unchangeable.

                1. Possibly Enough Detail to be Identified?*

                  I didn’t want to, but that’s where my mind went too. Sorry BrIAn.

              1. Susan Strain*

                I wrote to the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) asking why my mother had been omitted from the phone book since she moved out several years earlier. It turned out Pacific Bell had listed her, but as ‘Stain’ not ‘Strain’. They fixed it.

            3. delta-cat*

              When I was 13 and my school was prepping the official class photo for our grade 8 graduation, I noticed that my name was spelled wrong, pointed it out, and asked them to fix it. You’d think I’d asked them to redo every single name on the page and retake all the photos besides, the way the guy huffed about it.
              I’ve also had my name creatively misspelled on various bits of government documentation, which I attribute to having an uncommon English name in a French province. No one knows what to make of all those syllables that are unpronounceable in French.

            4. Jojo*

              I had a bill spell my name incorrectly. They fixed it when i sent them a letter accusing them of committing fraud. Because like yes, it is fraud. Because they report it on credit report that way. Tell your phone company to quit committing fraud.

          2. SheLooksFamiliar*

            I refuse to use or even acknowledge my middle name. My father called me by my middle name when he was up to no good, or angry, or just being the abusive prick he was. My long-ago DH knew this but called me by that name once. As a joke. Yeah, he’s my ex for good reasons. He later told me I scared him: he didn’t know anyone could fly into a rage while also cowering in fear.

            Names matter.

            1. LifeBeforeCorona*

              Same here. My father was the only one who called me by a variation of my name and whenever anyone else did I shut it down immediately. That name brings back bad memories. Which is unfortunate because it was a pretty name otherwise.

          3. Iconic Bloomingdale*

            In my case, it’s the opposite. If my husband, parents or sisters call me by my full first name instead of the shortened version, then I know they are angry or annoyed with me. None of them ever call me by my full first name otherwise. Lol

        2. londonedit*

          Absolutely – and you don’t get to lengthen my name, either! I’m not keen on the full version of my first name, so I use a (fairly common) shortened version. Most people take my name at face value when they meet me, but you always get the odd one who insists on doing the whole ‘Oh, Alex? Is that short for something? What’s it short for? Alexandra? Alexis?’ routine. I usually just say ‘No, it’s not short for anything’ or ‘No one calls me by my full name’ but some people just won’t let it go.

          And to your first point, PossiblyEnoughDetail (oops, there I go, shortening your name…) my mum is now pretty sure she’s dyslexic (it wasn’t a thing when she was at school in the 50s) and therefore has a sort of blind panic about spelling people’s names wrong, which tends to manifest itself in her adding in all sorts of extra letters or ending up with the most complicated possible version of the name in question. So a perfectly straightforward Catherine becomes Kathrynne and so on. It can be quite amusing and luckily she usually checks with one of us before she writes out a birthday card to someone she doesn’t often correspond with!

        3. Environmental Compliance*

          Yes! My name is longer and has a ton of nicknames. You can call me by my full name unless I tell you specifically a nickname you can use. I go by 2 nicknames. One is for people I know well enough (and I will go by it at work), and one is for family & close friends. I will not answer to anything else, so don’t start picking random nicknames that sound good to you and expect me to answer. Often the nickname that gets arbitrarily chosen isn’t even a nickname for my actual name, it just starts with the same letter.

        4. IdentityNotObscured*

          I’m Nicola too!! And I HATE getting called Nic. Or Nick. Or Nikki. I also hate getting called Ni-Cola…I am not a carbonated beverage. But I’ve met a woman face to face who legit spells her name the same as me and uses that pronunciation – and I work with three Nicoles – so I’m doomed to never hear my name correctly said.

          I do wish people writing me emails, to my email address which is my full name, could stop with the extra L or C or adding H or K….Niccola, Nickola, Nikola, Nichola, Nicchola (really?!)…

        5. another Hero*

          Nickkiey is really funny to me actually (I’m a user of a name made of some of those letters – I’m sure I receive misspellings as often as you do. Unless they’re from someone who really ought to know better, I prefer to just marvel at people’s creativity. I got a card from a client addressed to Nikkey a few months ago.)

          1. PossiblyEnoughDetailToBeIdentified*

            I rather likened it to Eric Morcambe playing the piano – all the right notes (letters) but not neccessarily in the right order!

        6. Michigander in TN*

          I’m a Nicola too. Don’t find to many of us. Do you stress the first or second syllable? (I’m the second). That’s what always gets me. Or calling me Nicole. Which is why I go by the diminutive unless signing documents as well.

      4. Tate Can't Wait*

        I’m with you. A few years ago I found out that I’d been misspelling a friend from college’s name on Facebook – the name they had listed is the more formal version. I felt horrible.

        I also keep a list of Jen vs. Jenn names for Facebook friends – almost all of who list their names as Jennifer. I needed to keep it straight when wishing them happy birthday every year, since in most other cases you don’t say someone’s name in comments. I need to do the same thing with my Chrissy/Chrissie friends who list their name as Christine.

      5. Mary*

        I have some names which are completely distinct in my head, and I would never misspell. If I’ve seen your name written as Katy, Kirstin, Becky, Catherine, Hana, Aimee or Martyn once, I could could never call you Katie, Kirsten, Becki, Kathryn, Hannah, Amy or Martin. But there are other names where you can tell me a thousand times, and sorry, I will NEVER remember whether you’re a Lynsey, Lindsey, Linzi, Linsey, Lyndsay or Lin Sea. Fortunately I usually know which names fall into that category and remember to double-check!

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          For me it’s El(l)iot(t). I can never remember precisely which combination of Ls and Ts go with which person, so I sort of freeze and think, “argh I’m going to get this wrong” and then inevitably do.

          Catherine/Kathryn etc feel like different names to me, which it’s probably why I don’t confuse them. But something about the shape of El(l)iot(t) isn’t distinctive enough to stick in my brain.

        2. allathian*

          That’s really interesting, that some names are easy to remember and others hard. I’m the opposite of dyslexic, in that I see a name or foreign word written down once, and I can spell it properly forevermore. Well, at least as long as they aren’t improbably long like some Welsh names, like Llanfair PG (Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch), I looked that up!
          My biggest eureka moment ever was when I cracked the code of French accents and how they affected pronunciation.

          1. Mary*

            Yeah, I’m like that too! There are some words that I’m shocked to realise are homophones because they are spelled differently so to me that are totally different words. I just have a few words which are random black spots.

      6. SarahKay*

        I have all the sympathy for anyone writing my name ‘cold’, such as a physical letter or birthday card or something. This happens lots, either with missing or swapped letters. Matters are definitely not helped by the fact that my cousin, two months older than me, has a remarkably similar name, with just one letter different.

        However, it’s very irritating (at least to me) to have it got wrong in a work email where the email address format is, or work Skype where my name is right there at the top of the Skype window. Folks, it’s right there at the top of the window!
        And I confess, for repeat offenders, who are likely to be emailing/Skyping me a lot, I do politely say something.

      7. Artemesia*

        I do that too with the Anns and Annes in my life and one close friend was Dianne and another Diane. I still double check on the Anns as I learn it the right way and then ‘double think it’ as you note.

        1. Leslie Nope*

          There is a Megan, Meagan and a Meghan in my extended group of friends. I have to double check who I’m addressing!

      8. TootsNYC*

        This is where I’d suggest the OP give people a mnemonic:
        “I’m Dianne with two n’s, because I’m extra.”
        or “I only have one n in Diane, because I’m a classic.”
        So later if they’re trying to remember, they might remember that jokey phrase I used.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I used to tell people who misspelled my name that it’s “one ‘l’ because you only need one” and get a little peeved about it.

          Then I went and named my kid with the third most common spelling of his name (i.e. not common at all). It has 2 “l”s. The worst part about that was we took that name from my husband’s family, and they all spell it wrong.

          Related: When I was a kid, jerky kids would call me Alison Wonderland, and I used to get pissed because it is ALICE IN WONDERLAND. MY NAME IS NOT ALICE. Lol. I didn’t have a lot of friends.

          1. Vagrant*


            Tiny me used to literally spell her name for new people because I got so annoyed with the misspellings.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I did go somewhere recently where the person wrote my name down as Alicyn. Odd first guess, but okay. Old me just laughs.

            2. Allison Wonderland*

              Honestly, when I was very young, I thought the title of the movie WAS Allison Wonderland. I thought it was so cool, because my name is Allison! And I still like the association, even though I am aware that it’s Alice. Alison/Allison is a diminutive of the name Alice, anyway.

      9. Erika with a K*

        I have been guilty of the same thing…only to find out afterwards that I had the right spelling first time around, and the wrong one every time after that due to my obsessive worrying about it having been wrong.

        I am an Erika with a k, and for my entire life two of my aunts have spelled it with a C… I have also had it spelled with a y, with a c and a k together, and commonly without an a, so after a while you just learn to tune it out and not take it personally ;)

        1. COBOL Dinosaur*

          I’m Erica with a ‘C’. I don’t worry too much about when people spell it with a ‘K’ but what steams me is when I get an email addressed to ‘Eric’

    3. Gen*

      Name spelling can be an issue if email addresses have full names. One of my managers once went through months of farcical arguing with her boss, because her email was correct but he so consistently got her name wrong that he told IT to change it, thinking he was helping her. Fake name example- her email was RebekahSmith@ and he got it ‘fixed’ to RebeccaSmith@ because he always spelled her name wrong. So she then had to call IT to get everything changed back, which needed manager’s approval. He got offended about her being ungrateful, HR ended up getting involved, it was ridiculous.

      I spell my very common first name with a Y in place of the first I for professional reasons. I don’t mind if people misspell it, I just don’t want them to google the incorrect version because for some reason my full name is a popular pseudonym in adult entertainment. The things parents didn’t have to consider when naming kids in the 80s!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        He changed HER name to match his own misspelling? Then got mad when she changed it back? wtf. No where does it say that managers get to RE-name people to a name they can spell. sigh.

        My maiden name has two consonants together that one very seldom sees together. Getting people to write those two letter consecutively has been a life long challenge. There have been times where I thought I was going to have to do a hand-over-hand thing to get the person to write my name down.

        Them: bd? [not the real letters, this is an example]
        Me: yes, bd.
        Them: no. wait. b? then d?
        Me: yes
        Them: something is wrong here…. I can’t do this…
        Me: you’re okay here, it’s just b then d
        Them: are you sure?
        Me: ………

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Ha! My last name is a little like that in that some people have a hard time believing it is what it is. In my case, it’s b instead of the expected d, but the conversation is pretty similar!

          Me: …b.
          Them: Got it, d.
          Me: no, b.
          Them: b?? Really???

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Our standard office emails are, but patrons were having a hard time with mine because of my uncommon, multiple-spelling-variant, first name. We’ll say it’s Persephone; it’s not, but it’s in a similar vein. So I had IT change it, with our boss’ approval, to My last name is uncommon, too, but it’s more phonetic and I also share it with a former local celebrity, so it’s familiar to people of a certain age, which helps.

      3. Old Cynic*

        It’s amazing what a-hole managers will do.

        One place I worked, I shared my first name with the company owner. He went by a very common shortened nickname while I prefer(ed) the name I was given. People called me by the short name and I corrected them. Until I was told I was being disrespectful to the owner and should use the nickname myself.

        1. Jojo*

          They were incorrect. Using your bosses name would be fraud. And an attempt to undermine their authority.

      4. Advice Column Addict*

        Sarah with an “h’ here. That’s the type of person I take real umbrage with.

        Most of the time I try to avoid being passive aggressive, but for some reason over the years this has become a hill-I-don’t-plan-on-dying-on,-but-gosh-darn-it-I’m-going-to-make-it-annoying-for-everyone. If the misspelling just a passing mistake or just a quick encounter, I’m fine with letting it go.

        *However*, if it’s someone is cavalier enough to *never* get it, if it’s someone who uses privilege to ignore the mistake, someone who should just know by now, someone who *used* to always spell it correctly but for some unknown reason stopped three months ago, etc., I purposefully misspell their name in my reply. After all, if they can’t be bothered to write my name properly (esp when it’s written in the email they’re responding to), shouldn’t their names be fair game, too? You’d be surprised how many reformed “Bobb”s and “Joahn”s there are out there.

        Petty and childish, I know, but oh-so-satisfying.

      5. Iconic Bloomingdale*

        I feel your pain. The unusual spelling of my common name matches one of the names of a 70’s porn actress. Luckily, no one I’ve encountered has known or commented on that fact.

    4. Lauren*

      I have a friend/former coworker whose last name is a common first name, and whose first name is a more common last name. People are always switching them and it irks him (I’m in the Alison-let-it-go camp). He had a really funny but admittedly passive-agressive solution for a while: every time it happened he would make his name in his signature one point size larger. It was like 72-point the last time I saw it.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I had a former coworker who used to bold her first name in her signatures all the time because she had something similar .

        My last name is one that is spelled the same as, but pronounced differently from, something that is a common first name here, and I am often addressed by my last name (my first name is something that is only ever used as a first name though so that gets me more frustrated). It didn’t help that in one job, that happened to be my predecessor’s name.

        Another coworker had a both a first name and a last name that could be used as either, and IT got them the wrong way round setting up his account. The last name happened to belong to an old singer, and my one coworker was persistently calling him by the singer’s name for weeks!

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          For some reason, my mind immediately decided that the ‘old’ singer was Tom Jones. I’m now convinced your coworker’s name was Jones Thomas, which makes no sense at all.

      2. paxfelis*

        When I was in the military (lo these many moons ago), there were two guys in the next unit over that had the same name only reversed, and both names could be either first or last. Think one Jordan Taylor and one Taylor Jordan.

        I don’t know how it would have worked out
        if we all weren’t wearing nametags all the time.

        1. Pippa K*

          In grad school we had a set of professors with overlapping names, like George Douglas, Douglas Arthur, and Arthur Wayne. I kept hoping they’d hire someone called Wayne George and complete the circuit.

      3. Res Admin*

        My first name is definitely a girl name. My last name is a common male first name–and not one that is ever used for girls. Someone I work with off-site (we have met in person once, but she is stationed in another country) ALWAYS calls me by my last name in place of my first name. My manager has corrected her. I have corrected her. She knows that she is getting it wrong. She apologies when called out about it. She just forgets every.single.time.

        Likewise, my simple, one-syllable first name…I once went a whole year working with someone daily who inevitable called my by a 3-syllable name whose only relationship to my real name was the first letter. After about a year, she finally got it and asked, oh, xyz isn’t your name? (yes, she had been told by myself and multiple others…she just didn’t get it and we all finally dropped it).

        In both cases above (and many others) it just became an inside joke. My manager and I have a good laugh about being called by my last name instead of my first and come up with crazy scenarios to try and make her understand.

        Only one time have I gotten angry–and that was because someone was very obviously doing it on purpose to be annoying. I ran into her at the grocery store one weekend and she did it again, so I started calling her by random names instead of her own. Next time I saw her in the office, she magically started getting my name right.

      4. Meredith*

        That happens to my husband. His first name is a popular first name for boys these days (far less popular when he was a kid), and his last name is a nickname for a common male name – think along the lines of Matt or Joe. He’s constantly called by his last name, or people think he’s mixed them up. They’ll ask for his last name, he’ll give it to them, then they’ll say, louder, “LAST name.” “Yes, last name Matt. First name William.”

      5. Gumby*

        As part of my job I am in not-infrequent contact with people outside of my company via email. I generally address them by their full name the first time and then if they respond signing with another version, I use that. (Samuel becomes Sam, etc.) Signing your emails is extremely helpful to me.

        I am currently in a conundrum because one person I have been emailing is… we’ll say Peter David Smith. He emailed me first and has an email signature block but never types a closing or signature. It does come off as a bit abrupt but I honestly don’t care – it’s just his signature box has P. David Smith while his email is PeterSmith at org. Is he Peter or David? I’d normally start my emails with something like “Hi David” but since I am not sure that is what he goes by, I have so far been reduced to starting with just “Hi.” I do keep signing off with “Best, Gumby” but he doesn’t follow suit. I just want to know what name you prefer dude!

        1. Jojo*

          If they put an initial it maens they use their middle name as their common names. W. David Bean does not like his given name of Walter so goes by David. But they leave the initial because of legal stuff.

    5. Retail not Retail*

      Lol are you my newest coworker? (Labor day) my workplace nemesis never remembered my name while another young woman worked there and then when this woman started, he called her an inverted version of her name and then a nickname based on that. And the name she uses is already a nickname!

      I snapped at him once and he got in my face all low volume and intense saying he can’t help it and i should drop it. He flips back and forth now and she just insists it doesn’t bother her!

      He is very disrespectful to women and those he thinks are beneath them and butchers our names.

    6. Cindy Featherbottom*

      I have a common name that, I’ve learned over the course of my 30ish years, has about a dozen different spellings. I can’t tell you how much it bothered me when people spelled it wrong at first. The way my name is spelled is (most likely) the most common way, but people only spell it right about 25% of the time. I’ve turned it into a game now. Its interesting to see what people come up with, especially those in their early 20’s who I think are more used to uncommon spellings of names. I’d honestly let it go. I know it can be hard to and it was at first for me.

      1. Apollonia*

        When I graduated, the person calling out the names of the graduates did not call out my name. She changed the first letter of the name to a more common name.
        I decided then that I would never ever donate to that school. Reading these comments, I have decided that I will tell any representative of the school soliciting funds that I will contribute a large sum and spell the name of another school that has some of the same letters. If I hear any complaints, I will ask them why they are getting so bent out of shape?

    7. New Job So Much Better*

      Agree to let it go. I constantly get a y added to my first name instead of an i, probably because my last name has a y in it. I’m much happier no longer letting it bother me.

    8. MusicWithRocksIn*

      The owner of the first company I worked for called me the wrong name for two years. And it wasn’t the first two years I first worked there. When I started a girl named Jennifer started at the same time, and when she left a year later I just became Jennifer. We looked nothing alike and it was a very small office. I got tired of correcting it so just decided to roll with being Jennifer for awhile. It actually bothered other people there more than me.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        That happened to me in my first job, too. Our department was ~45 people and <10% were female. Stacie moved to another department right before I started, and my boss called me Stacie for 3 years. He would usually correct himself, but Stacie was 10 years older than me, a much different body type, and a very outspoken extrovert, so it was a little annoying because the only similarity between us was our gender. Oh, all women must be Stacie. . .

        1. AP*

          I’m Indian and I randomly get called other common South Asian male names. Even occasionally by people who know me really well. They often don’t even realize they are doing it, until I stop the conversation and have to tell them that I’m not Kumar or Ajay or Sandeep.

        2. Ace in the hole*

          Yup. I’ve been at my company for 5 years now and clients still sometimes call me “Tiffany.” Tiffany hasn’t worked here since I started, was half a foot shorter than me, different body type, different hair color, and wore glasses (I don’t). At this point I almost question if that was really her name, or if she also inherited it from some female predecessor.

          1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            I’m picturing the Devil Wears Prada, where the assistants all share a common name because Miranda refuses to learn their current name.

      2. LifeBeforeCorona*

        At one job a manager called me by the wrong name for months. I corrected her at first and then didn’t bother because she just didn’t get it. She finally did when we were in a meeting with the grandboss and he had to ask her who “Sansa” was and she pointed to me.

    9. abundance of caution*

      Oh, I worked with a “Sarah” but have a sister named “Sara” and I kept spelling my co-worker’s name like my sister’s. Sarah was kind enough to overlook it but others pointed it out to me and I was mortified. I worked very, very hard to spell Sarah’s name correctly. I trained myself a little too well, though, as I then started spelling my sister’s name with an “h”- including in our father’s obituary. Oops!

    10. Sylvan*

      Yeah. Even if they do notice, they might not get your point. Someone actually tried the passive-aggressive name mispronunciation with me in real life, but I didn’t know I pronounced her name incorrectly and I didn’t care how she said mine, so… I think I figured it out a few years later. Just correct them without dropping hints, or let it go.

    11. Joanna not Joanne*

      I feel for #4. See, I’m a Joanna and I get called Joanne (or they spell it JoAnn or Jo Ann) all the time. It drives me nuts. It’s technically not a misspelling, it’s a different name. I applied for a new passport and they sent it back with “Jo Anna” as my first name. As a result, that ended up on my driver’s license. It was like the world was telling me my name was not my name until I could track down my birth certificate and get it fixed.

      Oh and for extra fun, my first passport had my birthdate wrong. They made me 4 months older. So that was wrong on my license too for years. I figured that was why my tax return was always getting rejected, and finally I called the IRS and asked what the deal was. They told me they get their info from Social Security, who told me that when I was a baby my parents had accidentally registered me as having been born 5 months earlier than I was. Totally unrelated mistakes. The government sucks. My name’s Joanna.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I have a two-part first name (the first half is family name, and my parents thought that adding a classic feminine middle name would be a good idea). And I do not have a middle name.

        But the birth certificate people thought they new better and moved the “Ann” to the middle-name box. So my birth certificate wouldn’t help me!
        My sister has a similar setup, but as a high schooler, she legally filed name-change paperwork with the Social Security office, the school, her church, and the bank to add a hyphen and a middle name.

        Every thing I have ever filed with anybody has “Ann” as part of my first name (I just crossed it off a loan application and wrote it into the first-name box). Including Social Security.

      2. Nerdy Library Clerk*

        The Social Security office changed my mother’s last name when my parents registered me for my SSN when I was a kid. My parents had different last names and they decided to “fix” it for her. She had to get it fixed back to what it was supposed to be.

        Some people should not have bureaucratic jobs.

        1. TootsNYC*

          especially now that there’s so much of a push to require IDs for voting, and to insist that they match…

          We all need to be like a hawk on official things, and even less-official things can be part of proving who we are.

    12. Smithy*

      While I have a very common first name that does not really have other spellings, I have a double barreled surname which has led to endless administration challenges. In addition to spelling issues, it’s caused far more challenges around how my name is recorded on flight tickets and whether it does or doesn’t match with my ID’s, or issues at pharmacies and being refused prescriptions.

      All that to be said, when I moved overseas to a non-English speaking country and my name was mispronounced, nicknamed, etc. it was such a delight to actually not be bothered by it. Sure – that’s how it’s pronounced! Of course I love your decision to use that nickname! Of course I spell my name about 5 different ways – so you should feel free to as well!

      Having had such extreme administrative challenges with my name, I just could not imagine having so many conversations center around how my name actually sounds or which nicknames I do or do not like. I do completely understand that there may be serial offenders where name issues are lumped into other issues around professionalism, sexism, respect, etc. But if you are a Sara and it’s often spelled Sarah……this just sounds like an issue that will follow you everywhere and finding a way to let it go will only serve you.

    13. Ubiquitous Moose*

      I have a super uncommon name where I live – Nerhys (it’s Welsh, I live in Canada. It’s also spelled wrong since there’s no “h” in the proper welsh spelling, but my parents couldn’t remember when they were naming me and threw it in for good measure since there’s an “h” in the male name Rhys lol). I get SO many misspellings, mispronunciations, and even wrong names. Spelling I’ll correct once then let it go. Mispronunciations, if the person is trying their best or are using the Welsh pronunciation, I let it go (I go by Ne-rees, Welsh is nair-is). Wrong names I usually won’t notice because I’ll respond to most things with an “r” and an “s” sound in kind of the right places (ex. I responded to being called Grace for two weeks by a camp counsellor as a kid until a friend noticed and corrected them) or will happily accept if there’s a nice reason – like a couple people at work who like to call me Nora or a variant of it because of the meaning behind the name (they’re Middle Eastern/Arabic speaking and it means “light” in Arabic). I’ve been misgendered before in email and have politely corrected the person, but that’s different, I think.

      All that to say, I’m on team “Let it go” and don’t be passive aggressive about it. I get that names can be a touchy subject, but in the grander scheme of things, a minor misspelling is not something stressing over. Unless someone refuses to call you by your preferred name, it’ll save a lot of energy by not stressing at assuming that there’s no malicious intent behind it.

      1. JP*

        I recently had a new guy join our team in work who was called Caoimhin (key-vin), it’s irish and we work in Northern Ireland but it was great fun watching even the southerners trying to work out pronunciation and gender! Tadgh is another good one.

    14. snoopythedog*

      I have an sort of uncommon name (you’ll probably come across 1-3 of my name in your life) with many spellings, the most common of which are not phoenetic. Baristas at Starbucks sort of freeze when they hear my name because they know it but have no idea how to spell it (I always tell them to spell it however they like to make it easiest to call out my drink).

      I do point out the spelling if someone is consistently spelling my name wrong in emails (name in the email and the signature). But, auto-correct on most word processing programs correct the spelling of my name by changing one letter, if I can tell the person typed on their phone with auto correct on, I let it go.

      I once had someone high up in an organization spell my name wrong in a reply, and then email me to apologize for spelling it wrong. That totally made my day and lifted them a few points higher in my mind!

      Because of all this name business, I try to be careful about spelling others names’ right. But I have 5 friends whose partners’ names are Brenden/Brendan/Branden/Braden/Bradley and I am friends with none of those partners on social media….so I have a very hard time asking those friends about their partners with messages. I feel horrible, but I just them “how’s the hubby?” or “how’s B?”

    15. Library Guy*

      I had a two week temp job where I introduced myself as Mike – and then my boss called me “Dave.” Um, okay … and I went with it, because I was only going to be there for two weeks.

      OTOH, I absolutely HATE “Mikey” (thanks, Life cereal!) A boss tried to slip that in and was met with a flat stare and a flat, “I don’t like that.” A second joking use received, “Not a joking matter. Don’t use it.” It actually worked, and I didn’t have any more flack.

    16. eggplant*

      My maiden name was a long hyphenated one, and my father’s last name, which was at the end of my last name, is very close to a common female first name (it is the most common first name for girls starting with that letter). Because of both the length of my last name and the way that last part looked so much like a common girl’s first name, I got called by that first name A Lot, and it was one of the main reasons I decided to take my husband’s last name. My husband’s last name is a far less common but not rare female first name + s at the end. Guess how many emails I’ve had addressed to that less common first name since the name change? Sigh.

    17. DaisyJ*

      My name is Sarah and I get Sara all the time. I always make the joke that my mom paid extra for the H. People always laugh and then low and behold they do remember the next time to add the H. :) It has literally never failed me!

    18. Abby*

      What I can’t wrap my head around is when people misspell a short name when the correct spelling is literally RIGHT THERE. For example, I sign all my internal e-mails with “Abby,” but people will still respond with some of the most bizarre alternative spellings: Abi, Abbi, Abbie, Abbey, Aby, Abe…

      Like this most recent exchange:
      “Hi, Cersei! Could you send me a copy of that article you mentioned at today’s meeting? Thanks! — Abby”
      “Abbie, sure, here you go”

    19. Mockingbird*

      I feel for everyone here. Not only do I have an unusual name for the US, but my mom (a creative soul) had to give it an unusual spelling on top of that. (The standard spelling is Tatiana and mine is Tadiana.) I have completely given up on correcting people who email me with the wrong spelling, and even on correcting clients or others in business calls. You want to say Tatiana with a “T”? Fine, whatever. If it’s someone I’ll be dealing with on a regular basis, I’ll only gently correct once, and if they forget again after that I let it slide.

    20. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Honestly, when talking to people and giving them my name in a situation where they might want to write it down, I just immediately spell my first name after giving it, and then usually give its culture of origin because that seems to help people spell it better for some reason or at least stop panic-adding apostrophes, y’s, and h’s like they for some reason otherwise do. “Hi, my name is First Name F-I-R-S-T-N-A-M-E it’s [culture]”. Or, if I’m at work or a convention with a name badge, I’ll hold my badge out to them while introducing myself so they can see it while I say it. (My last name is common enough that I usually don’t spell it for people unless they hesitate when I say it or they ask.) I only correct people on spelling if it’s likely to create a problem later (like on an ID badge) and ignore it in casual use. Pronunciation gets corrected if it’s someone I’ll be talking to more than once but ignored for one-off situations.

      For calling out my name at restaurants, I have a completely unrelated “food name” that I’ve used for about 20 years now. I don’t use it as an actual nickname (although I wouldn’t mind if people called me that particularly), but it’s much more likely to get my attention to let me know my order is ready than a mangling of my actual name. My actual name is both locally uncommon (although quite common in its culture of origin) and has a lot of similar sounds to 3 or 4 more locally common names, so I have trouble telling if people are calling out my name badly or someone else’s name entirely. (There are 2 other people in my less than 20 person office with the same first two letters and last letter in their name as me. Think something like Martha, Marla, and Magda, although not those specific names. Lots of fun when someone can’t remember my name and starts guessing who they talked with last time.)

    21. The orthographist*

      OP #4 here: Thank you so much for all of your replies and shared anecdotes. After careful reflection, I think my issue is that the two people who do this I consider my friends. I interpret it as a sign of disrespect from people who I respect and admire. This happens with people outside my organization, but those incidences don’t bother me. I know they aren’t doing it with any sort of malice, but rather carelessness. I am someone who obsessively checks names and spelling multiple times before sending a correspondence and lives in fear of the crushing embarrassment that naturally comes with misspelling someone’s name (or even, god forbid, putting in the wrong name all together [just writing this sentence is making me breakout in a cold sweat at the horrific possibility]). Are there people who don’t live like this? Who? Who are you to have no shame!? All that being said, I realize I have been feeling much less charitable these days, and don’t want my stresses or anxieties to become anyone else’s at this crazy time. We all have different priorities and things that seem important to some people, is no big deal to others. So I have taken Alison’s advice and let it go. Thanks for answering my question.

