manager trashes me behind my back, promoted without a raise for a “test period,” and more

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

1. I reported a manager, who’s now trashing me whenever my name comes up

I need a gut check here. This has been really bothering me but I’m not sure it’s really a big deal or if I just need to be more resilient. I previously worked on Manager A’s team. He engaged in some fairly blatant EEO violations against me. The violations were substantiated and my company’s solution, which I agreed to and found satisfactory, was to move me to Manager B’s team. I do not know whether there were additional disciplinary actions taken against Manager A (nor would I expect to know). The nature of my work dictates that I still must work very closely with Team A, despite reporting to and being evaluated by Manager B.

Since then, Manager A has continued to disparage me to my coworkers, ranging from the innocuous (e.g., facial expressions when I am talking or when my name comes up) to direct statements to them intended to question my judgment and competence. Usually I hear about this from peers on Team A, and often from multiple people saying the same thing. These coworkers mean well and are trying to keep my apprised (not intentionally stirring up drama), but I have recently asked them to stop sharing this information with me for my own mental health. I have also directly asked Manager A to address any concerns about my professional actions to either me or Manager B, to no effect. If it matters, some of the previous EEO behaviors leading to my changing teams involved Manager A threatening to poison my references in retaliation for my participation in a protected activity.

I am not overly worried about damage to my professional reputation — unsurprisingly, Manager A is widely known to be a terrible person and a terrible manager — but there is always a possibility. The primary problem is that despite my best efforts, I feel awful at work and second guess everything I do. Is this worth bringing up to HR? Manager B is alright, but extremely conflict averse and unlikely to intercede in a meaningful way. Our HR department is generally solid, which is why right now I feel like that is my only option/a good option, but I am afraid of coming off as a whiner.

It’s not whining to point out that Manager A is actively engaging in illegal behavior against you! And it is illegal — federal law prohibits managers from retaliating against employees for making good-faith complaints of harassment or discrimination (which I assume covers the EEO violations you mentioned). In fact, lawyers generally have a field day with retaliation cases, because retaliation is often much easier to prove than the original charge of harassment or discrimination would have been. If your company’s HR is even mildly competent, they’ll want to know that Manager A is opening them up to this kind of clear-cut liability.

Go back to HR and frame it this way: “I appreciate your handling of the EEO issues I raised about Manager A. Unfortunately, since then he’s been actively retaliating, such as (fill in with details of what he’s been doing). I know that federal law says managers can’t retaliate against employees for making harassment or discrimination complaints, so I wanted to bring this to your attention and ask for it to stop.”

2. How can I get team members to contribute equally to group tasks?

I am on a team of eight where some people have varying degrees of motivation to get work done. A few members end up doing way more work, including routine, maintenance, and other unsavory (but very necessary!) work that everyone is responsible for helping out on but they end up doing the lion’s share of. Another subset will spend endless hours doing personal things (reading news, Reddit, etc.) and will do work but only when prompted. My other co-lead and I have gotten some comments and have directly observed this dynamic get worse over the last few months and have decided that we need to change how things are done. Are there different ways we can track and make sure people are contributing? And how can we do this without being overly childish or demeaning towards our group?

I can imagine us implementing a chore wheel or some other type of schedule based on different tasks, but I also want to be sensitive that we’re all adults and not bleed into micromanaging.

Do you and your co-lead have the authority to simply assign work? Because that’s what you should be doing. You’d of course like to think that you could count on people to take equal shares of the work simply because the need has been pointed out to them, but what you’re seeing is that that’s not happening. You could try a meeting with the whole group where you explain the problem and ask what solutions people can suggest — and that meeting itself might prompt some people to take more of their fair share, just by calling out the issue — but unless that results in a fairly immediate realigning of who’s doing what, you need to just start assigning it.

Don’t use a chore wheel; people will find that infantilizing. You could use a work version of that, though, where you rotate tasks throughout a month or quarter — but you need to be prepared to actually assign the work rather than waiting for people to claim it voluntarily. The latter just punishes your most conscientious team members, who will step up when they see no one else is.

my manager delegates to the group rather than to a person

3. My company wants me to start a new job without a raise for a “test period”

I have worked at my company (fintech startup) for three years in a primarily “soft skills” role and have recently been “promoted”(I use quotation marks because it is not finalized even though I have already taken on new responsibilities) to a more technically-focused position. I do not have official, resume-based experience relevant to this job title but have demonstrated aptitude over the past few years, hence the transition. This new role comes with an increased salary and requires cross-country relocation. Relocation, while difficult, is something I am willing to do.

I’ve just been advised that my new compensation, which is on the lower end of the industry standard for the position but higher than my current salary, will not be effective until I’ve been in the role for four months, contingent upon a successful “review.” I have been given no indication what a negative review would mean. Meanwhile, I am meant to start in my new role next month.

This seems outrageous to me. I’ve been doing the work for my new role, in addition to my existing responsibilities, for months as we are a small startup. If we hired a new employee, they’d be paid right out the gate, not given a reduced salary for four months as a trial, and no new hire would accept this salary for the position. I have not had many white collar jobs. Is this normal, or are my employers trying to take advantage of me and save some cash because I’m already bought in to the company?

They are trying to take advantage of you because you’re already working there, they know you want the promotion, and they think they can.

To be fair, they might legitimately have concerns about how you’ll perform in the new position; you’re untested and they might be taking a risk. They might figure that if they were hiring externally, they’d be hiring someone with a more established track record who wouldn’t be untested, and that they’re paying you less at the start because they’re giving you a chance they wouldn’t give otherwise.

But you also are taking a risk, with a cross-country move! And there are better ways for them to handle this; they could, for example, start you at the lowest end of the salary range and say that they’ll move you to a higher number after X months, as long as you’re performing well. And they could spell out specific metrics they want you to meet first, so that everyone is on the same page about exactly what will warrant the higher salary.

On your end, it’s reasonable to say that you’re not prepared to undertake a cross-country move without a firmer commitment from them, and that if you’re doing the work, you need to be paid fairly for it, just as they would do with an outside candidate. I would not get on a plane to make that move unless you’d be okay with finding yourself still paid at your current rate five or six months from now.

can I refuse more work without a raise?

4. My boss and I both respond to the same email requests and duplicate each other’s work

I have a coworker who will need something from a vendor and it’s my job to get those things as needed. She will email our boss and copy me, asking for it, but she does not place either of our names in the body of the email — she will just say, “I need X.” Then, if anything is unclear, my boss and I (who are in different offices) ask the same questions and we both reach out to get the thing.

Since I am his direct assistant, it makes more sense to me that she should ask me and copy him, freeing him up to do more important things. I have asked her to email me and just copy him so that he is in the loop, since he likes to be copied on everything, but we trip all over each other to get things.

Please help! If she emails him and copies me, do I ignore it? Then he may think, “Why is my assistant not getting this?” He also admits that he “gets in the way.” Maybe I should ask him what we should do when both of us are emailed so that we are both not fetching the same things or emailing the same people for the same things. Or maybe when she emails us both, I should reply right back and say, “Do you want me to get this or you?” But I think this is not a good use of time.

Everyone knows me as the one who loves to assist and be a team player. I just find this annoying as it happens a minimum of 15 times a day!

