updates: the ex-boss’s affair, the deadline blamer, and more

Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. I kept my ex-boss’s affair a secret … and now I work with her husband

The tension I felt was just because we both knew we knew. He did know that I knew about that affair. My ex-boss and I happened to be good friends before it all. So during (even though we were no longer good friends) she would use me as a cover for what she was actually doing. (I didn’t know this at the time, it came out in the end).

I do see him now during work meetings here and there, and I am just mutual with him as I am with everyone else. Smile and say hi, and keep it all work-based.

But I am friends with him on Facebook, and did see that he got engaged last month! So I am very happy he is moving forward and found happiness again! Not the best update, I guess. But I am also moving forward and don’t hold bad feelings towards my ex boss. Never friends or even acquaintances again, but I also need to move forward from what she did to me, even if I never got an apology.

2. New colleague keeps blaming a coworker for missed deadlines (#4 at the link)

I believe the advice worked. I spoke to our supervisor who spoke with our Point of Contact’s (POC) supervisor and by the next meeting our POC had made a very obvious change in behavior (even interrupting herself at one point to say something like “but I’m not supposed to talk about our capacity” with an eye roll). The bigger news is that a few weeks later we got an email that our POC was no longer with the company! I am not high enough on the org chart to have any idea what happened, but our “named” team member is now our POC and things seem to be going much better for everyone still here.

3. People tell me how my name is pronounced (wrong) (#2 at the link)

I’m the person who couldn’t figure out how to get my colleagues to pronounce my name correctly). Thanks to you AND Captain Awkward for your advice!

In retrospect, I was writing about two problems: how to gracefully head off unnecessary comments when introducing myself to new people, and how to deal with the coworkers who’d been saying my name incorrectly for years.

Much of the problem stemmed from the fact that when I started my first professional job at 22 I was too shy to correct my new boss on my first day, and then I stuck with that company for eight years. As far as I can tell, there is not a good way to fix this situation when you’re already in it! The longer you go, the more difficult it is to change course. By the time I wasn’t a shy rookie on the team it was far too late.

Eventually I solved this problem by getting a new job! Between “learning a lot from Ask a Manager over the years” and “not being 22 anymore” I’ve gotten much better at communicating assertively and directly, so it was easy for me to correct my new boss on my first day. She then proactively clarified for the team how to pronounce my name (both in writing and every time she introduced me to someone in the first couple of weeks), which was extremely helpful.

Coincidentally, shortly after I started another colleague with a commonly mispronounced name joined the team. When we meet with new clients we often correct mispronunciations on each other’s behalf, which works very well.

A few commenters noted that people respond with things like “Oh, I pronounced it that way because that’s how my friend/neighbor/great aunt says it” because they’re trying to explain themselves so you’re not offended. I understand this impulse, and I’ve been there, but I’m here today to tell you that the only necessary response to being corrected is “Oh ok, thank you!” Trust me: I know there are multiple ways to say my name. I’m not offended, just tired 🙂

My biggest takeaway is that ‘confirming how a new employee pronounces their name’ should be a standard part of onboarding. It’s easy, welcoming, saves time, and reduces potential awkwardness.

Thank you to the many commenters with similar experiences…we’re not alone!

{ 292 comments… read them below }

  1. Quill*

    I’m with you on the commonly mispronounced name front: The only way to keep the interaction minimal is to correct people up front.

    1. lotsa lotta*

      I think that’s true a lot of the time, but when I am meeting someone who I know I won’t see ever again, I let it go. For me, at least in that situation, there are way more important things going on in that once-only interaction than whether someone is mispronouncing my name.

      1. Not Victoria, Vanessa, or Valerie*

        I try to correct people if there’s time in the conversation, but I don’t always bother. People with little interaction with me rarely remember by name, so even if I do correct them the first time, it will usually take several times. Apparently Veronica is the least-memorable of all the feminine multi-syllabic V names, or maybe the vibe of it is weirdly unsuitable for the way I present myself.

        I’ve also started getting N names now (I’ve had Natalie and Nicole so far in the past year). I also got “Leronica” once when someone had to type my name from a form I had filled out. In their defense, I have atrocious handwriting.

          1. ceiswyn*

            I suspect English speakers pronounce ‘Pauline’ as ‘Paw-lean’ because that is the correct pronunciation for the English name ‘Pauline’.

            If your version of ‘Pauline’ uses a different pronunciation from the standard one, it’s not really surprising that people struggle to remember.

          2. Random Dice*

            I wouldn’t be able to resist singing that Paul Simon song “caaaaall meee Al, call me Al”.

        1. iroqdemic*

          OK, “Leronica” is oddly lovely. Like a very Hunger Games “Peetah for Peter” vibe.

        2. DivergentStitches*

          You forgot Virginia and Vivian :)

          (I’m Victoria and I get all of the above!)

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Same, especially when it comes to sounds that English speakers are unused to. I have a consonant blend in my name that is very, very challenging for English speakers unused to Slavic/Northern European names. The only thing more annoying than having someone get it wrong is to have someone ask me “is this the correct pronunciation?” five times in a row when I’m trying to have a work conversation. I don’t blame them for not being able to pronounce it, but the reason I choose to use a more Anglicized pronunciation is because I don’t want to start an impromptu linguistic lecture whenever I go.

        1. nona*

          I have to admit I’m with you. I immigrated to the US from England, and have a name that is unusual here, but not entirely unheard of. People here pronounce my name differently to how I do, but they pronounce every word differently so I’m not in the slightest bit bothered by it. Fairly often I meet people who are very concerned about pronouncing my name “correctly” when I couldn’t care less (or “could care less” as Americans would somewhat confusingly put it), and it becomes a whole thing. It’s mildly annoying the first time, and exhausting the 100th time.

          I think they key here is take the lead from the person who’s name it is (tried to work a Call Me By My Name joke in here, but couldn’t quite string it together). If they correct you, they want you to get it right(er), if they say “eh, close enough” then believe them.

          1. londonedit*

            Yep – even common names can be pronounced differently in the UK and US. The obvious one is Craig, which here in the UK is pronounced as ‘crayg’, whereas in the US it’s ‘cregg’. Having never actually seen Frozen, it took me forever to connect the ‘Princess Arner’ I heard people talking about with the ‘Princess Anna’ I’d seen written down – I’d never heard ‘Anna’ pronounced as ‘Arner’ before.

            In the UK, the name Andrea is usually pronounced as ‘ANN-dreah’ but I have a German friend called Andrea and that’s pronounced ‘An-drAY-ah’. It isn’t hard to remember that she’s An-drAY-ah – and now if I met another Andrea I’d ask how to pronounce their name and/or note the pronunciation they use, because I know it can differ.

            1. KatCardigans*

              tbh I don’t think Anna from Frozen sounds like Arner, but I also don’t think Princess Anna’s version is typical US pronunciation of that name. In my experience, the leading sound in Anna here is usually a short a.

            2. I hear ya*

              I had a colleague named Regina. We worked for a UK-based company. Here in the US, we pronounce it ruh-JEE-nuh. In the UK, it’s rej-EYE-nuh. She was so tired of her name being made to rhyme with a female body part…

              1. Pikachu*

                This is so funny. I love the movie The Duchess with Keira Knightley, and her character’s name is Georgiana pronounced jor-JAY-na. This was 100% first place on my baby name list until I realized here in the US everyone would call her jor-jee-AH-na which I do not like. LOL

                1. AuburnEnigma*

                  What’s interesting about that is that Keira Knightley was also in the 2005 film version of Pride & Prejudice, where Mr Darcy’s sister is called Georgiana, and it was pronounced more like ‘Jorj-yah-na’. In all honesty, I didn’t even know the ‘Jor-jay-na’ pronunciation existed until I saw the trailer for The Duchess, and it’s not a name used in Britain anymore. It’s a bit like the names Lauren and Lorelai and how the pronunciation for both differs in a UK/US context – over here it would be ‘Lorr-un’ and probably ‘Lore-a-lie’ but the US would likely have it as ‘Lore-un’ and ‘Lorra-lie’.

              2. Lanlan*

                I would start telling people, “It’s Regina as in ‘salve Regina’.”

                Because you can’t take the Catholic out of the girl, apparently.

        2. Squawk*

          Yeah, when they’re not used to the sounds, English speakers throw all rules out the window. Pauline becomes paw-lean instead of pau-lee-neh, Frode f’road, most other names ending in -ne they pronounce as -nay instead of -neh. Like.. a parrot could learn this!

          1. ceiswyn*

            I replied to this but it ended up nested upthread – the name ‘Pauline’ exists in English, with the standard pronunciation ‘Paw-lean’.

            1. Media Monkey*

              probably as a female version of Paul, so the first syllable will always be pronounced as in “paul”. english is has so many irregular pronunciations, but based on how other words are pronounced you’d be more likely to get Paul-line (like line in the sand) than the stress being on the -ne.

            2. lucanus cervus*

              Yes, this! Pauline pronounced ‘Paw-lean’ is an English name in its own right, so it’s not surprising in the least that people say it that way.

          2. Random Dice*

            I don’t really get your criticism. Are you thinking that English speakers should know how to pronounce French, and then pronounce English like it’s French? That’s not actually throwing pronunciation rules out the window, it’s complying with pronunciation rules despite an unwritten understanding that some words should be said according to a different language’s pronunciation rules.

            (I’m assuming that’s the language you’re defaulting to, if you think Pauline should be said Paulina instead of PauLEEN… but I speak Spanish so don’t actually know French pronunciation. British folks seem to be more familiar with French, given proximity.)

            1. Squawk*

              They should, at the very least, be able to parrot what’s being said to them. But usually they just make up their own pronunciation.

        3. Timothy (TRiG)*

          “I don’t want to start an impromptu linguistic lecture whenever I go.”

          I’ll try to bear that in mind. (I’m the one who’d be badgering you for an impromptu linguistics lecture, because I find this stuff fascinating.)

      3. nobadcats*

        I have a name that’s easy to pronounce, I use both the shortened (sounds like a man’s name) and long version of my name. My two rules are, 1) don’t add a “y” to my name, and 2) don’t assume you can address me by the shortened version, I was introduced to you by full name; shortened name is a level of trust. Don’t get me started on my surname. Often confused with a Famous Author surname, I’ve had people strike out what I’ve written on official forms, saying, “Oh, that’s not right.” I think, after 57 years on this planet I know how to spell my own name.