      1. Avasarala*

        Best of luck to you OP. It certainly is fascinating to think that some people feel no shame about this, but also kind of makes me jealous sometimes–how free they must be, to send an email without proofreading and just assume things will work out OK! They have the gift of freedom there. Both sides have a gift and a curse: they are stress free but frustrate people around them, we live in anxiety but make people feel respected, haha.

    22. Mama Bear*

      I think it’s worth mentioning to the worst offenders. I do NOT go by a common nickname for my full name and correct people when they try to use the short name. It’s respectful to not only use someone’s correct name, but the correct spelling. Don’t go nuclear, but OP can point it out when necessary. Also make sure it’s right on all official forms!

    23. The Jones*

      I think Allysen’s advice is right on this. You know there’s a million different ways to spell each and every different name, including one as simple as Alicia/Alisha/Aleesha. I’ve had my *last* name misspelled, and that is my real last name, though probably not as usual an occurrence for me, it does happen. So whether your name is Serra/Sara/Sarah or Alana/Alahna/Alawna, it’s usually no big deal, unless it’s for legal documents. Then, you don’t want someone spelling your name wrong, even when it’s as innocuous as Althea vs Altheia.

    24. Quarantine Routine*

      My last name is very similar to a first name and I get called by the shortened form of that name pretty often. A la my name is John Timothy and people call me Tim. I have chosen not to care. I now find it funny. If someone else is around when it happens we have a little inside joke smile.

  2. Snuck*

    No. 2 I feel you h ave another option. You are in the really fortunate position of only having two or three of you in the office… can you deep clean it, then manage your space yourself, letting no one else in? If it’s clean and safe for you (if it’s been empty for two weeks then the virus shouldn’t be on any surfaces anymore), then all you need to manage is how to get there (drive? Park?) and get in and out the doors (gloves and masks).

    It might be very possible for you to return to work if you can make it entirely non-contact. If you are the only one there, or only you and one other (and you choose sides of the space to stay away from each other)

    1. Lynca*

      As someone in GA that was considered an essential employee (not in healthcare), the big hurdles we faced were maintaining appropriate social distancing and cleaning high contact surfaces. If it’s only 2-3 people trafficking the office social distancing is more straightforward if it’s a large-ish office space. OP doesn’t specify whether they serve the public but that can be a compounding issue that needs to be taken into account. Also the boss needs to be realistic that the level of cleaning required per day will impact productivity. It would take an hour- hour and a half to disinfect surfaces in my office. We would do it at least twice a day. We had limited janitorial staff so we got supplies to do it ourselves.

      I don’t say this to make it seem like the boss is right. But just my experience with being an essential worker that does still have to frequent an office setting for some work tasks.

      1. Snuck*

        Yes, we don’t really have much information here bar “two employees plus boss” and “making up files that could be done alone then left on bosses verandah”… if it’s a tiny three man show it might be possible to self isolate, if it’s public serving or large shared office probably not.

        1. Abogado Avocado*

          #2 I feel for you and send you virtual hugs. My experience may be helpful or not.

          I have been deemed essential and have been working (in a non-healthcare office) throughout the pandemic since March 11. We regularly use wipes to clean door handles and jambs, wash our hands every time we get up from our desks, have hand sanitizer on every open space in the office, and wear masks. We also have an industrial-strength, portable HEPA filter running night and day, and have arranged for deep cleaning by the janitorial staff every three days. When we go home at night, some of us strip off our clothes in our garages, enter the house in a bathrobe, and take a shower before interacting with anyone at home. These measures seem to have helped us all stay healthy (knock wood), even though our office gets foot traffic from the “outside world.”

          Like everybody else, I have no idea what the future will bring when more and more people leave their homes and return to work. However, our office will be continuing to engage in all these sanitizing efforts to hold the virus at bay, to the extent that’s possible.

    2. MissGirl*

      Yes, I have several family members working in hospitals, grocery stores, and food places. All of whom have taken certain precautions and are doing fine. Can you maintain certain spaces as your own in the office? If there’s only three of you, can you set up different times in the kitchen or other areas?

    3. OP #2*

      We were able to buy masks and gloves and the main reason we are returning to the office is to 1, prepare for a board meeting the following week and 2, help get our new coworker who just started settled in so she doesn’t have to work in the office alone. My manager plans to not touch the fridge, use the coffee maker and stay holed up in her office. I think my main frustration stems from (besides being a non-essential worker going back in a pandemic even though we’ve been managing fine remotely) is that the bending over backwards to manoeuvre through social distancing, maintaining 6 feet apart, cleaning every surface, is an ineffective use of time and risk

      1. Oxford Comma*

        Has your manager considered restroom use? Who is cleaning those? Are you in an office building populated by other companies? What about contamination during the day? These are things I would bring up.

        This sucks. I wish you the best.

      2. EPLawyer*

        Does the board even want to meet in person? They don’t answer to your boss. They very well may say we can do this via video conference. Now you may still have to prepare materials but that could be done remotely. Or even ONE person going into the office.

        As for the new co-worker I am guessing she is just thrilled to have go in and “get settled” at a time like this.

        1. TomorrowTheWorld*

          Yes, I worked for a local government and the Board of Supervisors for my county is using video conferencing.

      3. I Love Llamas*

        OP #2 – I feel your pain and it is a scary time. I have been working for an “essential” business in a non-essential role that I could easily do from home, however, leadership is very anti-WFH. Since I directly report to them and sit where they see me every day, I had to make the choice to come in to ensure that I stayed employed. It was not an easy one. Here is how I cope: 1) I bring my own food, utensils, even ice for my water. 2) I wash my hands immediately upon getting to my work area because I touched multiple doors to get there. I wash my hands several times a day. 3) I have very direct, candid conversations with coworkers about their activities outside of work to gauge how much risk they are taking so I can determine my level of safety around them. 4) I regularly schedule mental health days so I can de-stress a bit. I will say that it gets a little easier over time, but it does feel scary all the time. I keep telling myself that I am so lucky to have a job and the semblance of normalcy during this crazy time. Right now I am thinking about a colleague who took the day off and spent time with family members she doesn’t live with. That causes great concern for me, so who knows, I may start wearing my mask at work which is something I haven’t done yet. Think about what scares you and see how you can set up a work environment that makes you feel like you have some control. Good luck! P.S. Your boss is very selfish and insensitive — there should have been a better conversation about this.

      4. Long haired hippy-type pinko fag*

        I cannot begin to tell you how angry this makes me.

        One thing: you have a manager and a boss? For what little it is worth, any boss who orders their employees into the office, but works from home themselves, is a chickenshit %*^$#@.

        Last thing: is anyone involved in a high risk group? If so, they should lead the charge on this.

      5. JayNay*

        OP, I’m so sorry, I feel your anxiety on this!
        Would it help to spell out for your boss all the additional cleaning and social distancing you would have to do to work in the office? Taken from the comment above, let the boss know (in writing) that you will need to spend at least one hour each day cleaning, as well as spend a half day cleaning the office on the first day (or early on), or ask if the additional cleaning will be done by janitors.
        I’d say that as matter-of-factly as possible, with the sense of “of course we will be cleaning the office more often, I am planning to budget an hour of my paid time for this each day, how would you prefer I log that time? Oh and the boss would of course be providing the necessary cleaning supplies, wouldn’t they?”
        Again, this is completely awful – your boss is clearly aware of the risk and is exposing you to it while staying home themselves. The best you can do is make sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself.

    4. Anonymous Today*

      I work at a college; we all have to be back at work on May 1–faculty, staff, everybody–doing the regular 9 to 5 schedule. They’re even having the employees who work at smaller campuses come to the larger ones to finish up paperwork for the semester. After that, the instructors are furloughed while support staff have to keep coming to work every day even though the summer semester has been cancelled. I’m really worried to go back.

    5. Molly28*

      I am an employee who also is being required to come into the office during COVID. Unfortunately, a lot of offices are requiring that everyone comes in through the same entrance/exit. (So they can take temperature screenings in the lobby). In set-ups like this, it may be difficult to avoid other people, particularly if there are many people in the building who need to report to work at the same time, so a line develops in front of the temperature-taking station. Unfortunately if it’s a larger complex with dozens or hundreds of employees, the OP may need to walk past a ton of people to get to their actual workspace.

  3. Drew*

    Regarding the GA office reopening: it’s my understanding the governor has laid out twenty precautions for businesses to return to operation. The (appropriately) concerned employee could have that checklist in hand Monday to determine if all are being met, and if not, contact authorities to inquire as to potential enforcement. Obviously that’s somewhat antagonistic, but if the boss is indeed set on reopening, theoretically it’s appropriate to expect full compliance.

    1. Mookie*

      Removed because it’s off-topic and derailing. Please stay on-topic of the questions being asked in the letter. – Alison

      1. Roonil Wazlib*

        If “anti-intellectual” means clearer and more succinct than your original post, yes. Shouldn’t we be trying to help the letter-writer here, though? I’m just as frustrated as anyone else about the state of our country, but ultimately I think we should focus on ways to help the person who wrote in, who is trying to figure out how to navigate a really tricky situation. Alison has open threads twice a week where we can talk generally about the crisis.

      2. Destroyer of Worlds, Empress of Awesome*

        I am Floriduh. My employer decided we were an essential business and, as such, we were given guidelines to follow if we were going to stay open (e.g., 6 feet between customers, wiping down with disinfectant, etc.). My actual boss WILL NOT (still) say 6 feet away from us (he hovers, we call him T.C. after the Magnum P.I. character, he also only offered the men PPE; myself and the other woman here were never offered PPE of any kind–and we are both in high risk categories for the ‘rona). I reported this to the Sheriff’s Office and their response was to come out and ask the guys at the front desk “Are you adhering to the guidelines?” to which my co-workers responded yes.

        No one asked me. I would have told them the truth.

        1. bleh*

          Wait, he gave PPE to men only? Does he think you catch covid 19 with your penis?
          That discrimination seems actionable.

        2. Jojo*

          You need tell the sexist pig boss that he doesn’t provide PPE to women as well as the men you will be calling the department of labor to lodge a sex discrimination complaint.

    2. snowglobe*

      I wouldn’t wait until Monday; I’d get the list and send it to the boss this week, asking how they are going to ensure all of the items in the list are taken care of by Monday morning.

      1. EPLawyer*

        to which the boss will say “I don’t care, come in anyway.” A rational response to an irrational human being rarely works out. This boss is someone who wanted LW to go out during the stay at home to make up binders that the boss then wanted disinfected before SHE touched them. This is not a rational person.

        Unfortunately, LW is faced with the horrible dilemma too many people in Georgia are going to be facing — risk their lives to go back to work or be out of a job. They will then be unable to apply to unemployment because one of the points of the re-opening is to make Georgians ineligible for unemployment by not being out of work due to Covid19.

        1. Natalie*

          LW is faced with the horrible dilemma too many people in Georgia are going to be facing — risk their lives to go back to work or be out of a job.

          Sounds like she has nothing to lose by trying then.

          1. Lady Heather*

            Not entirely – there might be a 95 per cent chance of losing your job by refusing to go in and a 1 per cent chance of catching coronavirus at work and it then killing you. It’s a big chance of something rather bad vs a small chance of something really bad.

            However, depending on your insurance status and policy, it might be cheaper to lose your job than to be hospitalized for an illness you caught at work.

            It’s a sucky situation.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              Seems unlikely that the owner of a 3- (or 4?) person company is going to fire one of their employees just for asking questions.

              Refusing to go in at all? Yeah, not an ideal plan and not recommended without more information.

              Asking how the company will comply with the governor’s Covid-19 reopening plan? Seems like a valid question to have answered before making any big decisions.

        2. boop the first*

          Not a fan of these responses that decide for strangers what the response will be and therefore should never bother trying. You can either support someone in their desire to make important changes, or you can demotivate them and tell them it’s hopeless and they should be submissive. Which kind of person do you want to be?

    3. MatKnifeNinja*

      The biggest thing about social distancing, very few people have clue long 6 ft is. Most average Joes are lucky to give you three.

      People don’t care and don’t believe COVID-19 is real where I live. I’ve cranked about 6 ft in lines and people look at me like I’m high. “That’s too long! That’s ridiculous!”

      My boss is garbage on a good day, no way will he truly do any “suggestions” by “that Governor”. It’s all about clawing back the pieces of silver that went walking during our shut down.

      Good luck!

      1. JustaTech*

        A practical solution for the 6-feet thing: take in a tape measure and mark out with painter’s tape (or whatever you’ve got) a 6 foot bubble around your desk, around the coffee machine, the copier, etc, so there is a visual reminder to “back off”.

        At my work (before we were sent home) I measured the squares on the carpet and determined that 4 carpet squares was a safe distance (slightly more than 6 feet), and then told everyone that so we all knew how far away to stand. But that only works if everyone is paying attention. The tape is a more obvious reminder.

        1. Natalie*

          The smaller grocery store has done this, especially in areas where someone might need to linger like the eggs. It is helpful.

    4. J*

      LOL. Governor I Didn’t Realize Asymptomatic People Could Transmit The Virus? If his precautions were at all useful, Georgia hair salons and tattoo parlors wouldn’t be reopening tomorrow. And yet here we are!

      1. JustaTech*

        Yeah, my company’s plant in Georgia is an essential business, but they were like “ha, no” for anyone *except* the essential workers going on site. And those folks are already gowned to heck and gone all the time anyway.

      2. Ego Chamber*

        Samesies in Montana. Our Governor doesn’t appear to be as dumb as a bag of dicks but the reopening plan (starting with church this Sunday, obvi) says any services that necessitate client contact, like hair salons/tattoo shops/etc, need to socially distance 6 ft between “stations” (each station is 1 stylist + 1 client) and I just … I don’t think they understand how social distancing is supposed to work? I mean? O_o

        So many people are going to die from this and it is e x h a u s t i n g how stupid so many of them are.

        1. Tabby*

          AHAHAHA right? Last time I was in either of those, the stylist/tattooist is literally inches from you at all times. Granted, the tattooists I use were both gloved and masked every time, but still. Soooo not social distancing, because you can’t do that for styling hair or applying tattoos.

    5. Mama Bear*

      Some employers are staggering work hours for essential employees so that the minimum are in the office at any time. If its just OP, Boss in her own office, and Other Coworker, can they stagger the time they are there? I agree that it is really terrible of Boss and I hope OP can find a better job in the long run. If I were OP I would also make a big show of things like wiping down surfaces and wearing masks. Take all the precautions *you* can.

      1. InspectorLacoste*

        They are considering doing that for schools and daycares here in Washington (K-12 schools are closed for the year, but daycare and early childhood classrooms are treated differently. My age 1-12 school decided to fully close and hooooooboy the parent complaints).

      2. Tabby*

        This is where we are at my dog daycare. The minimum number we can safely operate with. We need 2 people in the playrooms, but they’re all large enough to keep us from being all over each other. And we usually have 2 cleaners to do kennels and hallways and run dogs to their owners for pickup. And 2 receptionists, spaced at least 6 feet apart.

  4. Half-Caf Latte*

    Two candidates for boss of the year in one post.

    Also, is this the delightful niece of the recent twitter thread visit?

      1. Myrin*

        As that the younger niece or the older one? I seem to remember that they were nine and twelve once but my brain still can’t figure out a) whether that was actually ever true, and b) if that makes the now-fifteen-years-old niece the older or younger one. I can’t math OR logic at the moment.

    1. MJ*

      “Also, is this the delightful niece of the recent twitter thread visit?”

      Did I miss that one?

    2. Tiffany Aching*

      Just want to commiserate with #4. I have a two-part name (think Mary Ann), and very frequently get called Mary in person/phone/email. It’s one of those things that I brush off if it’s someone I don’t work with frequently, but with close colleagues or those I communicate with frequently, as in your letter, it gets pretty frustrating. Especially in email, I find, because my name is right there in so many ways, and it doesn’t feel as natural to correct people as it does when speaking. In person, I have no problem saying “oh, actually I go by Mary Ann.” But something about the time-delay nature of email makes it feel both more awkward and more rage-inducing. No advice, just empathy!

  5. staceyizme*

    OP 1 and OP 2 share the same basic answer to different problems: leave at the first opportunity because a company that is so willful in its malfeasance (invasion of privacy for illicit access to medical data or forced exposure to risk of Covid-19) isn’t going to be anywhere you want to stay.

      1. Mookie*

        I’d argue that for the past quarter century at least, the notion that we have ever, even briefly, lived under a job seekers’s market is a complete fabrication. If you (the royal, the editorial) are going to claim that there is or recently has been an overabundance of full-time roles going unfilled that the average American qualifies or could readily qualify for, your rhetoric can only rely on those jobs that net an individual a fully funded life that includes reliable shelter and food without debt accrued towards meeting the minimum costs of either. And that’s neglecting the real need of enough additional income to set aside for living off of when work can no longer be performed in a nation with no substantive safety net or welfare scheme. Without subprime, layaway serfdom, access to what is euphemistically referred to as “dignity” or “self reliance” are the only spoils we are guaranteed. Nom nom indeed.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I am certainly not arguing that there has been an overabundance of full-time roles going unfilled that the average American qualifies or could readily qualify for, so I think this is a bit of a non sequitur (and removed an off-topic thread). I am saying that the market is worse now than it was a few months ago, period.

    1. tra la la*

      Plus for #2 the issue isn’t just the bad boss. Isn’t another issue with Georgia that if the business is open, OP can’t collect unemployment?

      1. Jessen*

        Definitely true, unless OP is in a high risk category or has been specifically instructed to self-quarantine by a doctor. But in general, if your job wants you back you have to go back or lose unemployment, no matter how bad an idea it is.

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          My brother is being forced to go back by his employer (we are still shut downed). If he doesn’t go back, he’ll lose his unemployment. The horrible boss is willing to roll the dice on the fines and being taken to court.

          My brother in no way has an essential job.

        2. Ego Chamber*

          There’s no unemployment protections for vulnerable populations choosing to stay home in hopes of avoiding death.**

          We’ve been advised to not return to work if we have something on the high risk list or if we live with a high risk family member but we don’t qualify for unemployment under the CAREs Act unless we 1) have Covid-19, 2) are caring for someone who has Covid-19, 3) are self-quarantining under doctor’s orders with Covid-19 symptoms or after being exposed to Covid-19 while awaiting test results.

          When I’m deep in my nihilism I’m convinced this is so the people in charge have enough plausible deniability when everyone gets sick, since they told us not to go out but we did because we need $$ to stay alive and if we’d just put all that avocado toast money in the bank instead of getting Starbucks so often, it probably would’ve been enough to cover rent/utilities/etc/everything for a while, right?

          **This could vary by state, I’m referencing the federal and states where I or family members live. If you’re in one of the not-trying-to-kill-us states do whatever you can to stay alive.

      2. Happily Self Employed*

        This is most likely WHY Georgia is reopening. The state can’t fund unemployment because they painted themselves into a corner in previous years going overboard with fiscal conservatism, so they’re just going to pretend reopening is OK. (If I recall correctly, they have a mandated balanced budget and can’t borrow more than 5% of the previous year’s budget for a given department or something. I remember the 5% but not what it applied to.)

        1. JM60*

          Ironically, reopening this early will probably hurt their economy due to the disease spreading. Lifting restrictions too soon is like taking off your parachute too soon. It’s going to quickly undo the progress you make in slowing down.

            1. Feline*

              My cousin is a doctor in Georgia and her husband is with the CDC. Livid isn’t a strong enough word for how angry she is.

              Side note: As someone in another state whose governor has made widely-criticized decisions, I wish people (in general, i don’t mean anyone specific here) would be more careful when talking about these situations and not say things that blame the residents of the state. For instance, “Those stupid Floridians. They opened their beach!?” Generalizations are made about an entire state as if residents personally made a decision that was made by someone supported by 30% of citizens of voting age. It’s exhausting stuff, and I know part of my cousin’s frustration is hearing “Those ignorant Georgians…”

              1. sequined histories*

                You know how what? I’m from Georgia. On the one hand, making sweeping and dismissive generalizations is always hurtful and offensive. On the other hand, the governor is an elected official and wouldn’t even be contemplating this ridiculous move if he didn’t think the majority of likely voters would be cool with it, which, IMHO doesn’t exactly speak well of our collective judgment, alas.
                Both my parents were born and raised in Georgia. My father maintains a folder of newspaper clippings he calls his “Georgia, Oh My Georgia” file, where he collects stories about stuff that reflect a certain distinctive and absurd foolishness. Georgians have their virtues, but this current nonsense is far from unprecedented and far from uncharacteristic.

                1. KaciHall*

                  Wasn’t there a lot of conflict regarding the current governor’s election? Like, he was in charge of the election in his previous role and rigged it to his favor?

                2. Artemesia*

                  the election was probably stolen by voter suppression and Georgians put up with it; this is what they get. I lived in a state doing the same thing now but left at retirement and being retired am in a much better situation than when we were still working, but it is truly awful to be in a political minority in a state run the way Georgia is.

                  I have a BIL and SIL who contracted Covid, probably from their nephew whom the BIL was tutoring but was never symptomatic. Everyone adult in the family — got it after he returned from a travel sport team that went to California for games. Other than that contact they were isolated. They have thankfully come through okay but apparently even when you are ‘okay’ this disease is really awful to go through. Two weeks after ‘recovering’ they are still weak and fatigued and one of them was extremely fit beforehand as she is both younger — 50s rather than late 60s for my BIL and also a rower. My BIL said he stayed awake one night because his chest was so tight he thought he might be having a heart attack and might need an emergency run to the hospital. FWIW. because they were not hospitalized they were not tested and so not counted in the #s with C19. My two doctor BILs claim that the number of cases in the US is almost certainly in the millions.

                3. J*

                  Yes, Kemp was the secretary of state and therefore oversaw his own gubernatorial election. He removed over a million people from the roles, closed polling places in majority non-white areas, severely curtailed the numbers of machines available in others, and then “won” by 55,000 votes.

                4. HoHumDrum*

                  “the governor is an elected official and wouldn’t even be contemplating this ridiculous move if he didn’t think the majority of likely voters would be cool with it”

                  But that’s part of the issue- due to voter suppression the pool of “likely voters” is so small, it’s definitely not the majority of Georgians. Also, looking at the data on who is suffering the most from coronavirus and who are those “essential workers” are, there is a huuuuge overlap in the population of people who didn’t vote for Kemp/didn’t get to vote at all and those who will be putting their own lives at risk by being forced to return to work.

                5. sequined histories*

                  @KaciHall and HoHumDrum
                  This is exactly what I’m saying. I don’t doubt for a minute that racist voter suppression contributed to Kemp’s victory over Abrams, and that Abrams would never have acted in this way. I’m not saying I could prove that in a court of law, but as a person who was born and bred in Georgia and who goes back for regular visits, there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a conservative, white power structure that makes decisions meant to reduce the number of black people who get a chance to vote. We’ve been doing that for a very long time to whatever extent we could get away with it, and it’s not an unjustified slur on the honor of the state to point out that we are fundamentally unrepentant about our history of racism to the extent that we are STILL willing to manipulate elections in this way. So, yes, these policies probably DON’T represent the true will of majority and OF COURSE not every white person supports this toxic nonsense. But it’s also not reasonable to suppose that some tiny percentage of the state supports this system. Given the fact that Georgia is not North Korea or whatever, a substantial percentage of the population have to be okay more or less okay with this for it to happen.

                6. SwingInTheTree*

                  “ the election was probably stolen by voter suppression and Georgians put up with it; this is what they get.”

                  Um, no. We fought tooth and nail to the very end to ensure Kemp wouldn’t get away with this. We didn’t put up with this. That’s an asinine assumption. Many of us here recognize how utterly incompetent he is, but he did steal the election and he does operate on a philosophy of self preservation. But by no means are we getting what we deserved. We deserved stacy Abrams and we fought for her.

              2. Ego Chamber*

                I try to not generalize to entire state populations (my governor is being such an idiot here too) but is it okay if I still blame the government officials who are making these decisions and specific groups of citizens who are protesting *checks notes* reducing their overall risk of contracting an incredibly infectious illness and/or succumbing to a global pandemic?

                Because those people all deserve to be called out and criticized for what they’re doing.

          1. Junger*

            They’re basically going to get a lot of people killed for some short term financial gains.
            It’s absolutely infuriating.

            1. Barbara Eyiuche*

              My maiden name was constantly mispelled and mispronounced because it was an uncommon surname that a (then) very famous person had. So famous that people just couldn’t seem to believe I had the same name. I had adults tell me when I was a child that I must be mispelling my own name. As an adult, I do correct people. If I made a mistake in their name in response, I think a lot of people would not understand why.

              1. doreen*

                I have kind of the opposite – I have a very uncommon surname and most people have only heard of it because of a famous person who shares it . But he spells it differently. So every time I give my name we go through “Like John? ” ” Yes, but he starts it with a “C’, mine starts with “K”

          2. Lady Heather*

            I know it’s a sad situation – but that phrasing is absolutely brilliant. It’s going to quickly undo the progress you make in slowing down.

          3. Mookie*

            It’ll hurt the economy, but what is generally referred to as The Economy is precious more than other people’s excess wealth. We live under people with a history of successfully plundering the actual economy only to rely upon their opposition to save the rest of us from their sabotage, a hard slog that will bear fruit these same people will credit themselves for having cultivated before they start the whole thing over again.

          4. Observer*

            Ironically, reopening this early will probably hurt their economy due to the disease spreading. Lifting restrictions too soon is like taking off your parachute too soon. It’s going to quickly undo the progress you make in slowing down.

            This is what really makes me shake my head. I mean, I *do* understand that the the job loss that’s happening is not just a matter of numbers but of people’s lives. But the problem is that if this is not kept in check, the job loss is going to be even bigger in the long run.

            1. Luke*

              “Long Run” is a flexible term. It is my experience what someone considers “long term” correlates to their management expertise. A poor manager considers “long term” to be the next deadline. A quality leader understands trade offs and how to work for long term goals.

              This policy decision from GA screams “next deadline” management. Reopen today, avoid a state budget problem tomorrow, worry about the resurgent pandemic next month.

        2. Just Another Techie*

          They also have a state constitutional amendment capping personal income taxes, and are at that cap. So they have limited means for raising funds to balance the budget. And I imagine (I grew up in neighboring South Carolina but moved away 20 years ago, so grain of salt and all) that it would be a real hard sell to convince the voters to overturn that amendment. I don’t know if they could get that through before the UI funding runs out. It’s a tragedy for everyone.

        3. LQ*

          I’m going to say it’s pretty unlikely that the state is reopening BECAUSE they can’t fund unemployment. The feds are paying for most of the unemployment and a governor could change state law (through emergency declarations) to make fewer people eligible through regular unemployment and force more of them onto federal unemployment (which I believe some states have done, though very quietly because it’s mostly a backside accounting thing). So the $600 comes from the feds and goes into the state bank account the day you send the money out the door. The extensions money is the same comes in the day you send it out. And the money for self-employed folks is the same. Plus that first waiting week is paid for by the feds. And a handful of other things.

          Plus unemployment programs get to automatically borrow from the feds and that is something that they usually do during economic downturns.

          I’m not saying it’s not politically motivated, but I’ve seen this claim that GA is reopening because they can’t afford to pay unemployment, which doesn’t make sense if you understand who is paying for what and how the funding for unemployment works. So I’m just trying to nip this conspiracy.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            I figured it didn’t have anything to do with the ability to pay unemployment, so much as that the state government just doesn’t want to pay unemployment or even make it the feds problem to pay unemployment.

            And yes, assume stupidity before malice, but this would have to be the sufficiently advanced stupidity that is practically indistinguishable from malice.

      3. TimeCat*

        My theory is that is exactly what’s motivating the push to reopen. They can deny people unemployment.

        1. EPLawyer*

          That and a certain socioeconomic sector is really irked that a certain other socioeconomic sector is not being forced back to work to serve the 1st socioeconomic sector. I mean they are order massage parlors to re-open. And hair salons. Figure out how you do THAT with social distancing.

          1. Annie*

            While there are some idiots who want a massage (or a manicure or a haircut) and don’t care who they put at risk, I don’t think this is true on a large scale. The bigger factor is that people desperately want to be able to earn money again because the government-promised support hasn’t come through, isn’t enough, and isn’t going last very long.

            1. Amy Sly*

              Yep. Stylists and masseuses don’t get paid an hourly wage in most places; they’re contractors. They rent a chair (not literally the chair, but the right to use the building’s facilities) from the shop owner or franchise and are paid based on appointments, with the shop getting a percentage. That means no UI under normal circumstances; Covid UI may be more generous in some locations.

            2. Ego Chamber*

              Yes. It’s that classic political strategy where you make a system unnecessarily complicated and/or untenable and then you convince the people who rely on that system to live that the system is broken because it’s an inherently broken system, not because you intentionally broke it. This is America.