I think you’re looking to the cc field to solve this — thinking that if only your boss were cc’d instead of being in the To field, this would all get clearer — but I doubt your boss is paying that much attention to whose name is where, and he sounds like someone who’s going to rush in regardless.

Instead, you need to talk to your boss and come up with a clearer delineation of labor so that it won’t matter who is or isn’t cc’d, because there will be a clear system for who handles what. Ideally, through that conversation, you’d reach an understanding that you will handle all the requests this coworker sends unless you specifically flag for him that you need his help with something — and that he should assume you’ve got it handled unless you say otherwise. Even more ideal would be if you proposed that he not be copied on these requests at all, since including you both is causing confusion and duplication of energy! Can you point that out to him and ask if you can experiment with a week where he’s not included at all, and see how that goes? He might not agree to this, since he apparently likes to be included in everything, even while admitting he gets in the way, but it’s reasonable to propose and, who knows, he might be willing to try it if you present it as a short-term experiment rather than a permanent change.

5. How can I get people to spell my name correctly?

I have a really common name that has a couple variations on how it can be spelled (think Ashley/Ashleigh, Erica/Erika). In my professional career, I have had many people misspell my name. I don’t make a big deal out of it, but more and more often I’m seeing people who seem to consistently use the wrong spelling of my name, especially in emails (FWIW, my name is my email address, so it’s not like they don’t see it). I even had one guy who I worked with for over a decade who never once spelled my name correctly.

As I’ve said, I’ve never made a big deal out of this, but I started a new position in the last year and I’m seeing this kind of thing start again with my new coworkers. I’d like to professionally nip this in the bud without seeming like I’m going to be a pest about it. What’s the best way to put this forward (particularly in an email setting)?

You can try. Some people will just never get it (I say this as the possessor of a similar name), but you can try.

The first time it happens, you can write back, “By the way, it’s Erika with a K.” If it keeps happening, you can try, “Please note my name is spelled Erika.” Most people will make a good-faith effort to at least try to spell it correctly after that. But some just won’t — maybe they have someone in their life who spells it Erica and it’s ingrained in them that way, or who knows what — and there are only so many times you can correct people before you start looking like the infamous “don’t call me Liz” person. Obviously it’s your name and people should get it right, blah blah. And yet this is still the case. (As evidence of this, you spelled my name wrong in your email to me about name misspellings! I don’t care at all — but it underscores how common it is.)

You should certainly expect and insist that your name be spelled correctly in printed materials, but in casual emails … well, life as a one-L Alison tells me that sometimes it’s going to be wrong, and it’s much better for your peace of mind if you can choose not to care that much.

(Personally I never bother correcting people unless it’s from a close friend or relative or if it’s on something official, because to me it becomes more annoying if I have to put any energy into it. I did once correct my then-young niece because family should know better, and then for years she insisted on writing “Allllllllllison,” which she found extremely enjoyable.)

{ 626 comments… read them below }

  1. Cold and Tired*

    #5: I am a Sara in a country where Sarah is the more common spelling and both names are pronounced the same. I get my name spelled wrong aaaaaaallllllll the time, even when responding to an email where my name was right there in the signature. It’s too much effort and mental capacity to care about it and correct people, so I just don’t bother anymore unless it’s someone I’m going to work super frequently with. If anything, it makes for a good laugh and head shake when people do it with the right spelling right there before I move onto other things.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      I had to give up years ago on anything but official documents. I get Bryan, Brayan, Ryan, Rayan, and — as my username indicates — Brain, when it’s supposed to be Brian. The DMV got it wrong (“Brain”) on my driver’s license once, and of course I took the time to correct that, but I really just had to put it out of mind in work emails. It wasn’t worth the aggravation.

      1. TROI*

        I have a name that I have never seen spelled another way than the way I spell it, seriously have never spotted any kind of variation in the wild, and people still spell it wrong!

        1. Happy meal with extra happy*

          My last name is pretty rare (I’ve never met anyone in person with it who isn’t related to me) but it’s pronounced 100% phonetically (and it’s relatively short, two syllables, six letters), and people still mispronounce it like 80% of the time by adding an extra vowel/syllable.

          1. Tired Librarian*

            My mum has a very similar issue! (People do also add that extra vowel when they write it, so at least they’re consistent…)

          2. canuckian*

            Sounds similar to my last name which isn’t common–the two syllables are actually two, 3 letter common English words but together people switch, when writing and speaking it, letters 3 & 4. My theory is that those two letters (g/d) are never in that order in English words, but the reverse (d/g) IS. It’s that or people aren’t paying attention. It’s a name much more common in Newfoundland which is where my adoptive/step father was from. It’s so nice when I visit there because people say it correctly and never ask me how to spell it. To be fair, I didn’t think my mother’s maiden name could really be said wrong; it starts with St but St is NOT the abbreviation for Saint in this case, just, part of the name–like Strachan(not the actual name). However my maternal uncle was at a doctor’s office and they called out, asking for Mike St. Rachan. Yeah.

            I actually get a double whammy because my first name commonly ends in either a y or ey. I’m a y ending that, according to google is the more common spelling. Yet I constantly get “ey” –even in my emails–which my display name includes my first name, I sign off with my first name AND it’s in my signature. I still get greetings with “ey”. If it’s someone new I’ll correct them the first couple times, after that, not much point. Most people do remember, although sometimes they forget or are probably in a hurry. The only person I gave a total pass to was the coworker who had a sister with the same name who spelt it with the “ey”–tbf coworker spelled my name right most of the time, but when she didn’t? I figured she’d known her sister longer than she’d known me.

            1. PhyllisB*

              Yes, my name gets misspelled a lot. Even my phone bill has it misspelled.
              I try not to let it bother me, but what REALLY got to me is that my own mother would misspell it!! SHE’S the one who named me and insisted on spelling it the way it is because she named me after her brother. She did this until I was nearly grown.
              I guess that’s why I got salty about it, but in recent years I’ve learned to let it slide unless it’s a legal document.

              1. AVP*

                Okay I will tell you this story just because I think you’ll be amused —

                My brother in law has a common name that’s spelled in an uncommon way, and really comes off as an error when you first see it written out. Think like…. Atticus, but his spelling is Aticus. We all kind of suspected that my MIL wrote it wrong in the haze of a new baby and then just stuck with it because it was on his birth certificate, BUT. It turns out that she spelled it traditionally on the birth certificate, meant to spell it her way, and had it legally corrected to be the nontraditional spelling when he was a baby! Now I can hardly remember what the “proper” way to spell it is tbh.

                1. Butterfly Counter*

                  My grandmother was born in the 1920’s. My great-grandmother chose a name and told her husband to fill out the birth certificate. I don’t remember the original name that was chosen, because he misspelled the name (into another acceptable name) and my great-grandmother just went with the new name since it was “official.” Think, ggma wanted “LoriAnne” and now my grandmother has been called “Lorainne” her whole life instead.

              2. MigraineMonth*

                I need to consistently spell my niece’s name correctly before she’s old enough to read. Right now all I have in my head is that it’s the opposite of the way I think it’s spelled, which unfortunately means that when I do spell it correctly on the first try I second-guess myself and change it to the wrong way.

                I’ve fully given up on spelling her nickname, since I realized her mom and dad spell it different ways.