        One of my closest friends has a name that can either have a “long a” sound or a “schwa” sound. I often find myself overcorrecting and pronouncing other people’s similar names with the “schwa” sound because I’m so used to it. So I backtrack and apologize. The very best thing to do is just apologize and try to get it right. It’s kinda like using the correct pronouns for a person. If you screw up, offer a sincere apology and do it right the next time. And, I have made it a policy to always ask, “Do you prefer to go by Matthew or Matt?”

        What we call ourselves, our true names, is so important to our identity. I’ve had a couple of friends come out as non-binary. I still screw up and use he/she on occasion, but operating in good faith, they forgive me, saying, “I know it’s hard, and I know you mean no harm.”

        1. Firebird*

          When I was married, people kept adding vowels in the middle or end of my last name, because it was too short. I ended up just saying “It’s[Last name], make sure you don’t add any E’s to it” every single time.

          1. nobadcats*

            My ex-husband has a surname that’s… well, the equivalent of “rubbish” in Irish, lots of Es and As. Our Irish landlord said, “Oh, that name, the Rubbishes were tinkers, just like the Cashes,* it’s a very common name.” Mind you, he was from Kilkenny, he and his lovely wife would go back to his hometown for a couple of months in the summer, and he would, to my ear, be nearly incomprehensible for a few weeks because his accent would put on 7 league boots and start walking around in broad steps. My friends in Dublin were like, “Yup, sounds right. No one can understand the Kilkenny accent, even native Irish.”

            *That would be Mr Johnny Cash Himself to the rest of us.

      4. “Jen”*

        Same. I let it go a lot. I have a very unusual, androgynous name that is one letter and one vowel sounds different than a common clearly feminine name (think Jen vs Jenna but way less common and if Jen were androgynous). I am a cis woman with a feminine style. People constantly get my name wrong in speech and writing, sometimes reverting to the “Jenna” version in writing, or sometimes writing “Jen” and calling me “Jenna” anyway. The thing is, unlike a lot of people, I just don’t care at this point. Professionally, I interact with a lot of people for a limited time duration for each (think teaching or leading corporate trainings for a few months one place before moving on). It’s a big ask for me to get everyone’s names and pronouns right, and it’s a big ask for me to insist that others get mine right. I think a lot of us on the more progressive side understand estimate how difficult memorizing names and pronouns is in certain contexts.

    2. CommanderBanana*

      The hardest for me is people that work for my org but I don’t interact with or speak to them on a regular basis – it feels weird to correct someone who I’ve ‘worked with’ for years but probably only says my name a few times a year.

    3. Cat Tree*

      One of the benefits of people using more unique baby names is that eventually those babies will be adults and will hopefully be more considerate of names that aren’t exactly what they expect.

    4. JustaTech*

      Just this ng my new IT person asked if people ever called me by Not-the-way-I-pronounce-my-name.
      “Not more than once.”
      (Slightly abrupt, but I was trying to head him off at the pass because I *really* don’t like that pronunciation.)
      Turns out his mom had the same name, also hated that pronunciation, and it turns out we have family from the same European country.

      1. Quill*

        Lol, I need to remember that one. Especially because my given name is almost universally assumed to be short for another, infinitely more common in my generation, name.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Mini-Orchestra has done that a time or two. She also was caught ignoring somebody at school (not her teacher) for mispronouncing her name (she at seven has NO PROBLEM correcting Anybody). We are working on manners – but I am at least confident her name will be said correctly.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Forgot this, but heard Mini- Orchestra give this gem to somebody today:

          Yes my name is long, but it’s my name, I like it, and if I can get it at seven what is your reason for not as an adult?

          Like I said above – she’s seven and we are working on manners…….but gotta admit I like she is willing to stand up for her name.

        2. 90% snark by weight*

          Good for her. When I was a kid, I was in a class with three other Joes in the class, and one had the same initial for their last name, so the teacher decided it’d be easier to call me Joey. Without asking me if I was ok with it.

          I of course refused to respond at all since it wasn’t my name, so teacher brought it up to my mother “Joey refuses to acknowledge me when I speak to him.”

          Mom’s response was that she’d tried to give me a nickname, and I wouldn’t respond to it, and if I wouldn’t respond to my mother, the chances of the teacher getting me to were … not great.

          The other kid with the same last name initial ended up stuck as Joey.

    5. many bells down*

      I worked for a guy for THREE YEARS and he never corrected my pronunciation of his last name. I was putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. For three years! And I answered his phone that way!

    6. Lalala*

      I have a commonly mispronounced (but not uncommon) first name, and may I just say… I 100% do not care how you say my name. If you ask me if you’re pronouncing it right, I am actively annoyed. So just a reminder that people place different levels of importance on name accuracy, and make sure to take your cue from the person you’re talking to. (If they say they don’t care… it’s ok to believe them!)

  2. Bookworm*

    #1: O_O. Sorry that happened but glad you’re out of there and good that each you and the husband have moved on.

    #3: Thank you for sharing your experiences. That sucked and sorry you had to deal with that but thank you for reminding all of us about correctly pronouncing names, respect, etc. are all important, EVEN if you’re talking to someone who is 22. Glad you’re in a better spot now!

  3. Sunshine*

    Agh, LW3, I hear you, but I cannot resist the urge to explain “my aunt pronounces it that way!” simply because I don’t want the person to feel like I’ve forgotten them or their name! It’s like having an uncle Ray and a coworker Jay and accidentally saying the wrong name. I know your name, I’m just having a brain fart! I will try harder to resist the impulse.

    1. WantonSeedStitch*

      I think this kind of thing makes more sense when you KNOW how to pronounce the person’s name, but slip up from time to time for a specific reason like that. We have three people in my office who share a first name, but each of them uses a different version of it (think Elizabeth, Liz, and Lizzie). I’ve occasionally slipped up and called one by the wrong version and have apologized with, “Sorry, I was just in a meeting with Liz ten minutes ago, so her name is stuck in my brain!”

      1. Keyboard Cowboy*

        Someone just did this in a meeting I was in yesterday. “So if we groom the llamas the way Ann-a, no, I mean, Ahn-a, sorry, I always do that, my daughter’s best friend is Ann-a, that’s why I keep doing that, not because I don’t know, I’m really sorry, then the llamas will be best optimized for hat wool production.” It was really distracting and drew way more attention to the error than a simple, “Ann-a, oops, Ahn-a, then the llamas…” would have been. At the very least, if you really feel like you need to share some life story to explain why you keep goofing, do it in private along with a better apology, not in public in the middle of the meeting with 6 other people. Rarara.

      1. GIF*

        It’s not, though. Making me listen to a verbal essay about why you mispronounced my name doesn’t make me feel any better or give me any confidence, it just makes you sound defensive and keeps the focus on you. You’re also not the only person who’s ever done it. I’ve politely smiled through about a thousand stories of someone’s great-aunt, grandma, kind neighbor lady, pastor, you name it, with Very Nearly The Same Name, who’s totally irrelevant to my life other than being ranked one ahead of me in the “Name Pronunciations to Remember” mental catalog.

          1. PoolLounger*

            It’s basically a micro-agression, or something very like one. To the mistake-maker, it’s a one-off. To the person with the name, it’s an annoyance they have to deal with daily. Look up why microaggressions are so annoying and difficult to discuss. It’s easy to just apologize and move on.

              1. Willow Pillow*

                Good thing PoolLounger addressed that when they said “or something very like one” then! Given how often this happens with people who don’t have white-sounding names, however, we really don’t have enough information to make that assertion.

            1. Random Dice*

              That feels like co-opting a term. “Microaggression” does not mean “repeated annoyance”. It has a specific meaning in regards to prejudice.

              Mispronouncing a name is a microaggression when done to people with non-European names, especially if they are visibly not-white. (Oh that ethic name is way too weird to remember or say right – right, Siobhan?)

              Calling someone, say, “ANNdrea” instead of “AHndrea” is annoying, but it isn’t a small way of letting slip big bigotry. It just doesn’t come burdened with a lifetime of bigotry and marginalization.

          2. Chirpy*

            Being told we’re “taking it too personally” when someone else is mispronouncing our names and making a big deal out of the “excuse” is not ok. Names *are* personal. It’s basic courtesy to learn them properly, and it’s entirely on the apologizer to not make the situation about themselves instead of just making a quick apology and getting it right.

        1. Samwise*

          I agree one thousand percent.

          It’s like making any error. Apologize without explanations, stories, self deprecations…because all those additions take away from the apology. They are “I’m sorry but…”. That “but” = it’s not really my fault, don’t blame me. They make the apology all about you and your sad feels.

    2. why yes i know how to say my name :)*

      Please do. It’s really, really, really not helpful. It doesn’t make me think more highly of you because you’re still centering yourself and potentially getting distracted from retaining the correct pronunciation. Speaking for myself (not the OP), I’m just tired and I want to keep the correction and interaction short and sweet and, ideally, for you not to make the same mistake again. No excuses, no more context, just acknowledgement and change with minimal fuss because it’s probably the zillionth time I’ve experienced this and, honestly, I don’t really care about the “why” at this point.

      1. Tuesday*

        I don’t know, I do think it can be helpful. It’s surprising when someone I’ve spoken to before mispronounces my name, but if they explain they were just thinking about X or talking to Y, it feels less personal. Otherwise it’s like yikes, I guess we’re not as close as I thought!

        But ultimately this strikes me as one of those things that people just say to make small talk and it’s not really worth getting worked up over it.

        1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

          I think you could say it like that the first time (not beating yourself up or making the other person feel like they have to comfort you for your embarrassment around something you did to them, just briefly saying ‘sorry, my aunt is Leeuh and that has stuck! Here’s that TPS report’) but then going forward just briefly correct yourself like “Layuh, right” or “hey Leeuh, I mean Layuh, how about those TPS reports”.

        2. Samwise*

          It’s helpful to YOU. Not to the person to whom you are (not really) apologizing.

          1. Leenie*

            You’re responding as if Tuesday is the offender. But they’re speaking from the perspective of the person who had their name mispronounced, not the person doing the mispronouncing. So they’re the recipient of the apology, and generally appreciates the explanation.