          2. Amy Sly*

            That, and a certain socioeconomic sector is really irked that a certain other socioeconomic sector gets paid while staying at home while they wait for an overburdened unemployment insurance system to give them benefits since they’re forbidden to work even if they want to. If my state follows Georgia’s lead, my husband will be back at work before he finally gets his first UI check. Thank God I got a better job in the last year, or we would be looking at a diet of beans and rice and seeing how well our cats could catch their own dinner.

            1. boop the first*

              Yeah, my cat is only good at catching moths and it’s not moth season yet. I’d sooner starve myself than starve my cat. Oh, especially now that outdoor cats are starting to get covid, that was literally my only fear – bringing covid home to my cat.

          3. LifeBeforeCorona*

            If this is not too off-topic: Can the govt literally order businesses to re-open? If a hair salon refuses to open can they be forced to?

            1. Amy Sly*

              Just by edict, no.

              There may be some line in the PPP or other Covid assistance program that requires reopening once the stay-at-home order has been lifted to convert the loan into a grant (laws passed in a hurry often are discovered to have weird quirks like this, and I haven’t studied the bill that deeply). If so, the worst consequences for not opening would be repayment of any money received through those plans.

            2. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

              Nah, “reopening the economy” is a misinterpretation of what’s happening.

              All they’re doing is removing the tenuous social support that allowed people to stay home and businesses to remain closed. It’s like taking the crutches away from someone who has a broken leg and then saying you fixed their leg.

  6. Sara(h)*

    My name is misspelled ALL the time too, and I recommend just letting it go. I wouldn’t even suggest correcting anyone by email, unless it’s in an email about something more official like a form being filled out on your behalf, or someone’s registering you for a training — where you’re name will be going on record in some form.
    The only exception (other than the jokey relationship situation Alison mentioned) would be if it’s a close co-worker, someone who emails you very frequently, and they *always* get it wrong, you could say once, “By the way, it’s Sarah with an h,” with a smiley emoticon to soften the tone. That’s it.
    I believe name spellings and pronunciations are important, and it annoys me that some people don’t make the effort to get it right, but still it’s so much easier to just let it go — it’s definitely not personal (well, in very rare circumstances I suppose it could be passive agressive, but that’s not the case 99.9% of the time).

    1. Lyonite*

      Not the same but related: If they’re calling you by the completely wrong name, it’s much better to correct right away than hope they figure it out. I went about 6 months with the people I get coffee from calling me Tanya instead of Tamara (not really, but similar) and it was very awkward when someone I know heard and I had to explain. (It’s on my credit card! I thought they’d notice eventually.)

      1. AcademiaNut*

        One of the baristas at the Starbucks near my office remembers my standard order and name, but it’s not quite my name. Given that there’s a mutual language barrier in play, it amuses me more than anything else.

        1. allathian*

          I have the commonest of first names but a fairly uncommon middle name. After twice almost getting the wrong order at Starbucks because there was someone else with the same name in the queue, I’ve started using my middle name instead…

          1. Amaranth*

            My name is apparently unpronounceable to the point I don’t recognize when its called out, so I now use Boris and Natasha. Next time I’ll try Squirrel.

            1. Harper the Other One*

              My favourite solution to that is the person I know who gives the name Spartacus :)

              1. PhyllisB*

                When I was a telephone operator, my then-boyfriend who was away at college and his best friend would place code calls* to one another. It would be collect to William Shatner from Leonard Nimoy. The operators could never spell these names or pronounce them.
                *A code call was when you would a person to person call to someone who you knew wasn’t there to give the other person a code that you were on your way, or whatever you had worked out between you. This was WAAAY before the days of cell phones.

          2. SciDiver*

            I have the opposite problem! My first name is extremely uncommon and I always have to spell it for people, who then typically don’t pronounce it correctly when reading it out. It’s just a hassle to use for ordering. My middle name is not super common but everyone knows how to spell it (think Miranda or Melanie), so I use that instead whenever I get coffee to go.

        2. Delta Delta*

          A friend has an uncomplicated 1-syllable name that has never once been right at Starbucks. The semi-regular photo tweets of “here’s how my name’s wrong today” were hilarious. A combo of letting it go and having a laugh. Oh, and this was across multiple Starbucks. Not always the same one.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Yep, I go to a restaurant that puts the name on the ticket, and I’ve thought about posting on FB some of the crazy spellings they put on it.

            1. EPLawyer*

              I’ve just started using my husband’s name because it’s only 3 letters. Mine has 9 and is often misspelled. Or shortened — I won’t answer to the shortened version.

              Funny story — I ordered take out the other day for us. He asked what name I put it under, I said, yours, then said it and spelled it because that is what I am used to doing now. He just looked at me and said, yes honey, I know how to spell my name.

          2. Traffic_Spiral*

            After growing up as expats my entire family has various X-language-friendly versions of their names, and we all have a version we use at starbucks and other order-type places. It’s actually a bit of an art to find names that are very difficult to mispronounce.

          3. NotAnotherManager!*

            I never realized that my pretty straightforward name could be butchered in so many ways, but Starbucks proved me wrong! It was making me irrationally angry (no idea why), so I gave up and started giving them the one-syllable, one-spelling nickname of my middle name instead. I showed up to a meeting with a cup that said something in the realm of “Beth”, and everyone was like, “Did you steal someone’s drink?” and then laughed at me when I explained that no one could spell “Jenny” to my liking (names changed to protect the irrationally irritated).

      2. Green great dragon*

        Definitely correct! I misspelled them mispronounced my new direct report’s name for weeks:
        – I am told (verbally) “your new report is Lisa”
        – I call her Lisa and write ‘our new team member is Lisa'”
        – I see her name written down and notice that ‘Lisa’ spells her name with a z. OK, I think, pronounced Lisa, spelt Liza.
        – then weeks later I finally register her calling herself Liza, and realise it was just that other people hadn’t known how to pronounce Liza. And so I have been introducing her wrongly to everyone, even though I know perfectly well how to pronounce Liza and in fact come from the same ethnic background as Liza, and what she thought about be me anglicising her name all that time I have no idea.
        (Not actually Liza.)

        1. Washi*

          Yes, I went around calling someone and writing their name as Lara before I realized that they were actually Laura (pronounced LOR-a). I hadn’t realized until then that there are regional variations on how Laura is pronounced and some people, including the person who introduced her to me, always say it as Lah-ra.

          1. kiri*

            Had the same confusion with Moira and Maura, due to a coworker’s regional accent! I come from the same region, and thought I was pretty good at translating it in my brain, but that was a conflation that had never even occurred to me before.

        2. Artemesia*

          My friend Marylise — pronounced Mary Lisa has just given up and misspells her own name now in order to get it pronounced right.

      3. Help Desk Peon*

        My usual delivery place mangled my name completely, but I kinda liked it and it’s now my go to on MMOs. I prefer when people get my name completely wrong or just misspell it over when they shorten it OR assume that it’s short for something else. It’s the intentionality of the last two that irritate me.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      My name being misspelled doesn’t particularly upset me, but I do corrected it in several situations.

      – paperwork or official documentation is involved. Basically any situation where the name on your ID and the name on the paperwork need to match (air travel is an obvious one). Also, I don’t want my name tag at a conference, or my name on an official website to be spelled wrong.

      – the misspelling is persistent or is propagating. I have no desire to change my name; mistakes don’t bother me, but I will correct people who get it consistently wrong, or when a mis-spelling is being caught by other people.

      – people are nicknaming me. There’s a common short form of my name that I really dislike and won’t answer to, so I’ll correct it immediately.

      I’ve had a combination of both happen – a colleague spelling my given name wrong, other colleagues picking it up, and the misspelling making it on to an air ticket when my colleague was arranging work travel through an agent.

      1. Sara*

        I am floored by the “Sarah with an H” example because as a “Sara with no H” people tack one on all the time. I just assumed that this is a problem that Sarahs never have to deal with :)

        (And for the record, it bugs me, as well, as the correct spelling of my name is in both my email signature & email address.)

        1. Nessun*

          It drives me crazy that people can’t spell my name properly when it’s spelled out in my email and in my signature! It’s only 6 letters! But people get to the third letter, assume the ending, and I get called… Melanie instead of Melissa, for example. It’s just plain lazy and disrespectful.

          It’s not like I’m asking them to say it, even! Because dollars to donuts if someone’s seeing it properly first, they won’t know how to say it until I tell them. (SIX letters!!)

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Mine has FOUR letters (Dawn) and people both spell it wrong AND pronounce it wrong. I also get called Dwan, Don, Diane, Donna, Dione, etc. I don’t get it. I don’t typically correct people unless it’s the wrong name or they spell it wrong and it’s something important.

            1. LJay*

              Some of the Don’s may be due to regional accent. For me coming from NJ Dawn is pronounced with a distinct dipthong, but in other places I’ve lived accent seems to reduce the vowel and sound exactly like Don.


              were hard for me to get used to there since to my ear the way they should be pronounced is very different but in the accent I was around they were interchangeable and not always distinguishable by context. It’s the marry/Mary/merry and pin/pen thing. (Actually I guess Dawn and Don would be likely the Caught/Cot merger).

              1. Allison Wonderland*

                Yes, I know a Dawn who is married to a Don and they sound basically the same to my ear. It’s very confusing.

              2. NotAnotherManager!*

                One of my college friends from New Jersey was the only person I know who could talk about our other friends Carrie and Keri I could tell which one she was referring to by how it was pronounced. Every one else pronounced Carrie and Keri the same way.

                Dawn and Don sound different to me (but not my spouse); Erin and Aaron are the same for both of us (except we have a tendency to say A-A-Ron unless we’re in the presence of an Aaron we don’t know well enough to joke around with).

          2. Jdc*

            My own mother in law still spells my name with the last letter missing even when she is posting something on my social media, which obviously has my name on it. Sigh. Worse is people who see it and they call me my name with E on the end. Janell-E. Do you people really think I was named Janelle-E! Good grief. Janelle and Janell are pronounced the same people. I won’t freak out if you forget the last E but call me Janelley one more time.

            1. Help Desk Peon*

              My husband had my name put on our Christmas cards as Trish. Sigh. It’s a consequence of my letting go when people call me that instead of Tricia, but I STRONGLY prefer the Tricia spelling. And hey, that’s my actual name…

            2. Winter Cactus*

              I have a similar issue with Anne. Anne and Ann are pronounced the same! If someone goes by Annie (I emphatically Do Not), they will generally have an -i- in there! You think Anne of Green Gables would’ve taught them something, but apparently not.

        2. White Peonies*

          As a Sarah with an H (my name for a 3rd grade teacher with another Sarah that year), people leave the h off all the time. I have even had people add extra letters and spell it Saraha and Sarrahha. Neither bothers me at this point.

        3. Sarah*

          Hahaha- they must be taking the H from me and giving it to you! I have people leave the H off all the time. I’m convinced it’s the same group of people and they just randomly throw one on half the time. :)

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            I went to middle school with a Sarah who pronounced it sarr-uh instead of sare-uh, and she refused to spell the any of anyone who pronounced their name sair-uh with an H, insisting that it was “wrong”. It was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. “You pronounce it sair-uh? No H for you! That’s Sara from now on! Tell your parents.”

    3. Mispeller*

      I misspelled a coworkers name for months. I only found out when another coworker mentioned that that the first coworker was finding it really annoying. I corrected it as soon as I was made aware of it (would have been a lot sooner if the coworker told me rather than other coworkers)

      1. UKDancer*

        I think if someone gets your name wrong and it annoys you, you need to tell them politely. I think it’s best not to stew over it for months and tell everyone else.

        I have a name that is often abbreviated. I hate all of the abbreviations, nicknames and diminutives and like my full name. If someone takes it upon themselves to shorten my name I just say “I really prefer full name to any of the abbreviations” or something similar and that has worked so far. If someone ignored this I’d probably take a firmer stance but most people in my company are pretty reasonable.

        Except in Starbucks when they’re unlikely to see me again for a lengthy chat so I just go with the shortest of the diminutives in the interest of getting the frappacino quickly.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, I don’t get this stewing thing. Either tell the person immediately OR let it go entirely. But to sit there stewing, I don’t get it. I guess the other person is supposed to notice the stewing person and say, “Oh, what’s the matter???”. I don’t get it.

    4. Senor Montoya*

      My last name is a common wasp-y name, more common with an “s” at the end — such as, Steven rather than Stevens, or Simm rather than Simms. It has been mispelled my entire life. Also my dad’s entire life, and most of my paternal grandfather’s life — it was anglicized when he arrived in the US in 1908. Misspelled for one hundred and ten years.

      I joke when people misspell it: there’s only one of me, so drop the “s”. But really, it’s hopeless. The only people I can force to spell it right are my students, most of the time: I give them a stern lesson on Calling People By Their Name and chuck back assignments with my name misspelled.

      Sorry Sara(h), there’s no way to fix this. Just make sure it’s correct on anything official, such as your passport, with the IRS, on your credit cards, etc. And know that somewhere, sometime, you too misspelled or will misspell someone’s name. Try not to make it your boss lol.

      1. TimeCat*

        The funny thing is I’d bet Alison is used to Allison, Allyson, and so on.

        Katherines, Katherines, Kathryns, and Catherines are probably all nodding along.

        1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

          My favourite example of this is that I worked with a Katherine, Catherine, Kathryn, Kathrin, Katheryne, Cathy, and Kathy (who happened to be a Katharine). It always annoyed me when people couldn’t match the right spelling to the right person, because there was no need to differentiate by last name in writing — they were all spelled differently, and yet people couldn’t seem to commit to memory which one was which.

          1. NoviceManagerGuy*

            At one point I worked with six Marias in one of our South American offices. They each picked a non-Maria nickname, which could only be learned from their email signature as they were all Maria in Skype. Then people would tell me “Check with Pilar on that” and it would turn out Pilar showed up in the directory as Maria Ramirez (for example of course). I don’t know why they couldn’t say “ask Maria Ramirez (she goes by Pilar).”

          2. BethDH*

            I’m particularly appreciating your user name for this thread because isn’t there a bit where Polyhymnia talks about people calling her “Pole-y” instead of “Polly”? It’s been a while so I don’t remember the details or even which book …

          3. Katherine the Nth*

            Yep. In my high school class of ~400 people, there were NINE of us (including the spelling variants). So, we split the nickname space between us. I still go by Kay.

            At my current workplace (giant multi-national corporation), I have a co-worker with an extremely common Chinese name. She’s #8 of at least a dozen. One of them is in IT, so they have a system: emails sent to that name without a number attached are auto-forwarded to everyone’s spam quarantine, which shows only sender and title; the intended recipient can download the email from there.

          4. NotAnotherManager!*

            Do you work in my office? I think we have all of those except the Kathrin (but several Kathleens to make up for it, plus a Kath and a Cay).

        2. A Cat named Brian*

          I have two Jack’s, 1 Jacqulyn and a Jacqueline that work for me. I have to use last names and really pay attention to emails, especially those autofills.

      2. Just Me*

        I think it’s funny you used the Simms reference. We had an employee whose last name was Simms, but when she was put in the payroll system, they accidentally put Sims. The login to the system is tied to your last name, think Sims123 – and we didn’t find out it was incorrect for months! Guess she was so used to people getting her name wrong it didn’t even phase her.

      3. KaciHall*

        One of my husband’s friends had a similar last name, and played baseball in the majors for awhile.

        They still got it wrong, there. I admit, I called him by the pluralised last name usually (I never met him, but I know better) but I wasn’t getting paid to announce his name! I’m guessing the home announcers might have gotten it right, but the three games I went to it was said won’t at each ballpark.

    5. TimeCat*

      My name is very like the Sarah/Sara example. Where I really run into trouble is people misspelling my name when writing my email address which is [firstnamelastnameatorg]. I make a point of saying the equivalent of “No H in the end of Sarah” when giving my name out.

    6. Betty*

      Both my first name and my maiden name are names which, when spoken, people somehow find it hard to spell, even though they’re not exotic or made up or especially long or anything else. But if people see them written down first, they find it easy to pronounce them. It drives me BANANAS when I am actually spelling my name out (which isn’t actually Betty!) and people are clearly in their heads going “Yeah yeah, I know” and writing down what they think it is rather than the letters I am saying to them.

      And my nickname, which I go by, has at leat six spelling variations! Again, it’s short but people do not listen when I am spelling it out! I correct people on it all the time.

      Unfortunately we seem to have done the same thing by accident to both our children! Seven letter names, people can read them off a nametag no problem first time, and can’t spell them correctly if they just hear the name spoken. For bonus points, the misspellings we get for both names are for the wrong gender, even though the correctly spelled names are obviously for the right gender.

      At least I insisted they only had one middle name. I have two and the number of forms that their don’t have enough space or can’t cope… My bank just plain refused to accept a second middle name.

      1. Tempononymous*

        YES! I have a name commonly spelled with either a Y or an I.
        When spelling it out, I’ll say Y like Yellow and people still put the I!

    7. NoviceManagerGuy*

      My last name is one letter off from a much more common version. I only correct people when it’s getting documented somewhere.

      1. Tabby*

        Truefax: my family has both spellings of our last name, and the hilarity is unending.

        I practically never tell offices my last name, I spell it out to remove any doubt of which type to use. So far it works. So if someone can’t find me, I tell them, “Recheck your spelling, use this: *spells it out*” It works every time.

    8. soon to be former fed really*

      People leave off the silent vowel at the end of my first name, omit one of the double letters in my first and last name, reverse my first and last name (they start with adjacent letters), and, worst of all, use my ex-husbands last name instead of mine. I never went by his name only, I hyphenated during the marriage, and we have been divorced for seven years! These errors happen with family, friends, and in business.

      My name is unisex and I have got the wrong prefix (why is being male always the assumption?). I have been unable to correct my name on gmail when on my phone, it still has the hyphenated name, while my laptop gmail does not. There’s no gmail customer service.

      Name problems have been happening to me for 65 years, and my name is not weird or strange. I politely correct when I can, especially the ex-husbands last name, it irritates me whenever I see it. I pay attention to names, it comes across as dismissive when folks are careless with someone’s basic identity. But, no point in losing your *&it about it.

      I gave my children ordinary names spelled conventionally so they could hopefully avoid most of this nonsense.

    9. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Even if you correct someone you’re close to it may not work. I had a teammate I was close to who always spelled my name wrong and even acknowledged that he screwed up after the fact every single time. Some people just aren’t detail oriented. As someone who used to be bothered by it, its a lot MORE frustrating to correct people and still have them mess it up than it is to just start ignoring it.

    10. miss_chevious*

      I’m not going to get up in arms about an occasional misspelling of my name, but I will correct and re-correct mispronunciation of my name if it’s someone that I’m going to have ongoing contact with (like a fellow employee), because not doing it can lead to all kinds of embarrassment and confusion down the line. I work in a large organization and if someone refers to me by an incorrect name to a third person, it’s likely that third person won’t know if its me, or one of three or four other people who are meant to be referred to.

      Also, I feel very strongly that people’s names are important and it’s important to get them right. So I correct, not in an aggressive way, but in a “by the way” way. I’m not heated about it — it happens *way* too often for me to get worked up — but I don’t let it go. I also find it very telling who gets defensive and angry about being corrected. If my name is Elizabeth and someone calls me Liz, and I say in a neutral friendly voice “just FYI, I go by Elizabeth, not Liz, thanks” and that person flies off the handle about how I need to “be flexible” and “was *that* actually necessary???” then I have very valuable information about what kind of person I’m dealing with.

    11. Meghan with an H*

      I also have one of those names people spell a bunch of different ways, and mine gets misspelled all the time. I personally have what I call the “three strike” rule. If it’s a one-off mistake, I ignore it, but if it’s someone I email with more than once or twice, and they get it wrong several times (my email is my full name, it’s in my signature, and I sign emails with the correct spelling), I just end an email with “BTW, my name is spelled Meghan not Megan.” They’re usually super apologetic, and then I’m very magnanimous, but I think it’s a kindness to stop people from making the same mistake over and over.
      And don’t even get me started on the people who think it’s OK to shorten my name to Meg (which I hate) when I have just introduced myself as Meghan. “Actually, I go by Meghan” usually works, but some people really are insistent on shortening names. My last name is a short name that many people throughout my life have chosen to call me (it’s a perfect nickname) so I usually make a joke about how if they need to call me by a nickname they can call me [last name]. They almost never do, but it does get them to stop calling me Meg.

    12. Richard Hershberger*

      People routinely misspell my last name, but they generally are trying (with varied success) to spell it more correctly for German. My ancestors were illiterate farmers. By they time they were reading and writing, it was in English, and the spelling of the name reflects that. But I don’t begrudge the odd [c] being tossed in. The intent is good. Changing the second [e] to a [u] is actually a miscorrection, but understandable. They ones who really impress me are those who change the first [e] to an [i]. They actually know their German! For the record, the correct German spelling is “Hirschberger.”

      Pronunciation is another matter. The spelling I use is a perfectly straightforward phonetic spelling, but it also is three syllables and uncommon. Many people freeze up at the sight. Others add a schwa between the first and second syllables. English phonology doesn’t strictly forbid that consonant cluster, but it isn’t entirely happy about it. That I let slide.

    13. Fleezy*

      I used to work at an orthodontic office and my email address was, and also had an auto signature on every reply I sent. My name is very uncommon but not difficult. I had a patient’s mother email me and spell my name SIX DIFFERENT WAYS in the same email thread. Then it happened again with a different patient a few months later, but with only 5 variations. I just took pics of each spelling and posted them on my Facebook. Then on my petty side I also once replied to a Bianca from another office, who always spelled my name wrong, by suddenly referring to her as Blanca, and she was suddenly able to spell my name correctly! XD

  7. withawhynotanie*

    OP4: it bugs me when people misspell my name. the correct spelling is right there, bud! but alison is correct here: it’s easier to just decide you aren’t bothered by it. (and yes, i did scroll up to the top of the page to double check the spelling before i wrote out ‘alison’, because there but for the grace of the great spaghetti noodle in the sky go i)

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, OP#4, you really need to take a deep breath and let this go. You can nicely correct people once or twice, but after that you’re going to start sounding petty.

      I say this as someone whose name is routinely misspelled in office communications. Personally, I always double-check names if there’s any doubt — at one time, we had both a “Vicky” and a “Vickie,” and I was pretty rigorous about making sure I got the right spelling when I emailed each of them. But we now have five (5!) “Sara(h)s” on the payroll, both spellings are used, and if I let myself get bent out of shape every time somebody picked the wrong one in an email, I’d be a basket case.

      Short version: You can’t win this one. Take a deep breath, hum a few bars of “Let It Go,” — and let it go.

    2. Jam Today*

      I see your irritation and raise you: I was once told, by a VP I was interviewing with, that I’d misspelled my own name on my resume. I guess he saw a less common but not at all unusual spelling of a fairly common name and instead of just thinking “hm, i’ve never seen that spelling before!” a) assumed *I* was wrong about my own name and b) thought it was a good idea to say it out loud.

      I was offered the job, and turned it down. I had the luxury of deciding that I didn’t want to work for a company that put someone like that in a position of leadership.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        One of my siblings has a dead common name but has been asked if she’s “sure her name is not” an equally common variant – I mean, I’m pretty sure 20+ years in that she’s sure her name is Joanne and not Joanna, but what do I know?

    3. JustaTech*

      Agreed. As someone with a slightly unusual name with a slightly unusual spelling I’ve given up getting everyone to spell it correctly, but because it still bugs me I go out of my way to make sure I’ve spelled other folks’ names correctly.

    4. Jennifer Thneed*

      My wife has a name with 3 common spellings (derived into English from different languages) and at least one variation, so of course people always get it wrong. She has the same gripes: you’re looking at MY EMAIL, where I spelled the whole name out, what is your problem bud??! !

      Related but different: decades ago, I worked in a copy shop where we took people’s names for their orders, and when the orders were done we’d call the name out. And the shop was big enough that probably the person calling your name out usually wasn’t the person who’d taken your order. If the spelling was unusual, we tended to put a simpler spelling on the ticket. (Notice, this wasn’t an official record or anything, just the name scrawled on a sticky note that would be thrown away.) Sometimes people would object that I’d spelled their name a wrong way and I finally took to pointing out that when someone else called out their name, this way they would pronounce it correctly. They tended to see my point.

  8. She's One Crazy Diamond*

    The spelling of my first name is the original and most common, so most people get that right, but my maiden name was the Spanish version of an extremely common English name that was only one letter apart and I could literally be telling someone “it’s Luis with no ‘o'” (not my real last name) and then lo and behold, I would never get their email because they sent it to It was such a small thing but it infuriated me. It wasn’t THE reason I took my husband’s name, but even though it’s such an uncommon name, it never gets misspelled because people actually ask instead of assuming they know because it’s common.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      The trick to this is to not say it, just spell it. My family name is an alternate spelling of a more common one, with the first letter different (phonetically, think Jenora vs Genora). If I spell the name but do not pronounce it, they get it right. If I say it and then spell it, they tend to get it wrong, no matter how much I emphasize it.

      1. Liane*

        “The trick to this is to not say it, just spell it.”
        Good luck with that. I have spelled my surname (let’s say it is Organa) out and watched the person misspell it as I do so and–bonus!–ignore my polite correction.
        Me: “O R G A N A.”
        Them: *Types O G A N A.*
        Me: You didn’t put in the R. It starts with O R, not O G.
        Them: *hits Enter* “Huh. I can’t find your record/username/account.”

        1. Airy*

          While trying not to give away my actual surname, it’s the name of, let’s say, an animal, bird or plant, which is uncommon as a surname but can easily be misheard as either of two much more common (and in my opinion, far less charming) surnames. I’ve spent my life saying “My name is (living thing), like the (category of living thing),” and confusing people who apparently hear that as “livingthinglikethecategoryoflivingthing.” Think “Rose, like the flower,” if Rose could be easily misheard as a far more common name.

          I used to know a man literally called John Smith, and people always laughed and asked for his real name, and I would feel sorry for him except he was a swine who suddenly left his wife and three children to run off with his fancy woman and buy an avocado orchard and one of his sons had to live with my family for a year while he finished school because the domestic situation got so bad and the other son became a drug dealer (he started off dealing cookies and candy bars to the other boys at his boarding school because he was the only person who would walk 20 minutes down the road to the nearest store, and his business model grew from there) and the daughter is perfectly normal and very sensible and just got a delightful new puppy for her kids, no thanks to him, so I’m glad people laugh at his name.
          People’s names are probably easier to remember when you have them bound up in an intensely emotional personal story in your mind.

          1. fposte*

            Huh. Didn’t see that story coming, but it definitely added interest to the names thread. And now I want avocados.

        2. Retail not Retail*

          I can’t think of a comparable phoneme (where is my phonetics text book i ask more and more frequently these days), but I spelled out my last name and they spell it back and then I get mail to the next phoneme in our regional accent. If that makes sense.

          One guy has to know my full name, he’s at the gatehouse! He checks us in! And when he says my name it still sounds like the next one.

          (It’s a common word in the dang dictionary!)

        3. Spencer Hastings*

          This happened to me once while checking in somewhere:

          Me: “My last name is Hastings, that’s H-A-S-T…”
          Them: (starts writing “HAFT”)
          Me: “Wait, that’s an S, not an F. It’s H-A-S-T…”
          (looks down at paper on desk, sees that they have “Hafthast” written down)
          “Uh, let’s start over. From the beginning, it’s H…A…”
          Them: “Don’t you know how to spell your own name?”

          (This story makes more sense with my actual name, but you get the picture)

        4. Richard Hershberger*

          If I just state my surname, people stare blankly. I state it, then repeat it with spelling annotation “‘Hersh’ like a Hershey bar.” This actually seems to work.

    2. Rewe*

      I’m from nothern europe and my last name is fairly common here, The last name is actually a word in English (same spelling, different pronounciation. Imagine the word Oven that would be pronounced Uuvin) and when I moved to the UK, I thought it would be easier to pronounce it like the word in English. Turns out they are more likely to spell it correctly wehn I pronounce it in scandinavian way.

      1. Jennifleurs*

        Yes, I sympathise! My Gaelic name sounds like an existing English word. Does that help English people pronounce it? Very, very rarely.

    3. kathlynn (Canada)*

      Yeah when I know people need to type in my uncommon last name, I just spell it out. Because there are sooo many ways to misspell it. (I’ve seen it turned into 3 words. Like jef fer son. Or jefson, or, jephsen) (not my actual last name)
      what people like to do with my actual first name, if I say “with this alternative spelling” like say the common spelling was Dain, and I said “I spell it with an e at the end” people will put Daen, not Daine. And I’m standing there shaking my head.

      1. Risha*

        Yeah, I have uncommon first and last names and I literally just spell both as part of introducing myself in any situation where someone might conceivably have to look me up on a computer or write it down. I don’t even have to think about it. “Hi, I’m Risha-r-i-s-h-a Haraldsen-h-a-r-a-l-d-s-E-n.” [real first name, fake last name with correct ethnicity and ending]

    4. Third or Nothing!*

      My first name is the Celtic spelling of a common English name. My maiden name is a common unit of currency. I can’t tell you how many times I had to spell out BOTH before I got married and took my husband’s super generic last name. I eventually just started saying “[FirstName] [LastName] like the money” and gave up on anyone besides family and close friends ever spelling my first name correctly.