                1. Not Your Sweetheart*

                  I have an uncommon spelling of a (relatively) common name. My aunt spells it differently each time she sends me a card, yet has never spelled it correctly. (Think Rebekah, Rebecka, etc.)

          3. Chirpy*

            Same. I’d like to think my very uncommon first name is throwing people off with my last name, but my family members with much more common first names get the same thing.

            I don’t expect people to get my first name right away, but it’s extremely frustrating when coworkers I’ve worked with for years can’t be bothered. It’s unusual, but not hard.

          4. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

            Mine is easily pronounceable if you think it through, but I get the most random variations. My name does not have a Mc, but part of it is fairly recognizable if you do add a Mc to the front, so folks will even go that far rogue on it.

            1. AngryOctopus*

              My college roommate was McMahon, and the number of people I heard calling her “Mac-Mahone” was not insignificant.

          5. PurpleShark*

            I have to read names for graduating seniors as they cross the stage. I ask them prior to help me make sure I pronounce it correctly. I find that sometimes I have been using an incorrect pronunciation for 4 years and they never corrected me, which is frustrating. This year one young man I asked told me, “OK, I low key don’t know how to pronounce my last name. I’m gonna search it and let you know.” That was a first but I did nail it on graduation night!

            1. PurpleShark*

              I forgot to add…for my own name it is easy to pronounce but I just get assigned a whole new name. It is also my signature so don’t email me Ms. Jones when my last name is Smith. My first name is also nowhere near Monica yet I am consistently called that. I have even been told that my last name was spelled incorrectly by people when it is correct on a name tag.

              1. Spite Sweater*

                I get that with my first name all the time. It has two common pronunciation and spelling variations and mine is the less common. I was making a dentist appointment once and said my name and started to spell it out and the receptionist cut me off and said “I can spell.” So I let her not be able to find it until she asked to search by last name. When she did find me, she asked if I wanted to correct the spelling of my first name in the system. No, I realize it’s not usual that’s why I tried to spell it out for you. And then others sometimes act like I’m being high maintenance for it being spelled the less common way as if I chose my own name. But in emails, whatever, it happens.

              2. Butterfly Counter*

                I have a weird thing where my brain just equates two names. They can be vastly different from each other, but my brain has them be the same.

                One that happened as I read The Secret History was Julian and Francis. I kept going back and having to reread chapters because I couldn’t figure out how the professor didn’t know what was going on because, he was there, right? But no, it was the student with an entirely different name. And then I kept wondering why the student was taking over the lecture, but no, that was the professor.

                I do this with “Lisa” and “Amy” as well. Very different names, same placeholder in my head.

            2. Lily Rowan*

              I just saw a clip of Ncuti Gatwa from Doctor Who talking about how he always said you pronounce his first name “shootie”… until his mother saw an interview and called him up saying no, that’s not right!

              1. Porcupine*

                wait, it’s not “shootie”? I thought I had it right because that was…how…he said it…

                1. RachelB*

                  The ‘N’ is pronounced (nnn rather than ‘en’) but the ‘shootie’ is still right for the rest :). It’s a pretty funny little clip, he’s imitating himself oh-so-confidently informing the world how to pronounce his name and then imitates his mum phoning up and correcting him, and he’s all, ‘and that’s how I learned to pronounce my own name when I was 26’ :).

            3. Midwest Manager too!*

              My college graduation ceremony required us to write our names phonetically on a slip of paper for the reader. I have a name that looks hard (9 letters, 4 syllables), but is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. I still wrote it out by syllable for them and got to hear my (correctly pronounced) name as I walked.

              1. Runner up*

                I think people panic when they see too many letters! I know I slow down when I run into names like yours, but I think/hope it’s better to be awkwardly slow than completely wrong :) My last name is not that hard (7 letters, one consonant that seems a bit out of place), but people regularly add a different consonant in the wrong place, or another vowel.

          6. Banana Pyjamas*

            My sons first name is like this. It’s five letters and rhymes with valor; nobody gets it. They pronounce it with letters that simply aren’t there.

            1. Kevin Sours*

              I think people get my last name right maybe two thirds of the time if they haven’t heard me say it first. I find it perplexing.

          7. Mentally Spicy*

            oh can I ever relate! I’m exactly the same – unusual name that is nevertheless spelled completely phonetically. It’s two common words joined together, think “carts” and “good” to make “cartsgood”, for example.

            I’m constantly asked to spell it and people still get it wrong. My wife decided to take my name when we got married, even though I said that wasn’t necessary, and she would get bored of having to spell it. Guess what! She’s regretting it and is bored of spelling it!

            1. I Have RBF*

              My last name is 12 letters, four syllables. I learned how to spell it as a kid by hearing my mother spell it over the phone. My wife did not take my last name when we got married.

        2. MCMonkeybean*

          My name is pretty common (though for some reason while I knew a ton of people with the same name in Elementary school but haven’t encountered many since). But there are a number of well-known people who share the name, and there are a couple of very well-known places that share it. But people pronounce it wrong all the time! It’s so baffling to me.

      2. Lastname*

        The best way to get someone to spell your name correctly after they mess it up is to intentionally misspell their name in your reply.

        People call me by my last name all the time (and not in a Ms. Lastname kind of way, they use it as a first name). I reply “Dear Lastname” and they catch their error 100% of the time.

        1. Simona*

          People will combine the first letter of my first name and the ending of my lastname (which DOES form a name, except its not mine) I also have done what you have done above and have written back, Hi Susan when the guy is Robert or something. It make ME happy inside, I don’t care if its professional or effective.

        2. Amber T*

          Ooh I did this and have 0 regrets. My real name (not Amber) is a pretty common name but I don’t have the common spelling of it. I was on an email chain with a decent amount of people but it was primarily myself and “Meghan” emailing back and forth. Every email she sent me would be the common but incorrect spelling of my name. I always made sure to get her name correctly… until I purposely didn’t. Following that, every email she’s ever sent me has been the correct spelling of my name.

          We’ve been working together for years and have a great professional relationship now.

            1. Brain the Brian*

              I tried it once with a coworker who chronically misspelled my name. It didn’t work, and instead I got a reprimand for misspelling her name. I don’t advise intentional pettiness over minor things.

      3. AnonymousBeth*

        I am a Bethany who gets called Brittany constantly, including copying things over wrong from official government documents.

        I also had to correct the DMV once!
        DMV worker: “Well it’s probably your fault for writing it in messy handwriting!!”
        Me: “You copied it from my printed SSN card…”

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Most DMVs are infamous for poor customer interaction but, wow, that was petty. Glad you swatted their comment back over the net to them.

        2. Brain the Brian*

          In my case, I didn’t catch it until it was on my actual license! I know the DMV workers are supposed to have you confirm that the information they have entered is accurate, and I’m sure this person did and I just missed it. What a hassle to have them fix it, though. At least we all got a good laugh out of the obvious typo.

      4. Desk Dragon*

        When my company was preparing to move into a building that had badge-controlled access, they handed out the badges a week or so early. Despite having a written list of employees, the security team at the new building had misspell both my first name (to a common version with an extra letter) *and* my last name (leaving off a letter). My manager sent it back to get a new one and they fixed my first name only. The security team refused to go through the “hassle” of creating a third badge and issued me a sticker (with the correct name, finally) to cover the whole front of my badge.