            1. GIF*

              As the recipient of many such apologies, I don’t appreciate the explanation, please stop.

              1. Leenie*

                I don’t actually do that myself. I just apologize and move on. And, although my name gets mispronounced a lot (it’s one of those Celtic names), I don’t have big feelings either way about how people respond. Although I could see it being awkward if someone made a meal of their mistake.

                But the thing is, the OP has feelings that are different than yours, and that’s ok. And the person who I was replying to responded to the OP as if they were excusing their own mistakes, and not discussing the mistakes of others. My response was simply to clarify that the OP wasn’t excusing their own mistakes, not actually to discuss the rightness of wrongness of people who explain themselves. Not sure why that neutral clarification was worthy of argument.

      2. BlondeSpiders*

        Why Yes hits the nail on the head. It’s very similar to accidentally misgendering people, or not using a person’s new chosen name. A mistake happens, (I’m assuming goodwill here) the person in question corrects the speaker, and then the speaker monologues about WHY they did it, and implies that the explanation is clearly the Most Important Thing. It’s not. Your intent doesn’t matter nearly as much as your actions.

        If you are corrected, you should either apologize or say, “thank you for correcting me,” and STOP TALKING. :)

        1. Detective Rosa Diaz*

          yep, I just changed my name last month (afab enby) and I have a rote response where I tell people “just say “oh right, thanks” because I am having to correct people all the time”.
          I get that people are just flustered but the end result of freaking out and making a lengthy explanation is that a) correcting gets harder for me when anticipating that it will be a big deal and b) I am constantly having to reassure people when… yall are using the wrong name. I get why but like. why should I then need to reassure and absolve you?

          “OH (correct name/pronoun), right. thanks! (move on with convo)”. please.

      3. Double A*

        I have a name people get wrong about 70% of the time when they first meet me, and frankly that’s just something I have to deal with in life. I correct people and have my little pat answers that are as familiar to me as “How are you? Fine” is to everyone else. It’s really not a burden to have a personal social nicety.

        Because it’s not all about me; other people have heavy cognitive loads and personal associations, and they have reasons for doing what they do and pronouncing my name the way they do. As long as they get the pronunciation correct after a few tries, it’s fine.

        I’m honestly way more annoyed when people refer to me as “Mrs.” (I’m a teacher so it happens a lot). Yeah, I’m married, but I didn’t take my husband’s last name and even if I did my marital status has nothing to do with work. People have their reasons for this one, too, but they’re kinda sexist so I’m less forgiving of those reasons. But also less likely to correct people, because remembering who uses “Ms.” and who uses “Mrs.” is a whole other cognitive load to put on people. Mostly I’m just annoyed at a system where I need to use an honorific at all, much less one that reflects marital status.

        1. nobadcats*

          When I taught English overseas, my students and TAs call me “Miss [Name].” I bridled at first, but then just let it go. I go by “Ms.” in general, and that was close enough to good. I’m not gonna come down on a group of third graders.

          1. Earlk*

            On the other side I hate being called Ms. instead of Miss and my aunt is the same.

            1. nobadcats*

              Totally understandable. Just address people by what they prefer. No skin off my nose in any case.

        2. DD26*

          I have a common name, but not the typical spelling. Not an unusual spelling, just not the typical one. I’ve been at my current company over 20 years and my email contains my name.

          I still get emails using the common spelling. I really don’t care as I realize it’s not meant to be rude or mean.

          I will occasionally give my mom some good natured grief about it. She has never given me a reason why she decided to go with this spelling, and really it doesn’t fit her personality either to go against the norm.

          1. Ellen D*

            I have a first name, that is clearly in my work e-mail address, but I’ve been addressed most commonly as Eileen, Elaine, Helen in e-mails. On two occasions, I took phone calls where they were looking for Alan my surname, and were annoyed they couldn’t find his phone number (years ago so in paper directories) and I had to say they wanted me and they’d got the first name wrong.
            On names I make a point of establishing if it’s Peter/Pete, Andrew/Andy, Christopher/Chris, Elizabeth/Liz/Beth, Jennifer/Jenny. I try to make sure I’m only corrected once. People need to listen.

    3. Observer*

      If you really can’t resist the impulse preface it with “Sorry! I know better but had a brain freeze because blah blah blah.”

      That at least makes it clear that you are not arguing or trying to “prove” that you are really right, and the other person doesn’t quite know their name.

      1. Sunshine*

        Yeah, the amount of people who try to argue that their way is “more correct” is wild to me! I can not imagine explaining someone’s own name to them like that!

        1. nobadcats*

          Has happened to me more times than I can count with my surname. And even then, they end up spelling Famous Author’s name wrong.

    4. ecnaseener*

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “Ugh, I knew that, brain fart, sorry!” It’s specifically the part where you cite evidence that’s annoying.

    5. Ms_Symplicite*

      All of my names (1st, middle, last) are unique, either in their spelling or pronunciation.

      I will correct the first time, and then, generally speaking, let it go the 2nd time after that. Depending on the audience, I may or may not correct after that: if it’s my boss and he’s super busy, meh. Emails? Maybe. It really demonstrates how much people are paying attention, and how much respect they give me. The more they screw up, the less likely I am going to give more than the barest of minimums in terms of respect back. Because.. who are they talking to? Not ** me **, but some fictional version with a different spelling. It’s a hill I’m willing to die on.

      I also don’t want the excuse.

      But if you call my house, mispronounce my last name, I correct you, then you do it a 2nd time, and you’re trying to sell me something? Good luck – you just lost the sale. I give no quarter on that front.

  4. mariemac*

    “My biggest takeaway is that ‘confirming how a new employee pronounces their name’ should be a standard part of onboarding. It’s easy, welcoming, saves time, and reduces potential awkwardness.”

    I love this! I also suggest reconfirming someone’s name even if you’ve known them previously. I once hired someone I knew from a job previously and filled out his new hire paperwork with the name he used in the previous job, but turns out he had taken using a middle name/additional name that had family history. I felt bad for assuming and putting him in the position of having to correct it every time.

    1. Jiminy cricket*

      Agreed! Never assume. I learned the hard way with a Nina. There’s only one way to pronounce Nina, right? Wrong! She says it “NIGH-nuh.”

      1. negligent apparitions*

        I live in the Midwest where we love taking names with one/common pronunciation and changing the vowel sounds. I swear we do this to ward off outsiders.

        1. Quill*

          Moving from the midwest to Utah has been weirdly homey in that regard. Mina at the office is not “Mee-nuh” it’s “My-nuh” etc.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            It was culture shock for me moving from the south to UT. I spent the first two years swatting off attempts to shorten my first name…………finally after almost a Decade the wanna be shorteners are giving up.

        2. LabRat*

          *laughs in Ohio native with family in Houston (pronounced House-tun), which is near Russia (pronounced Roo-shee)*

          1. Avery*

            Illinois has a town called Cairo (Cay-row) and another called Versailles (Ver-sails), and Indiana’s got Edinburgh (Edin-burg).
            I think it is the whole Midwest that does that… if not just everywhere in the world.

            1. Merrie*

              Yep, Ohio has Lima (Lime-uh) and Rio Grande (ree-oh grand). I guess Toledo also qualifies since the Spanish version is pronounced toh-LAY-do not toh-LEE-do.

            2. Old Woman in Purple*

              How about Des Plaines (‘Dess Planes’)? And of course, ‘Illinois’ itself: ‘Ill-a-noy’ is the typical pronunciation here in NW-Suburban Chicagoland.

            3. Ultra Anon*

              Yep, my home state of South Dakota pronounces the capital of Pierre as “Peer” and will correct you if you try and say it the french way. Meanwhile, I currently live in MN where we have a town called Wayzata that’s pronounce Why-zetta. We do pronounce Faribault correctly (Fair-bo) when everyone else in the midwest says “Fari-i-balt.”

        3. nobadcats*

          Bill Bryson calls how we pronounce things here in the midwest “the great vowel movement” in “Mother Tongue.”

      2. Seashell*

        I had a professor named Nina who pronounced it that way. When we were not in class, my friends & I would amuse ourselves by imitating her saying NINE-uh.

    2. Michael G*

      The onboarding process should also include preferred nicknames, if any.
      One company I worked at I got called Mike when I use Michael. I was told that it would be disrespectful to the owner of the company for me to ask to be called Michael. The owner went by Mike. Plot twist, Michael wasn’t his given name.

      1. Not my real name*

        Ok, this is hilarious to me. My boss is Mike, and we use Mikel for my coworker to keep them straight, even though Mikel is Mike in most of the rest of his life.

      2. Nina*

        I worked at a company where I regularly interacted with no less than seventeen Mikes, eight Bens, and seven Petes. The CEO was a Pete.

        We had Canadian Ben, Canadian Ben in LA, English Ben, Kiwi Ben, Tall Ben, Assembly Ben…

        The Mikes were numbered according to start date at the company. When Mike 3 left, Mike 4 insisted on not moving up a number because Mike 3 was unpopular and he felt becoming the new Mike 3 would be awkward. Mike 5 left and came back a few years later, would have been Mike 10, but his number was still vacant so he stayed Mike 5.

        1. Sasha*

          We had a Big Siva, Little Siva, and Siva Three because we had run out of sizes. Big Siva and Little Siva then left, and we had to explain to new hires why Dr Sivaprasalam was known as Siva Three.

          1. Mad Harry Crewe*

            Terry Pratchett takes this to the extreme in Wee Free Men: No’-As-Big-As-Medium-Jock-But-Bigger-Than-Wee-Jock-Jock

        2. Zarniwoop*

          We had “Big Ed” and “Special Ed” (the latter dating back to his childhood and we’d never have known had he not told us.)

    3. The Rafters*

      Mariemac, thank you. I’ve just added this to our onboarding procedure manual.

  5. EPLawyer*

    #2 — karma is amazing ain’t it. I would bet that Point of Contact is gone because she was the cause of the missed deadlines. I bet it came out after she was not allowed to scapegoat anyone anymore.