    5. Chili*

      That’s actually why I started carrying around business cards– they don’t have any information about my profession or anything like that on them, they just have my name and email on them so I don’t have to spell them aloud to people, which was always prone to errors (a lot of people add an e to the end of my last name, which makes sense for my name, it just isn’t actually right in my case).

    6. Ana Gram*

      Mine last name is 5 letters long. It has one vowel. It’s…not hard to pronounce. Think, say, Brand. And yet I get called Brandon, Barnard, Barn. Oy. It’s frustrating.

  9. Dutch Oven*

    OP6 – If your phone is propped up and steady, I doubt most people would even realize you’re not using your computer to connect.

    Even if people figure it out, Alison is right – you’re fine.

      1. Keen Oat*

        ^yes. I prop my phone horizontally on a few books and no one knows the difference. One time on a video call, the phone slipped off its perch and fell to the desk and everyone wondered how I dropped my laptop like that.

    1. Bilateralrope*

      If anyone complains, just tell them that the laptop camera stopped working. If the laptop is your personal device, you don’t have to lie. Not if you arrange for it to stop working. I’m sure someone here can offer a software solution once we know more about the letter writers laptop.

      Though I would worry about any workplace where using a phone camera gets complaints. I’m expecting there are a lot of people who don’t have any devices with cameras other than their phone.

      1. sam*

        also, I’ve read in a few places that with all of the various security issues with zoom (and specifically the weird malware type stuff that was being put on peoples’ computers if they were macs) that it was much safer to install on ipads/iphones than on macs in particular due to the way that iOS apps are required to be ‘walled off’ in particular ways that computer software is not…necessarily. I don’t use zoom for work (we are largely a fuddy-duddy Skype for business environment), but for seeing friends I only installed it on my iPad for this reason.

    2. Quinalla*

      I use my phone about half the time to call in for various meetings as my husband is also working from home and I don’t have a laptop, so if we are both on a conference call at the same time and I’m the one going to a different room this time, I have to use my phone. No one cares or has asked and I’ve actually advised people about how yes they can still see the screen share on their phone and you can even zoom in and out and so on. I prefer to be on my computer if I can just because I have access to my 2 big monitors and a headset, but nothing wrong with calling in on your phone especially if the audio/video are better!

    3. Help Desk Peon*

      I use my phone for these calls all the time; after the first time with a given group no one even comments on it. The only time it’s awkward is when we need to screen share–I end up logging in twice, once with the phone for audio/video and once on the pc for the screen share (and then mute the speaker there so we don’t get weird feedback or echoes).

    4. Mill Miker*

      One of my coworkers uses a phone to call in to all our meetings. The only clues that the camera is on a phone are that it’s been left in portrait mode, and the one time a text message came in during the call and the vibrations made it fall over. The only reaction to that was half a chuckle on the other screens though, and beyond that no one cared.

    5. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      I bought one of those cheap business card holders (the wire mesh kind) and it is PERFECT for holding your phone up at the right angle while you video conference.

  10. SS Express*

    I used to work with a Nicky who ALWAYS wrote “Hi Ann” in her emails when my name is actually Anne. I occasionally wrote back with “Thanks Nikki” just to even the score in my own head. But I’ve made mistakes like that myself – calling Kaitlyn “Katie” because I just emailed Katie ten minutes ago, saying “Hi Jerrod” in an email to Smith Jerrod because his email provider displays last name first, forgetting which of the 3 Jeffrey/Geoffreys in my department goes by Jeff – so I usually try to let these things go.

    I do correct people when the read “Anne Allinson” and write back “Hi Allison” (if it’s something important) because I don’t want them to enrol me in training or book my hotel in a completely different name – but then I say “Just to make sure your records are correct, my first name is Anne – Allinson is my last name”.

    1. Abbey Rhodes*

      Not exactly the same, but your comment reminds me of an issue that I always run into with emails: if someone has their full name as their sender name on Gmail (so when they send me a message, I see their name as “Joseph Smith”) but then signs their email with a nickname (like “Best, Joe”), I ALWAYS address my response as “Hi Joseph”, because that’s the name I’m seeing at the very top. It’s SUCH a stupid and easy-to-avoid error, but I can’t stop myself from doing it! No one has been offended yet, but I’m so worried that it’ll tick someone off at some point.

      1. Leslie Yep*

        This kept happening to me and I really don’t like my full name. Luckily IT was cool about changing my email to reflect my nickname. Literally took my anxiety down by half lol.

    2. Epsilon Delta*

      Yes! For me the issue comes when there reaches a critical mass of people with different spellings. I can remember how all of my Marc/Mark contacts spell their names because there is only one Mark and the rest are Marc. But I can never remember Sara/Sarah because it’s a total mix. I can’t even remember how my best friend Sara(h) spells her name without double checking because I have too many other Sara(h)s to track. It’s not a lack of trying I swear! And if I am writing an email I will always double check against the signature if possible, but sometimes I will slip up.

    3. Paquita*

      I get that too, except ‘Hi Allinson’ I would get ‘Hi Ally’. Not only do they address me by my last name they change it.

    4. Jojo*

      My first name is Jody. Commonly misspelled Jodie. I tell them it is Jody and that Jo did not die.

  11. Be positive*

    #4 – I feel for people who take liberties with names because people does that with mine. I wouldn’t freak out like the infamous “Do not call me Liz” letter but I sympathize with her. I

    I just bluntly state, “Please call me XXX, I hate being called YYY” same in email as well

    1. A Silver Spork*

      I used to freak out about my name being mangled allllll the time – being an immigrant kid with an immigrant name that people (including teachers) teased me about made me a bit… sensitive. These days I just go with a breezy “just a heads up, it’s spelled Silver, not Sliver, thought you might want to know” or something. I am far too invested in my dang name to just let it go, and I know I’m not the only one.

      Of course, there was the one time a coworker changed a letter in a very… unfortunate… way (think the Focker family from that one movie)… and I just blurted out “that’s NOT how my name is spelled!” Not my finest moment, but I think given the circumstances it was understandable.

    2. Elmer Litzinger, spy*

      My name is highly unusual in the US but is phonetic. And yet I get told “oh, it’s too hard; I’ll just call you [nickname I have never used and will never use]” . Nope. You can pronounce all 3 syllables instead of being lazy, co-worker. I mean seriously. If you can figure out how to pronounce Janet (not my name or even close to it), you can pronounce my name.

      People I only see once, like guests or cashiers I let slide. But my co-workers will learn.

      1. Caroline Bowman*

        I get called Carolyn all. the. time. My absolute best is when I say ”oh it’s actually Caroline, they say *oh it’s the same*” and beam at me as if I’m somehow… wrong or making a mountain out of a molehill.

        Or… and this makes me irritable just thinking about it, they tell me about a person they know whose name is Carolyn, so…

        Being called Carol is another favourite. My name. Is not. Carol. There’s nothing wrong with Carol, or Carolyn or Carolanne or Arabella… but that isn’t my name. My name is really not that strange or unheard of. It just isn’t. There’s a song and everything.

        1. LegallyRed*

          Ha! I have the same problem, although most people do ask after they say my name if they’re pronouncing it correctly. But, a lot of people have trouble remembering even after being corrected. It really only causes problems when people try to send email to — I’m not going to get those.

          In addition, my maiden name (which I use at work) is uncommon but not unheard of. There is a fairly well known celebrity with the same last name. But people always, always, always want to reverse two of the letters, both in spelling and pronunciation. When they do that, it represents a common (albeit misspelled) English word, but not a last name that I’ve ever heard anyone possess. And I’ve met plenty of people over the years with my actual last name.

          Of course, I could switch over to my married name, which is a really simple, common English noun and surname, but half the time people want to add an “s” on the end (and the plural version is also a common surname, so I get it). I’m just destined for name confusion.

        2. Elmer Litzinger, spy*

          The only person I let slide was a Chinese TA in college because there was a sound he couldn’t quite reproduce. But he tried and I am not rude enough to correct a native non-English speaker .

      2. Ms. Pessimistic*

        Ugh, this. My son’s name is Mateo….so easy to say. So often I get, “I’m just gonna call him Matt” or worse “Matthew”. That is not his name.

    3. BriannaNOTBri*

      I also take this approach; I think erring blunter is better. I have noticed when I ask to nicely in person or via email my name keeps being shortened, but one blunt correction and it somehow stick.

    4. Retail not Retail*

      People with my name often use a nickname but I think enough of us don’t that a basic intro works.

      Now getting people to spell my name right is gamble, but as I like to tell people, the only person who got away with a nickname is dead! (Elderly relative)

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Mine is short, and some people shorten it even more! I get super angry when random people I’ve just me treat me like we’re close (no, we aren’t).

    6. Turtlewings*

      I agree, the woman in the Liz letter went overboard x1000 but at the same time, who the heck just decides to call a stranger Liz? My own name is Elizabeth, I HATE being called Liz, and I probably would get a teeny bit snippy at some random person who decided to nickname me without consulting me.

      1. Tabby*

        This! Also an Elizabeth. I don’t even like the name, as I said way upthread. But if you MUST use it, do not shorten it. At all. Not even once. Or I /will/ be frosty with you. The only ones who get away with ‘Liz’ are a few of my cousins., who I know would stop it if I told them to, but I afford a certain tolerance to family that non family doesn’t get to do.

  12. nnn*

    #4: I once had a new professional contact do that to me (i.e. call me by a common misspelling of my name after I’d accidentally misspelled her name) and I thought it was hilarious! I can’t say it would work on everyone, but it worked on me

    1. Oska*

      I ended up in an umlaut war with a colleague in another office once. My name has an umlaut, and I don’t usually care that people write the letter without the umlaut. It’s pretty unique even in my own country, and a lot of people never use umlauts and don’t know how to put one on a letter. NBD. Until a colleague who also had an umlauted letter left it out. In my next email, I left hers out. In her next one, she put mine in. So I of course used hers in my next email. But then she left it out again. So I left hers out again.

      This continued through every conversation we had for as long as I worked there. To this day I don’t know if we had an in-joke or if we were annoying each other on purpose. (I just found it funny myself.)

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I once had a coworker leave the n out of my name (which had to have been a typo, I honestly don’t know how you’d pronounce it otherwise), so I left the n out of theirs. This devolved to leaving random letters out until we ended up with just one (not the first letter, of course) and then we started adding in other random letters. However, we were good friends and both knew it was all in good fun.

  13. phrageer*

    To #4: My name has a lot of possible shortened versions (that I never use) AND alternative spellings, and people get it wrong all the time. I am usually very lenient about it’s an English name and most of my coworkers are not native English speakers. I mostly correct people if I think it will save them embarrassment or confusion in the future.

  14. sequence*

    OP 4, I’m in the same boat as you. My name has an E on the end, and that E affects the pronunciation, so when people leave off the E, they’re kinda calling me by a name that isn’t mine and I’ve tried and tried to let it go but honestly it’s still incredibly irritating. I too have toyed with the idea of leaving off the last letter of their name in my response, but I’ve ultimately chosen not to because I don’t actually want a fight, I just want people to pay attention!

    So, I have no advice, but miles of sympathy. People who don’t care, please somehow transfer me (and OP) your Zen.

  15. Hello Kitty*

    Sorry if this is derailing: would the answer to #4 change if it were not a traditionally white name? (Asking as a person of color – misspellings don’t really bother me but I’m curious about what others think)

    1. TL -*

      I think if it’s within the realm of good faith effort – I knew a Kartik and a Karthik and I occasionally flipped the spelling just because the names were so close to each other. (I think there are a few commonly black names that I see spelled in multiple ways, but off the top of my head, I don’t know a lot of non-traditionally white names that are spelled multiple ways.)

      That being said, if it’s something like using John instead of Juan or always spelling Xiuning ‘Shuning’, that would be very different to me.

      1. Ferret*

        I knew a guy called Mohammad who had the frustrating situation where whoever initially set up his work email spelled it Mohammed so there was always a contradiction between his email address and his signature. It took me forever to notice but it did explain why the receptionists could never find him in the system when I gave his name. Note there may not have been the actual spellings as I can think of at least 4 others off the top of my head

      2. caps22*

        I imagine many names that are transliterated from a language that doesn’t use the same alphabet get spelled a bunch of different ways, like Li/Lee or Oxana/Oksana. And I agree – anglicising or completely failing to try to spell the name right is way more offensive than what would hopefully be a simple mistake.

        1. Coverage Associate*

          I buy an Israeli brand of coffee called “Joe’s.” “Joseph“ is a Hebrew name, but the company transliterates the name back to Hebrew in a completely different way than “Joseph.” Think “Mykil” instead of “Michael.“

      3. Anon100*

        As someone with a name like “Shuning Chen”, I get all sorts of misspellings of both my first and last names in emails or get addressed by my last name “Chen” instead of my actual first name. I just let it slide on the emails for the most part, but I do correct them if they’re submitting my name for plane tickets and such where it’d be cross-checked with official identification documents.

        I’ve found that older white men tend to misspell my name way more often than women or younger people of any race/ethnicity. And no, I will not go by “Cynthia” to make it easier for white people.

        1. Lucy P*

          My middle-Asian co-workers told me that all Far East Asian names are written last name first. That’s the script we’ve been following unless someone underlines their given name in their email signature.

          I also have a manager who uses an Americanized version of their name with people that they suspect can’t handle a foreign name.

          1. Anon100*

            The first time someone addresses me by my last name in an email, I don’t mind, and I sign off with “Thanks, Shuning” followed by formal email signature with my full name “M(r/s). Shuning Chen” (don’t even get me started on being misgendered even AFTER they’ve been introduced to me in person). I start to get a little annoyed when someone continuously addresses me by my last name, especially when other people in the email chain have correctly addressed me by my first name. It’s not a hill for me to die on, and after a second or two of annoyance I have bigger things to worry about.

            1. Lorac*

              I’m suffering the same and I don’t even have a Chinese first name!! My name would be like Samantha Chen, but this one guy just keeps calling me “Chen”!

              Like wtf?! I already have an American name and you can’t even give me to courtesy of addressing me by it? I don’t even know where to start pushing back on it because it just seems so obvious.

              One think I noticed was that he doesn’t do it with men. If they’re named Jon Wu, he’ll call him Jon. So I started wondering if it was a cultural thing (the guy in question was Indian)…so I’m not sure if I’m overthinking it or something.

              1. Tabby*

                There’s a thing circulating around America, it seems: that everyone assumes that Chinese people put their last name before their first name, or something confusing…

                I don’t know how true that is, but every Chinese person I’ve ever met has given me their first name (I don’t know if these were Americanized names or traditional Chinese names or what), so that’s what I did, and never had the hubris to ask about whether they were giving me their last name or not. Or even asking about that idea that Asian folks go around introducing themselves like this: “Chen, Annie.”

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          At my last company, I worked with a lot of people from China who were in the U.S. on visas. Most had taken an English nickname to make it easier on the Americans. One of the women who had done so was on my team. We were walking down the office hallway and ran into another Chinese national from a different department. We stopped and chatted, then exchanged names. He said his name was “Le.” (pronounced “luh”). My coworker asked what his American name was. He looked like his head was going to explode and replied, “My. NAME. Is. Le.” Which I thought was awesome because if Americans can coo and babble to their babies and pets — thus proving that their mouths are capable of producing all kinds of sounds that aren’t English — then they can certainly learn to pronounce a non-English name (or at least get really close).

          I’ll admit that “Le” was hard for me to pronounce because it’s so short and sounds like an unconscious utterance, not a name (to my Anglicized brain). “Jiayi, “Tianyi” and “Quan” were muuuuuch easier, by comparison.

    2. kathlynn (Canada)*

      As a person who is bad at pronouncing words from my own background and terrified of mispronouncing other’s names. And who works with a lot of people with non-English names?
      please, please, please let us know if we are saying your name wrong or spelling it wrong. (this is aimed at anyone reading this, not the person I’m replying to specifically)

      1. Mookie*

        As a member of the pasty persuasion and an Anglophone living in an Anglophone-dominated but multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual world, there is no good reason to continue misspelling somebody’s name. Open up the lexicon/dictionary features of your relevant programs and apps and manually insert a new entry for each name you that daunts you and that you anticipate using more than once and then follow that by enabling spellcheck to catch what you miss. Where that isn’t possible, draw up a discreet list of colleague and client names and consult as needed before sending out correspondence. People who have language barriers, pathologic disabilities, and other blindspots have to do this all the time, they do it successfully, and I doubt they whinge half as much about this sort of thing as people who are curiously only ever “atypical,” figuratively “blind,” figuratively “deaf,” figuratively “dyslexic” when it comes to you know who.

        There is no shame in struggling with the unfamiliar. There is no reason to insult somebody twice when you have the power and capacity to not do so.

        1. kathlynn (Canada)*

          That assumes that people are always typing written communications. In retail, a lot of the time it’s hand written notes. And only management is allowed to have their phone on them.

        2. Daffy Duck*

          That is a good trick but doesn’t always work. I had two students who both spelled their names Levi. On pronounced it as the jeans brand, Lee-vhi. The other pronounced it Leh-vee like the embankment next to the river.

          1. Tabby*

            My go-by name is Levi. And I have always given people permission to use either pronunciation — because I feel like either is correct. That doesn’t bother me at all.

    3. WhatDayIsIt*

      As a white person, I want to say to other white people who are reading this: Be an ally and make sure the other white people are saying non-Anglophone names correctly! I occasionally work our front desk at my job and have a coworker with an Liberian name. When people say his name incorrectly, I make sure to repeat the name back to them correctly and they often are happy to hear it and be corrected. Please do the same in written settings too. People with non-Anglophone names have to correct people so often and we should make it so they have less of a burden to do so.

      1. Lucy P*

        The other problem is that some people just do not have an ear for pronunciations. I’ve worked with someone for almost 10 years. For the first five or so years, they could not correctly pronounce an industry-related term. They kept putting the accent in the wrong place.

        They also have tend to mix up everyday words, like every instead of ebony.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yes, I once managed someone who literally couldn’t hear certain sounds. It didn’t matter how many times someone told her how to pronounce something. She couldn’t get it right, because she could hear some sounds.

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        Sure, it’s always best to make a good-faith effort to properly pronounce someone’s name. And, personally, I think the effort and intent is waaay more important than the particular sound.

        My name has a short vowel and a soft “sh”-sounding consonant combination in English. But it has a long vowel and a hard “ch” sound in Spanish. When my coworkers in Mexico call me by their version of my name, I don’t correct them. I know they mean me, and I understand that the rest of the conversation they’re having with me is in heavily-accented English. I’m OK with a heavily-accented name.

    4. Applesauced*

      “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka” – Uzo Aduba

    5. HannahS*

      Depends on the type of error. There’s a different dynamic at play when someone can keep Kathryn and Katherine straight but can’t remember how to spell/pronounce my (four letter!) first and last names. But a one-off calling me Neeva instead of Niva (for example) gets a shrug from me. But I’m not bothered by anyone sending back an email signed “Sara (without an h, please!) Smith.” I’m inclined to think it’s more important to get unfamiliar names right, because it can read as more alienating when gotten wrong.

  16. Sally Forth*

    #4.Thank you for this line, Alison. There are so many parts of my life where this would fix my various obsessions. “…it’s so much easier to just choose not to care.“

    1. Casey in the sunshine*

      Anything that annoys me but is not something I think “should” annoy becomes a game. See how many times you can get that person to email you with the wrong spelling. On every 10th incident give yourself a little reward. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to it. I have a gender neutral name and it really unnerved me when I would get things addressed “Mr.” when I am a “Mrs.” in an industry that is largely male. Once I made a game out of it and started taking myself out to lunch on the days when I got the 10th piece of mail with Mr. on it, I didn’t hate it so much anymore. It became funny.

    2. PookieLou*

      I have what I think is a pretty simple first name- it’s like a very well known name with an extra letter at the end- but people have such a difficult time with it! I always enunciate extra clearly when I first introduce myself, especially over the phone. “My name is [NameN].” People still get it wrong. I even had someone correct me! “Don’t you mean [Name]?” Wow.

      My friend’s mom, who I’ve known since preschool almost 30 years ago, always puts an “e” where there should be an “a”. I roll my eyes and sign off with my name when we write to each other, but it’s not something I’ll ever bother bringing up. With her it’s just one of those things. She does get my super uncommon married name right every time though…

  17. Lilli*

    My name is Lilli and I get Lily, Lilly, Lili or Lillie all the time. It really bothers me but most of the time I don’t say a thing.

    1. Kelly*

      I’m Kelly and get Kelley, Kelli, Kellie. I’ve also had people assume I’m male (I’m not).

    2. Jillian*

      Jillian, so I get Jillian, Gillian, Julian, Julien (so also the assumed male), Jill, and then various Jessica/Jennefer/etc. and I correct people every time lol. It’s usually nicely, but when I had someone correct me with saying Dr. instead of Mrs. I realized I wasn’t being so petty about it, it’s my name!

    3. KoiFeeder*

      I recently picked up some paperwork where the person had put a little post-it note that said “For Koy” right on top of where I’d written “Koi Feeder” on the name line.

      I know it’s a name with multiple common spellings and that my handwriting is pretty terrible… But surely it’s not that bad?

  18. Natalie*

    OP#1, you might also check with the US Department of Labor. Employer provided benefit plans, like health insurance, are regulated by a few laws that work in tandem, specifically ERISA, HIPAA*, and the ACA, and IRS regulations as they’re tax free fringe benefits. Not an attorney myself so I can’t point to a specific clause, but my instinct is that attempting to ferret out details of employees’ use of a tax free benefit plan or firing someone for using “too much” would definitely be prohibited. You might also consider whatever agency in your state regulates insurance.

    * exactly how HIPAA applies to workplace insurance is complex and depends partially on the structure of their insurance, so it’s not as simple as “this must violate your privacy” *or* “HIPAA privacy rules don’t apply to your manager”.

    1. Call me St. Vincent*

      This is a very nice explanation! HIPAA is incredibly complex as to when a company is a “covered entity” or “business associate” depending on how they administer insurance/benefits and how they are contracted. In addition to the EEOC (or your state’s civil rights commission), I 100% agree they should contact their State Department of Insurance, or if the insurance plan is self-funded (unlikely here since it seems like a small company), they can go to EBSA at DOL.

      If anyone is interested in deep diving into HIPAA covered entities, CMS has a great tool to figure out if an entity is a covered entity:

  19. gsa*


    Please tell your husband to tell his employer to kindly contact y’all’s insurance provider.

    I feel most certain they, the insurance provider, will gladly provide all the required information.


    1. BuildMeUp*

      I’m fairly certain this isn’t true – the health insurance company must abide by HIPAA and would not be able to give the employer any information without the employee’s permission.

      1. Amaranth*

        That would be horrifying, they can’t share procedures and billing information with the employer. I was assuming the Boss was asking based on overheard watercooler talk. As far as I know, health insurance isn’t like worker’s comp where they change your renewal rates based on how many claims were made.

        1. Beth Jacobs*

          You are correct if the employer actually has insurance. But some companies sometimes self-fund – meaning they pay for actual medical services provided, not an insurance premium. In such cases, they get an insurance company to administrate the payments but not underwrite risk. Google “AOL distressed baby”, when AOL cut its retirement plan and its CEO blamed the employee who had a preemie.

        2. Risha*

          My small company’s benefit year begins in May, so we’re in the middle of open enrollment. In this year’s benefit meeting they made a point to repeatedly stress that our medical choices directly effect the rates we pay, complete with several anecdotes about going to your pcp to have stitches removed instead of back to the emergency room, and new parents rushing a baby with a fever to the ER instead of just calling the nurse and the baby was given Tylenol and was fine the next morning! I’m assuming this all was aimed directly at me, as I’m currently in the middle of IVF (well, will be again once elective procedures are allowed again) and my company is based in MA, which mandates coverage for that.

          I’d consider feeling very mildly bad, except that 1. the rate increase in question (at least, as it was passed along to us) was $5 a pay period and it’s not like rates don’t go up at least that every year regardless, and 2. the company literally doubled projected sales last year. They can suck it up.

          1. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

            I’m not sure why you think that was aimed at you unless you went to the ER to have stitches out?

            Good luck with the IVF, hope it works out okay. :)

      2. Feline*

        I’m pretty sure if your company self-funds their insurance (and that’s the case for over half of companies these days), they see your billing codes. It would not be ethical for an employer to use them this way, but I suspect the information is accessible to them through the insurance arrangement.

      3. soon to be former fed really*

        Many companies self-insure and just use companies to pay claims. We were given information about large claims, like for premature babies, but without attribution. In a smaller company, it may not be too difficult to figure out who had a preemie, but in larger companies, the benefits administrator wouldn’t have a clue. The invasiveness shown by this company is completely unacceptable.

      4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        There are structures besides a self insured one that provides a general overview of the use of the plans.

        It’ll show like ER visits but not the reasons, care facilities were utilized or cancer treatment. It’s those intrusive extreme applications you’d fill out and they’re offering lower rates based on overall health. It’s vile and my ears started burning listening to the broker give details. We stayed with the one that doesn’t dig like crazy into everyone’s health background. It’s a throwback to before ACA when they classified you high risk and sniffed out everything as a preexisting condition. I honestly don’t know how they get away with it.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I think (hope?) gsa’s point, with the reference to “all the required information” is that if boss takes the suggestion, the insurance company will respond with “uh, we can’t legally tell you that, are you high?” Which might click for boss that it’s an inappropriate question.

      1. Mookie*

        The problem is, even when insurance gives them a short and sharp one, employees are now on notice that management will actively try to violate your privacy and then use the information gleaned against you. For all one’s complaints about the average HR, even the average should be shitting bricks right now.

        1. Mookie*

          Maybe I’m overestimating the smarts and worldliness of the average manager, but these are not babes in the woods. They know this is illegal and unethical. They don’t care, they’ve never suffered repercussions for doing it, so they do it openly.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I think you *are* overestimating them. I think a lot of managers really don’t understand the law as well as they should.

            1. Amy Sly*

              “Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity” is an excellent maxim to live by. After all, think of how stupid the average person is. Then realize that half the population is more stupid than that.

              1. Meghan*

                Thought 1: that’s not how averages work
                Thought 2: oh wait that’s part of the joke
                Thought 3: this really wants to have a Spiders Georg followup joke.

                1. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

                  A median is a type of average. The person who’s smarter than half the population and dumber than the other half is the median. :D

            2. kittymommy*

              In my former job I used to have to explain to mangers ALL THE TIME that no you can’t know your employee’s private medical information, why they are/were out, why they have (or don’t have) restrictions, what their medication is, etc. The vast amount of managers that simply do not understand this is mind-boggling.

    3. IV*

      Please have your husband practice the following statement until it rolls off the tongue: “I’m sorry, that’s private information.” He should feel free to use it liberally in most circumstances for himself and you. Because it is.

  20. Treebeardette*

    OP 2 – I know you needed boss advice. I can’t give that. I’m an essential worker. I work in a food factory. Unlike most staff, I’m required to be within 6 feet of people handling issues. I’ve been working through this whole thing. I work in quality assurance so I’ve been helping to come up with protective solutions.
    There are many precautions you can take. Sanitize your desk when you come in and leave. Wear gloves and a face mask. See if your boss will mandate everyone to wear a face mask. Even cloth masks ones are better than nothing, but only if people never touch their face and if everyone else is wearing one.
    Maintain 6 feet when possible. If you work with the public, tape 6ft lines on the floor. Any meetings should be moved to video or conference calls.
    Keep hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol with you. Sanitize your hands often. Wash your hands when you get home and throw your clothes into the washer. Depending on how much you are exposed, shower after work. (I do anyways).
    Use a free meditation app, like Insight Timer, to help cope with the mental/emotional stress. Believe me, I know how it feels but taking time to prep what you are in control of can help lessen the fear you are feeling.

    1. CastIrony*

      My store where I work does most of what you mentioned, but difference is that I have to wipe door handles, the coolers in front of the store, the shopping carts, baskets that customers have used, and the area where my register is EVERY HOUR (It frustrates me as it hurts my productivity.)

      But I am here to second this, and please wear a mask of any kind so you can breathe. Oh, and instead of gloves, you can use hand sanitizer often. It’s too easy to think that you can touch everything with gloves.

      1. Oh No She Di'int*

        Oh, and instead of gloves, you can use hand sanitizer often. It’s too easy to think that you can touch everything with gloves.

        Hallelujah and amen!! This cannot be repeated enough. People are going around with gloves acting like it gives them super powers to just touch anything and then still go about touching their faces (for example in the process of removing a mask). If you are wearing gloves you still have to think of yourself as potentially having infected hands.

        1. Old and Don’t Care*

          Ever since working a fast food job thirty years ago I have been very skeptical of gloves (outside of a medical setting). They got gross very quickly.

          1. JustaTech*

            Learning to wear gloves correctly/smartly is one of the big challenges when learning to work in a lab. I can teach someone how to take their gloves off safely in a day (10 minutes, really, but lots of repetition to get some good muscle memory). But teaching them to not touch *themselves* while wearing gloves? Some people just have a hard time remembering (and having to hound people is exhausting).