      5. One-n Braina*

        I’m a one-n Briana, which has its own issues, but your post reminded me of a friend I did a hobby with. She started calling me Braina, and still does whenever she tags me on social media or whatever, plus of course she adds . Love it!

      6. Turanga Leela*

        I know a Brian whose favorite Starbucks misspelling was “Brallan.” It’s phonetically correct in Spanish!

      7. Quill*

        Calling back to the previous letter but you have GOT to stop walking into the DMV with Pinky in tow, Brain. ;)

      8. SummitSkein*

        My nickname (Carrie) is easily misspelled (so many versions!), and I’ve just given up on correcting people entirely. “How do you spell that?” “It really doesn’t matter, whatever you want.” Or with the right person a “The same way Steven King spelled it” but that’s an audience-dependent response. What really throws people though, is when my legal name does come up and then they’re wondering who in the heck Carolyn is.

    2. Msd*

      You could try signing your emails:
      Sara (that’s Sarah without the h)

      I’m half kidding.

      1. Orange juice*

        You’re half kidding, but sometimes it works. I had a coworker with a name that could be spelled with one or two Ls. His signature included something like “[name]: one “L” of a guy!” I certainly remembered to spell it correctly based on that – – to be clear, I have never intentionally misspelled someone’s name, I’m good about correcting it consistently when it is pointed out to me, but I do fly over this stuff too quickly sometimes and make that sort of mistake.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          A guy I know had a name like Russell, and his email was (equivalent to) twoesses.twoells@…

          It seemed to be effective for him, anyhow.

          I joke that as long as you manage three syllables, not two (Lenore) and avoid all the lions (Leonor and other Leo-names), I’m good. I even worked at a place where the drivers stopped in once a day, and had been there almost two years when someone pointed out one driver ALWAYS called me Eleanore, and I had never noticed. (Three syllables, and my mother’s name)

          We have a Lorelei in the office, though, and occasionally people blurt the wrong three-syllable L name.

                1. I Super Believe In You, Tad Cooper*

                  I once met a guy named Crystufer. Apparently after he was born his parents had let his older sister name him. She didn’t know how to spell “Christopher”. The parents decided to run with it anyway.

            1. Elarra Harper*

              My son’s best friend is named Cristiffer, on purpose. His mom wanted “something different.”

          1. One-n Braina*

            I used to work with a Lorali. Yes, she was named after the Styx song. Yes, her dad spelled it wrong. *argh emoji* She was cool about it, at least outwardly. Now, her daughter is named Halen, as in Van Halen. ROCK ON

            1. J*

              Why do people make their children suffer like this? It’s so cruel. We know that people with unusual names have a harder time getting hired. I’m so done with parents giving their kids stupid names in an effort to be “unique”. You want to use a unique name? Get a dog.

    3. RedinSC*

      Oh I know this one. My mom is Sara. I see it spelled with an H as well, and she’s 83 now!

      I correct it when we’re at the doctors or some place like that.

      It really seems that no one can spell my name correctly either, and it’s also my emails! Thank goodness for auto fill in Outlook or I’d probably never receive one!

      1. LadyAmalthea*

        I’m Sarah and when I used to send emails to people to invite them to a job interview, it was ALWAYS the people who had “attention to detail” written on their resumes who spelled my name wrong in their reply to my email, in which my first name was in the address and I had signed my name.

    4. Pelican*

      My sister was Lindsay & vast numbers of people who knew her from birth would spell it ‘Lindsey’ to me, no matter how often I’d reply using the correct spelling. Some people seem blocked about it.

      1. bamcheeks*

        I have a block with L*n*s*s, sorry Lynsey, Lindsay, Lyndsay and Linsey. For some reason my brain thinks that Katy and Katie, Alun, Alan and Allan, Kirstin and Kirsten, Catherine, Kathryn and Katherine, Hannah and Hanna, Alison and Allison, Ali and Ally, and various others are *entirely* distinct and unique names which couldn’t possibly be confused, but all L*n*s*ys filed in the same place and I will never get it right unless I look it up right before writing it. I have the same problem with Isabelles, Isabells, and Isabels, even though that’s my niece’s name.

      2. The Valeyard*

        Please tell your sister this happens to Lindseys all the time in the other direction (my own sister Lindsey can confirm.) Solidarity.

        Also, I have a common women’s first name (let’s say “Allison”) as a last name, and people address me by Allison all the time. People who know me, work with me daily, and know perfectly well what my first name is. People with my email address, signature (first name only for this very reason) and signature block staring them in the face.

        I have never gone by lastname- I have always gone by firstname. firstname is common, simple to pronounce and spell, has no nicknames, and I use it everywhere. I don’t even care for Ms. Lastname-, and correct everyone to Firstname.

        And it still flipping happens daily. I kind of hate it. I probably should be a bit firmer in correcting people.

      3. FedIT*

        I once lived on a road named Lindsay Avenue. The street signs at either end were spelled differently, one was Lindsay, the other Lindsey.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          Near where I grew up is a St Georges Ave… or is it St George? There are various signs with different spellings.

        2. J Jonah Jameson*

          The road I grew up on had different spellings too … and it was only a block long!

        3. EvilQueenRegina*

          One near my grandparents had Peveril Road on one side of the road and Pevril Road directly opposite it.

      4. PhyllisB*

        My sister’s name is Melodie, and people are forever calling her Melanie. I correct people on her behalf all the time. Especially family. I have one cousin who does this ALL the time. You would think she would be more careful of this because people mess her name up all the time. It’s Merrie and people call her Mary.

    5. Quoth the Raven*

      One of my last names is German and I live in a Spanish-speaking country, and I honestly don’t bother correcting the spelling unless it’s someone I’m being credited somewhere or if it’s official documentation.

      I also misspelled one of my best friend’s name for YEARS (Stephanie for Stephany) until I saw her driver’s ID. I was mortified.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        I forgive my in-laws because it’s not like I spell my name when I introduce myself and so many of them never saw my name written down before they got the wedding invitation. But my birth family should know!

        1. Jenesis*

          Oh, the wedding woes!

          I go by either the most common spelling of my name or one (but ONLY one) of the many, many short forms/nicknames of it. I also did not change my name when I got married. The number of in-laws who sent cards addressed to 1) not my first name, 2) a Mrs., 3) a Myfirst Husbandlast, or 4) most mind-bogglingly sexist of all, “Mr. and Mrs. Husbandfirst Husbandlast” probably outnumbered the ones who got my name correctly. Fortunately, there were so many of them, and we are in so infrequent contact, I can’t hold it against them because I literally can’t remember who they all were.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes! My husband took my last name and yet we still get things from his (extended) family addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husbandfirst Husband’sOldLastName. No one here has that last name! We are only Greens here!

            1. Michigander*

              Neither of us formally changed our last names but we informally go by hyphenated versions. My husband has a couple of old relatives who will send us Christmas cards to the hyphenated last name…but still do it to Mr and Mrs HisFirstName New-LastName.

              1. Michiganian*

                In the early 70s, a member of my extended family and his wife decided to go with a hyphenated last name when they got married, so they became Husband and Wife WifeLastName-HusbandLastName. The older generation of relatives, including his own parents, refused to accept it and always addressed mail to them as “Mr. and Mrs. HusbandLastName”.

                I think the wife would sometimes mark the mail as undeliverable and send it back…which I don’t blame her for!