    But the bestest part is that the scapegoat is now the Point of Contact. With, no suprise at all, that work flow is going just fine.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yup, in my AAM fanfic this is exactly why Point of Contact is gone. I suppose we will never know the real reason for Point of Contact’s departure, so my non-canon explanation is the best I’ll ever get.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Also, what is up with Point of Contact’s response to being told not to blame someone else for missed deadlines: “but I’m not supposed to talk about our capacity”?? Point of Contact completely missed the point there! Unless the supervisor was softening the message with Point of Contact when they told Point of Contact to stop with the blaming, which I suppose is possible.

        1. Observer*

          I suspect that supervisor was pretty clear. The eye roll is pretty telling, I think.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            Yeah, I seriously doubt the supervisor wasn’t clear. It seems a LOT more likely that the Point of Contact completely missed the point.

        2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          I sort of get the sense it has an implied “amirite?” and that POC saw herself and OP’s company/that group of people as somehow being on the same ‘side’, with POC’s bosses being the shared ‘enemy’.

        3. TeratomasAreWeird*

          I suspect the message to POC wasn’t just “stop blaming Scapegoat”, it was “stop saying that our team is too busy to do our work by the deadlines we gave regardless of Scapegoat’s PTO plans.”

        4. Mongrel*

          “Also, what is up with Point of Contact’s response to being told not to blame someone else for missed deadlines: “but I’m not supposed to talk about our capacity”?? ”

          Passive aggressive bullshit that, in my head, is why they got laid off soon after. If you can’t even pretend to take feedback gracefully then they were in the wrong job.

  6. Heather*

    I agree that asking for pronunciations should be standard! I recently graduated from a university program, and they asked all of us to send in phonetic pronunciations for the ceremony. It’s such a good idea– although it made me chuckle because there is absolutely only one way to pronounce my name. I dutifully sent it in anyway. John, as in… John. And Smith, rhymes with “with…”

    1. My own boss*

      At my grad school graduation, the person reading our names went down the line and had everyone confirm she was pronouncing our names right. I have an easy to pronounce name that people misread all the time, so I appreciated the extra step. She stayed with the person until she got it right.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        At my high school graduation, they had us write the pronunciation of our names on a card for the principal to say when he called us up to the stage to receive our diplomas. Mine (otherwise often mispronounced a little) went OK, but one kid with a very Eastern European name not common in our area got MANGLED. Just like he always did. Poor kid.

        1. daffodil*

          I felt for the administrators reading names at my workplace’s graduation. We’re in a large metro and have substantial communities of immigrants from 4-5 very different language groups with different pronunciation rules, plus some families anglicized their pronunciation differently from others. Students wrote out phonetic pronunciation but it can still be tricky when you’re doing so many in a row.

        2. not gonna tell you my last name*

          Oh hey is it me? My last name, especially my particular spelling/transliteration of it, is so rare in the US that I think it’s exclusive to my family. Google tries to correct the spelling to the more common transliteration (which is annoying). Even with those pronunciation cards, my last name got mangled as always.

            1. Lizcase*

              I am so part of this club!

              My maiden name looks deceptively simple to pronounce. Not a single person has ever gotten it right without knowing a relative of mine.

              I changed my name when I got married and did not change it back after divorcing. when folks asked why, this is why. I was so sick of everyone (even people who knew me all my life) getting my last name wrong.

              1. Kyrielle*

                I live on a street named for a person, and I sometimes chuckle, and agree every time, someone asks me “Do you still live on…uh….” (And it’s mispronounced 90% of the time when they don’t just say ‘uh’.) But what’s funny when it’s your street isn’t funny at all when it’s someone’s name, and we need to do better at asking for and listening to pronunciations. (And I always do give the correct pronunciation, even if I did chuckle first.)

              2. Merrie*

                My maiden and married names both get screwed up all the time. I can’t win. My mom’s family name is only marginally better. (All these names are spelled like they sound, people are just terrible at sounding things out.) My aunt, who shares my maiden name, married a man with a last name that is also a short, euphonious, common and easy-to-spell English word. My dad joked that we should have all just changed our names to his.

              3. allathian*

                I hear you. I had two reasons for changing my name when I got married; one of them was that I was sick of hearing my last name mispronounced by everyone who doesn’t speak Swedish and for having to spell it out constantly. The other reason was that I strongly preferred everyone in our family to have the same name, and I was 8 months pregnant when we got married so this wasn’t theoretical.

                I was raised in a bilingual family, and my first name is very common for my generation in both Finnish and Swedish, but is pronounced differently in each. So I grew up with my mom pronouncing my name one way and my dad pronouncing it another. When I learned English and later French and Spanish, I never had an issue with people pronouncing my name in a way that felt natural to them, as long as it was somewhat recognizable as my name.

                I do realize that I come from a privileged position because I don’t feel like my identity is being belittled when people fail to pronounce my name exactly the way I do.

            2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              In school I always knew when they got to me because every teacher wanted to make my last name way harder than they needed to. Took my spouses name thinking it would make things simpler…….I didn’t know there were so many ways to butcher the extremely common Spanish last name……

              Sometimes you just can’t win, but it never meant I quit correcting.

      2. Lily Rowan*

        “Easy to pronounce name that people misread all the time” — YES. That is the perfect description of my name. It’s fairly short and pronounced regularly in English, but it’s not that common so people often guess wrong what it is, vs reading each letter.

        1. Avery*

          Describes my last name too! The pronunciation itself is fairly straightforward, but it’s an unusual variation on a common last name, and people assume it must be pronounced differently since it’s spelled differently… no, no it isn’t. Spelling and pronunciation are both a crapshoot, and it’s rare for a person to get both right first try for me.
          My actual given first name doesn’t help matters, since it’s an unusual name, especially for someone female-presenting, so people tend to assume my name is ACTUALLY any number of more common, more obviously female names that are vaguely similar. Nope, I’m nonbinary, I like that it’s a weird name… but didn’t expect going from having one name regularly mangled to having BOTH regularly mangled…

          1. AuburnEnigma*

            My last name as well – it’s 7 letters and Germanic, but relatively easy to say. It has one ‘s’ in the middle, and my dad says it as if it were ‘ss’ (my mom and sister used to do it as well before they both changed their surnames) so when I was younger I used to get it misspelled. I found it was easier to say it like the ‘s’ was a ‘z’ and the spelling was always correct.

    2. BubbleTea*

      Huh. When I say it, Smith doesn’t rhyme with with. I can’t articulate the difference but there is one.

      1. cv*

        aspirated vs not? Smith and with don’t rhyme in eastern canuck, either.
        Smith rhymes with “pith,” or “Sith” if you’re a Star Wars fan.

        1. Jem*

          Voiceless vs. voiced. The “th” in smith is a voiceless interdental fricative, the “th” in with is a voiced interdental fricative.

          1. That wasn't me. . .*

            Disagree! Around here “with” definitely rhymes with “Smith ” (“Wiv'” like Cockney? “Wif’, maybe? Or “Smythe,” like “blythe?” Took me a long, long time to remember that I HAVE heard people say “with” using the “th” from “there” rather than the “th” from “threw” but rarely) So, where do they do that?

          2. Happy*

            Thank you for explaining this! I was trying to figure out how people were pronouncing “Smith” so much differently than I do, and it turns out’s the “with” that is different, since both are voiceless in my dialect.

    3. Lily Cussing*

      Could be pronounced like Smythe and if it was I bet you’d be peeved.

      My name looks like there should be only one way to pronounce it (common English verb) but the variety people come up with is amazing. (Username is not real name but close analog).

      I say ‘Lily like the flower and Cussing like goddammit’.

  7. Allornone*

    I feel for LW3. My issue isn’t as bad as no one is mispronouncing my name, but they will still occasionally argue with me over it. My name is Kate and I have a variation of this conversation a few times a year.

    “So, hey, what is your name short for?”
    “Oh, nothing actually. It’s just Kate.”
    “No, really. What’s your full name? Katherine? Caitlyn?
    “Kate is my full name.”
    “So what’s on your birth certificate?”
    “Are you sure?”

    1. badger*

      People argue with me over how my name is spelled, because APPARENTLY there is a pronunciation difference between two common spellings and I have been told repeatedly by people in the Upper Midwestern state I live in that I say it wrong for the spelling I use. I have to say, though, this was not an issue in the state I grew up in.

      When I went on a trip to the Deep South, I could hear the difference (and *they* agreed I was spelling it correctly for the way I say it). I’ve never been able to hear it up here. And I’ve never met anyone who spelled it the other way (mine is the most common spelling) so I have no idea why people jump to that. I just wish they’d stop saying, “oh, BRIAN! I thought you said BRYAN!” (it is not either of those, but that’s very much how it feels) because I think I know how to say my own name, please and thank you.

    2. SMH*

      My sister gets this all the time. Her name is not short for something but people insist that it is short for another name.

      1. Allornone*

        What’s odd is that my dad’s name is Rick, not Richard, so he’s dealt with it all his life too, yet still named me Kate. But in the end, I do prefer Kate to all the names it’s typically short for, so I don’t mind. I like Kate.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          Kate is pretty. And it rhymes with “great!”

          Long ago, I knew a whole family whose legal names were all diminutives, including Rick – Mom figured “they’ll just call him Rick anyway so why bother with Richard?” – so there were Rick, Joe, Jim, and Becky. And they all had to constantly say “yes, Rick/Joe/ whatever IS my full name, not Richard or James.”

          1. Avery*

            I’ve heard it’s common in families of Swiss descent for some reason. That side of my family includes a Freddy and a Betty, and yes, those are their given names as written on their birth certificates.

            1. Turquoisecow*

              Interesting. My family is of Swiss descent and some of my relatives do this.

            2. Tafadhali*

              Nicknamey names were also pretty common in the ’50s and ’60s in the US — most of my mom’s siblings are Ricky, Ronny, etc. and often have to say, “Nope, that’s really the whole thing!”

              1. GreyjoyGardens*

                I caught the tail end of the nickname-as-name (early GenX). I did not have one, but lots of girls had names like Kristi, Staci, or Tami – always with that “i” ending. And for whatever reason, “Rick” as a stand alone name was popular for boys. (I guess because the dad-era nickname for Richard was now a joke, so parents wanted to be sure he’d not be called that?)

      2. Quill*

        Same, with the added bonus that the name mine is “short for” is uncommon enough already that people have apparently decided that it’s impossible for my even rarer name to exist.

    3. Milfred*

      How many times have you argued with someone calling the wrong number.