            I had a coworker who had come from a chemistry-based lab into my human-blood lab and while he knew how to do the work and use the equipment, getting him to stop touching his face (or rubbing his head) wearing gloves nearly drove us both out of our minds.

    2. Jones*

      Thank you. I understand of course the OP’s response but it really comes off as tone deaf. There really is a whole set of workers who have been protected both physically and financially and another set put at dire risk hearh-wise and/or economically.

      1. MissGirl*

        Yes, a lot of people on this site have no idea what a blue collar life is like and are catastrophising the return to the office.

        I have several family members working in hospitals, grocery stores, food places, construction sites, factories. My immuno compromised stepmom is a cashier at a busy gas station. No one has missed work.

        All of whom have taken certain precautions and are doing fine. Those of us who can work from home are privileged. I’m pretty much in the minority when it comes to a WFH office situation.

        I sympathize with your fear but focus on what you can do to minimize your risk.

        1. Venus*

          It’s hard to tell from a short letter. The LW could have a major immune problem and no access to a doctor that can write them a note. The LW could care a lot about essential workers and be worried about the fact that reopening could quickly overwhelm the health-care system. I’m not staying home because of my granddad (much as I love him), rather I worry that my going out might infect an essential worker. With everything open, the risk to essential workers goes up.

          It’s also hard for people to be rational about health, because it is a matter of life and death at times.

          1. OP#2*

            I’m not immunocompromised but my mother is a nurse and I have been going everything in my power to limit exposure as to not be part of the problem. I wear cloth gloves in public and the second I’m back in my car I spray them with disinfectant and pop them in a baggy so they can disinfect on the way home. I only leave my house every 2 weeks unless its to go on a short walk where I wear a mask and keep 6 feet apart from other walkers.

            I’ve done everything to follow the CDC guidelines and it feels like I’m contributing to the problem now even though I don’t have a choice

            1. Frontline worker*

              It’s hard. I’m a frontline residential provider for folks with developmental disabilities. Because of county requirements, I have to physically be at the individuals home and I do not have enough vacation accruded to stay at home until this all blows over. day goes by when I feel guilty about going to work, even though I know my work is very essential to these individuals lives. It’s hard to go to work feeling like a walking plague because you cannot work from home. My depression has been horrible, like someone has been stepping on my head. Despite all that, I’m okay now. I know that as long as I take all necessary precautions (sanitize all surfaces, wear cloth masks, limit unnecessary trips; online shopping is a blessing) I’m doing everything I can to help the situation. My state is getting ready to reopen starting May 1st, (I live in Ohio) and I’m not scared of what will happen.

        2. pancakes*

          Surely you’re aware that other people working in hospitals, grocery stores, etc.—people you’re not related to—aren’t fine at all? Many have died. The idea that more people should feel at ease about working in these jobs simply because no one you care about has become sick or died is absurdly blinkered. I’m not trying to say they should all stay home panicking; I’m saying I don’t see how your self-regard would or should comfort anyone.

          1. The Original K.*

            Right. I keep thinking about a bus driver who complained about a woman who openly coughed on his bus. He was dead from COVID-19 complications two weeks later, may he rest in peace.

            1. Frontline worker*

              I mean, unless she coughed directly in his face you can’t really prove that woman is the reason he got sick. He could have gotten sick from a myriad of other places. For me, it hasn’t helped to think of work as a danger, especially since I do not have a choice. I’m sure others feel the same way. Before anyone says anything, I’ve worked with job and family services before with regards to benefits, I don’t want to spend months fighting with them with regards to unemployment.

            1. pancakes*

              It’s in another comment of theirs, nearer the top of the page – “Yes, I have several family members working in hospitals, grocery stores, and food places. All of whom have taken certain precautions and are doing fine.”

              1. Natalie*

                Hmm, I read that as feeling physically fine rather than at ease with having to work under these circumstances. YMMV.

                1. pancakes*

                  If repeated comments along the lines of “my family members are still going to work and they’re fine” aren’t / weren’t intended to put people at ease what are they for?

                2. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

                  @pancakes | Not sure about this specific case but it’s often a tactic used to shame people into silence rather than express a viewpoint that contradicts one’s own.

      2. WellRed*

        I suspect part of her response though is her frustration with the boss related to how her boss made her go into the office to create binders and then leave them on her doorstep to air out because boss does understand virus concerns. But boss made it so clear that OP’s health is of less value than boss’.

        1. Frontline worker*

          I really don’t see that. The OP went an office that mostly empty. It should have been pretty easy to maintain distance from them. Hardly outrage worthy. I’ve had to go the grocery store to pick up meds for clients because my supervisor was not available. It’s just the reality of working.

      3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        That’s really not fair. I think we’re all aware of the risk essential employees are taking by going into work every day. But invalidating someone else’s fear and concern because others have it worse then them isn’t helpful.

        1. Washi*

          And the solution is not to put non essential workers at risk too, but to improve protections for the essential workers. I totally agree that there’s a lot of injustice in the current situation, but if anything, non-essential employees going back to work early could make things worse for the essential folks because it means more potential spread of the virus.

          1. virago*

            I totally agree that there’s a lot of injustice in the current situation, but if anything, non-essential employees going back to work early could make things worse for the essential folks because it means more potential spread of the virus.

            x 1 million.

            Read I Love Llamas’ comment to see how this can deteriorate when the “butts in seats”/”we’ve always done it this way” mentality overrides common sense.


          2. Treebeardette*

            The only essential folks that may be affected is hospital workers due to increase infections. I don’t agree that non-essential employees should go back early, but I do want to point out that working from home isn’t to make the virus disappear but to slow down infection rates. It will never be an ideal time to go back to work. Everyone should take precautions to clean and sanitize as if they were still in the middle of the pandemic. Everyone will have to deal with this, even if it’s a few months away.

            1. Amy Sly*

              Yep. Odds are that all of us are going to get this bug. The goal was always to limit the number of people sick at the same time to give each person who gets sick the best care possible. Take some advice from Hamlet:

              If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.

            2. Bree*

              The ideal time for most people to go back to work is when testing, contact tracing, containment and treatment capacity is sufficient to manage additional waves, or when we have a vaccine. In North America at least, we’re nowhere near there yet. An increase in infections still puts everyone at risk, not exclusively hospital workers. So it’s completely fair to want to move as slowly as possible in opening things back up right now, and for a long time to come, and we must keep pushing governments to take precautions, build capacity in the health system, and not ease up too soon.

              I think there’s a discussion to be had about how non-essential workers who are able to self-isolate have privilege, and will need to adjust to life at a higher level of risk. But we also can’t act like there’s nothing we can do and we just have at accept the danger.

        2. Treebeardette*

          Actually some factories have had 300+ people get the COVID 19 virus. It’s a bit different from someone who works in an office because you are exposed to the same 100+ people 8 to 12 hours which allows infection rates to be higher. Many working conditions of factories are a very high risk simply because of how close people are. I get what you are saying, but shutting down talk of blue collar workers isn’t helpful either. Many times, people who go back to office work are at a much lower risk than us factory workers. I say ignore the comment and move on. We all deserve a chance to vent during this time. Many of us wish we could WFH or even work with only 3 people. But y’all gotta eat something.

          Please express kindness us. We want to talk about our experiences too.

          1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

            You’re missing my point. I wasn’t being unkind, and I’m not discounting what you and others like you are going through every day. But everyone is going through their own stuff right now. The “I wish I had that problem” attitude has to stop because it invalidates people’s real feelings and it doesn’t help the situation.

            1. Frontline worker*

              The OP does have real concerns, and I do sympathize. Believe me, it’s hard going to work feeling like everyone is judging you. That being said, you cannot deny that that the OP is more privileged than others. She works in an office with three people. Some people literlly do not have that choice. Its not helpful to have people only agreeing with her and validating her fear. A little perspective can be helpful. In the words of Frozen, “it’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small.”

              My question is this, if you don’t want to hear the experiences of essential workers, then what do you want us to say or do.

          2. Jojo*

            We have to open the economy back up because if we don’t everyone will be starving in 6 months. Tge crop has to go in, get harvested, and processed. Then trans ported to market. Food does not grow on the store shelves.

      4. Observer*

        Actually, it’s not tone deaf. The fewer people around and about, the fewer people who HAVE to be around an about are likely to get sick. That’s the whole “flattening the curve” thing.

        Also, as bad as the economic fall out is, and I get that economics not just numbers but people’s lives, NOT doing shut down actually makes it worse. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s still the case.

      5. Treebeardette*

        I understand that. Not necessarily the op herself, but following the comments since this pandemic has started, there’s a lot of panic and some that suggests being tone deaf. Essential employees have been doing this for a while now. I would hope white collar workers will turns to those on the front lines and learn how to navigate this. Though, us blue collar workers and hospital staff have felt the same anxiety and anger. I can relate to the panic they feel because we have felt the same.

  21. Two LLs and an I*

    #4 – “I’d care if it were a close friend or family member doing it”
    I still tease my mother for spelling my name wrong on a birthday card she sent me 10 years ago. It would seem incredible that she made this mistake, but she’s a kindergarten teacher and I’m willing to believe she was using the spelling of the name of one of her charges.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      My mom spelled my cousin’s name wrong for over a decade. Apparently my aunt had planned to spell it one way, but changed her mind, and my mom never noticed.

      1. KaciHall*

        I apparently spelled my son’s name wrong. His middle name is in honor of my husband’s Grandpa. I agreed to the name, because it’s a little old fashioned but not totally unique these days. I filled out the birth certificate at the hospital. I’ve used his full name on Facebook a few times, and his grandparents all spell it right.

        My husband’s Uncle died last month, and MY mother called me, because the obituary had me husband’s Grandpa’s name in it. She asked why it was spelled differently than our son’s name. No one told me, in the five years since our son was born, that we spelled the name wrong. Too late to change it now, he can spell it himself!

  22. CastIrony*

    OP 4’s passive-aggressive approach reminds me of how my sister will misspell the name of someone that has wronged either her or me when we message and e-mail each other as an act of disrespect.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I just read that, and if I understood the email exchange, the first email (not from the assistant?) was “Dear Elizabeth”.

      That said, the increasing number of apologies and snotty responses makes it sound like Elizabeth was at the end of her tether.

      1. Coffee Cup*

        I mean, I do sympathize. My last name is shorter and somewhat “easier” than my first name, and with the outlook layout of last names being before first names, a LOT of people call me by my last name and it actually really annoys me. It isn’t that difficult, honestly. But I correct people once and if they keep on with it they are the rude one…
        With Elizabeth, I can imagine the assistant talking to someone about the unanswered email and them going “Ah good old Liz always behind her emails” or something. But Elizabeth really should have stopped pushing it after the first apology… (“Whoever told you this is not your friend”? What the actual…)

        1. That Millennial*

          I still internally cringe at the time I met someone in a professional setting and as we shook hands I said “Hi SteveohsorrydoyoupreferSteveorSteven” and with a polite smile he replied “Steven, thanks.” – even though I corrected myself without even taking a breath first getting it wrong felt bad.

      2. lammas*

        I knew Elizabeth and she was just like that – all the time. She used to try to convince people that she was framed and the whole thing was a setup by someone else in the office who got into her email while she was on vacation, and that the Representative she worked for refused to let her speak publicly about it. No one believed her.

    2. lammas*

      I actually knew her – she passed away a year or so ago, and I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but she was an absolute asshole. She would try to convince people that the whole thing was a setup orchestrated by someone in her office who had broken into her email, but no one ever believed her because she was just fucking terrible.

      1. Coffee Cup*

        Wow that is crazy. You would expect that a scheduling assistant with that personality wouldn’t last very long!

  23. Loose Seal*

    #2, Are you sure your office is the kind of business that is allowed to reopen? The list includes hair salons, body art studios, massage parlors, and other one-to-one services (and, weirdly, bowling alleys) but the description of your office with binders and a janitorial staff make me think it’s not a personal service business but a more traditional office. If there is doubt that your office qualifies to be open, you can call your local sheriff’s office to get them to look into it. I’m going to post a link to a page with more numbers your could call plus an online form in the post replying to this one. It might get stuck in moderation, though.

    I feel you. I live in GA too and I had just gotten to the point where I wasn’t quivering with anxiety every hour of the day. When I heard the governor’s announcement about reopening, I burst into tears.

    Keep us posted. Maybe you’ll find out your office can’t officially open or that there will be so much backlash from potential customers that they will close again quickly to save face.

    1. Misty*

      Reading that list, it feels like that state is opening the randomest things first. Like bowling alleys? Getting tattoos? Haircuts? Massages? Half of that involves having to be close to another person in order to give service. Except for bowling, that’s just random.

      1. KaciHall*

        Bowling is almost worse than the rest. You share shoes, you share bowling balls, and let me tell you, the finger holes for the house balls are NEVER, EVER CLEANED. Ever. You might not be that close to another person, but you are definitely touching surfaces they’ve touched without being sanitized.

        1. That Millennial*

          Eh, I could see it being justified along the same lines as golf clubs in my state. My BIL is a multiple-times-a-week-bowler and has his own shoes and balls and the act of bowling doesn’t require close contact. Sure, most people hang out within 6ft between their turns, but they don’t HAVE to.

          I’m not saying I agree that everyone should go bowling, just how it could be argued. One would hope that, like most businesses still open, the alley increases their sanitation requirements while open and starts getting those less-0r-never cleaned surfaces included in rounds.

        2. Misty*

          Ew, I never even thought about whether bowling balls ever get cleaned well or not. I don’t know if I will ever bowl again.

    2. WellRed*

      I think it is soooo weird that it’s businesses that provide one-on-one up close personal contact that are allowed to open. (uh, plus bowling alleys). Is the governor trying to thin the population?

        1. Jennifer*

          That’s what a lot of people here think. This is the first time self-employed people – which can include barbers and hairstylists – could apply for unemployment. Now since they technically can work, I don’t know if their claims will be approved.

          1. Important Moi*

            If you are “allowed” to work by the governor and “choose” not to, your claim can be denied.

            I assume when you apply you have to identify your most recent employer so it can be determined if they were closed or open.

          2. Rachel in NYC*

            My favorite part of all of this is from the GA Board of Cosmetology which had to then put out “Safety Guidelines for Reopening”- including this beauty “Maintain Social Distancing: Spacing between persons in the salon should be at least six feet at all times”

            How the heck are you going to cut or dye someone’s hair from 6 feet away?

            1. Jennifer*

              How do you give massages from 6 feet away? I stood across the room and started rubbing my hands in the air and asked my husband to close his eyes. He felt nothing.

            2. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

              If you’re working on someone, it’s considered “a station” and each “station” needs to be 6 ft away from all other people or “stations.” (Yes, it’s dumb as hell. Yes, it totally invalidates the idea of social distancing. Yes, people are going to die. But at least all the contractors will only get paid out for 1 week of unemployment, amirite.)

        2. MissDisplaced*

          He’s a shit. Period. He’s the same guy who “didn’t know COVID could be transmitted person to person” just by talking to each other.
          It’s nothing but a ploy to force people back to work and not pay their unemployment. If those people then get sick… well the time period passed because the state opened. So they will not qualify for ANYTHING.
          I honestly think they WANT people to die.

    3. EvilQueenRegina*

      That last one about backlash from potential customers is definitely possible, or at the very least, people just choosing not to come in. I’m in the UK and we’re not opening up yet but there have been a couple of news stories implying that schools are reopening shortly, in the likes of The Sun “newspaper”. The Department for Education have since denied them, but there were a lot of comments on Facebook at the time along the lines of “Well, I’m not sending my kids back yet!” So don’t be surprised to hear potential customers actually don’t want to come in yet.

    4. soon to be former fed really*

      It would be the height of illogic to not permit offices to reopen while service requiring close contact are OK. I hope people just do not patronize these places.

    5. Lawyer*

      So the original SIP order was actually extremely lax – virtually any kind of business except a short, specifically prohibited list could remain open for “minimum basic operations,” provided that business followed specific health guidelines. Minimum basic operations included serving the public to the extent necessary to keep your business from going under. (Anybody defined as essential critical infrastructure – a *huge* list – wasn’t even required to comply with those guidelines.) There are only two real impacts of the latest order: most of that short prohibited list can now open, and the governor is basically giving (for lack of a better term) moral support to businesses that have electively closed that now choose to open again.

      So yes, the OP’s company almost certainly can open, but is legally obligated to follow the protective measures on the list. This is why Kemp’s original order had limited legal utility (but was, maybe, helpful in terms of creating a social norm that businesses should be shut).

      1. Oh No She Di'int*

        Right. To follow up on that, the original stay-at-home order essentially created 3 classes of businesses:

        1. critical infrastructure
        2. “personal contact” type businesses (nail salons, massage parlors, tattoo artists, etc.)
        2a. restaurant type businesses, which had slightly different rules as a subset of Class 2
        3. other businesses

        Businesses in Class 2 were closed outright. Businesses in Class 3 were always allowed to operate subject to 20 social distancing guidelines. That effectively made many businesses inoperable, but it did not in fact shut them down from a legal standpoint. These businesses were always allowed to engage in “Minimum Basic Operations”. So someone could go in to run payroll, check inventory, perform maintenance, and yes, grab binders.

        What the current order does is place many businesses from Class 2 into Class 3. That means that nail salons, etc. are now allowed to engage in the aforementioned “Minimum Basic Operations” that have been allowed for other businesses. One difference is that the formerly Class 2 businesses are indeed allowed to open to the public as part of their minimum operations. So it is not the case that bowling alleys are somehow being opened before attorneys offices. It’s more accurate to say that bowling alleys now fall into the same legal classification as attorneys offices have all along–i.e., operate if you can find a safe way to operate.

        Now all of this is theory. It’s not clear how someone is going to do someone’s nails from 6 feet away. And a business owner on the radio this morning said there’s no way she’s putting eyelash extensions on someone right now. A barber mentioned that he was opening “just in case”, but not requiring any of his barbers to show up and did not expect any customers.

        1. Lawyer*

          I live in ATL and honestly feel like this is going to have minimal impact on business opening but is going to further erode people’s compliance with social distancing, which is frustrating. My coworker’s wife is a hair stylist; she’s definitely not reopening. My dog walker is also a makeup artist in a salon – she’s not going back to work. But I think the problem of large groups gathering (I see you last weekend, Piedmont Park!) is just going to get worse.

          I’m just glad our bishop (I’m Episcopalian) has basically said he doesn’t care what the governor says; we’re not reopening for physical worship until he’s comfortable that it’s safe.

        2. Old and Don’t Care*

          That’s interesting about the barber. I expect he will be busy. It’s a lopsided risk; I would be comfortable getting my hair cut, but I would not be comfortable cutting hair all day five days a week.

    6. OP#2*

      The gag is our gov is reopening the state this weekend…AND not continuing the stay at home rule. I don’t work in those industries but since the shelter in place is not being extended it’s kinda like a package deal.

  24. Ravenahra*

    OP #1 Your husband’s boss is opening up the company to dome pretty major legal issues. The company has no tight to your health information unless it directly affects your husband’s job such ad needing special accommodations.

    Checking your husband’s temperature may be ok but asking for any other medical info is bordering on if not outright crossing into privacy violation territory.

    I don’t know why the boss is asking and my husband suggested it might be to offer additional help but this isn’t the way to do it. It’s as dangerous as asking if someone is suffering from depression, an eating disorder, or other medical condition in an effort to ‘help’. And we’ve all seen plenty of letters that show what an issue that can be.

    1. soon to be former fed really*

      Oh goodness no. If an employee volunteers health information, then offer help. But to invade privacy ostensibly yo “help”? Just no.

  25. kathlynn (Canada)*

    I used to get upset in school, when people would spell my name wrong. It was like the worst thing a teacher could do, was spell my name wrong. And this continued for years afterwards. And at some point I realized that it just wasn’t worth the energy to get mad about, unless they do it all the time. Or if it’s for a name tag. Especially since I struggle to keep other people’s names straight (we had a hiring rush at work last fall. And for a bit afterwards, with people switching shifts all over the place, it was hard to figure out who I was working with since they didn’t have name tags yet.)

    1. That Millennial*

      I default to chuckling instead of getting annoyed now. It’s a better use of my emotional bandwidth. My name has two major spellings, the one my parents chose is better known because it’s a brand but rarely used for people, and the one more common for people but uncommon in general, so frequently mispelled. So despite my work email being firstname.lastname@work , I often get mail addressed to Fristnam, etc. Almost always butchered attempts at the incorrect version of my name, a double fail. Maybe that helps me separate from it a bit – they still wouldn’t even be right if they had figured out the spelling.

  26. Cookies For Breakfast*

    Hey OP4, bilingual and details person here! My advice to preserve your energy, if you can, is to try and reframe it in your mind as that silly thing people do that one day you’ll get a funny story out of. To me, even seeing that so many other commenters have stories I can relate to is a relief :)

    So here’s my work-related funny story.

    In my home country, people misspell and mispronounce my surname all the time. That baffles me, because most words in my language are written the way they are pronounced, and this is no exception. But it sounds like a very common first name, so often people just say it wrong and call me that. It’s so bad I always use my mother or my partner’s name when booking a restaurant back home.

    In the country I live in now, it’s normal to spell words for others. So my surname mostly goes down fine. However, people have a hard time writing or saying my first name without adding an extra letter, even when I spell it. That version belongs to another foreign language they are closer to, and after years living here, I don’t care unless it’s official paperwork.

    Why am I telling you this? Because when I started my current job, IT set up my email address with both the name and surname spelled wrong. I was mortified to have to bring it up within one hour of starting, but I did and they resolved it quickly.

    Over time I realised that what they did, instead of wiping out the wrong email address, was creating the correct one and keeping the two linked. So you could email either, and the message would always reach me.

    IT and I were the only ones to know, until I got a client who always misspelled my name in that exact way. It annoyed me but I decided nothing good would come of correcting her (I did a details job for her, and half the time was spent explaining the same details over and over, which she always chose to forget and blame me for not sharing earlier on). But here’s the thing – when she emailed me, the Recipient field showed the old, wrongly spelled email address IT had first given me, meaning she actually had been typing that one in all along.

    One day, two years into our project, she contacted my colleague saying an urgent email she was sending me was bouncing back. When he showed me the email she had forwarded, I found the issue immediately: she had misspelled my already-misspelled email address that she thought was the real one, so my first name appeared in yet another form, which at last, our system couldn’t recognise.

    I’m forever grateful to my colleague who offered to explain to her that she had got my full name wrong for two years, and not just this once. She always called me the right name thereafter and apologised right away, which most people don’t do and meant a lot. She never stopped being difficult to work with, but hey, small victories, right?

  27. cncx*

    re OP3, it’s funny how recruiters want to hire people who are already employed, but then want to call people during business hours and act pikachu face when they can’t pick up because they’re the job they still have…

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        Oh you know these are the types who fire people when they find out they are looking elsewhere.

  28. cncx*

    re op4, When i got married i went from First Name Maiden Name to Middle Name Married Name. My maiden name is very long and my ex husband’s name is exactly half and phonetically spelled. then my first name has an uncommon spelling but my middle name is the most common spelling of that name. i just got tired of always having to spell both my names and i’m not going to lie that was a big motivator. Of course then i got divorced sooo

  29. Ruth (UK)*

    I also have one of those names (a double letter that’s often missed). I point it out but typically only in this context: my email address is my name and emails often go astray people people spell my name wrong in my email.

    It happens less these days than it used to (when it was more common for people to write them down then type them in). If I’m giving my email out in situations where I think it’ll be typed in I specifically point out the double letter and note that it’s the most common reason I don’t receive emails from people.

    A friend of mine has a commonly misspelled name variation (think like Rachael vs Rachel) and said she got a work email reply from someone having a go at her for misspelling their name in a correspondence. She said she was about to reply with an apology when she noticed they’d been spelling hers wrong to and so decided to leave it.

    Sometimes even with the name on front of people, I think muscle memory sometimes takes over in typing fingers. So if someone’s got a sister or close friends called Rachel but they’re trying to email Rachael, I think they’d be more likely to type Rachel without thinking or realising.

    1. londonedit*

      Your last point reminds me of the time on Great British Bake Off when they were making sachertorte as one of the technical challenges, and one of the contestants went on and on about how she’d have to be really careful with the piping (they had to pipe ‘Sacher’ on the top of the cake in chocolate) because her daughter was called Sacha and she was terrified of misspelling it. And then of course when it came to piping the thing, she wrote ‘Sacha’ anyway because her brain just took over.

    2. Cordoba*

      I have a similar situation in that my last name is frequently (but predictably) misspelled, and also part of my work email.

      My solution is to have IT add the common misspellings of my name as additional e-mail addresses that also go to my main inbox.

      This way, if somebody sends an email to instead of the correct that they should be using at least I still see it instead of it disappearing into the internet ether.

  30. rudster*

    Depending on the state, but there is often a waiting period before the UI benefits kick in (typically a week). You don’t receive benefits for that week, but if you return to work but re-file within the same year due to being laid off or another furlough, the benefits would kick in right away.

  31. Autistic Farm Girl*

    I’m probably the only one out there but I correct people when they mess up my name. And it happens a lot.
    I have a double barreled name, and for whatever reason many people only use the first half?! And keep doing it after being corrected. And I can’t with that. My name is both half, you wouldn’t slash a name in half if it wasn’t double barreled so what’s the difference?

    I also have a foreign name and sometimes people just call me something completely different (although vaguely similar sounding). For example if my name was marie-anne i’m suddenly getting called Laura or something like that. Drives me crazy every single time. So I correct every one who does it. And I probably come across as petty.

    1. Rexish*

      Hah, I have a double barreled name but only go by the first part. While I don’t mind too much being called with the full name (like most people do) I do find it annoying when I’ve written “Marie” over all messages in the email Exchange and then they insist on calling me “Marie-Anne”.

    2. Myrin*

      Ugh, the double-barralled names!

      Similar but different, kinda better, kinda worse: While my name is simply “Myrin Thinks”, my little sister’s name is “Lyr-Maria Thinks” (these are obviously not our real names but rather our common internet pseudonyms, but I thought I’d point that out because someone not too long ago actually thought these made-up names are our real ones and tried to google us!). She goes by “Lyr” and many people don’t even know about the “Maria” part, but the hyphenated version is still her official name.

      I will never understand American health insurance, no matter how often I read about it here, but in Germany, you have an insurance card (like a debit card) with your photo and all your relevant information stored on it. You get a new one every few years – IDK why exactly, something about the technology, I presume, but let it be known that I’ve been trying in vain to get my photo from more than five years ago changed for several iterations now! – directly from your insurance company, meaning these are official matters.

      So my sister received a new card sometime last year. Everything’s normal. Then she gets another one a week or so later. We were confused and couldn’t figure out at first what the difference was, but then we realised the second one only had “Lyr Thinks” as the card holder. The first one had “Lyr-Maria Thinks”, the correct name, the name she’s had since she was born, with the insurance company we’ve both been with since we were born, and for some reason, they decided that they must have gotten it wrong and sent a second one. My sister called and for some reason, neither of the two reps she talked to immediately understood what her issue was, but once that was cleared up, they said they’d re-change it and send another card. New card arrived, adorned with the name “Lyr Thinks”. Sister calls again, phone operator understands the problem but says she can’t change it? And then says that the information in her computer says “Lyr-Maria” but for some reason it didn’t show up on the card? Or anywhere else? Who even knows anymore.

      At this point, my sister decided to sigh about it and let it go and there don’t seem to be any problems with it so far – it’s also the name that automatically shows up on all doctor’s notes for work, for example, and there’s never been an issue with processing them – but I think I’m going to urge her to maybe look into it again. I don’t think she’ll get into trouble with this but who knows!

      (Completely unrelatedly, my mum’s surname while she was still married to my father was hyphenated as “Over-Thinks”, with “Over” being her birthname which she changed back to after the divorce. And so many people only ever called her “Mrs. Thinks” even thought that has never, even during her marriage, been her name. Now granted, my mum is someone who gripes about stuff like that in private but never actually corrects people, so it’s not unreasonable that people who only knew me or my sister would think we share a name with our mum, but there were also many people who had her name in front of them in writing and still got it wrong. I care about details like that but I’ve found out that many, many people don’t.)

      1. Koala dreams*

        I think some people just make the assumption that married people share the name, but sometimes it’s sexism too. My parents have different surnames, and it was super funny when my Dad got a letter addressed to him, with his first name and Mum’s surname. Usually people assume the wife has the husband’s name, not the other way around.

        1. Senor Montoya*

          Yep. Now *that* I do correct. Misspelling my actual last name? I’m can live with it as long as it’s not on anything official (or one of my students, they gotta spell it right). Assuming I’m Mrs. Husband’s Name? yeah, no, that ain’t gonna fly.

      2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        Somewhat analogous but I have a pension account (one that I was automatically enrolled in) that had me down as two people: Ms me and Dr me. I’m actually not sure if I fixed it.

    3. Mel_05*

      I have a one barrel name (think Melissa, Melanie, Melody, Melinda). People all the time shorten it to Mel. Or, less commonly, the last half of my name.