                Happily, they are still alive and the times have caught up to them!

              2. Lenora Rose*

                If the person sending the card is 80 or 90, I might given them a bit of slack for having certain manners drilled hard into them in their youth, but honestly, anyone younger than that and anyone not hidebound should know that hasn’t been a standard format for addressing a couple for at least 50 years.

                I’ve gotten it once, very shortly after the wedding. We also got a few things addressed to the (husband’s maiden name) Family early on, but because we BOTH took a new last name more people seem to remember the change than if we’d just taken either of our maiden names. It also made spam calls easier to filter, because the chances a legit call would use either of our old surnames declined very fast over time.

            2. Keymaster of Gozer (She/Her)*

              Both me and my husband changed our surnames on marriage (so I went from a long frequently misspelt one to an even longer and always misspelt one) and it’s truly amazing how much mail we get that’s totally wrong.

              Quite often it’s ‘Mr and Mrs (his original surname)’. Some of his family were not happy about him changing his surname! Still aren’t.

              Husband had quite some trouble getting his surname changed at work (I didn’t). Did your husband experience any issues?

            3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              My wife and I both kept our names, but we’ll get cards from relatives addressed to both of our first names with either of our last names or a hyphenated combination. (Our son has the hyphenated version.) Only the fact that it indicates my conservative relatives acknowledge our same-sex marriage keeps me from being annoyed.

            4. Pastor Petty Labelle*

              I hyphenated. My father, whose name I kept, keeps addressing stuff to me as My First Name, Husband’s Last Name only. Like Dad, you of all people should have no problem with the first part of the hyphenated name.

              But I totally sympathize with don’t call me Liz. The number of people who call me a nickname of my first name when I introduce myself with my full first name amazes me. The ones who ask, okay fine, I get it. But to go right to assuming I use a particular nickname when I just used the whole name is a beyond annoying. Just call people the name they introduce themselves with, unless they tell you otherwise.

            5. NervousHoolelya*

              I kept my name, and my sister knew how aggravated I got when people (mostly my husband’s extended family) sent mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husband’sFirstName Husband’sLastName or to Mrs. MyFirstName Husband’sLastName. (All made even more aggravating by the fact that I’m actually a Dr.)

              So, for our first anniversary, she sent us a card addressed to Dr. and Mr. MyFirstName MyLastName. I loved it so much that I kept the envelope along with the card!

              For complicated reasons, our kids use my last name, so my husband has mostly gotten used to being addressed in school conversations as Mr. MyLastName.

            6. Zephy*

              I didn’t change my name upon marriage, mostly because I didn’t want to but also because my husband’s sister is also called Zephy and she didn’t change her name upon marriage for professional reasons (she’s a doctor, all of her licenses and such were granted under her maiden name). I have gotten mail that is meant for me but addressed to her, since she’s the only person who’s ever lived at this address with that name. We even told our respective families that my name would not be changing when we got married, and still got several wedding presents and checks made out to my husband and his sister, not his wife. :facepalm:

              1. Turquoisecow*

                I feel bad for my old boss’s wife, who had the same name as his (twin) sister and sister either wasn’t married or kept her original name, I forget. Sister had financial issues, Wife got lots of bills and threatening letters from collectors that were really meant for sister.

                I don’t know how they dealt with it in the family, if one went by a nickname or they just figured it out by context. I never asked.

                1. Pauli*

                  My husband and I have the same first name (different spellings but sound identical) and you’d be surprised how often you can just figure it out by context!

                  (We did keep our own last names though, so at least for bills and stuff we’re different enough)

            7. MCMonkeybean*

              I don’t mind too much when people incorrectly assume I took my partner’s last name, but I *hate* when people address things only to “Mr. and Mrs. PartnerFirst PartnerLast!”

              My old HIGH SCHOOL sent something addressed like that and I was honestly furious. Like, which of the two of us went to your school for 7 years (including middle school)??? It was ME and there is literally NOTHING of MY name at all on this envelope!!

              The worst part was when I reached out to them to be like wtf I was told they had no way to change it and in the end the only way to get them to address my mail to me was to remove the fact that I was married at all from their database. Only by pretending to be single was I able to have my mail have my name on it. What kind of effed up software were they using???

              Sorry, this was like 7 years ago but I am clearly still very bitter about it lol.

              1. Highlighter bouquet*

                Clearly Fergus from the other post developed this software. It can never address the woman in the relationship!

              2. Crankysaurus Rex*

                Must be the same software my university uses… my husband and I attended the same college. I give them money every year because I received a full scholarship (I designate the scholarship fund as the recipients of my donations). He specifically chose not to give them money while still paying off his student loans. He did, however, once answer the fundraiser’s call and let them know we were married alumni. Suddenly my donations (on which I’d explicitly checked a checkbox saying “no joint recognition name”) resulted in thank you letters to Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast (I did not change my name). I also began getting text messages addressed to Hisfirst. I reached out to complain at one point and was similarly told that their system wouldn’t allow me to be primary if it was marked in their computer system that we were married. My donations dropped drastically with that news (and I did inform them of that fact), and I suspect from the layout of alumni mailers that we get now that they’ve changed his first name in their fundraising system to be “myfirst mylast & hisfirst” in order to encourage my continued donations.

          2. LateRiser*

            It doesn’t bother me to get Mr & Mrs Husbandlastname letters, his name is so much shorter I’ll use it occasionally for unofficial stuff anyway, but I do find it rather funny when they’re from my fiercely independent mother, whose feminism very much influenced my decision not to change my name.

          3. kicking-k*

            Oh yes. I had made it fairly public that I didn’t want to change my name on marriage and got a lot of this.

            It has mostly died down as I don’t get a lot of personal mail, but just occasionally I get a birthday card addressed to Mrs Hisname, which makes me a bit sad because if you care about me enough to send a card, I’d think you would care enough to remember the name I go by. But it seems petty to complain when they did send me a card! (Most of these people only ever call me by my first name.)

            1. Purplehat*

              I didn’t change my name when I got married. I didn’t think it was a big deal or that anyone would care. I told my mother on the phone and she asked what to call me. I told her name. She then whispered… but what if I have to write it down on something, like a check or mail? I think she thought I was breaking the law.

          4. Mrs Whosit*

            That #3 option makes me furious – and we received some fundraising mail from *my* graduate school addressed that way. Husband is not affiliated in any way! Why is his name on the mail? (It did not make me want to donate in that cycle…)

          5. NotAnotherManager!*

            I have been married for nearly 20 years, I did not change my last name – which I know my family is aware of because there was a LOT of handwringing about it – and my own mother has only in the last five years or so moved from addressing things to Mrs. MyFirst HisLast to Mrs. MyFirst HisLast-MyLast. She and I have the same last name, so I hope she knows how to spell it by now.

            I finally graduated from Mrs. HisFirst HisLast to at least getting my own first name about 10 years ago with my MIL. She’s lovely and has been nothing but welcoming and kind to me, so I know she’s not trying to insult me, she’s just super traditional and addressing me the way she prefers to be addressed.

          6. KnittingattheBaseballGame*

            I bought a return address stamp with my correct name: *DR.* Firstname MyLastName just to stamp on cards to people who regularly send mail addressed to Mrs. Firstname Spouseslastname.
            It’s very satisfying stamping those cards.