      “Are you sure this isn’t John Smith’s number?”

      “John Smith gave me this number; just put him on the phone.”

      1. Mad Harry Crewe*

        I had friends growing up who were one number off from a pizza parlor. They gave up arguing and just started “taking orders” to get folks off the phone.

    4. Milfred*

      In my youth I heard a person argue to no end that the only correct spelling for John was Jon, because that’s how his family spelled it.

      1. Just Another Cog in the Machine*

        Isn’t “Jon” generally short for “Jonathan,” and “John” just usually by itself? (I am sure there are exceptions.)

        1. Kit*

          Jon and John are both possible spellings of the short form of Jonathan, and also both valid names on their own! Jon is slightly more common in Germanic/Scandi-based spellings, John in English ones.

    5. umami*

      I’ve had the mispronouncing version of this all my life.

      Hi, I’m Umami.
      Sorry, what?
      How do you spell that?
      Oh! UMEMIA!

    6. MigraineMonth*

      I actually tried to change my name in 1st grade from Kate to Katherine, because I thought the longer name was prettier. It confused a lot of people. (Wait, your nickname is… longer?)

      1. Lizcase*

        my daughter (10) has decided to go my a longer name than she has, I think because it is fancier, and also there aren’t as many names that sound almost the same (only first letter is different)

        The question she has to deal with the most is whether she is a girl because the new name is traditionally Male. She rejects the idea that names are gendered.

        It’s been several months, and so far her friends and school have been using the new name without issues. I still mess it sometimes, but I usually catch myself and correct immediately.

    7. Be Gneiss*

      Oh, the “Are you sure?” Isn’t that the best?!?! Why yes, I am *sure* that I know my own legal name, thanks.

      1. Sasha*

        We sometimes have this with our son. Why yes, I do know the name of the child I named, thank you.

        (unisex name most commonly used for girls in the US. However we aren’t American, and my son was born in a country where it is a totally normal boys’ name).

    8. Becky*

      Yup I get this often!
      My name is Becky, not Becca or Rebecca, just Becky – yes, that’s what is on my birth certificate.

      (Actually, my parents had a debate about this when my mother was pregnant – my mother wanted to name me “Becky” because, “if I am going to call her ‘Becky’ I am going to name her ‘Becky'” My dad (named Michael, called Mike) argued, no you just can’t do that. My Mother won.)

      1. Just Another Cog in the Machine*

        I have a very similar situation. My mom has a name that rhymes with mine, and the shortened form for her name is ALSO her real name. I do sometimes wish she had named me the long version, if only so I could choose to use whichever one I wanted.

        Adding insult to injury, the spelling of my name does not match the way most people spell it when it’s their nickname. (But mine is my “real name,” so obviously mine is right.) The spelling matches my mom’s, minus the first letter, because my dad couldn’t be asked to learn another, similar spelling. My spelling looks better and makes more sense, though, in my opinion.

        I have never had someone insist my real name was the long version, though. And only one person, that I can remember, who just started using the long version. I just let her, because it didn’t matter and I didn’t talk to her often.

      2. Turquoisecow*

        That was my mom’s argument with my sister Vicki. “I’m not going to call her Victoria, why would I name her that?”

        1. Nina*

          My parents gave me a name with seven or eight different common diminutives and a couple of plausible but uncommon ones, so I could choose when I got older, because they didn’t know what I’d grow up like. I use one of the plausible-but-uncommon ones.

          If you’re Vicki you’re Vicki; if you’re Victoria you can be Vicki or Vicky or Tori or Ri.

        2. Kaden Lee*

          My mom argued the inverse. “I named her Brittany so people should call her Brittany, not Brit.” (Obviously fake name but similar)

          Similar to other comments in this chain, my husband’s full legal first name is a common nickname for a longer name (like Matt for Matthew) and he has to clarify every time he gets a new job, signs paperwork for anything, volunteers somewhere with a background check, etc that his name is in fact Matt.

      3. Merrie*

        My husband is in the “if I am going to call her Becky I am going to name her Becky” camp, and I’m in the “I’ll give them the whole name so they have variety” camp. We never reached a resolution on this and so all of our kids got names where we use the full version and they aren’t commonly nicknamed. I liked Sam, but didn’t want to wrangle endlessly about Sam vs Samuel.

    9. SpringIsForPlanting!*

      I did that to someone once and then immediately hated myself. Please accept an apology on behalf! I’ve learned!

    10. Turquoisecow*

      My aunt Sue (not Susan) and my sister Vicki (not Victoria) feel your pain. Aunt had to bring her freaking birth certificate to school to get the teacher to call her Sue.

      My name is also short and can be a nickname but thankfully it’s common enough as an actual name that I don’t get this.

    11. LMC*

      That’s the worst. My last name is unusual, but it looks like a misspelling of a common word. I’ve had teachers insist that I somehow didn’t know how to spell my own last name. This was over 20 years ago and I’m still a little peeved about it.

      Thankfully, that hasn’t happened in my adult life, but weirdly enough now I get more misspellings of my very common first name! You can’t win sometimes.

    12. londonedit*

      I know a Katie, Jessie and Tom who are all legally ‘just’ Katie, Jessie and Tom. I went to school with Katie and Tom, and they both had a nightmare with teachers who insisted everyone should be called by their ‘proper’ names; i.e. Katherine and Thomas. So they were constantly having the ‘my name isn’t Katherine, it’s Katie’ ‘that can’t be possible’ ‘well, it is’ argument.

    13. Earlk*

      My name is Kay and the amount of people who assume I’m just not pronouncing the T in Kate is baffling. I pronounce my T’s in other words too!!!

  8. NeedRain47*

    When people say “My X pronounces it that way”, they’re not trying to inform you that there are different ways to pronounce it and I wouldn’t assume they think you’re offended. (If you’re getting offended by people who say it wrong the very first time, that’s an oversized reaction anyway.) They’re just telling you why they said it that way.

    1. EPLawyer*

      But that doesn’t matter. OP is telling you how HER name is pronounced. How someone else pronounces it is not relevant. And really is about centering YOU in the conversation instead of you know the person telling you how their name is pronounced.

    2. badger*

      sure, but the 47 billionth time you hear it, it’s like, “okay, great, I got it, let’s move on.” They’re well aware that the person said their name this way because someone else they knew does. Because that’s everyone’s reason.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Doesn’t really matter though – even if literally every other person in the world pronounced my name in a different way, that doesn’t make it the ‘correct’ pronunciation. I agree with LW #3. I don’t need an apology or an explanation, I just want you to use the name I’ve given you.

    4. Heather*

      You’re right (and so are the comments in response to you). People just want SOMETHING to say! The conversation goes: “Hi, Heather.” “Actually it’s pronounced Frank.” “Oh, sorry.” That feels awkward to a lot of people, so they blurt out “Oh I thought it was Heather because–“

      1. LW3*

        Yeah, I get it! I’d prefer not to have the conversation, but it’s not a huge deal.

        One tip Alison and Captain Awkward gave in response to my original letter is to move on quickly and avoid the awkward moment where the person being corrected feels like they need to respond. Very helpful! Pretty much everyone then moves on, except the weirdos who really do want to lecture me about vowels.

  9. knitandpurl*

    My favorite Aunts name was Leah (Lee-uh). Neighbors daughter is Leah (Lay-uh). I know this, but training my brain for the neighbor is a “me” issue, and I try! But my default is wrong for them, and I constantly mess it up on the first try. All that to say… sometimes those of us who mess up are well intentioned and trying.

    1. NeedRain47*

      I know a whole bunch of Alicias- Ah-lee-cee-ah, Ah-lish-ah, Ah-leesh-ah…. good luck to me trying to pick the right one with people I don’t know well.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        I’ve been listening to team calls for the last 4 months with 3 people all pronouncing “Alicia” differently. I’ve never heard her pronounce it herself, and I feel like I joined the team a little late to bring it up. She’s our client…so you would think someone on our team would care! Like possibly the project manager… (*face palm!*). Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I’m in the position to try to correct anyone. I’ve never spoken to Alicia, I’m just on the calls for awareness.

    2. Just Another Fed*

      Those of us with unusual name pronunciations know other people are well-intentioned. There may exist people who go around deliberately mispronouncing names but I haven’t encountered one yet. Everyone who gets my name wrong means well. But the thing is, knowing the other person is trying doesn’t actually reduce the frustration one iota, and when the other person takes the time to make lengthy explanations/justifications rather than simply accepting the correction and moving on (“Lay-uh, right. Lay-uh, do you have the TPS report yet?”), it’s centering them and exhausting to us.

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        Right! Just make the correction and move on. Don’t make me stop and have to help you through your emotions around something you did to me. Just say oh thanks, and move on.

      2. Tom*

        As someone whose name is commonly mispronounced, please don’t pretend to speak for all of us.

    3. HR Friend*

      Oh even worse – my older kid’s best friend is Lee-uh, and my younger kid’s best friend is Lay-uh. I have to pause to think for about 2 seconds every time I say either of their names!

    4. umami*

      I think this is why people shouldn’t ask people how their name is spelled, because of course you will default to the way you are familiar with it being pronounced. Like in this example, if your neighbor’s daughter says her name is Lay-uh, there would be no reason to mix it up with Lee-uh unless you happed to know the spelling. They sound … totally different, so if you didn’t know how it was spelled, you wouldn’t be getting neighbor’s daughter’s name wrong. I say this because of my example above, whenever someone asks me to spell my name so that they can better understand how I’m pronouncing it, it actually leads them to pronouncing it completely differently from what I said because there is a different spelling and pronunciation that is more familiar and becomes the default. Even though I literally just said how to say my name.

      1. JustaTech*

        Hard agree. I have a terrible time turning the written word into sounds (dunno why, it’s a me thing) so if I’m going to get someone’s name right I really need to hear it before I see it written.
        And that’s for any name I haven’t encountered before, from any language.

        1. mlem*

          From the opposite direction: My French I teacher insisted that we not see any of the words the first week, because she was certain we would mispronounce them. We were only allowed to listen and repeat. So I faithfully repeated each word she pronounced for us, like “trapole” for “flag”.

          And then we were finally allowed to see the spellings, at which point I learned that “flag” was actually “drapeau”. Once I could see the spelling, I was far better at pronouncing it.