      People cut regular names in half all the time.
      It’s fine to let them know you don’t want them to, but it’s super common, they’re not singling you out.

      1. Anonymous Canadian*

        I have one of those names too and am personally a fan of the nod and smile option unless it’s for official paperwork. I also find that over the phone people hear my Name wrong all the time. At this point it’s almost a game counting what ridiculous thing I’ll be called today.

        Then to top it all off I have a last name with two common spellings (think Green vs. Greene) so I always have to say Green like the colour if I want to make sure it’s spelled right.

        All that being said I get why it’s totally irritating I just don’t personally have the energy to put into correcting it all of the time.

      2. pancakes*

        Double-barrel names are hyphenated surnames. It’s nothing to do with first name spelling.

    4. Jillian*

      It happens to one’s too! Mine’s Jillian and in some vary small circles I have gone by Jill, but most everyone defaults to that even after I’ve introduced myself, and as soon as I correct them then it turns into the Gillian, Julian, Julianne, Julie, etc. and I still correct people. But then I think about how people get corrected when they don’t use proper titles, like Dr. instead of Mrs. and I don’t mind making an effort to do that so then I don’t feel nearly as petty.

  32. Kiwi*

    OP #4 – our admin spells my name wrong (think Kwi instead of Kiwi, which in itself is a nickname for my full name) so none of my “official” office labels and entry cards and drawers have my name spelled correctly. Its been a year and even in responses to my emails she spells it wrong. Please let me know if you find a solution for this!!

    1. BadWolf*

      Maybe something like, “Hey admin, I recently noticed my office labels are slightly mispelled. I would hate for someone to not be able to find the right things for me or be confused. Can you update those?” Of course, if no one but you is using the labels, that might be harder to use this version.

      In that case, maybe something like “You’ll think this is funny, Admin, I just noticed yesterday that my nickname is on all my “official” labels. If you have some downtime on Friday, can you update them to my Kiwi so it doesn’t look so informal.”

  33. It's Christa*

    I have a horse in the name race – I have a mildly uncommon but still normal name. Think something along the lines of Christa. Approximately 90%, when I introduce myself as Christa, or when I send an email from my work email that is, people will call me Christine. It drives me BANANAS that people are just too lazy to get someone’s name right. Every time this happens, I’ll say, “Oh, it’s actually Christa” because I, and everyone else who gets this on a regular basis, deserve to be called by our correct name.

    1. BadWolf*

      Me too — I’ve actually thought about how I pronounce my name that people must here the longer version. Do I need a stronger emphasis on a different part? It happens so often that I think it must be at least partially how I say my own name.

      At this point, I don’t bother to correct people unless it’s going to be a longer relationship.

    2. Cinnamon*

      This is how I feel. If I’m never going to speak to this person again or super rarely (like a few times a year), I give up on correcting my name. If it’s more than that I will keep saying my name over and over again. I have a nickname that I let people call me but if you can’t spell or say either I will not let it go.

  34. NotClaire*

    I’m Elaine. And occasionally someone will call me Claire. I correct them and quietly note they are the sort of person who remembers things visually better than verbally.

      1. sequined histories*

        The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th letters are identical. The 5th letters—r and n—look almost the same. As the commenter notes, the mistake only makes sense if you process the name using visual rather than auditory cues, which I’m guessing most people wouldn’t do.
        The fact that some people substantial minority of people apparently do process it that way is truly fascinating!

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Oh, okay!

          Yeah, if I use inspect element to change fonts, I can see it. I guess AAM just uses a more readable font.

  35. caps22*

    I misspell my own first name more often than not, to the point that it tries to autocorrect to it now. I don’t know why, it’s like my fingers have dyslexia when typing that combination of letters. Signed, csap22

  36. Old Admin*

    OP #2 :
    If you and your colleague really are forced to return to the office on Monday, how about you wear masks and gloves? And sit really far apart?
    …and type a bit slower than usual, muffled voices on the phone…
    Yes, this is a passive aggressive protest. I know.

    1. soon to be former fed really*

      There is no way I would work without PPE, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.

    2. Oh No She Di'int*

      This is not a passive-aggressive protest. Indeed sitting far apart and possibly the masks (depending on industry) are required by law for reopening, as are the hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes mentioned by soon to be former fed really. They are literally written into the order. So OP absolutely has that as ammunition.

      1. Lady Heather*

        It is not passive agressive to type slower and muffle your voice on the phone. The faster you type, the more oxygen your arm muscles need, the faster your blood needs to re-oxygenate, the faster you breathe.. the more you exhale, and you can spread covid by exhaling covid-filled air droplets.
        Similarly, the louder you talk, the more chance of spitting when you talk, (and the more air it takes to talk = the more you need to breathe, see my first point) and the more chance of spreading covid.

        Totally makes sense. Not passive agressive at all – just reasonable precautions.

  37. Space engineer*

    As a Cristina-with-no-h, I feel OP4. I always correct is as “by the way, it’s Cristina, not Christina, no h!”, and that normally does the trick.
    I understand the let it go idea, but it is actually very difficult to me to recognise my own name when it’s spelled wrong. So if I’m skimming a list looking for my name, my brain will slip straight past Christina, because it doesn’t recognise it as “me”. I also don’t answer to “Chris/Cris” for a similar reason, if I hear that, I don’t recognise it as being me, so I don’t even really hear it.

    1. Asenath*

      I generally let it go, but my real first name has been mis-spelled so often that when I’m giving it the first time I always say (not the real name) “That’s ‘Catherine’ with a ‘C'”. And like ‘Catherine’, and so many other names, my name does have variant spellings that some people use. Just not me. It even has what I though at first was an incorrect pronunciation, until I realized that it really was pronounced differently in the UK and in North America. But, yes, I just reconcile myself to having it sometimes spelled and pronounced differently than I prefer. I’d never knowingly mis-spell another person’s name in retaliation, though. I do it too often by accident. I used to have a co-worker who had an unusual name with a very unusual spelling, and it took me forever to be sure I was getting it right – I went through periods of being uncertain which unusual spelling was the correct on.

      1. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

        Same- When giving my name for something out loud, I may as well have it legally changed to “Name with one of that letter, not the usual two”

  38. Doctor Schmoctor*

    #4 Same problem here. My name is right there on the email! And we have been working together for 10 years!
    It’s a pain, but I just let it go.
    I have seen some weird, creative spellings of my name. I wish I knew how it happens

  39. Myrin*

    #1, apart from everything Alison says and being appalled right along with her and you, I can’t believe the guy who called your husband came right out and actually said “they were trying to find out whose wife was being treated for breast cancer”. Talk about being blasé and careless!

    (Although on a slightly different note, as I coincidentally already said in another post today, I will never in my life understand American health insurance, so is there any way at all where this would be a plausible thing for him to want to know and say? Like that the poor wife with cancer will be specifically supported or something? It doesn’t seem that way from your and Alison’s reaction but I’m so astounded by his having the gall to actually say that out loud that I’m wondering if there might be some other facet to this.)

    1. Batgirl*

      Same; by not really understanding employer-linked health insurance it makes it an extra hard mystery for a European to crack. Is there a reason an employer would ever need to know about specific illnesses? Do they make any calls about the standard of care people get? How would the employer even know part of the story to begin with?
      Alison seems to think there might be a benevolent or benign motive that’s different to a planned firing…what could that be?
      Like you, the more I read the less I seem to understand. I keep thinking it’s the kind of life knowledge you have to experience?

      1. No Tribble At All*

        Alison is doing her due dilligence by mentioning it’s possible the owner isn’t planning on firing the spouse, but Company Owner is almost certianly up to no good. RE: why would the company need to know, do they set standards of care, etc:
        – a company goes to a health insurance provider and picks one of the health insurance plans. Because of the ACA (Obamacare) there are minimum standards for the plan. But in general the more comprehensive the plan, the more expensive to the company and to the employees
        – companies get aggregated reports on what parts of the plan have been used — my company has done a “heart health” month because they know that X% of the company reported being at risk for that (or something, I’m not exactly sure how this info is shared but it’s anonymized). I think the idea is the employer can encourage the employees to be healthier?
        – companies don’t set standards of care outright, but they can choose to have their insurance cover or not cover certain categories, such as gender confirmation surgery. Or if they’re religious, they can choose to not cover birth control, which is “great” for my Jewish friend who works at a Catholic school. So your employer-offered health insurance can put financial constraints on your options.
        – company owner is probably under the mistaken belief that the cancer treatment would cost the company more, because the insurance company would see the spouse as a high-risk. (It shouldn’t cost them more because of a rule from aformentioned Obamacare). I recall other instances of this before, such as the AOL “Distressed baby” comment
        – The AOL “distressed baby” comment was the AOL CEO decreased retirement plans and claimed it was because 2 premie “distressed” babies cost the health insurance $SoMuch, which AOL then had to pay. Apparently Scrooge is this dude’s role model. (PS babies turned out OK)
        – I’d assume OP#1’s spouse’s boss is also inspired by Scrooge

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Forgot to add: you, the employee, can choose to not use your employer’s health insurance and buy it from the state (“the exchange”) but those plans are usually more expensive for worse coverage.

      2. Natalie*

        Do they make any calls about the standard of care people get

        The exact opposite in fact – they have to offer identical option(s) at the same cost for all employees, or at least all employees in a big class (part time vs full time for example). You can’t bar Joe from the insurance because his kid is going to need so much coverage, but you also can’t buy Joe an extra special policy for his kid’s care.

      3. Employment Lawyer*

        The US has a lot of laws/regulations where the cost does not follow the benefit. When you assign a cost to people who don’t see an equivalent benefit (or who don’t carry the responsibility for the cost) then people will usually try to figure out ways around it. Those laws/regulations create perverse incentive for illegal behavior.

        The crucial thing is that what we call “insurance” in the USA is not really aimed at catastrophes. Rather it generally also includes a lot of prepaid medical care, which is to say that the “insurance” kicks in at relatively low coverage values. That is why health insurance is so expensive. (Your car insurance is cheap because most people will rarely/never have a major claim. Same with your home insurance. And people who own cars/homes usually try to AVOID damaging them. But even healthy people will go to the doctor once a year, and many people will use even more services if they’re “paying for them anyway,” which makes it expensive as hell.)

        So for example, imagine that Lee and Jo are equally good employees who would normally be paid the exact same amount. Lee has a very ill spouse; Jo does not.

        Because the company contributes to health insurance, Lee will cost the company more than Jo. Also, it’s possible that Lee’s presence in the company will push the entire place into a higher risk pool, which may mean that other employees also have higher health care costs, since they are generally paying a non-zero percentage of their overall insurance plan.

        Obviously, it’s a general social benefit for Lee’s spouse to get care! But the cost doesn’t follow the benefit: The care it benefits all of society (and Lee’s spouse most of all) but the whole cost is paid by the company and its employees.

        So rationally speaking, the company would “prefer” (from a economic standpoint) to hire Jo over Lee, or to fire Lee first. This is especially the case because it isn’t even Lee who is expensive, it’s Lee’s spouse. From the point of view of a rational company, they’re better off to let someone else hire Lee (and take the hit). This is illegal but they try to do it anyway.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I mean, it’s possible that it was a ham-handed way to find out who might need support in a troubled time, but given that it happens to correspond with negotiating a new contract with a new health insurance company, it’s more likely that it would’ve come around to “So how’s that going? How much longer do you expect that she’ll need high cost treatment? Any chance she could be on her own insurance?” than “Jim, we realize that this could be difficult times for your family so we want to make sure you have all the appropriate info to take advantage of FMLA and whatnot.” For one thing, if they wanted to do the latter, they’d be better served by making sure the information is shared and available to everyone rather than cherry-picking around and only reminding certain people about it.

      But doing the former is pretty stupid too, because under current US law, a group insurance policy can’t deny her coverage or charge her/her family more because of a pre-existing condition anyway, so it doesn’t even matter to their costs. It’s possible (but less likely) that they’re getting into a self-insured plan – I’m not sure about the rules for pre-existing conditions there, and that also makes the rules about what info the organization can get and how HIPAA applies to them a little different, but not to the point where this would be an appropriate way to go about gathering the information.

      1. Jojo*

        But, it could leave her doctor or cancer facility out of the new plan which means he and his wife pay more for treatment because it is out of network

    3. WellRed*

      “I can’t believe the guy who called your husband came right out and actually said “they were trying to find out whose wife was being treated for breast cancer”. Talk about being blasé and careless!”

      Who is being blase and careless and in what way? This is assuming things not in the letter.

      1. Marthooh*

        Unless the OP’s husband already knew that the wife of one of his coworkers had breast cancer, this was indeed careless.

      2. Pippa K*

        Well, at the very least, the boss is inappropriately sharing someone’s private health information, as well as digging around for even more private health information. At best that’s carelessness with personal information and as Alison points out is likely an ADA violation as well.

      3. Myrin*

        Ah, I might have phrased that unclearly (especially given how the other people replying to you are giving very sensible answers but they aren’t actually what I meant by that, although I’d subscribe to them as well).

        What I mean is that I – as well as Alison and OP and her husband – assume the owner is asking about employees’ wives’ health for some nefarious purpose. So why is he coming right out and basically saying just that? He is being very blasé about his “evil plan” or whatever he has regarding the employee with the ill wife and doesn’t seem to care at all that, if he said what he said to OP’s husband to all his other employees, now everyone who works for him knows that there’s something up with him and the cancer patient.

        1. Marthooh*

          If he’s up to something nasty, he doesn’t care who knows it. If not, he’s being careless with someone else’s medical history and doesn’t care who knows that. Calling him “blasé and careless” isn’t some kind of excuse.

      4. Tempononymous*

        Careless to share the information that someone has a wife with cancer. Blase about their attempts to find out who – because there is no good reason to be snooping around like that. It can only cause problems. If an employee wanted to share that info, they would have shared. Even if you claim good intentions “we want to support them and send them flowers and unicorns and rainbows!” – the fact is, they’ve kept it private and that should be respected.
        Best case scenario is that employer is trying to snoop around and find out something employee has chosen not to share.
        Worst case scenario is that employer is going to reduce heath care costs by cutting off someone with cancer.
        And they’ve been blase enough to tell an employee about this snooping, which means there’s someone who knows what they’re up to and can now witness the witch hunt.

    4. Hamburke*

      American health insurance makes very little sense. My guess is that the company is self-insured – they use an insurance company to negotiate rates and approve claims but they pay the bill when it comes from the provider. There’s a couple ways this is handled – a fund that is managed by the insurance company or a fund that is managed by the company. Both ways are kinda terrible for keeping health information private.

      1. soon to be former fed really*

        It makes sense if you know how it works. I know health care in the US leaves a lot to be desired, but I dislike these condescending remarks from those who live in other nations. It’s all we have right now.

        1. Temp anon*

          It ‘makes sense’ only in that it’s a profitable industry. Neither the outcome nor the cost nor the administrative difficulties make sense in any other way. I’m American, by the way, and I don’t find cross-national policy comparisons condescending.

        2. Sylvan*

          I don’t like that type of condescending comment, either, but I don’t know why people from other countries would understand our healthcare system. Also, it is broken and it does not make much sense.

        3. Batgirl*

          I don’t know if my remark came across as condescending – it was only supposed to deprecate my own knowledge. I clearly do not understand enough about the system to comment on it (and I know that’s not welcome here even if I could).

        4. Black Horse Dancing*

          This isn’t condescending, it’s fact. The US health system sucks. Period. Unless you are well off.

        5. emmelemm*

          Absolutely nothing about the American system makes sense, even when you understand it to its core, which is amply demonstrated by the fact that we get significantly worse outcomes while spending more money than most other industrialized nations. Signed, an American who knows a fair amount about health insurance

        6. Hamburke*

          I live in the US and am a natural-born citizen. I have a master’s degree. Dealing with Insurance leaves me frustrated and confused. For example, I had 2 kids in for physicals in January, same doctor, same codes, same tests, same-day even. Insurance covered $90 for one kid and $70 for the other. It was a physical – preventative care, I take them every other year, it’s January, so this should be covered 100%, why do I owe $20 copay for one kid and nothing for the other? I’ve gotten different answers each time I talk to a new person. That’s the definition of not making sense…

    5. soon to be former fed really*

      How did the employer know it was somebody’s wife and not a woman employee? Hmmm…

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Although men can get breast cancer too, so that would simply indicate more ignorance on the employer’s part.

          1. RVA Cat*

            This. It’s appalling enough that they’re trying to fire someone for their spouse having cancer, but it being breast cancer adds that sexist poisoned cherry on top.

  40. Batgirl*

    The name thing reminds me of the time when I was given the task of speaking to a new batch of students at a brand new school on an intro day during the summer. They all had name tags because they’d done some admin and paperwork with a teacher who’d been charged with that part, before my bit and she’d written out name tags for them.
    At least a dozen students took me aside to tell me their name badges were misspelled and I felt the paperwork implications meant I should flag it to the teacher concerned (who’d been promoted to being their head of year) in case their names were also input incorrectly. I got a really defensive reply back about how the students had filled out the paperwork by hand and so it was hard to make out the spellings so she just decided to make do with best guesses.
    I was expecting an ‘Oh gosh, thanks for flagging’ response because everyone makes mistakes (I have a newspaper background so I am a habitual double checker but I’ve been known to drop the ball; I can only remember it happening once but I was mortified) but that kind of response just flabbergasted me.
    If I knew for sure that I was guessing and making up spellings I would have the students write out their own name tags, do without, or have people print out clearer versions. I really didn’t know before then that some people feel ‘As long as you roughly know who I mean’ is good enough.

  41. Tsunade*

    I somehow had never heard of the “don’t call me Liz” debacle… thank you for bringing it into my life!

  42. TimeTravlR*

    I don’t now the rules around this in Georgia or for a small employer, but I work for a very large employer and I am working with my doc on substantiating a request for a reasonable accommodation to continue to work from home for as long as I don’t feel comfortable going into my very large office in my very densely populated city. I don’t leave the house because we are under a stay at home order, I am genuinely freaked out and wouldn’t leave it I could. I wish you the best of luck.

  43. TimeTravlR*

    I have a very unusual name that also has an unusual spelling… so double whammy. In my case, people mispronounce my name all the time. As Allison said, let it go unless it’s someone who matters. That’s my rule. If I care enough to correct you, that means I care enough.

  44. Sara*

    My name is Sara, and people consistently misspell it Sarah. Even people I’ve known for years. Even my closest coworkers. The only people who never add the H by accident are my family.

    It really is helpful and liberating to just learn to roll with it. I do joke about it with friends and coworkers that I have friendly relationships with, but otherwise, it’s just not worth holding onto.

    One thing that helps me is telling myself that they could have someone in their life named Sarah and are just writing the name on autopilot. Because I’ve definitely done that with other names. My mom has a name that also has a very common variation with an additional letter at the end and I’ve definitely done it myself. I typically do notice after the fact and apologize, but that comes from having a name like that myself.

    But really. Just let it go.

  45. The Rafters*

    #3, I know it can be a nuisance, but please answer your phone. I’m sometimes in charge of calling candidates and am always concerned about who has access to someone’s voice mail and what that third party may or may not know about a job search. Sometimes I hang up and try again. If I do leave a message, it’s very generic. Same thing with scheduling the interview – I send an e-mail giving info, but do not send it to a candidate’s calendar.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      They may be at a movie (unlikely these days) or in a doctor’s office (even if you would answer a call there, my primary care office messes with my reception) or in a million little cases where you can’t answer your phone.

      1. WellRed*

        But that wasn’t the case here, nor the question. It’s not helpful for every letter to point out every little other scenario. We’ve seen plenty letters from people stressed about missed calls from places they applied to because they didn’t pick up the phone due to it being a strange number. If you are applying to jobs, you might be getting a call from a strange number. Or several calls from several strange number. This shouldn’t be a surprise to job seekers.

    2. CheeryO*

      I think you might be losing out on good candidates doing this. I don’t know anyone who answers the phone for random numbers these days, and I think some (most?) people are going to be confused by a cryptic voicemail.

      1. soon to be former fed really*

        Yep, phone scams are common now. I never answer unidentified calls, but if legit will call back if a message is left.

      2. Retail not Retail*

        Now that the scammers are calling from my state and I applied for a job in the next area code I was like …. oh crap!

        When they were all over, I had to be like missouri? Delaware? Oh crap!

        I also got a call 2 months after applying for a job and answered mildly loopy on sleep deprivation and booked an interview right as my friend and I were driving into the mountains to no reception land.

      3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Yep. I never answer my phone from an unknown number. Yes you may miss out on an opportunity if there’s too much back and forth and you’re unable to get in touch with them, but if a company is unwilling to leave a message because my phone is not glued to my hand at the exact moment they call, maybe I don’t want to work with them. To me that says they may have unreasonable expectations, especially if I’m already employed.

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          This. In my line of work we are often not allowed to use our phone on site for safety reasons. Usually this rule is pretty easy to get around but if I’m in the middle of doing something where I can’t quickly step over to a safe location then I’m going to miss the call.

          There are hundreds of legit reasons why someone might not be able to answer the phone right at that moment. If a potential employer gave me any grief about it I would consider that a red flag.

      4. The Original K.*

        Yeah, I don’t answer the phone unless I know who it is, and the vast majority of people I know are the same. I return calls if they leave a voicemail – “Hi, this is Jane from Acme Explosives calling about your application” would get a returned call quickly.

  46. Retail not Retail*

    I was never bugged by my manager misspelling my first name on the daily schedule (his spelling is fascinating although he does usually get names right). But on the weekly schedule he misspelled my last name and it started driving me bonkers – wrong double letter, different pronunciation. Everyone said let it go, as long as it’s right on your paycheck it doesn’t matter.

    Well one day I fixed it with pen. And i did that every week for a month and then he started spelling it right.

  47. Elizabeth without the E*

    Generally I don’t mind it if someone adds the E to my first name – I get it, it’s an uncommon spelling (I’ve never met another person with my first name), but there’s this person who emails me at work, not a coworker but an outside person, who calls me Elizabeth every.time.she.emails! She wrote my name correctly the first two times she emailed me (my work email is firstname.lastname) but I can’t help but feeling she’s being passive aggressive now because I can’t do the thing she wants until a group I have no control over makes a decision. I want so much to reply to her “Jennifer, this hasn’t been awarded yet, thank you” where her name is Jessica (neither is her real name) but I don’t.

    1. Bebe*

      Elizabeth-with-an-E over here. I understand the passive-aggressive urge for sure – the Name Shorteners are infuriating sometimes. Years ago, I had a co-worker who persisted in calling me “Betsy” (my least favorite nickname for Elizabeth), despite the fact that I corrected him every.single.time. One day he said “Well, my sister’s name is Elizabeth and she goes by Betsy.” I guess my filter stopped working that day, because I looked him straight in the eye and said,”My sister’s name is Maria.”

      Problem solved.

  48. Ms. Spell*

    I have a name that is a less common variation on a common name, and it used to bother me a lot more when people would misspell it. The thing is, I’ve had co-workers who are kind, compassionate, competent, respectful people who regularly misspell my name. One I’m thinking of in particular has another name that has two common variations and is often misspelled by people. So she was certainly not unfamiliar with this from our end of things, too. It still baffles me that she and others like her continue(d) to misspell my name without comment or apology, but the only conclusion I’ve been able to come to is that for some people, including those affected by frequent misspellings, it’s just not a thing they even *see*. It’s not always a respect thing, but it’s kind of like how my husband literally can’t see when there is food still stuck to a bowl he is pulling out of the dishwasher to put away. Or how sometimes I literally can’t see my keys when they are hanging on the hook, where they belong, 2 feet from my face. These can be annoyances, but are often nothing more than annoyances.

    Look, I still get annoyed when people misspell my name. But I also stop and think about who did it and my working or social relationship with them. And more often than not, it’s clear that they are just one of those people who is otherwise kind and respectful and for some reason is blind to how I freaking spell my name. And I let it be. I’ve only rarely found it to be indicative of a larger issue regarding how they think of me.

    Sorry if that came off as lecture-y. I mean for it to be supportive. Because in the end those people are going to misspell our names, and it’s easier on us to figure out how to let it go, and just occasionally rant in places like this. ;-)

    1. blackcat*

      Yeah, both my first name and last name have a double letter, and both are often spelled with just a single one (so “n” instead of my “nn”).

      *I don’t even notice when people misspell my name in these ways.* I will if I’m like, proofreading to check, but even then I sometimes miss the last name misspelling. I try hard to get it right for other people, but my brain just isn’t wired to notice. I’m a terrible proof-reader as well, and I think this is all related to the particular struggles I had learning to spell as a kid. As long as things were phonetically equivalent, I just didn’t notice I had spelled something wrong.

  49. Mel_05*

    A lot of people aren’t going to be bothered if you misspell their name in return. They certainly won’t realize you’re passive aggressively pointing out that they misspelled *your* name.

    People *very* often get my name wrong. Misspellings, sure, but also just totally wrong.

    It doesn’t bother me at all and while I notice it – I only occasionally feel the need to point out that they got it wrong.

    If I called your Sara and you called me Mergatroid, I would laugh about it to my office-mate and never ever realize that I also slmessed up your name.

  50. Eeek*

    My name is Lauren and I worked for a full year with a woman who called me Lynn. Even in emails. With my full name in the email. It was such a thing I had to tell my bf at the time not to blink at the Christmas party. I also spent a year working with the exec from a neighbouring agency collaborating and he spelled my name Loren daily. I just figured whhhaattteeeevvver. Its something to laugh about in line at the bank.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I’ve had people misspell my name in emails, with my correct name right there on the To line of the email. It is, to this day, a mystery to me. At least mine were only off by one letter and not something like Lauren-Lynn.

    2. you can call me flower, if you want to*

      My name is also Lauren, and I’m called Laura regularly. What is it with calling Laurens by completely different “L” names? Lynn and Lauren aren’t even close. I also have people spell it, Loren, and I had a tennis coach who thought the names Loren and Lauren were pronounced differently. He pronounced Lauren—L (ow) ren. It was pretty odd. I’m glad I found another Lauren who is called by the wrong “L” name. Nice to virtually meet you!

      1. Also Lauren*

        I had a teacher once say to me, “You seem more like a Laurel to me,” which was funny, as both I and my mother preferred that to my Lauren name. But yes. Laurie, Laura, Laurel, Larissa- if it’s got a “L” and a “R” somewhere in it, I’ll probably answer to it.

  51. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

    Letter #4: As the owner of the less-commonly spelled way of a common name, I’ve made my peace by always making sure to have my name at the bottom of replies so the offender can see.

  52. blackcat*

    For the spelling, I’m in camp “let it go unless it really matters.”

    I’m in academia, and when I’m working with people to present something or submit a proposal or paper, I’m a super stickler. My first name/last name combo is *extremely* common, so I insist in publishing under First Middle Last. And, as a kicker, all three names have other common spellings. For the first and last name, it’s exactly what you describe: the other common variant drops a letter. For my middle name, it’s a Scottish/Irish thing for different spellings, and I’ve got the less phonetic Sottish one. I end up correcting people all the time when it matters (which is frequently for me), but in low-stakes things, I let it go completely. I generally aim for something like “Oh, by the way, I publish under my full name First Middle Last, with that spelling. I’ve corrected it in the document.”
    The one exception of a name thing I do not let go is being called Mrs. Outside of work, I do a gentle “Oh, it’s Ms. or Dr.” Work related, I correct people to Dr. every time.

  53. LGC*

    LW2: And this is another reason why it’s so dumb to consider reopening now. (You know, aside from risking people’s lives just to save some money on UI.) It sounds like your boss has absolutely torpedoed her relationship with you through this, and the job market isn’t going to be wrecked forever.

    If she’s so insistent on reopening, she can do so herself.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      We may reopen as soon as the twelfth but our pay is good til the 9th whether we show up or not.

      A lot of people not in truly essential departments are bowing the hell out right now and I did it too!

  54. Delta Delta*

    #4 – My middle name is a fairly common name. It was misspelled on my law degree. Let’s pretend it’s Sara. They printed it as Sarah. I took it back and asked for it to be replaced, since it had a misspelling. I was told by the person in charge, “yeah, but Sara is a way to spell it.” I said that isn’t how I spell it and I’d like it fixed. she audibly sighed, rolled her eyes, and got me a new one. I probably wouldn’t have done that if it was something minor, but with something like a degree (which I had on my wall for a while and now I’m not even sure where it is) that people see all the time, you’d like it to be right.

  55. No Tribble At All*

    Everyone jumps on the name-spelling letter because they’re too horrified to answer #1 (who has that cancer) or #2 (Georgia wants everyone to get covid).

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      True, I personally am speechless. #1 is just the lowest I’ve seen a person go in probably my whole life, and I’ve had a long life with a lot of disappointing people in it.

      1. Oxford Comma*

        The poor woman with cancer whose boss would follow her into her chemo treatments is my rock bottom so far.

      2. emmelemm*

        The AOL preemie babies debacle is perhaps a little bit lower even than breast cancer. But when you’re that low, these distinctions become infinitely tiny.

    2. SweetestCin*

      I mean, there’s no real answer for either other than “yup. Worst boss of 2020 nominee here”. And to hope that once the current pandemic clears, people get the heck out of crappy companies.