          7. AngryOctopus*

            My best friend’s MIL sends best friend’s birthday card to Mrs. Husbandfirst HusbandLast. She just ignores it, but was tempted to correct that at least she should use his Dr. title when addressing her (she is also a Dr., but MIL obviously DGAF about that).

          8. Festively Dressed Earl*

            I deliberately took my husband’s last name because my family is a mess and his isn’t, symbolizing a fresh start. OriginalFirstName OriginalMiddle HusbandLastName. I only have contact with one member of my side of the family – an aunt who is staunchly old-fashioned and automatically despises anything she regards as feminist. You’d think she’d be the person to get my name right, but she insists my name is OriginalFirstName OriginalMiddleName MaidenName-HusbandLastName. Occasionally she switches it up and tells people my name is OriginalFirstName MaidennameNowMiddleName HusbandLastName. It drives me bonkers.

        2. H3llifIknow*

          My husband always calls me by my nickname and I hadn’t met my in laws in person for the first 5 years of our marriage (married overseas), so whenever MIL would send us a card, or a check etc.. she would put what she THOUGHT the nickname was for….but, it wasn’t my name, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her, until she said she was sending us plane tickets to visit…and then hubby had to tell her she’d been assuming the wrong name for years, think like “Missy” for “Melissa” but she thought it was for “Michele” type thing. She was mortified.

    6. Turquoisecow*

      My name’s spelling is the simplest of many variations, and my email for work has always been my name, so when coworkers go to email me, outlook shows my name, spelled correctly, in the email. My signature contains my name, if I type something manually like “thanks, (name),” I obviously spell it correctly, and yet people spell it wrong. I’m sympathetic because there are so many variations and my version, though easiest, is not the most common. I don’t know if I’ve ever corrected anyone, but I do quietly think that the person’s attention to detail isn’t the best, and I should maybe keep that in mind in the future.

      (I’ve even had relatives spell my name incorrectly on holiday or birthday cards!)

      1. Zephy*

        +1 sympathy. My first name is and has been in the top 10-20 most popular girls’ names for the last thirty-odd years, and is the most common English spelling – other spellings are far, far less common (though idk maybe there’s a Gen Z influencer somewhere out there with an uncommon spelling, skewing public perception of this name in some way). My last name is the name of a very, VERY old city that everyone in the English-speaking world is aware of. People still manage to get one or the other (or both!) wrong.

    7. I can read anything except the room*

      Another frustrating wrinkle is that sometimes on mobile devices, Autocorrect is changing what you painstakingly pecked out one key at a time like it’s 2004 into the more common spelling it assumes you need, and you don’t always notice the change has been made till after you hit send. I dearly wish Autocorrect had some setting to tell it to never “correct” names!

      1. Coverage Associate*

        Some autocorrect systems let you add words to the dictionary. I think most office systems do this automatically for people with accounts in the system. I am pretty sure my name would be misspelled more often at work if the system didn’t make it at least as easy to use the correct spelling as the other spelling.

        OP could ask IT about this for internal communications.

        I just upgraded my personal phone and realized that I will have to retrain the auto correct and autofill, though. (E.g., the default is that “stat” will autofill to “statue,” but I text about statutes more often than art.)

        OP should also make sure that their email alias has the often misspelled part of the name first, if their workplace allows, so that the “from” appears as, Eg, “Alison Green” or “Smyth, John.” Though I don’t think this setting applies across all email platforms. Eg, even if I set it in Outlook as “Coverage Associate” it may appear in gmail as “Associate, Coverage.”

      2. WS*

        I have a friend whose surname is “Teh”. She hasn’t had it spelled correctly in 20 years or more, except from the tax department who seem to be able to manage just fine.

      3. Ann Onymous*

        My sibling has a name with 2 common spellings, but I was emailing with somebody with the other spelling and autocorrect kept trying to change it to my sibling’s name.

      4. NotAnotherManager!*

        A former coworker of mine’s name was corrected to “Defecates” by both MS spellcheck and Apple Autocorrect. She had an amazing sense of humor about it, but we had anyone joining our team add the correct spelling of her name to their spellcheck dictionary.

      5. Great Frogs of Literature*

        My sibling has a name with a doubled letter — we’ll use Allison as an example because that’s what I’m coming up with — and autocorrect has recently started turning it into Aliison, which is not something I EVER typed deliberately. I didn’t notice until they said, “Hey, does your new neighbor Allison spell it with two iis? Because your phone keeps spelling mine that way.” And then once they pointed it out I caught it changing it.

      6. Simona*

        I have a friend named Ananda. Her name is forever autocorrected to AManda, but after many years I think we have it!

        1. H3llifIknow*

          I think I’ve told this story before, but I had a coworker named Charles who went by Chez. His last name started with Vix. Every time I typed his full “Chez Vix—” name, it would auto correct to “Cheese Victim.” I changed it back if it was official correspondence but about half the time I left it because I never stopped finding it hysterical.

          1. Festively Dressed Earl*

            I wonder if he would have embraced Cheese Victim if it hadn’t been happening in the workplace? I’ll bet CheeseVictim is his username somewhere.

    8. bamcheeks*

      My first name is rarely wrong, but my surname “Something” is variously spelled as SomeThang, SomThand, Somethang, SumThing, SmT’ang, Sumthn, S’Thang and occasionally even Thangsome. I generally try and make sure it’s Something on official documents, and no further away than SomeThing on anything that’s getting published, put on a powerpoint, etc.

      At university, I TWICE got official notification that my graduation certificate was going to be in the name SomeThing, and went to the student office with my passport and my driving licence to get it changed to Something. They told me that they couldn’t accept the change of name because both documents said “SOMETHING” and therefore didn’t make it clear what the capitalisation was. I said, surely they could use the documentation to verify that I was in fact Bamcheeks Something, and trust that I knew how to spell my own name. They had to get the boss of the boss of the boss of the person on the front desk to agree that this was OK and they could in fact change it. And then they switched it back and I had to do the same thing again!

      1. kicking-k*

        I am Scottish. My surname is Thingson. Very frequently, people remember it as McThing (which is a perfectly valid and well-known name: indeed, it’s the name of a very famous company).

        My mother, whose first name is Pamela, sometimes gets misremembered as Pamela Anderson instead. Her name is not Anderson, and she is not very like Ms Anderson at all…

    9. Michigander*

      I have a “quirky” spelling variation of a relatively normal 80s name, which happens to be just one letter off from another pretty popular 80s name (plus an impossible to spell last name). I gave up caring about how other people spell my name a long time ago. For me it’s just not worth the effort of correcting people unless it’s in some kind of official capacity. You can care and correct people if it’s genuinely important to you, but for me it’s just extra hassle over an issue that really affect much.

    10. Rachel*

      I’m a Rachel (common even for gentiles like me) in a heavily Jewish area of the US where that’s the Jewish spelling. I still regularly get Rachael, Raychel and Rochelle. I just let it go at this point unless it’s going into a legal record. But if I had a less common or less anglicized name, I would probably feel more sensitive on this topic.

    11. Tradd*

      My name would be similar to Danielle/Daniel, but there are two different spellings for the feminine version (I’m female). I have the less common spelling. I have been handed business cards with the wrong spelling when I started a job and told to suck it up. This was years before email! My work email is firstname.lastname@companyname. Customers will type out my name, spelling first name wrong and then proceed to yell at me for not responding to an email I never received. But lately I’ve been getting a lot of customers address me with variations of the male variation of my name. Extremely annoying.