          All of which is just to say … people vary. Some do better with hearing, others with reading.

  10. Jiminy cricket*

    I recently learned that everyone at work — all of us — pronounce a coworker’s name wrong. All the time. Every time. She didn’t correct people in her first professional roles. She made contacts and coworkers who followed her from job to job. And now her professional name has pretty much just become different from her name at home.

    I offered to start using her preferred pronunciation and she said, “Nah. At this point it would cause too much confusion.” I felt sad.

      1. Lily*

        This is one way my husband and I can tell if a caller who is asking for him actually knows him or is trying to sell him something.

    1. Turtle3808*

      My partner had this with someone he eventually supervised. Everyone had been pronouncing his (common Middle Eastern with various spellings) name a certain way for years. When my partner moved from team member to supervisor, they had a 1-on-1 and the guy mentioned it in passing. When asked if he wanted my partner to push people to pronounce it correctly, he said, eh, then the other teams won’t know who you are talking about. It was a significant difference in pronunciation too.

    2. umami*

      Heh, I had someone ask me just the other day how to correctly pronounce my name, and I told her, but I also said I’m more accustomed to hearing it a variety of ways. She felt bad for me and said she really wanted to say it right. But the truth is, it really doesn’t bother me when people say it wrong, it hardly registers. It only registers when I go through the scenario of telling people how to say it right because they ask, and they still insist on saying it a different way because *reasons* (I knew someone else who said it x way, or it looks like you would say it y way, etc.)

      1. With an H*

        You have me thinking about my own common name. Sarah. When I first started at my new job one of my coworkers said my name and then apologized about the pronunciation, and I had to pause to realize it was because she had said “Say-rah”, I’m so used to hearing my name accented differently by different people, I didn’t even pick it up, but apparently a previous coworker had gotten very annoyed by her pronunciation. On the other had I get really annoyed when it’s misspelled even though it doesn’t changed the pronunciation.

        1. No H*

          Aaaahhh, I’m on the other side of the Sara(h) divide! You can say it however you please, but if you know me and still tack on that extra letter I’m not going to be happy. I can always tell if someone knows a Sara(h) if I introduce myself and they ask, “with or without?”

  11. Rocket Raccoon*

    Gah, my husband has a common spelling/uncommon pronunciation name. People actually ARGUE with him about how to pronounce his name – including my own mother when I introduced them.

    I told him to start telling people it’s Welsh, but he’s too stubborn to take the easy way out.

    1. NeedRain47*

      I changed pharmacies after the pharmacy tech tried to insist that my name could be pronounced as a similar name that is both spelled AND pronounced differently. (It’s along the lines of Rumor vs Rumour, but there’s also a pronounciation differene. When you put in the extra letter it sounds British or fancy or something, but that’s not my name.)

      1. Seashell*

        I had a teacher (in high school, I think) who pronounced my Scottish surname like a similar French name. When I said that wasn’t how it was pronounced, he said something like, “Oh, it’s prettier that way.” Quite jerky, he was.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I had a good friend of his as a teacher – decided to believe the class bully over me with regards to a nickname bully said to call me in place of my name. After a few attempts at correction were ignored, I just started ignoring him. Not really mature – but petty 16 year old me had tried everything else and I wasn’t being called by my name, so did I really know who he was talking to?

          It eventually took the principal telling him to “Grow Up and use her name” to get him to call me by my female name instead of the very definitely male nickname he was using.

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      That is SO weird. Arguing?? I’d cheerfully offer to call his mom – cheerful to not make it personal, direct because they’re being super weird.

      “You’re right, some people do pronounce it Cahra, but my name is Cayra. That decision was made above my pay grade, but it has caused a lot of people to be confused, so I’d be glad to get my mom on the line if you’d like to take it up with her [pull out phone and start dialing, then look at them while smiling]. Maybe something can still be done at this point, who knows! … Oh, hi, mom? I have a gentleman here who has some thoughts about my name. [nod at him encouragingly] Go ahead sir…”

    3. Milfred*

      There is an old George Carlin joke about name pronunciation.

      It can be spelled Rumpelstiltskin and pronounced Joe, because…that’s the way they want to pronounce it.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I miss his skits. Not all of them have aged well – but the humor in them was smarter than the fart joke phase we got right after him.

  12. learnedthehardway*

    I meet a lot of people from a lot of different cultures in my work, and I really try hard to pronounce everyone’s name the way they pronounce it. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to physically do so (accents and different languages have sounds that English doesn’t), but it’s only polite to at least TRY!!

    1. Zarniwoop*

      Don’t try that with Dutch names. If you haven’t had proper training you could hurt yourself.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah. An attempt made in good faith should count for something.

      I’m not completely tone deaf, and I don’t have problems hearing rising inflections for questions in English or Swedish, for example. Finnish is a relatively monotone language where questions are marked exclusively by words rather than inflection. But I’m tone deaf enough that I have trouble with names in tonal languages. If I had to interact regularly with someone who had a name I had trouble with, I’d absolutely make the effort, but I suspect that it would take a lot of coaching, certainly much more coaching than I’d ever expect a coworker to provide.

  13. Cat Tree*

    #2, I think based on the missed deadlines and the blame game, POC’s manager probably already knew there were some serious problems. So the firing may or may not have been a result of your boss’s report.

    I recently went through this with an employee, the first ever person that I have fired. His performance was terrible and I gave him plenty of feedback but his performance in different areas either didn’t improve enough, or would improve temporarily and he would backslide. We were working on this for months.

    Then another manager told me that my employee was having a huge negative effect on her employee. He had been afraid to bring it up because he didn’t want to get my employee in trouble. I did end up firing him soon after that, but not mainly because of the complaints from his peer (although that sped up the timeline by a couple weeks).

  14. Sybil Writes*

    Not affiliated in any way, but our organization recently started using https://cloud.name-coach.com/ as a add-on to Outlook. It allows for an individual to upload an audio recording of the correct pronunciation of their name.

  15. Sylv*

    My birth certificate says Sylvia, but nobody except a few relatives in Europe call me that. I go by Sylvie. When I started a new job two years ago, my welcome sheet had Silvie and the computer setup, intranet, and firm signature had Sylvia. It was a pain to have it corrected and in some internal systems it still has the wrong name.

    I typically have to correct people at least once after I’ve been introduced, as “Sylvie” is almost always repeated back as “Sylvia”. If it’s someone I’ll never deal with again I don’t bother to, but if I expect to have further contact with the person I will correct them in the moment (worse is when I leave voicemails, as people often call back asking for Sophie or Suzie – that might be because I still have slight accent, but I doubt it).

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > It was a pain to have it corrected

      Heh, my ex said his name got entered wrongly into a university system of some kind (he doesn’t have an unusual name, it was just a data entry error for some reason) and when he tried to get them to correct it, they said they’d need documentary evidence for the change of name showing the old and new name (in the same way as a marriage certificate links your old and new name if you changed it when you got married). Of course, no such proof exists as the old name never existed – they just couldn’t get their head around that, or didn’t have a policy or procedure to apply that fitted the situation. It ended up going through a worryingly bureaucratic number of layers of administrators and managers before someone could “authorise” a name change without documentary evidence. (He did have his ID documents showing the actual name but they wouldn’t accept that as they didn’t have any link to the ‘old’ name…)

      1. Quill*

        Lol. My grandmother (born before social security numbers) apparently had a similar problem in the late 80’s when she tried to get a part time job, because she had zero documentation of her birth name. (She was also born in a rural area, at home, before birth certificates.) She had her marriage license, but without a birth certificate or social security card there was no dice. The parish record of her birth wasn’t findable (and it was really a record of her baptism anyway…) and eventually she had to find a relative to go to court and swear before a judge that she was who she said she was, and that said relative had been present at her birth in ’27.

        The kicker is that the swearee, her older sister, would have been about two at the time. And ALSO didn’t have any documentation, having been a non-driving 50’s housewife until her husband’s retirement, with the same home birth and lost parish records. So the workaround turned out to be even more sketchy than the original problem.

      2. Nina*

        That is wild to me. The DMV (deliberately translating to American because y’all have no idea what VTNZ is, doesn’t mean the rules are the same) wasn’t that bad – they made a typo on my learners permit, I let it slide until I went to get my full license, they wanted to see evidence of a name change, so I showed them my passport and said this is my name, the photos obviously matched, so they corrected it.

        I had my passport from when I was four, my birth certificate, my name change certificate (because there was a name change in the mix), my passport from when I was fifteen, and my current passport, just in case, but they were able to fix it on the current passport.

        1. Felis alwayshungryis*

          New Zealand is usually pretty easy like that. When I got married, I didn’t change my name. An elderly relative from overseas, failing to understand this, sent me a cheque as a present made out to what would be my married name (which exists nowhere because it’s not my name).

          I just took it to the bank with my marriage certificate, explained the situation, they added a note to my file, done, cheque deposited, relative thanked (and corrected!). I feel like there are places where this would have been a much more arduous process.

    2. PhyllisB*

      One of my daughters is named Bethany. She will hurt you if you call her Beth. But what really fries her cookies is, she is forever being called Brittany, or Stephanie.

      1. SometimesALurker*

        Not your main point, I know, but I’ve never heard “fries one’s cookies” and I love it.

      2. Avery*

        On the flip side, my mother is Beth, and hates when people assume it’s short for Elisabeth or Bethany…

      3. Firebird*

        I feel for Bethany (checking for actual name). I have an old fashioned name that starts with an “L” and people will call call me any name that starts with an “L” except my actual name. One person kept calling me Eleanor, just because it started with an “L” sound.

    3. Vonlowe*

      this is something that grinds my gear about HR in my org. they messed up spelling a new starters name wrong not once but twice and then insist that IT can only use the persons name as it appears on their passport (which I know is categorically not true)

  16. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    The name thing makes me laugh and roll my eyes. If I ever heard someone tell me that’s not how they would spell it, I’d probably smile and offer to call my mom so they can tell her. “That decision was made well above my pay grade, but I can call my mom right now if you’d like to let her know”.

    I also have a first name with multiple pronunciation options. I can often tell what country a person is from by the way they pronounce it … and when someone from my home country says it, or when anyone pronounced it correctly, I feel this happy little wave of relaxation and affirmation in my body.