    3. Batgirl*

      I was honestly impressed by Alison’s ability to answer LW2 honestly and with sympathy, despite the bleakness. Essentially it’s ‘This is the position you’re in. You shouldn’t be in this position’

    4. James*

      “Georgia wants everyone to get covid”

      No. Georgia is concerned about the long-term impacts of essentially shutting down the economy. We’ve seen what a recession and a depression can do, and the cost in human lives is not small. This is something worth discussing–it’s not without risks, after all–and reasonable people can disagree on which risk is worse.

      This is exacerbated by the fact that we honestly don’t know how many cases of COVID-19 there have been. There is strong evidence that the virus was here far earlier than people assumed, and serum testing has demonstrated that the official numbers are off by as much as 50-85% (serum tests catch non-symptomatic folks, while testing the way the USA is doing it does not). Even death rates are being adjusted, as some states/counties/cities have been caught intentionally manipulating the death rates (I’ve heard of a case of a man killed in a car wreck being listed as a COVID-19 death because he had the virus, for example).

      Attributing malice to people who disagree with you is not “being kind”. Nor is it being reasonable. The cost of the potential economic impacts are worth considering.

      (Please note that I agree with continuing the shutdown. I find the tone and the attribution of malice to be objectionable.)

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        A large number of people dying will also wreck the economy. As will an even larger number of people having enormous medical bills.

        Honestly, the economic damage is already vast. That horse has left the barn.

        And assuming malice doesn’t exist is (at best) naive, considering the abundant examples of malice shown by the sorts of politicians pushing shutdowns, and their supporters. “The cruelty is the point,” as Adam Serwer so eloquently put it.

        1. Important Moi*

          Wow at the comments removed. Wow at the comments not removed. Wow at the comments that have been posted since.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I don’t see everything. If there’s something specific you think I should see, please flag it for me. But I do not remove comments simply because they express a different point of view than mine or than the majority’s here.

            From the commenting rules:

            I do not read and approve every single comment. The volume is far too high. So if you see a comment that seems problematic, please don’t do this: “I can’t believe this comment is allowed! Why has Alison approved this?!” Instead, assume I haven’t seen it and feel free to flag it and I’ll take a look (if you include a link in your comment, it’ll go to moderation so I’ll see it).

            1. Important Moi*

              Very fair observation. I appreciate your responding. I actually don’t think you need to respond to everything actually, but if you didn’t…I know comments can get ugly. Today has been interesting. Some of the comments I really agreed with. Some of the comments just struck me as extra ugly today. I think discussion on certain comments could have been interesting.

              I’ve been on the internet since yahoo was a beta site. Also, I’ve never flagged a comment for removal on any website ever. I have no idea as to what that entails., but of course, I comment. This if one of the few places I comment. I’ve got a pretty thick skin about this. It is the internet after all. Moderation is hard. I still be reading. Thanks again for responding..:)

        2. James*

          “A large number of people dying will also wreck the economy. As will an even larger number of people having enormous medical bills.”

          Granted. However, there will reach a point where the economic devastation from continued shutdowns will exceed the economic devastation from COVID-19 deaths. The question is, where is that point? At what point does it hurt people more to continue to live under lockdown than it does to allow them to risk infection and spreading the infection?

          Also, something that often gets lost in these discussions: There’s not one curve. Ottoville Ohio, with a population of (last time I checked) 891 people, is going to have a different curve than Atlanta Georgia. Decisions as to where the inflection point are will need to be made at the local level. What we are calling “flattening the curve” is, from an evolutionary perspective, a type of artificial selection–and that means that, as with all selection processes, global effects will be filtered through regional and local changing environments. It’s entirely possible, indeed we should expect it to be the case, that some areas will re-open earlier than others. Without knowing the local details one cannot make an informed opinion on whether re-opening or continued lockdown is more dangerous.

          “Honestly, the economic damage is already vast. That horse has left the barn.”

          It’s a given that a vast amount of economic damage has been done. But it can still get much, much worse. It’s legitimate to be extremely concerned about this, as we have very recent examples of economic collapse.

          “And assuming malice doesn’t exist is (at best) naïve…”

          You are far more generous than me. Assuming malice is dishonest, and generally little more than an attempt to control the conversation. It’s telling that preferred response to this pandemic is divided almost entirely along political lines.

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Maybe I didn’t word that last bit clearly enough. It is naive (at best) to *dismiss* the possibility of malice. Or, rather, to close one’s eyes to the abundant evidence of malice. I don’t know what you mean by “control the conversation,” but no one with any decency or sense can honestly believe that no politicians, interest groups, or voters are malicious.

          2. Blueberry*

            It’s telling that preferred response to this pandemic is divided almost entirely along political lines.

            Yes, it really is. For example, I’m a little bit shocked that a scientist would come down on the side you have chosen.

      2. No Tribble At All*

        Legit, this is a good point. I commented flippantly about a complicated subject.

        I still think it is dangerous and irresponsible of them, especially because they backed themselves into a corner by forcing caps on UI. So: Georgia wants everyone off its unemployment. Fairer?

        1. James*

          I still don’t think that that paints a fair picture of the situation. As of 2018 (last stats I saw) only 8 states had worse poverty rates than Georgia. There are a lot of small towns that rely on a handful of businesses. There are a lot of people who already relied heavily on welfare programs (not always the same as being in poverty). It relies heavily on industries not amenable to remote working, such as farming, manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing (is that the right word? Not sure). This puts them in a worse position to respond to disasters than most other states. All of those are factors that need to be considered.

          Saying “Georgia wants everyone off its unemployment” makes it sound like Georgia just wants to save some money. The reality is, Georgia–and a lot of the South–don’t have a whole lot of options. State money is a finite resource. (And before you say it, I STRONGLY disagree with how many states spend their money! I say that as someone living in the South.)

  56. LGC*

    LW4: Is the version without the last letter more common? It might be spell check. To use Alison as an example, “Allison” is just more common as a spelling.

    (One of my employees misspelled HIS OWN name. Which is a common English name in Spanish. I was confused because I didn’t have his number on hand.)

    That said, I’m going to be contrary and say that you should use your words. Once. (If you haven’t already recently.) People are…not that perceptive. One of my senior coworkers misspells names all the time, even when we have their names on hand.

    1. Batgirl*

      Hah, maybe he’s like Shakespeare. He spelled his name several different ways and never with the spelling we now use.

    2. EvilQueenRegina*

      My cousin has definitely blamed spell check for correcting our uncle’s name to the more commonly used Ian rather than our uncle’s actual spelling Iain. He once managed to invite a random to his wedding because he sent an email to ianlastname at hotmail instead of iainlastname and only realised when Mum corrected him.

    3. Allison Wonderland*

      My parents swear they gave me the more common spelling of Allison, yet I still get ‘Alison’ all the time from colleagues and acquaintances. It seems no matter how common the spelling of your name is, people will find a way to assign you the other spelling.

    4. londonedit*

      Allison is more common in the US, but Alison is vastly more common in the UK. A British Allison would have to deal with people spelling it Alison all the time, because we’re just not used to seeing the version with the double L here. There are a few names like this – in the US Lesley is more commonly a male name and Leslie is the female version, but in the UK, it’s the other way round.

      1. LGC*

        Today I learned that the US is not the center of the world! I’d actually never thought there would be a difference between the UK and US with “Allison”/”Alison”.

  57. Casual Fribsday*

    I think I’d change my email signature to Sarah “with an H” Lastname which is just on the cheeky side of passive aggressive.

  58. Liza*

    OP #4: I get called Lisa all the time, and it used to bug the hell out of me. I accidentally trained myself out of minding, though! I decided that every time someone called me Lisa, I owed myself a Lindt truffle. After a few months of this I didn’t mind anymore, which was an unexpected but very welcome effect.

  59. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    #4 – seriously let it go. I’ve learned over my career that many people just don’t pay attention to email. It doesn’t matter if it’s literally staring them right in the face – they skim and they don’t care. The amount of time I’ve spent carefully crafting emails to try and make sure they’re read and I don’t have to answer a bunch of questions that are clearly stated in the original email is ridiculous. I’ve also worked with a Christi and a Brian and constantly called them Christ and Brain because it wasn’t marked as incorrect and I didn’t notice. It happens, it’s most likely not done intentionally to annoy you and it really isn’t a big deal.

    Signed, a one L Michele

  60. Laura H.*

    OP 5, I have a phone stand that helps pop in the “not using my phone casually” mindset. As an added bonus- I feel like I look better too, and there’s a lot less initial fiddling with it or trying to find a decent place to prop the phone up…

    As an added factor, consider which interface you’re more familiar with and use that (phone and computer interfaces for programs do differ). I’ve always used the meeting softwares via phone because the controls are in the program rather than having an additional layer to hunt down in my computer settings.

    You’re doing what’s best for you. :)

  61. HailRobonia*

    Regarding the name, my coworkers and I used to have a game where we got a point every time our director or clients misspell our names. None of us had “unusual” names, all common names spelled in common ways.

    And occasionally use the wrong name entirely. As in calling someone Jeremy when their name is Jason.

    1. HailRobonia*

      oh, and my company misspells my last name all the time (missing a letter), to the point where my name on my purchasing card is wrong.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      Getting the name wrong — in my defense, we have a team where every one of them is a youngish white dude with a name that starts with J. John, Josh, James, Jason, and… also Josh? I think?

  62. Laney Boggs*

    I feel OP#4. Dropping the last letter of my name is a man’s name. And it’s happened about 4 times now? That one of my immediate, in-office coworkers started an IM or email with “Hi Alan”

    Add onto that a Polish last name that people constantly misspell, despite it being written… 3 times per email (header, then signed my full name, then my email address under my full name)

  63. Bookworm*

    #2: I’m so sorry. I don’t have any words of advice or anything, but just wanted to add to Alison and everyone else’s thoughts–your head boss sucks and so do the absurd people pushing to re-open at a time like this. Good luck.

    #3: It’s up to you. I never have unless I had some forewarning (I’m an introvert and previous jobs have made me VERY phone-averse), so I prefer to let it go to VM, collect and prep myself for the call. I don’t think it’s unreasonable now for you to do the same: a lot of people are trying to juggle working, child/family care, grocery shopping, etc. etc.

    #4: I would let it go, but I’d also keep that little tidbit in mind. I also have a name that gets misspelled and depending on the context I often let it go (do I REALLY need that correct name for my food or drink pickup?) but it can also be a matter of attention to detail and even respect. I don’t know if this is your situation (didn’t think so from your letter?) but sometimes people will do petty and silly things like purposely misspelling your name or giving you a nickname because yours is “too hard” to say or spell, etc. But if it’s right there in your email? I get the irritation.

    1. Amy Sly*

      Yep. I divide the world into three groups: people who need to know how to say my name, people who need to spell my name, and the very few people who need to do both. If you just need to say it (e.g. restaurants, bartenders, etc.), I say “Sly” and don’t correct your spelling. If you need to spell it (say, filling out legal paperwork), I spell it out with phonetic letters (“That’s S as in Sierra, etc.) and don’t correct your pronunciation. If you actually need to know both because it’s a close and long-running relationship, I’ll bother with insisting you get it right. Life is too short to get upset over every Shee, Shleigh, Shelley, Ashley, etc.

  64. Mike*

    Kinda re #4. How do you correct people who use your name in the wrong form? For example I’m fine with Mike or Michael (and in fact go by Mike to avoid confusion with a Michael I work with a lot). What I’m not cool with is Mike Lastname, especially on registrations and documents.

    1. Me*

      I’m sorry, I don’t go by Mike legally. I’ll need this corrected on here to my legal name Michael. Thanks so much!

    2. Asenath*

      You tell them, just like any other polite correction. My brother had a name that was often shortened, and this was especially common when he was a child, as though there’s some rule that children always have nicknames. We all got a lot of experience with this sort of thing. You tell them “Actually, I go by ‘Michael'” (or, in my case, if someone uses the wrong form to me, “Actually, he goes by ‘Michael'”. And if a person gives you a form or a document with “Mike”, pass it back with a polite smile and “Would you please correct this? It should be ‘Michael'”. This is going to be more difficult in your case, since you sometimes do use “Mike”, but anyone should understand that documents often have your formal/legal name.

      There might be someone who just can’t get it right, or someone you’ll never see again who gets it wrong, and those must be endured. But most people will try to get it right, especially on documentation/

    3. MissBliss*

      “I go by Michael Lastname professionally. I’m fine with folks calling me Mike– particularly because otherwise I’d get confused with Michael Otherlastname!– but because I’m known as Michael Lastname in the field, I need that reflected on these documents.”

  65. Jean*

    OP, I am so sorry. I live in Georgia too and I’m pretty mindf**ked at how our state is handling this crisis. If you do decide to stay at this job and return to the office, please be safe. Hugs.

    1. OP#2*

      Thanks, Jean. What’s going to sound nuts is I actually really like my job and my boss and manager. It’s just this whole situation is so infuriating. My boss is a good person deep down and I’d like to stay a while longer but it’ll be a while before the economy recovers enough where I can actually begin looking

  66. EmilyAnn*

    Thank you so much for the reminder about Liz. I worked for a Congressman when that happened, and it was a good warning for what could happen to an e-mail.

  67. James*

    OP 5: I once had to join a conference call while sitting in a Jacks (got a coffee and breakfast sandwich prior to the meeting, and I was the only one in the place). This was for a month-long project where I was a key player. My boss wasn’t thrilled–until I pointed out that the reason I was there was that I was driving home from another of his projects, and company policy forbids the use of cell phones when driving.

    As long as visual aids aren’t critical (and I do not consider looking at faces to be critical in 99% of situations), phone’s fine. If visual aids are critical, they should be made available after the meeting anyway, as part of the minutes.

  68. Retail not Retail*

    Op2 – your state sucks. My state sucks too. My city and county do not! We’re exempt from the opening shenanigans for another week.

    A small private school said the governor only recommended schools close for the year so we’re opening the 27th. Later that day, the city health board said the hell you are, do it and get shut down and get fines.

    My job is threading the line between a park and like… attraction? We told the city we would reduce maximum attendance and keep indoor spaces closed. My department doesn’t come in contact with guests (that doesn’t stop them from getting in our space to ask questions!) but others do. And then they come in contact with us.

    My city said nope we are not opening when the state does, we have the hospitals!

    Is Atlanta not doing the same? (If you’re in a city)

    1. OP#2*

      Yeah I’m in ATL. I feel bad for the mayor because she has no power over the governor unfortunately and she was one of the first to close bars and limit exposure. Our hospitals have been fairing okay…for now but Atlanta is projected to become the next NYC and for the first time in a long time that’s NOT A GOOD THING.

    2. Putting Out Fires, Esq.*

      Cool facts, our governor’s order explicitly preempted local regulations. (I’m a lawyer in GA so you best believe I read the thing.) so even though the ATL mayor has sense, she can’t do anything about it! Except urge people to not be dumb.

      I’m an essential worker anyway, and what I’ve been doing to counteract is limiting EVERYTHING ELSE, no grocery store no drugstore, everything by delivery. I have to expose myself to the public but because I serve a verrrrry vulnerable population. (indigent people) I am limiting everything else, including my household’s contacts.

      So if Even you have to go in, you can still socially isolate in other ways to limit your exposure and the risks you pose to others. Solidarity, Governor’s an idiot.

      1. Lord Gouldian Finch*

        Solidarity from the NW of the state too. Our curve had flattened nicely – we were also ahead on closing down and just had the county regs overruled. Oy. At least a lot of our local businesses are voluntarily staying closed.

  69. blackcatlady*

    My first name is always mispronounced by most people. My last name is commonly both misspelled and mispronounced. It’s very useful for screening unwanted phone calls! BTW at work I correct people about my first name – the head of our department finally got it right after a year and a half – LOL. Life’s too short so I just roll with the wrong pronunciation with people I’m only going to deal with once.

  70. Not Alison*

    Wrong name: So wait a minute – – if someone misgenders a person then it is OK to rain holy hell on them – – but if they call the person by the wrong name or spell the name incorrectly we are supposed to fluff it off and not take it personally?
    I don’t get that – – to me, calling me by a wrong name or spelling my name wrong seems way more of a personal insult.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      I find mispronouncing it worse than misspelling it because my job right now doesn’t involve emailing people and what not.

      We mostly communicate by buggy radios and some people have thicker regional accents than others. I only learned how one guy’s name was spelled 3 months into my job when we were doing an all operations meeting.

      As for misgendering, it’s rude after you’ve been told. And it’s rude if you make a show of it the next time.

    2. fposte*

      As evidenced by how universal misspelling and mispronouncing is, it’s not personal; that’s kind of Alison’s point.

    3. Tempononymous*

      Misspelling or mispronouncing is more commonly a mistake/oversight.
      Misgendering is most commonly intentional disrespect.

      I am in favor of letting mistakes/oversights go.
      I am in favor of “raining holy hell” on intentional disrespect.

      And your whataboutism is not helpful here at all.

    4. Dahlia*

      Because “I slightly mixed up your name” and “I think you are a liar about your own gender” are the same thing.

  71. Me*

    My name is Rebekah. Last name is a name that could conceivably be a first name. People mess up my name all the time. The spelling, referring to me by may last name which is always bizarre to me sine out of the two options I’ve never met someone with the last name of Rebekah.

    There are two things I will say something about, nicely, one is referring to me by my last name as my first. The other is the insane amount of people with the desire to call me Becky. Nope no how not happening and I will correct you every single time.

    Fun fact, my nasty old grandmother has intentionally spelled my name wrong for 40 years because she doesn’t like me mother. We just ignore it.

    1. mgguy*

      Something that can work down south/in the Bible belt is to say “Rebekah-like in the Bible” but I realize that may not work everywhere, nor will everyone understand it.

  72. MicroManagered*

    OP4 During my career I’ve worked with a Stacy, 2 Stacies, a Stacee, and a Staysee. Just to play Devil’s Advocate here, some names have multiple ways to spell them and it can be super annoying to have to remember or figure out which way a person’s name is spelled.

    As AAM said (note how I’m referring to the author of this site? It’s because I can’t remember if she has one L or two), if they aren’t misspelling so bad that it’s a completely different name, I think you should assume positive intentions first and let it go.

    Deliberately misspelling their name in return is passive-aggressive and will damage your reputation.

    1. SarahTheEntwife*

      It’s annoying to have to keep track of it, but do other people not just type the person’s email in to check the spelling? Technology makes this so easy now.

      1. MicroManagered*

        Sure! I do do that, but what if someone comes up in email as “Jones, Anastasia” but I know she doesn’t go by that? Is she Stacy, Stacie, Stacee, or Staysee for short? Now I have to try to find a past email to see how she spells it, etc.

        Granted, this is an extremely low-stakes, mild annoyance! :)

        1. MicroManagered*

          Whoops! Meant to add: So if I accidentally went for Stacee when you are Stacie, it’s probably not an intentional dis. If write back and call me Michel instead of Michelle that’s gonna come off super petty.

  73. Nina*

    Short term unemployment – at least in my stats it’s by the week anyways, so it would actually be built into the system to request it the weeks you need it and not the weeks you don’t

    Phone while job hunting – how senior is “more senior”. Would about middle management be considered a more senior position?

    Video calls on phone – oh I thought this was going to be about not joining video for some calls (which I did yesterday). I think what you’re doing is a good workaround, a strong connection is better than fritzy computer video

  74. Anonny Bean*

    Oh my god I empathize over names. My name is Carley and while I understand it’s a more uncommon spelling, the number of times I get “Carly” or “Carlie” even after people see my email signature really gets to me sometimes. One time someone called me frustrated that their email to me got bounced back. They spelled out my email and I had to tell them they had missed the E.

    I’ve corrected a few people with a warm but matter of fact heads up that it’s harder to find me in the system without it. But to the guy whose phone autocorrects my name to Carpet or Cartel when he emails me…I don’t bother anymore. I take a deep breath, laugh, and then tell my friends about it later.

  75. Phillip*

    As a sometimes Philip, Peter, Patrick, and Paul; that used to always reply that they found my “code name”: gotta just let it go after a while. It’s too much work and adds extra apology cycles to your inbox at best.

  76. an infinite number of monkeys*

    OP3, a couple of years ago I was making calls to set up interviews and one promising applicant answered his phone with a very angry, “TAKE THIS NUMBER OFF YOUR LIST!” I know I just showed up as an unknown number and he assumed I was a scammer, but yeah, I didn’t try again.

    No answer/going to voicemail, on the other hand, is no biggie!

  77. Cass*


    I totally relate to this. My first name and last name are both common first names, and people occasionally swap my last name with my first name in emails. In my younger days I sometimes passive aggressively swapped their names and address them by their much more common last name as the first name. Admittedly it flt good at the time, but never really fixed the problem, and I doubt anyone ever noticed. I figured out as Alison suggested, not caring was the most liberating thing I could do for myself.

  78. Roscoe*

    As far as the name, just let it go.

    I’m in a client facing role. I have a name that is common enough, but there is a more common one that is. close. Think Jane and jen. I get the wrong one in email responses all the time, and my email address, signature, everything is. right there. I just learned years ago to let it go. Getting mad everytime will just impact you, not them

  79. Que Syrah Syrah*

    #4 – The president of our company has spelled my name Rachael since day 1. He’s a great dude and we get along well. I have him a few months of my responding to his messages with “Thanks/Cheers, Rachel” and him having to type my auto filled address into the To field on email before I finally told him, very nonchalant and cheerful: “oh, by the way, it’s Rachel, not Rachael. I figured you’d want to know.”

    His response: “Oh, thank you! I do want to get it right. Way to keep me on my toes!”

    His very next email, it was RIGHT back to Rachael.

    I just laughed, and continue to do so every time. I’ve leaned into the finding humor in it.

    1. Devotion To Accuracy*

      I know someone whose name is spelled Rachael. In her e-mail signature, she uses a distinctive font and color for her first name, and underlines the ae letter combination as well. It has caught my attention, although admittedly, I’m a very detailed-oriented person to begin with.

  80. MissBliss*

    I have so much empathy for the person whose name is being misspelled. Mine isn’t quite the same, but my first name is uncommon as a name and my surname is common as both first and surnames (something like James). My work email sorts us Surname, Firstname (for everyone, so it’s not like they don’t know the setup!) and I frequently get emails/replies from colleagues who don’t know me personally to “James.” I just ignore it and move on, and probably 75% of the time, people either catch their mistake and just start using my first name, or they express their mortification and use my first name. It’s totally forgivable and I do not mind at all. However, my alma mater continues to send me mail addressed to Mr. James Firstname, so… that’s not forgiven.

  81. mgguy*

    Re: #3 as someone who just wrapped up a nearly year-long job search in an effort to relocate(the wait was worth it, as I landed a position that I think is a perfect match for me with also a lot of potential for growth, but I’m digressing):

    I’m generally someone who lets unknown numbers go to voicemail, but in the past year I’ve needed to handle that a bit differently.

    In particular, knowing the area codes where the job is located can be extremely helpful(obviously only relevant if you’re looking in a different area) and when possible ALWAYS answering calls from that area is a good policy when you have active applications. For me, if I saw a 618 or 314, I knew I was going to pick it up.

    Of course, that doesn’t necessarily work for big corporations. In interviewing multiple times for a job(didn’t get it) with a large company and a job based out of St. Louis(but company based out of California), I had calls from WA State, Delaware, Iowa, and Nebraska. Another large company that has a primary physical presence in St. Louis called me from NYC, and I didn’t actually talk to anyone(by email or phone) from St. Louis until I walked in the door for a scheduled interview(disaster for a lot of reasons, and glad I didn’t get that one).

    One thing I have found, however, is that most prospective employers these days tend to not “cold call” at least on initial contact. They are conscious, especially if you are currently employed, of the fact that they probably need to schedule even a phone screen with you. Most emailed me, stated the purpose, and gave me a few options to choose for a call.

    Once the initial contact has been established, calls at any time are a bit more common in my experience, but as long as they know you’re a live person they’ll at least leave a voicemail.

    I should offer a caveat on all of that the job I did end up accepted did initially reach out to me in a cold call, and it was ~48 hours after I submitted the application. The cold call was to ask about my availability for an in-person interview.

    One last thing too-at least my experience is that after an interview/when you’re in the offer stage, a phone call is almost always good news(an offer). I’ve only had one rejection phone call(which I really appreciated in that particular circumstance) but all others have been by email which I generally prefer even though it’s a bit colder. At the same time, though, if they’re calling to make an offer-which means they’ve already spent a lot of time and energy on you anyway-you’re not going to lose it if you do need to let it go to voice mail.

  82. Governmint Condition*

    On #4, we had an incident where a misspelled name feminized a male name. Think “Toni” instead of “Tony.” It was in an e-mail from an employee who came from a country where they are unfamiliar with western names and their gender-specific variants, so she just spelled it like it sounded to her. “Tony” was so upset, he immediately stopped having anything to do with our group, refusing to give us mandatory sign-offs when needed. We had to go to his boss for those sign-offs instead. In fact, 5 years later, we still have to.

    1. Actual Vampire*

      Tony sounds awful. And misogynistic. (Seriously, so your name got misspelled and now it looks girly. Who cares?)

      I’m currently in a grad program with tons of international students from one country. They are also unfamiliar with American gender-specific names, as well as with gender pronouns in general. Even the students with very good English skills constantly use the wrong gender pronouns for people. It’s been an interesting experience, especially against the backdrop of an increased awareness of preferred pronouns for trans folks.

      1. Dahlia*

        Just FYI, trans folks’ pronouns aren’t “preferred” pronouns – they’re the correct pronouns.

        1. Actual Vampire*

          I thought of that right after I hit the “submit” button. Thanks for the correction!

  83. Double L*

    OP 4, I think regarding the misspelling of the name, I’d let it go. My name has a double L in it and people often spell it with a single L because that’s more common. It annoys me but I’m not going to reply every time it’s misspelled.

    However, I would say that if the coworker is doing it…vindictively, you should say something. When my supervisor (A) spoke with someone higher up (B), B would often misspell A’s name if B was scolding A for something or asking A to do something. If B was in the wrong and sorta apologizing to A, B spelled A’s name correctly. A spoke with their boss and this was addressed, especially because other people were starting to notice the pattern of rudeness.

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      Reminds me of a Ron Swanson quote: “When people get too chummy with me, I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.”

  84. A Simple Narwhal*

    Suddenly feeling very guilty over all the times I’ve probably said Allison instead of Alison in the comments. D-:

    Won’t happen again now!

  85. Kayley*

    For OP1, my husband had stage 4 cancer and was on my insurance. When my company switched health insurance, they worked very closely with me prior to the switch to make sure that there was no interruption in my husband’s chemo and testing due to pre-authorization requirements with the new insurance (otherwise an MRI would have been put on hold until we could get pre-auth), and to make sure that all of his providers would remain in network or that we got authorization for them to be treated in network. So….it may be that the company is trying to do the right thing and look out for its employee’s wife?

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      I would love to believe they have good intentions, but if this was somehow the case, there is a significantly better way to achieve this goal without interrogating every employee. Plus, a change in insurance could affect multiple people, it would be better to send a company-wide email such as “…We’re switching insurances, if you are in the middle of any treatments/have any upcoming appointments, please contact [person] so we can ensure no care is interrupted or delayed by the switch.”

      So even if their intentions are pure, they’re going about it very wrong.

    2. emmelemm*

      If they were really trying to be supportive in that way, they would probably know which employee’s spouse had cancer already because the employee would have volunteered the information in a broader sense. Sneakily trying to discern who has what condition so you can surprise them with “Guess what, we made sure you can keep your doctor, aren’t we lovely?” is… unlikely.

  86. KJ*

    I once took a CSR course (mandatory for the government service my employer provides) where the instructor said you should never try and pronounce a name if you can’t say it correctly. As someone who constantly has their name misspelled and pronounced (not to mention misgendering me (f) because my last name is a man’s first name), MAKE THE EFFORT! I would rather receive Sarah/Sara/Sierra/etc than nothing at all – whether written or spoken. A large portion of my clients do not have English/Western names, and I always make an effort to spell and pronounce their names correctly. I always ask them to correct me if I’m pronouncing it wrong.

    Signed, Woman with uncommonly spelled uncommon first name + man’s last name

    1. Delta Delta*

      I teach a class and if I encounter a student whose name I’m not confident I can get right on the first try, I ask them to tell me how they say it so that I get it right. And I also always tell them that if I get it wrong I want them to correct me.

    2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      I have an unusual-in-this-country, “foreign/ethnic” name with an archaic spelling and I am burned out from a lifetime of having to have entire conversations about it before I can conduct my business.* I would much rather the person focus on solving my problem and call me “ma’am” or whatever during the call, than waste minutes of my time telling me “I want to be respectful and call you by your name” and force me to struggle through the chore of coaching them through it to THEIR satisfaction (or more likely, the satisfaction of QA** who needs to hear them pepperbomb the call with my name in order to prove they’re “making a connection”. Please just spell it right on the paperwork and move on with the call. To me it is disrespectful to waste my time when I’ve already said “it’s okay, please don’t” **
      *This is if it’s a one-time customer service or sales call! obviously if we’re going to have a real relationship, I’ll make sure they have it right.
      **Honestly, the best way to handle this issue as a CSR is to just do whatever the caller wants. A good QA will understand that
      ***I have in fact gotten snippy with people trying to give me nicknames because my name is “too hard” lady I don’t care, you’re already being a jerk to me and this is a bridge too far

    3. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      On the other hand, I 100% prefer people who straight up say “How do you pronounce your name” rather than trying to struggle through it on their own and coming up with a halfhearted attempt that makes it VERY clear that I’m a weirdo from the planet Weird.