    12. SarahKay*

      And meanwhile I am Sarah and get emails (and Teams chats) that start with ‘Hi Sara’.
      Like Cold and Tired, I mostly just let it go – both are common spellings, and I’ve heard both spellings pronounced in both ways.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        My name is Jenni. Just Jenni. Not Jennifer. I’m 64 so I grew up with a raft of Jennifers. I don’t bother correcting the spelling unless it’s someone significant in my life or something official. I do correct “Jennifer” when I get it, usually from people who think they don’t know me well enough to use my “nickname.”

        In my last job I had a team of five. There was a Jean, a Jennie, a Jen, and me. It was – fun.

        1. kicking-k*

          My sister was once one of four Lauras, a Lauren and a Laurie. I imagine Lauren and Laurie got called Laura a lot…

          1. Barbara's Manatee*

            One of my daughters had a Maddy, Maddie, Maddi, and Maddey in her class one year. I tried to double- and triple-check every time I had to put a name in writing, but I’m fairly certain I got it wrong at least a few times.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              The number of friends my child has named some variation of Maddie and Addie is insane – we had to add descriptors. Maddy from drama, Violin Maddi, Boy Mattie, Biology Madi, Maddie we’ve known since kindergarten, Scouts Addy, and Carpool Addie. On a school overnight last year, they roomed with Maddi, Addy, and Maddie.

              I thought we were past this with the Jennifers – I grew up in the 80s/90s, and there were five of them in my class one year in elementary school.

              1. Jenesis*

                Late ’80s kid, with a surname at the end of the alphabet. I very quickly learned not to respond to the first “Jennifer” I heard during roll call.

              2. Quill*

                I always think of the Recess cartoon with “The Ashleys.”

                (Though for my cohort growing up it was the Lindsays. And the Jacobs. Jacobs get called by their last names because there are too many repeat initials…)

              3. I Have RBF*

                Early 70s, junior high, I was in a class that had FIVE girls with my same, common, first name. Only one spelled it differently. I started going by my middle name.

        2. SarahKay*

          So, oddly enough, in my youth I created and played a character called Jenni in a role-playing game.
          The GM (games master) at one point referred to me as Jennifer and I very firmly corrected him that ‘my’ Jenni was *not* a shortening for Jennifer; did he not look at my character sheet?!?

        3. Portlandia*

          Same. I am Beth, but have been written as Elizabeth. My last name has several z’s. That Z quota is far too high (not to mention Beth has a different meaning than Elizabeth!)
          After you take the SATs you get TONS of solicitations from schools, and one actually had my name as Elizabeth, which is also super weird because presumably they are just going off how the college board has your name written. Someone had to PHYSICALLY change it.

        4. Aerin*

          There were four Brittanys of various spelling in my grade and one year some sadist decided to put them all in the same classroom.

      2. Dahlia*

        I have a name where if I was Tara, I get Sarah or Cara. I let it go with people under the age of 10 because sometimes it’s just hard for them to get that first sound right, but if you’re over that age, I correct it – that’s a different name and it’s not my name, and if you call me that, I might not notice enough to answer!

    13. Katie*

      It’s just too much energy to correct people usually because even if you fix it for that group it won’t resolve it forever.
      I did correct someone yesterday though! I am a Kathleen and go by Katie but get called every different variation of that. In a 10+ person call, the lead said Katherine do you have any questions over this. It seemed like it was for me but wasn’t certain, so I mentioned it. And well, even though this guy works with me a lot and should know my name it felt snarky.

      Last note. My dad spelled my name Katy.

      1. I gave up*

        I’m a Kathe, born at a time when ALL forms of that name were extremely common. Cathy, Catherine, Kathleen, I’ve gotten them all. I once had a college class of about 30 that had 7 or 8 different forms of that first name. The instructor just called us by our last names. Unless it’s legal documentation, I just let it slide.

    14. darlingpants*

      I’m a 2 L Allison and a surprisingly large number of people have sent me emails calling me Alisson. At first I thought it was an English as a second language thing, but then a few Americans did it and now I think it’s just a typo where it’s easy to hit the wrong double letter.

    15. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s interesting how much the spelling matters to us for names that are pronounced the same. (I have one of these, and it’s both annoying when people guess Falin and something I normally let roll.)

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, my name’s something like Alex and sometimes people spell it like Alix, and while it of course isn’t the end of the world and I let it go if it’s a situation where it’s a one-off, it is still annoying. What’s particularly annoying is when someone I’ve known for ages, who interacts with me on social media where my name is spelt Alex, gives me a birthday card with ‘Alix’ as the spelling. I don’t know, it just makes it feel like they’re not even paying enough attention to bother to get the spelling of my name right.

        1. Portlandia*

          I think that’s it. If someone spells it wrong just writing it once, its like…ok how could they know. But when it’s someone whose seen it written and at work, I feel like I definitely try harder because it’s a professional context and people’s names are important to them.

          My mom is a Vicki. People will spell it Vicky or Vickie or Vickey. Now that they are all pushing 80 I don’t think it will change, but it is odd to me.

    16. Justme, The OG*

      I’m an alternate spelling of Alison and pretty much nobody spells my name correctly in emails. My name is in my signature.

    17. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yep, same kind of deal here.

      Plus, my father has the same name as I (different middle names, so I’m not a junior), so I was always referred to by the diminutive (Bobby instead of Bob, etc). When I was a teenager, part of me establishing my identity was to use the plain first name plus my middle initial. I was so persnickety about it in written stuff that my college buddies would sometimes just call me by my middle initial.

      If you find yourself getting really reactive about it with one or two people in particular, that’s a cue that you should see if there’s some other interpersonal thing going on that raises your hackles.

    18. BW*

      I have an unusual name, and people get it wrong all the time. Sometimes, I think they just weren’t paying attention. However, I’ve also typed my name and had Autocorrect change it to something else, so that may be happening here, too.

    19. Hot Flash Gordon*

      I also spell my name with one “L”. My HS science teacher had a daughter with 2 “LL’s” and would always tease me that I spell my name wrong (in a nice way). One day I was feeling sassy and replied, “Well, I spell it right, it’s everyone else who gets my name wrong.” He never brought it up again, lol.

      ***He was my favorite teacher and I don’t mind good natured ribbing.

    20. Cat Tree*

      I’m in a similar boat, but I now have a grandboss who spells it the other way. This has actually worked in our favor, as now people need to use the correct spelling to differentiate between us in emails.

    21. Miette*

      I feel all of your collective pain. I have a first name that is not the common spelling of a common name (think “Beckie” instead of “Becky”) AND it’s the typical nickname for a longer name (think “Fran” instead of “Frances”). On top of that, I also have a last name that is similar to a common female first name, so I have been getting misnamed regularly for my entire life. I long ago learned to ignore it, but man was it hard when I was a teen. I used to give my name as “Beckie with an ie” so people would get it right until a co-worker/a-hole started just calling me that all the time, and I finally gave up even trying.

      ALSO when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers (a nun) disliked my nicknamey first name and CHANGED IT on all my school records (on the basis that there wasn’t a “Saint Fran,” to use the example above, and all good Catholics ought to have saints’ names or something(!)). My mother had to prove my real name by providing my birth certificate to a new school when I went on to high school. It was A Lot.