    My maiden name was also really complicated for English speakers. My husband has a short but non-English last name, also with several options for pronouncing it. He gave up on correcting people but when we got married and I chose to take his name, I told him I always would correct people. It feels different doing it on his behalf instead of on my behalf, even though at this point it obviously is on my own behalf since it’s my name after all.

    I limit the corrections I do because people are doing it in good faith, but I sincerely appreciate it when people make the effort. I’ll correct it if people are doing that weird thing where they use your name in every other sentence, it’s grating. My doc used to do that. Say my name is Mercenary and she got one letter and the accent wrong. When I corrected her it just wouldn’t sink in.

    Her: Good to see you this morning, MerKENerry. So, MerKENerry, how have things been since last time?

    Me: good, but it’s Mercenary.

    Her: Well that’s just great, MerKENerry, really great.

    Me: Mercenary.

    Her: so on to your chart, MerKENerry.

    Me: doc. You keep saying MerKENerry. It’s Mercenary.

    Her: what?

    Me: Mercenary. You pronounce it Mercenary.

    She seemed appalled and perhaps shamed. Did not use my name at all going forward. She made it so weird.

    When I divorced my ex and reclaimed my maiden name, I went from an easy english name to a pretty complex non-english one. One of my soldiers asked me if he could still call me by my rank and my old last name till he got used to the new one. I told him no, because that person no longer exists, so he could either learn it or just call me ma’am in the meantime (for the non-mil
    folks: that’s not an insulting or pompous thing to say; sir/ma’am or rank and last name is normal). And he learned it. It felt good to say something was important to me and hold my ground.

    Another of my soldiers asked me to help her make sure she was saying it correctly. She wrote it phonetically and we practiced (it’s actually quite simple if you don’t look at the letters) and I found later she sat down with our whole team and told them there’s a reason my ex is my ex, and told them that they would all pronounce it correctly going forward, and they did.

    It was such a seemingly small gesture but it meant the world to me. It helped ease the transition from what was quite a messy divorce, too (I just wanted to get the heck away from him and reminders/financial penalties kept following me, so having a name that was just mine was really helpful).

    That’s part of why I always make an effort to call people what they want to be called.

    Well, that became a novel. Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

    1. HannahS*

      I feel you on “It’s simple unless you look at the letters.” I have a Yiddish last name that consists only of sounds that exist in English and people can repeat it back to me…until they see it written down and then they short-circuit can’t manage to pronounce it anymore.

    2. Rocket Raccoon*

      Great talk!

      My kids’ pediatrician has a Polish late name and introduces herself as Dr. Firstname (in self defense, I assume). I happen to have a friend from Poland, so I had him give me a crash course in pronouncing her name. It took maybe 5 minutes? Like you said, don’t look at the letters and just copy the sounds.

      Now I just don’t know whether to call her Dr. Firstname or Dr. Lastname.

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        Call her Dr Firstname because that’s what she goes by, but see if you can find a way to add her last name into a convo where she can hear. “My kid’s pediatrician is Dr Janina Kowalska, and she’s great”.

    3. Quill*

      Congrats on the divorce!

      Also, one of the reasons I studied spanish initially as a kid is because my first name is perfectly phonetic in spanish, (It’s also perfectly phonetic in english but phonics is not most people’s friend in terms of english names) and I never had any trouble with anyone of a spanish speaking background pronouncing it wrong.

    4. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Your whole team sounds pretty amazing!

      That whole “ma’am” thing has taken me a minute.

      I’m not military nor am I Southern, and “Ma’am” was not in my vernacular growing up. But I have coached a few kids with military-affiliations in a sport and have learned that when they respond with an emphatic “yes Ma’am!” they are being absolutely not sarcastic and have taken the information relayed to heart. Its different.

    5. Ella Kate (UK)*

      Oof do I feel you. The amount of people who look at my name (not the pseud here though it’s a play on my first and middle) after I changed it and decided it was “similar but not the same name” and then *argued with me about it* is too damn high.

      Also, when I remarry my name is going to be twenty characters long, not including middle name, I’m doomed on anyone ever getting it right first time.

    6. MEH Squared*

      I enjoyed your TED talk and have one of my own.

      I am Taiwanese American. I have a name that in English is not common at all. But, like yours, it sounds pretty much like it looks if you ignore the letters. There are words in English that follow the general pattern, but the name itself throws people into a tizzy. I have a handy mnemonic device to pronounce it, but it still messes people up.

      In Taiwanese/Chinese, it’s pronounced a different way. My parents call me that so anyone who hear my parents say it will call me that–but it sounds weird coming from non-Taiwanese people.

      South Asians call me by a third name, which is a cross between the two above. I am fine with that.

      There is a fourth way of pronouncing it that is completely wrong–and that I do not accept.

      Having said all that, I have mostly given up at this point at getting Westerners to pronounce it correctly and just answer to anything except the last one.

      OP#3, I am glad it’s changed for the better for you at your new job!

  17. HappilyDivorced*

    Hopping on my soapbox for a second re: letter #1, and I hope it’s not too off-topic!

    Though I know it’s meant well, I want to encourage everyone to resist equating seeing someone in a new relationship with thinking they’ve “moved on” / “found happiness.” Being in a relationship is not the default setting of life, and divorced people can find happiness in a number of ways that don’t include getting engaged again. Sometimes a divorce itself is enough to make a person much, much happier, and sometimes people are just as miserable when quickly diving into a new relationship!

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      It wasn’t till I read your comment that I realized that’s exactly the thought I had when reading the update.

      Like this vague sense of relief that the dysregulated person whose attachment wounds meant they were most miserable when NOT in a relationship, was now less miserable in some ways because they’re in a relationship again – but none of the issues that contributed to his behavior in the first place have been resolved.

      Obviously he could have done the important work and this is all armchair diagnosing, but this dynamic is definitely what this update reminded me of.

      1. Redaktorin*

        The person who entered the new relationship is not dysregulated and showed zero bad behavior—he’s by all accounts a normal guy who was cheated on.

    2. twig*

      Yep! I moved on and found happiness by getting divorced :)

      (fun fact – a post on AAM helped open my eyes about how my ex was treating me)

      1. Firebird*

        Yep, me too. I lost 200 pounds on our court date and I am so happy. Somehow, I even feel taller. Lol

    3. Solidarity*

      “Being in a relationship is not the default setting of life…”

      it doesn’t even have to do anything to with divorce…(jumping off of my soapbox)

    4. brjeau*

      Thank you for naming the vague irritation I’ve always felt at phrases like this, in contexts like this. I know the LW (and others who do this) mean well, but it especially hits weird when talking about someone who has been deeply hurt by a romantic partner in this kind of way.

  18. Alice*

    My org has a feature in our directory where you can record your name, or put a “rhymes with X” description in.
    Amazingly, the one person I’ve run in to here who has an unusual pronunciation and clearly cares about it a great deal has not used it. I don’t get it! I can only imagine that he perceives is as some kind of power struggle — “if they respected me, they would remember how to say my name” — but at this point, all I remember is “X is very sensitive about his name so I should double-check.”

  19. DannyG*

    Eastern European last name. Consonant construction(s) which don’t exist in English. Once was asked “was your grandfather too cheap to buy a vowel?” At first introduction I give the Anglicized pronunciation, rhymes with xyz, and include “it’s Eastern European, the real pronunciation is lmn, but that causes too many problems!” Seems to work.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Fellow Eastern European … yep, I also have a whole block of instruction along with my maiden name. Well, see, it’s actually like three English words…

      Once people get it though, they remember it forever.

    2. not gonna tell you my last name*

      It’s funny because mine, which doesn’t have any super hard sounds and was transliterated quite well, is five pretty simple syllables. People just see the length and repeating consonants and immediately give up.

      1. Rocket Raccoon*

        I find names like that so much easier if I can just hear it once or twice. It’s so easy to just put a name into Google and hear it pronounced, no excuse for not being able to say long names.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          But there are situations like my Polish American friend whose family used a more Polish pronunciation of their last name, but her cousins used a more Americanized version (reading the letters as if they were in English). What would Google give you? What is “correct”?

      2. ScruffyInternHerder*

        People look at mine and think “can’t be that simple, must spice it up somehow…”

        Nope. Its THAT simple.

    3. Margaret Cavendish*

      I have the opposite situation. My last name is a super-common and easily-spelled English word, with an O on the end. The pronunciation is literally the super-common word plus the O. Think something like “Find-o.”

      Should be easy, right? It is not. I have spent my entire life telling people it’s not pronounced FEEN-do, and it’s not spelled Findon, Findot, or Friendo. I guess everyone thinks the obvious spelling and pronunciation must be wrong because they’re *too* obvious? No idea.

      1. DocVonMitte*

        I can relate. My last name is School Back in college, Facebook wouldn’t let me sign up because “You need to use your real name”.

      2. Temporarily Anon*

        My husband’s last name is Slade. I have heard people try to pronounce it “Slah-day” many a time.

    4. Victoria Everglot*

      I had a doctor with a name pronounced like “ker-check” but spelled with what seemed like a billion letters and no consonants. I got it right right away but even the receptionists just called her Dr. K. or Dr. Barbara. I always wondered if it bothered her.

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      A former coworker’s maiden name was Polish, and she’d talk about how as a child, she’d be asked to spell it, and she’d get as far as D-z- and people would tell her not to be so silly. In the next job after that, I worked with her brother’s wife, and she used to get all sorts of misspellings of the name because people were spelling it like it sounded.

  20. Akili*

    LW3: I’m with you here – My name isn’t commonly mispronounced, but it is one where I prefer the shortened version of my name instead of the official long version and I *finally* was able to change my work email and everything to show my preferred version so people stop calling me the longer version (despite what I use in my signature! If I sign off with (for example) Nicky and I get Hi, Nicole in the next email back I get so irritated!). Too bad that sort of fix isn’t possible for pronunciation issues…

  21. Iknowhowtopronouncemyownname*

    The best is when HR *corrects* you on how you’ve pronounced your last name, and when you correct them, they repeat the mispronounced name and then act like their pronunciation is the default one and that you’re a moron for saying it differently…when the pronunciation they’re using is hyper-local (to FOUR towns in a small state) and the rest of North America says it the way you do…

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I posted this above but your HR irritates me so much that I hope you do this:

      “You’re right, some people do pronounce it Cahra, but my name is Cayra. That decision was made above my pay grade, but it has caused a lot of people to be confused, so I’d be glad to get my mom on the line if you’d like to take it up with her [pull out phone and start dialing, then look at them while smiling]. Maybe something can still be done at this point, who knows! … Oh, hi, mom? I have a gentleman here who has some thoughts about my name. [nod at him encouragingly] Go ahead sir…”

  22. That wasn't me. . .*

    Just “mutual ” with him? What does the word mean in this context? (The only meaning I know is as a adjective equivalent for “shared” but no way can I see that being the meaning here.)