  87. Jennifer*

    #2 Solidarity from a fellow Georgian. Even the president has stated the re-opening plan here is too drastic. Maybe the governor will listen.

  88. mgguy*

    Re: OP #4

    I sometimes get that from both ends, as there are a few last names that are similar to mine, but not a lot of people with my exact last name. I quit correcting people on that a really long time ago unless it was in a situation where it was important(i.e. at the bank, dealing with payroll, etc). I have people I’ve known for 15 years who still can’t get it right!

    I go by a shortened, 3 letter form of my middle name, and weirdly enough when spoken a lot of people mis-hear it as a totally different 3 letter guy’s name. There again, depending on context, I will either subtly correct it(most people are extremely embarrased when they realize how badly they messed it up) or just roll with it.

    I know it’s a sensitive topic for a lot of people, though, and having had it happen to me more than once I try to be EXTREMELY conscious of spelling names correctly, particularly with women’s names where there are multiple variations that are pronounced the same. If I’m exchanging emails with a “Sara” who I don’t know, I’ll read back and make sure it really is “Sara without an H” or “Rachel without an A” or “Rebekah with a K”. If the person is in front of me, I don’t know them particularly well, and I’m writing or typing something I will usually say “Okay, is that Sara with or without an H?” or alternatively spell it out loud as I’m typing with pauses where a variation might exist and give them an opportunity to correct me. There again, though, I also take that kind of correction very gracefully(I want to be told) and if I have messed up I’ll apologize and be even more likely to remember.

    Unfortunately, though, I think it’s just the reality that it’s going to happen, and not everyone is aware of it even being an issue.

  89. QuinleyThorne*

    LW#2: My husband is in the same position you are. Texas hasn’t completely “re-opened” yet, but they’re beginning the first phase, and it looks like they want it done by the summer. The CEO and COO at my husband’s company took this as a signal that “we’re past the spike of this thing” and decided that employees will report back to the office starting Monday. My husband and I are both livid, especially because one of his team members is quarantining with someone who was exhibiting symptoms a couple weeks ago. My husband is a software developer, and they’ve been able to work remotely perfectly fine, so the decision is incredibly baffling; but since his employer is a third-party medicall biller, they’re considered “essential”, so we can’t even report this. My husband tried to reach his boss to get more details as to why this decision was made, and if there was anything they could do to convince them otherwise, but his boss said he’s already tried to convince them and they aren’t budging. My husband then tried to reach his other team members to push back as a group, and was met with basically radio silence. The most he was able to do was make his anger and grievances known with his boss, and I told him to keep a written record of all communications he has with his employer regarding this decision in the event the shit hits the fan.

    The decision appears to be a combination of 1) the CEO and COO being incredibly ill-informed of the situation, 2) the company is losing a lot of money, and 3) they seem to be under the (incorrect) impression that allowing their employees to work from home is causing them to work less efficiently, which is why they’re losing money (not because of the uh. You know. GLOBAL PANDEMIC). I don’t see the reasoning behind forcing the employees back into the office to make them work more efficiently, all that has done is send the message that their employees (and their families) are expendable if it means they turn a profit. That’s not just de-moralizing, it’s inhumane. But hey, anything to make the Money happy I guess.

    I just…I don’t have any advice. Stay as safe as you possibly can, and document EVERYTHING. You aren’t alone in this, and have every right to be pissed. No one, NO ONE, should have to chose between their livelihoods and their actual, literal LIVES. This fucking sucks and I’m sorry this is happening to you.

  90. Lisa*

    My name is Elizabeth. I have always been called Lisa. Liz is only one of the names I’ve been called: Beth, Betty, Liza, Libby, Liddy, Betsy, Babs, Bess, Ellie, Elsie, Lizzie, Buffy and others I’m sure. It seems that if someone knows someone named Elizabeth, they automatically default to that person’s nickname. It can get tiresome, especially when I don’t realize they are speaking to me. Imagine in a classroom, looking around for Betsy, and wondering why they aren’t responding to the teacher, only to find out that you’re Betsy!

    1. mgguy*

      My fiancé is an Elizabeth also, but she goes by one of the shortened forms you listed above that is not in super common use anymore(Libby). She’s actually the first person I’ve known who used that form, and I think we were a couple of dates in before I even realized that her name was Elizabeth. In any case, I’ve known a fair few people named Elizabeth, and that’s a name where I default to calling them Elizabeth unless they either tell me otherwise or I hear them introduce themselves by a shortened form. Actually, I’d consider that generally a good practice for any name, but from my perspective Elizabeth may well have more shorted/informal forms than any other common English name!

  91. Perpal*

    Yeah, I have a nickname that can get some interesting variations (both pronunciation and spelling). I pretty much answer to whatever and don’t bother correcting unless someone asks me. Pretty sure I am terrible with people’s names too (though I’ll try; it’s not always conscious though).

  92. MCane*

    I have a name similar to Sara/Sarah. I had a coworker who I corresponded with multiple times a day who would always drop the last letter of my name. I dropped the last letter of her name ONCE and lo and behold, it never happened again. Sometimes, being passive aggressive works.

  93. MsChanandlerBong*

    Re #1:

    I have a question related to this issue. Is it against the law for an employer to share someone’s private medical info with other people in the company? A contractor emailed us and asked for a private call with one of the bosses. The boss called the contractor, and as soon as he got off the phone, he immediately told us the guy had been diagnosed with cancer. I think that was totally wrong–the guy clearly wanted his privacy, as he specifically stated in his request for a call that he wanted to speak privately and not put anything in an email someone else might see (we use a group inbox to ensure contractors receive quick answers to their questions; instead of emailing Jane and then having to wait until Jane is in the office, they can email the group email and got a response from whoever is working). We’re not in the medical field, so I don’t think HIPAA applies. And he’s a contractor, so not sure any employment laws would protect him. Is it just a crappy thing to do?

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      My understanding is that your employer violated HIPAA. workplacefairness dot org has this to say:

      11. Does HIPAA prohibit employers from announcing things like births, employee hospitalizations and medical emergencies to other employees?

      If the information is not necessarily medical in nature, and the employee directly and voluntarily disclosed the information to the employer, the HIPAA privacy rule most likely does not apply. However, discussions about medical related information is specifically protected by HIPAA. Employers should not disclose medical information about employees to other employees without consent.

      Even if it weren’t illegal, it’s a terrible violation of this contractor’s trust.

      1. Observer*

        Not according to the HHS. Here is who they say is covered by HIPAA
        The Security Rule applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and to any health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction for which the Secretary of HHS has adopted standards under HIPAA (the “covered entities”) and to their business associates. For help in determining whether you are covered, use CMS’s decision tool.

        Read more about covered entities in the Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule – PDF – PDF.

        That said, it’s still a totally gross thing to do.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          This guy does a lot of dumb stuff. And I honestly think it’s more out of cluelessness than malice. Around the office, most of us think of him as a roadblock that we have to get around to get anything done. But he’s a co-founder, so he’s never going to go anywhere!

  94. PennyLane*

    #4, I’ll chime in here because I have experience from the other side. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at names and spelling, so it’s generally not an issue. First, I do agree it’s lazy to get it wrong if they are responding to your email where your name is in the chain. However, in my workplace, we have a lot of employees who are working out in the field, often outside & in cars on their phones, so it’s understandable that this could happen; not sure if that’s your situation.

    But also consider that those people may be working with many other people with the same name and many different spellings and get it mixed up. I have that situation and sometimes I can’t remember if this person has an E or H on their name or if that was someone else. While there is a solution to look it up which I normally would, sometimes when you’re in a hurry you don’t.

  95. Alligator*

    #4 – Thank you for linking to “don’t call me Liz”!!! It’s one of my favorite pieces of internet lore, even 10 years later!

  96. QuinleyThorne*

    OP#4 – I have a similar issue with my name, and what’s extra irritating about it is our agency emails auto-generate a signature for every email sent. So it’s not even that they don’t know they’re missepelling it, they just aren’t bothering to check. And even then, my work email is literally “”, and if they misspelled it, the email wouldn’t even go through…but it always does! It’s bewildering every single time.

    OP#2 – My husband is in the same position you are. He’s a software developer for a 3rd party medical biller, so he’s while he’s technically essential, he can also do his work from home with zero problems. But, after a month of working from home, employer wants employees to start reporting to the office on Monday. His employer apparently thinks they’re “past the workst spike” of the pandemic. Only the first floor will come back at first, which, while still a terrible idea, isn’t too bad as there aren’t that many people, and there’s a lot of space. However the week after, the employees who work in the call center will report back, and that’s over FOUR HUNDRED people. He spoke to his boss, and the boss did try to convince the higher ups to reconsider, but they aren’t budging. Since they’re “essential” we can’t even report them, so it’s either take a stand and lose a job he desparately needs right now, or accept the fact that he’s expandable fodder if it makes the Money happy. We’re furious, demoralized, and exhausted. This sucks and I’m sorry.

  97. Pretzelgirl*

    I have a fairly common first name that has a strange spelling. I actually really dislike it and people have spelled it wrong nearly my whole life. My maiden name, was fairly unique but easily pronounced but people would mis-pronounce it all the time, anyway. I just got used to it. Now my married name is easy to pronounce but also easy to misspell. People throw extra letters in all the time. Its a pain. We have had to re-do several legal documents bc my first name was misspelled and our last name was misspelled.

  98. Sarah Palin in a bear suit*

    For OP #4: My name is Kay. Three letters, one syllable, pronounced like the letter K in the alphabet. Can’t get more simple than that, right? And yet somehow I’ve been Katherine, Caitlin, and Kate to multiple coworkers and clients. I even had one client call me Maureen for TWO YEARS. There was nobody else on my team or even in the company named Maureen, so I’m still not sure how she got Maureen from Kay. The running joke on the team became blaming Maureen every time something went wrong.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Three letters, one syllable, pronounced like the letter K in the alphabet

      When I was a wee tiny Red, I pitched an absolute screaming TANTRUM at my mother because she wouldn’t tell me what her middle name was, she would only tell me her initial and I wanted to know the whole thing, like my middle name was Lynn so I wouldn’t just tell her L!! Three guesses. :)

  99. Observer*

    #6 – You might want to figure out a better computer set up just for your own sanity. But in terms of phone vs computer for conferencing? It makes no difference. Keep in mind that not only does no one care, no one even knows.

    1. Software Engineer*

      The only way someone would know is that some conferencing systems report the type of client you have connected with. I know who is using the app version of Webex as opposed to the website.

      That said, nobody should care. Modern phones are just as powerful as some computers (and cost more as well!) Just use what makes the most sense for you.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        For me it’s depended on how many other people are on the call and the gallery view vs speaker view. If there are more people on the call I’ll prefer to use my old laptop, even if the quality isn’t quite as good. No one is probably focusing on me anyway. But if I’m on a call with just a few people who are closer to me, and my mannerisms and expressions are a little more important, I’ll hook up my tablet instead. I haven’t used my phone because I don’t have a large screen and I want to be able to see people!

  100. TootsNYC*

    re: 4. People misspell my name

    Sometimes people end up not being able to remember which you are, so I like to give them a mnemonic.
    Like, “Remember, I’m the formal Sarah/I like things to be complete–I use the H.”
    or, “Think of me as the zippy version of Sara, without the H.”

  101. LilPinkSock*

    LW, #4: My name is very common, but has multiple spelling options–let’s say I use Catherine. Mistakes are understandable, so I have no problem letting it go,although I am careful to double-check official paperwork!

    The one exception was a previous lousy boss. She knew exactly how I spell my name (she made a bigoted comment about it on my first day), but when she decided I was garbage, it became her way to “put me in my place”. 85% of the time she got it right but when she sent nasty emails she would always spell it “Kathryn”–and put the mistake in bold font. A high-level donor didn’t like me much either and Boss told him she preferred to use the “more ethnic version because that made more sense when she looked at me”. I brought it up once (“You know my name is spelled Katherine, right?”) and she completely lost it–said that she’d spell my name however she wanted because I worked for her and she’d do it the way I wanted when I earned it. Then she tried to write me up for insubordination. The day I left the company, she signed the goodbye card…and misspelled my name. Pardon me for the language, but–fuck her.

  102. Surprisingly thankful for my Georgia employer right now*

    #2 I work for a company just north of Atlanta OTP, and am feeling so thankful for my employer right now. I sent them a long email with concerns about reopening last night, and our HR replied with this: “Overall, we will take a cautious conservative approach and it is unlikely that we would require anyone to return to work in the office if they have legitimate reservations and concerns during this season. We have no plans to open the office immediately or even in the next few weeks.” Yay for sanity and reason!

  103. Lauren not Laura*

    People constantly write (or say) Laura instead of Lauren. I really don’t get it. Those are two different names, and Lauren is such a common name. I completely understand how irksome it can be, trust me. However, it’s made my life easier to simply roll my eyes and move on with my day. Also, if I need to respond I also write Salutation, Name above my email signature. (I can reiterate how my name is spelled without looking odd.)

  104. Phil*

    Re: Misspelled name: My last name is a common color, think “Green”, not ‘Heliotrope”. You would be shocked how often people misspell it. If I’m feeling ornery I say “common spelling” and they’re still flummoxed.

  105. Tracy with a Y*

    #4 I’d just let it go. I certainly wouldn’t go the route of leaving off the last letter of their name unless it’s someone you know really well.

    It drives me crazy too, but some people are going to default to the most common spelling they know. I get called Tracy, Stacy, Terry and all spellings. To make it worse, my last name is Daniel, which is less common than Daniels. If I’m giving my name to someone on the phone so they can send something to me I always say, “That’s Tracy with a Y and Daniel with no S.”

  106. Elena Vasquez*

    I got the impression the protestors are the ones who lost their jobs and the people telling them to shut up and go home are the ones who didn’t.

    1. Amy Sly*

      That’s been my impression as well. The wealthier you are, the more inconvenience you can put up with, the more slack you have in your budget, and the more likely your company will still be around at the end of all this.

      It doesn’t matter how generous the UI checks will be when they finally arrive for those don’t have food in the pantry or credit to buy them with now. People living paycheck to paycheck need money now, not in three weeks when their first UI check arrives. They need to be bringing revenue into their employer now, before the company goes bankrupt and they have no job at all.

      1. Blueberry*

        In your comments you keep implying that people who are still employed and working from home have no sympathy for people who are either unable to work from home or have lost their jobs. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

        Also, I don’t see how blocking access to hospitals helps anyone:

        Nor bringing guns to protests:

        1. Amy Sly*

          I’m sure they’re sympathetic … but their sympathy doesn’t put food on my table. Me risking myself does.

          I started a new job in the middle of this mess. We’re an essential business, but my role does not require an office presence. I still have to come in everyday where I could infect or get infected by the company owner and his assistant. It’s that same owner who was joking about the fat UI checks folks like my husband are getting when I had to inform him that his application has been in limbo for over a month now and we haven’t received a penny.

          I consider myself lucky that I get to go to work, and frankly, quite a few of the folks I know wish they were working instead of being unemployed and marking time in house arrest. Meanwhile, the folks who work from home freaking out over the possibility of going outside are convincing me that Hamlet was right: “the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.”

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            It’s not just about risking *your* life, though. The more people are out and about and working, the more the virus will spread.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              Exactly. I cannot get this virus. I will almost certainly die if I do. I don’t want to die at all, I certainly don’t want to die for the Dow Jones!

              1. Amy Sly*

                Except my point is that opening the economy back up isn’t about the Dow Jones. It’s about the most economically vulnerable being able work. It’s about people do the things that could be delayed for a few days or week that still need to be done.

                What about those who are committing suicide because they’ve lost their jobs and don’t see any hope with their delayed UI benefits nor any sign of this ending? What about the people risking their lives to go to the overwhelmed food banks because without a job they can’t afford to eat?
                What about the people whose “elective” cancer biopsies aren’t allowed to be scheduled and so their life-saving treatment is being delayed? How much suffering is okay for the folks whose “elective” cataract surgeries or physical therapy appointments are being cancelled?

                1. KoiFeeder*

                  You mean like my elective physical therapy and sleep apnea test? Or my elective CPAP? Or my elective mental health therapist? Look, not to be triggering on main, but I’m this close to going back to cutting to deal with my physical pain because I can’t get my pain medication. Trust me, I am very aware right now that this is not the best case scenario.

                  If we lived in a sane country, the most economically vulnerable would be given help. Instead the big corporations stole the lion’s share the economic stimulus, and now the economically vulnerable have to choose between working and catching COVID, or not working and starving.

                  The federal government has the resources to help people and instead is letting people die for corporations and the DOW Jones. The federal government will step over your corpse for a tax break. This is an absurd state of affairs and going back to work is not the answer.

                2. Former Employee*

                  I have never heard the words “elective” and “cancer biopsy” used together.

                  To my knowledge, no one who is scheduled to have a cancer biopsy or cancer surgery is having their procedure cancelled.

                3. Observer*

                  And guess what? If business opens up too soon, those surgeries and treatments are going to be delayed even longer.

                4. Observer*

                  @Former Employee Well, maybe you don’t know that much about all the people you “know”.

                  Most “elective” surgery is NOT optional, it’s just not an emergency. And, yes, hospitals ARE delaying non-emergency cancer surgery because of Covid. The curve REALLY needs to flattened, or a LOT more people are going to die, and we’ll never know the real count, because whose going to count the cancer patient whose “non-emergency” cancer turned out to be more serious than anyone realized, or the person who EMS didn’t resuscitate because the new guidelines say that it’s too time consuming and they need to go to the next case, or the person who got substandard care in hospital because the nursing staff was stretched so thin, or the person who couldn’t get to the doctor because the staff was down by 30% and calls were up by 20%?

          2. Blueberry*

            But you shouldn’t have to risk your health to earn a living, definitely not temporarily. My ideas about what society should be doing instead are considered pretty socialist in the USA, so I won’t go into them here. (And your employer’s jokes about ‘fat UI checks’ are beyond gauche.)

            The thing is, I’m not particularly worried about going outside for myself [medical history deleted]. I’m worried for my roommate who is higher risk, I’m worried for my SO who is higher risk, and I’m worried about how every interaction I might have multiplied by every interaction each person I interact with has, and so on, can compound all of our risks of catching COVID-19 sooner rather than later. You’re right that the majority of us will get infected at some point, but the fewer are infected at any given time, and the fewer are acutely ill at any given time, the smaller the load on the medical system and the slower the rise in new infections. I don’t think being cognizant of that is mere squeamishness (and Hamlet had no common sense anyway).

    2. Jennifer*

      I agree with you. I just don’t think this is the answer. I lost my job too but am fortunate that my husband is still employed so we are getting by until the UI money (hopefully) starts coming in. We need more support from the government instead of sending people back to work to get sick and potentially die. This virus is really wreaking havoc in communities where people are more likely to work on the frontlines.

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      I get the impression the protesters are the same kind of dregs of humanity who open-carry rifles to the supermarket, think vaccines are an evil conspiracy, and chant “Build the wall.” (Seriously, have you seen some of the signs?)

      1. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

        I would like to point out that most of the protesters did not seem focused on their own ability to go back to work, they were focused on their current inability to access petty luxuries. Eg, that horrible woman yelling about how she needed a haircut—she didn’t want to go back to work at a salon, she wanted to force someone else back to work at a salon.

        The upper lower class is upset that anyone they see as below them is getting benefits since those benefits come at the cost of their own access to goods and services. This is the whole problem: a lot of us are wasting time attacking each other instead of going after the people who rigged the system.

    4. Kelly L.*

      There’ve been some signs that indicate that some of the protesters are wealthier people who want the services that have been cancelled, rather than the workers who had been providing those services.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of “I want a haircut” and none of “why is the government making me wait months to be able to feed my family,” the latter being a real concern I’ve seen regarding the delays of the stimulus checks and the fact that large corporations stole most of the stimulus money for themselves.

        1. Jojo*

          And then there is the woman who owns a beauty salon. She opened her salon back up so she could afford to pay her house mortgage. She paid her salon mortgage and had no money left to pay her house note. And her employees are independent contractors so they cannot get un employment.

    5. Blueberry*

      Not necessarily. “Although they give the appearance of spontaneous demonstrations by angry citizens, in fact they have largely been organized by conservative activists.”

      And “shut up and go home” is a pretty misleading summary of “people gathering together will increase the spread of a potentially deadly virus”, unless said summary has been filtered through the lie that this is all a left-wing hoax, which makes it worse than misleading.

    6. TootsNYC*

      except that their signs didn’t say, “I have no money” or “my business is dying.”

      Their signs say “I want a haircut.”

      I’d have a helluva lot more respect for them if their signs said things like, “I need to work”

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        Not to mention the signs that say things like “the real plague” with a picture of the Star of David superimposed on a rat.

  107. Two First Names*

    #4 – Since getting married almost a year ago, my last name changed from a “Clearly-A-Last-Name” Last Name to another name that girls often have (think Schmidt to Mallory). So now I have two “First Names”. It doesn’t help that the email system comes up Last First– so they always see my last name first, not bothering to read further. I only worked at the company for 3 months before getting married, but even my boss’s boss calls me (in person!) by my last name sometimes. I’ve debated calling people by their last names in email responses, but honestly, it’s just too much to get worked up about. And honestly, every woman in my in-laws’ family has to deal with it, so I’ve chosen not to get too worked up about it. The funnier thing is that my first and last names both have alternate spellings, so I have about 5 different names that I get called on a regular basis!

  108. Fancy That*

    Yeah, Mookie is just that person all the goddamm time. They’re not being unusually pretentious today, that’s actually their usual level of pretension. You get used to ignoring their posts eventually ;)

  109. Employment Lawyer*

    1. My husband’s company is trying to find out whose spouse has cancer
    That could be bad, but you don’t know why. You don’t know what they’ll do. And it isn’t about you. Frankly, you’re probably safest to leave it be: Whatever protections THAT employee may have, they may or may not extend to you, and if you intervene on their behalf then you may pay for it later.

    So if you want to raise a stink, you can. But you may have egg on your face if it turns out this is a “which of these plans do you think would work better for you and your spouse?” kind of thing.

    2. My boss is making us return to the office because our governor re-opened the state
    That is probably legal. You can quit your job, or you can ask to be fired/laid off, but that’s about it.

    Essentially, you probably have the very same protections as you did BEFORE the governor closed the state, which is to say that you can a) work or b) exercise your personal preference not to work because you believe it is unsafe. You just can’t exercise your preference and still get paid.

    3. Should you always answer the phone when you’re job-searching?
    Yes, it’s a wise idea.

    4. People misspell my name
    Do not do anything passive aggressive. Either ignore it or deal with it directly.

    1. Employment Lawyer*

      Note for #1 that if you were the employee with a sick spouse, I’d be telling you to run swiftly to an employment lawyer in your state. If you know who that employee is, you can give them a heads up.

  110. LQ*

    A temporary layoff/furlough should absolutely be eligible. Your state may not refer to it as a furlough on their website, if they give you options like a temporary layoff, that would be the one to identify. You can also check their public-facing website and review it ahead of time for language that would work for your situation. In normal times your first week you aren’t eligible for benefits, but if you become unemployed again in that year you won’t have to re-serve the waiting week. Right now waiting weeks are waived federally so you can get paid the first week you aren’t working. (And if you think your company may do rolling weeks for a while, or your employer is looking at layoffs, apply when you are laid off – not before – and it may take a while to get paid but I think it’s a good idea to jump on it earlier rather than wait.)

    You may or may not have to at least fill out your claim every week. If you answer it for weeks when you are working you just answer how many hours/how much pay you got, you won’t be eligible, but a lot of states don’t have a “skip this week” mechanism. You just answer and they determine it. (Hopefully, they have at least some automation around it if you answer that you were working full time and it just moves forward.)

  111. RussianInTexas*

    1st letter -WTH.
    However. Every year when my company does open enrollment, they get quotes from various insurance companies, and we have to feel out the “serious disease” form for every person being insured for the quote.
    The kicker is, our benefits person is the CFO who is also the owner’s wife.

  112. Daisy Avalin*

    Re: Names and misspellings, my OH has a surname which is two words put together and pronounced exactly as it is spelt – but nobody can spell it usually! We know when we get spam post because his surname is spelt as two separate words and wrong as well. Generally we use my surname when we’re booking restaurants/hotels/etc, because it’s spelled the same as a UK city* and therefore most people can spell it!

    Although I do admit that when I set up this username, I did spell the last name wrong – meant it to be Avalon as in Camelot, and didn’t notice the misspelling till after I’d set everything up!

    *It’s very likely that city is where we’re from originally, although Dad hasn’t managed to get far enough back in our family history to be sure of that yet.

  113. GA Worker*

    As a GA worker, hurrah for OUR governor. If you are not comfortable, quit. I AM comfortable. Sitting at home with no income and bills to pay is far deadlier. I will remove myself before going bankrupt. And I am sure I am not the only worker in this state feeling that way.

    Our governor is in a no win situation: open up and people have a hissy that he is risking the public health system; do nothing and be certain that self harm events will soon be skyrocketing as people are loosing everything they have worked decades for.

    I am happy that LW is in better finances and can choose not to work. A LOT of us cannot. We have been shut down too long. In the words of Joe Exotic, I am never going to financially recover from this. I haven’t recieved stimulus money, I am one of the ones waiting for a paper check. I have no idea where next weeks groceries are coming from, no idea how I will afford gas to get to work next week. But opening work gives me hope that I don’t have to see my family homeless and hungry and nothing left.

    So before getting on the high horse about what our governor’s move, ask yourself if you would rather see an epidemic of suicides because that is where we are headed.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Is there a reason you choose to wait for a paper check? Did you know you can go to the IRS site and enter your banking information to avoid that wait? Naturally it’s only possible if you have a copy of your 2019 taxes to plug in all the details, which I’m all to aware isn’t something everyone keeps around.

      I’m not going to touch much of your comment other than, you can get off YOUR high horse as well. I understand your point and whereas I don’t agree with it, everyone is screaming at each other and are extremely self centered and self satisfying. Stop throwing stones from your glass house.

      You’re worried about an unknown epidemic of suicide to come at us…when we’re in the middle of an actual pandemic where people are dying by the thousands. You’re basically saying virus deaths are less awful than suicide…

      And this is coming from someone who has a heavy history of actual suicides in their family throughout the years. It’s a serious thing but that’s not how this works. There are already hundreds of thousands of homeless people. Becoming homeless does not necessarily result in such drastic measures.

      1. MatKnifeNinja*

        Paper check to cash at Party Store, so it creditors don’t rip it straight out of the checking account.

        Bunch of my brother’s coworkers all chose paper for that reason. Medical debt collectors are vicious like that.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Ah that’s a good point, I forgot about the folks with debt collections.

          I know that I also saw that banks are obviously taking any deposits [like the stimulus] to deal with negative balances. [And people are shocked by this and weren’t expecting that your overdrawn account to result in this…]

          1. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

            Yuuuup. One political party wanted the stimulus to be protected from being seized to pay outstanding debts and the other one did not. Then one side kept accusing the other of holding up the bill because they wanted too many “unrelated” details addressed instead of just the bare minimum. And that’s been working out pretty much exactly how anyone who was paying attention expected.

    2. Show Me the Money*

      WOW, strong feelings much? Just because businesses are reopening does not mean folks will be rushing in. No life, no livelihood. This all sucks, but not using common sense will not help in the long run. The closures were never permanent, but are needed until testing and medical resources are adequate. Little is known about covid and the second wave will be worse.

      I think predicting an epidemic of suicides is a little hyperbolic. Certainly folks in a bible belt state have more faith than that.

      Abysmal performance at the federal level is really the root cause of all of this. The virus knows no state boundaries, and I’m glad my state does not border GA.

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      Reopening will not fix the economy overnight. People will still be afraid to go out shopping or for events and services. And reopening will lead to a vast wave of illness and death that will be even more financially devastating.

      Also, ~your governor~ stole the election, and posed for photos with a white supremacist terrorist group during the campaign.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, YOUR governor didn’t even know people without symptoms can spread coronavirus. Some “leader.”
      May as well be a death cult.

      1. James*

        Calling people names is helpful, kind, and on-topic?

        Concerns over looming economic issues are perfectly reasonable and should be soberly considered. There’s no good situation; we need to figure out which bad situation is best. Over 100 oil companies are going to go under soon. Florida farmers are on the brink of going under. Either would lead to mass food shortages. And that’s just two industries I saw on the news today. People will die if we go into a depression, full stop. It’s worth considering if the death toll from the virus or from economic devastation is going to be worse.

        1. Ego Chamber says eat the rich*

          You understand that it’s not a bottomed out economy or the virus, right? It’s a bottomed out economy, or the virus and a bottomed out economy. The virus doesn’t go away if we reopen businesses.