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I read it as reciprocating whatever he does. Good morning Bob; Hi Fergus. Bob smiles at Fergus, Fergus smiles back. Here’s the work thing, Bob; thanks Fergus.

      “I do see him now during work meetings here and there, and I am just mutual with him as I am with everyone else. Smile and say hi, and keep it all work-based”

      1. Bo*

        Ah no, wait, the Facebook thing is in the next paragraph. I misremembered! Well, then I am not sure.

      1. That wasn't me. . .*

        That too, works! Or possibly even “usual”. Spell-check’s fun, ain’t it?!

  23. Observer*

    #2 – POC casting blame.

    POC had made a very obvious change in behavior (even interrupting herself at one point to say something like “but I’m not supposed to talk about our capacity” with an eye roll).

    Oh my! Talk about eye rolls!

    I’m not surprised that she didn’t last too long.

  24. I should really pick a name*

    What drives me nuts is when people who don’t pronounce my name correctly try to “correct” people who do.

  25. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    I would purchase a t shirt that says “Not offended, just tired.”

    1. Cyndi*

      This was my exact thought the time an ex-boss, who didn’t know I was Jewish, confided smugly in me that “we’re not allowed to decorate for Christmas because oooooh someone might get offended, but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway!” I’m too tired to be offended. Please just go away.

  26. Cahr-a*

    As another Cahr-a, it’s ridiculous that we have to go through this. English is the only language I know of where people default to Care-ah. Around the world of romance speaking and germanic speaking languages other than English, the default is to Car-a (like driving a car). They see my name, they pronounce it correctly. They hear my name, they understand. I suppose Care-a’s might have a different problem there. Now, if I ever get the fun chance to explore more of Asia or Africa, then I can get new data points on default pronunciations!

    Although try getting a Philine or a Regine from Germany pronounced right in English, and it’s almost a lost cause.

    1. Sunshine*

      I wonder if it’s a phonics thing? I could not tell you what the vowel rules are in American English, but maybe there is some language rule that people subconsciously default to? I think the rules are a lot easier in romance languages – not as many sounds for the vowels to make, or weird exceptions to the rule!

      1. metadata minion*

        One factor may be that English vowels have shifted a lot through the language’s history, and personal/place names tend to retain older pronunciation rules.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        English pronunciation is an inconsistent mess with at most guidelines, not rules, which is why you have to go with similar-to-X, or rhymes-with-Y to explain things. Depending on whether someone associates Cara with car or with care (and why, WHY should a vowel one syllable over, that doesn’t even get pronounced itself, change the pronunciation of a previous vowel?! English, man!), you get a different pronunciation.

    2. Lana Kane*

      I know a Care-ah who gets Cah-ra. More than once I’ve heard people ask her which way she says it.

    3. Blue*

      Lol my friend is the exact opposite. Everyone wants to call her Cah-ra and she constantly has to correct them that it’s Care-a. In the US, too!

    4. londonedit*

      In the UK the default pronunciation would definitely be Car-a (like driving a car).

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      I remember on Supergirl where Kara Danvers used to get that from Cat Grant. To me, (UK based) Kar-a, which Kara Danvers used, would be the default and Cat was getting it wrong, but I can remember hearing someone insist at the time that Cat was actually the only one getting it right.

  27. Anon (and on and on)*

    I remember the original response to LW3! The phrase “Sure thing, Tommy!” definitely lives rent free in my head.

  28. Nonny*

    I encountered people mishearing my name when I moved from the southwest to the southeast.

    In the southwest Julia is typically pronounced Jew-lee-ah. I move to the southeast and suddenly people think I’m saying Juliette. It took me a bit to realize that it was more common to pronounce it Jhul-ya in the south.

    I haven’t really found a good workaround aside from trying to emphasize the “ah” so folks aren’t hearing a shortened “ette” instead.

  29. Sunny days are better*

    Thirty years ago, my husband got his first job out of school, and had a manager who hired a 2nd person to work alongside my husband (same job). Colleague was introduced to him by Manager as “Ben.”

    Hubby worked with “Ben” for many, many months until it came to light that his name was NOT Ben, but something entirely different.

    One day soon after, hubby was speaking to Manager who said something to the effect of “just let Ben know,” and hubby asked him why he called him Ben instead of RealName?

    Manager replied that RealName was just too difficult to pronounce or remember, so he was calling him Ben instead! For those who might think that NotBen’s ethnic background is from a visible minority group, you are correct.

    This was back in the day when jobs were very hard to come by and hubby had no idea what to say to something so blatantly racist when he really needed that job. Clearly NotBen was in the same boat for tolerating that.
    All hubby could do was call NotBen by his real name and was sure to mention NotBen’sRealName every single time he spoke to Manager. It was a great day when he finally left for a better job.

  30. AuroraDream*

    As someone who grew up constantly correcting people’s pronunciation of my name, I’m glad to hear that OP#3 is feeling confident enough to quickly correct people/their boss.

    I’ve actually had to push back against a boss who got frustrated when I would repeatedly correct her pronunciation of my name. She actually asked me if it was that important to me for her to say my name correctly. When I responded with an emphatic, yes, she finally made a point to say my name how it is pronounced.

    1. Sunshine*

      This is so bonkers to me. Of course it’s important! Mispronouncing it constantly is like something a caricature of a bad boss on a sitcom would do. You might as well be using a different name entirely. Like “you’re not important enough for me to remember your name.”

      1. metadata minion*

        Yes! Sure, for some people it isn’t particularly important, but those people aren’t the ones repeatedly correcting you.

    2. Thunder Kitten*

      I posted below that Im the opposite in that I dont care that much. BUT if its important to you, and neurologically feasible for them (eg east asians struggling to differentiate “R” & “L” sounds), then they should make the effort to do so.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        I think that accents aren’t a problem in this same way (but then, my name is common and never mispronounced).

  31. Exme*

    I went back to the original letter for and had a sad lol at “I’m trying to be more social in 2020” being a recommended script.

  32. alex (they/them)*

    LW3- I feel your pain at people over-explaining their mistake. I use they/them pronouns and would much prefer the “sh- sorry, they,” to “omg i’m so sorry i’m such a bad person but you know it’s sooooo hard-“

  33. Corporate Goth*

    Additional possibility: I actually don’t think it’s just about offense in update #3…I read that as a “likely to get this wrong again sometime because of person I know.” It’s essentially a future apology.

    Which may or may not help. I get it. Been there.

  34. JelloStapler*

    LW1- I’d say that’s a good update- the husband moved on and is happy to you don’t have to deal with the snake of an ex-boss.

  35. JelloStapler*

    I just corrected someone who introduced me saying my last name wrong, even though we had worked together for 14 years. (Granted I’m one of very few people with my first name so my last name does not often have to be said). I ain’t shy. :)

  36. Me (I think)*

    My partner has a double name, and the number of people who Cannot Be Bothered to get it right is mind boggling. Even after multiple corrections. And the two names are relatively common in the USA, so would be relatively easy to pronounce. And it’s not like double names are all that uncommon, how many Mary Beths and Sally Anns are out there? Lots.

    It’s bad enough that we are both shocked when someone gets it right and keeps doing so.

    1. Jacqueline*

      My younger son has a double name. The number of people who only call him one is a lot. Including medical professionals.

  37. Thunder Kitten*

    Its great to get the preferred pronunciation during on-boarding, introductions, whatever. As a person with an ethnic name whose sounds do not exist in English, I recommend that you get their preferences as to name pronunciation and DEFER TO THEIR PREFERENCES on how much they care about mispronunciation. Some people care a lot. Personally, aside from horrific or intentional butchering, I would rather people think about how awesome I am at my work than how to manage my name.

  38. EngineerMom*

    #3, mispronounced name:

    You *can* course-correct, even if I’ve been at the company for a while. It’s a bit awkward, but it can happen!

    I had a coworker who had been living with the anglicized pronunciation of her Indian name for at least 5 years, and after several inclusivity training sessions held by the company as a whole, decided she wanted to stand up for herself and her culture, and started telling us all the correct pronunciation of her name.

    I loved it, and I wasn’t that only one! It made so much more sense if you knew anything at all about Hindi (and many of us were Bollywood fans or had friends from that part of the world). It was a great example of how that kind of training can impact the whole community

  39. Mint Berry Crunch*

    I have the same problem as #3 and just started a new job where in our HR software and Slack there’s options to record your name pronunciation and add it your profile. It’s awesome.

  40. Anonomatopoeia*

    Name pronunciation: One thing I like to do if a person does not say their name to me directly the first time I meet them, or if I hear people pronouncing or shortening it multiple ways or differently to how I think the person says it themselves, is to (usually by email, sometimes in person) say something like, Hey I have realized I am not sure how you say your name [maybe because a reason why I am not sure, or not], and I want to call people what they want to be called. Do you say Michaela more like Makayla or more like Mesha-ela? (or You always sign emails David and I think introduce yourself as David, but I hear a lot of people in the office calling you Dave. Which do you prefer?).

    It is sort of shocking how often it turns out they are tolerating everyone saying their name differently than they want, even when their name seems very ordinary-American. I know several people who do not want to use a nickname, but everyone shortens their name (Jennifer versus Jenny or Jen is a common case, or Kate versus Katie versus Kathy).

  41. QuilterGirl*

    I have friends who have misspelled my name for over 25 years, despite being reminded how it is spelled. I mean, gosh after about ten years I start to lose patience. I’ve started putting people on “vacation from friendships”. I feel like it’s at best dismissive to waive it away and say “oh sorry I’ll fix it next time I just forgot”. Yeah, no, you won’t.

Comments are closed.