      1. londonedit*

        Whoa that’s just uncovered a memory from my childhood – I briefly went to a Catholic school when I was little despite my parents not being Catholic or even religious at all (long story but basically we were living in another country and the Catholic school was the only one that would take me at the age one starts school in the UK – if I hadn’t gone there I’d have missed a year of school by the time we came back) and I remember being told, at the age of five or whatever, that I *must* have a saint’s name, and being very confused because no I didn’t, and I didn’t really understand what saints were anyway.

        1. Aerin*

          I have two middle names because of the saint’s name thing. Technically three, I guess, since I took another saint’s name at confirmation. I like when I get to rattle off my actual full name because it makes me sound like a fantasy character.

          1. Miette*

            Yeah, that was my mother’s solution when I was baptised–I have a saint’s name as a middle name.

        2. Irish Teacher.*

          In Ireland, the majority of schools are technically Catholic, so yeah, people of all religions and none attend them.

          People certainly aren’t expected to have a saint’s name though.

          But…thereby hangs a tale with regard to my grandmother. Back when she was born 100 years ago, the priest refused to christen her Violet because it wasn’t a saint’s name, so she was officially and legally Marie (the Irish version, pronounced Mah-ree) but was always called Violet. Towards the end of her life, she went into an old people’s home and I remember the first time I visited her not being sure whether to ask for Marie or Violet

    22. Sarah with an H*

      Ha, I’m a Sarah and this happens all the time! An old boss made out a fair amount of my paychecks to “Sara [lastname].” I never had an issue depositing them so just had to roll my eyes and laugh.

    23. Mysty*

      My name is Joana, pronounced the same as the more common spelling Joana (I was named for my parents, with my mother having a last name ending in -ana, so technically they weren’t trying to be difficult or ‘unique’ with spelling). My teachers in school growing up could see my name every single day on rosters, homework assignments etc and still spell it Joanna. People often just don’t pay attention or care. The only time I bother correcting it anymore is on official documentation where it matters.

      Now, people calling me the completely wrong name? That gets corrected. I am not Joanne! And my mother works in a public-facing office with a name plate right on the counter for people to see, but say for example her name is Suzana, people, with the name plate right there, will still call her Suzanne. There was a post on the town’s Facebook account recently celebrating her achievements where her name was stated (correctly) several times, and comments from people who’ve known her for years still said “Congrats, Suzanne!”

      1. Mysty*

        Whoops, that should read “pronounced as the more common spelling Joanna.” Guess I’m too used to spelling it my way!

    24. Aerin*

      I was very very bothered by it when I was younger, especially because no one seemed to misspell my name until a celebrity with a different spelling hit the scene. But once I hit my 30s I was pretty much over it. I’ll answer to pretty much anything vaguely name-shaped that’s thrown in my direction.

      I once worked with a guy named Erik, and we constantly referred to him as “Erik with a K,” to the point that people thought his last name was actually “Withakay.” (When we had to put hometowns on our nametags, he had one featuring Withakay, CA.)

    25. Just me*

      This happens to me all the time, and always has. My name gets spelled wrong in emails when it’s RIGHT THERE! and in teams when it’s also RIGHT THERE. Seriously do people not read??

    26. Verde*

      I’m a Sara and just noticed that my name is misspelled with the ‘h’ on a photo in my high school yearbook. I always make sure to thank people who ask if it’s ‘h’ or no ‘h’.

      Sometimes, if I’ve pointed it out and it keeps happening, I’ll add an ‘h’ to other peoples’ names until they stop adding one to mine.

      1. Dahlia*

        I’m picturing you just adding more and more “h”s until they notice. “Hi, Bobh.” “Bobhh will be on this job.” “Bobhhh needs to run that report, not me.”

    27. Former No H (they/them)*

      That was my old name, too. It got constantly misspelled, especially by my coworker who almost exclusively uses voice-to-text. Luckily, I’m trans, so I picked a new name that has one conventional spelling and one nickname :)

    28. Anonymous Lisa*

      I have a story about an incorrect spelling of my incredibly common and easy to spell name…Lisa. One of my great grandmothers always said my name correctly however when she wrote it, such as in a birthday card, she always wrote it Liza. No idea why! The thing was that even when I was little, like 7 or so, I didn’t care. I always thought of it as a sweet and quirky thing that she did. Considering how many Lisa’s there were when I was a kid, I was probably happy to finally be different from all of them.

    29. Sara(h)*

      I have multiple roles at my church, and on the church newsletter, my name is spelled with the h for one role and without for another. They had asked if I was interested in being the secretary, and I almost took it just so I could correct all the misspellings!

    30. LKD*

      #4. Suggest to your boss that only you get emailed the requests and you cc him on the responses to the email once you have completed the work so that he is in the loop

    31. hereforthecomments*

      I’m Stacey–not Stacy, Stacie, Stacye, Stasi. Not only is it spelled wrong all the time, I also get Tracy because it rhymes so that is close enough. I correct or not depending on context. I don’t bother with email–it’s in the signature and if they aren’t going to pay attention to that, I figure they won’t pay attention to my pointing it out.

    32. Petty Betty*

      I’m an 80’s baby “Jessica”. With a very common last name. I also had an extremely common maiden name.
      I still get called “Jennifer” (much to the amusement of my Jennifer friends, until they get called “Jessica”).

    33. Inkognyto*

      I get addressed in emails by my last name. For my last name to be a first name (it’s possible). you have to remove a letter. People still do it. I use a nickname of my first name which is 3 characters. This isn’t at my current company and it’s not an ethic thing it’s a parsing of the name thing.

      email is

      To make it even more fun, there’s another person with the exact same name, and they are
      Upon hire someone warned them that they should probably change their name to their full name since they were hired second and would likely get more email. I think they regret not doing that.

      I should have insisted fullname and not nickname when I started in email, but I didn’t, and it’s caused more headaches from sensitive emails constantly going to the other person. Add to that I got put on their on-call rotation, etc. Causing them to miss calls and I warned them I was ignoring the emails, which on my side just shoved into deleted automagically.

      Their team loves to invite me to team meetings. I get invited to a lot of things for various jobs to assist in my role, I catch some beforehand, and sometimes I show up.
      Their shock is amusing, especially when it’s their manager that invites me. Why they don’t have a private or company distribution list to invite their team from I have no idea.

      You just do what you can. Mine had to be raised high enough up on the on-call on my leadership side to be removed. I have no-call, but I didn’t want to get blamed for someone else missing on-call stuff.

      Choose when to fight, on the lastname piece I respond back and ask who they are referring too.

    34. Moonstone*

      My name can be spelled several different ways but most commonly either with an “I” or a “y” – I spell it with an “I” and my name is also my email address and in my signature. And yet, people still misspell it. Is it annoying? Eh, kinda. Do I even bother to correct them when it’s just a casual email? Nope. I just don’t have the bandwidth to care right now.

    35. IT'S HALEY*

      I’m a Haley. I’m shocked when someone DOES spell it right! I’m always getting Hailey, Hayley, Haleigh, Haylee, etc. The weirdest I’ve gotten is Hayle. Although at least it’s all the correct letters, just in the wrong order?

    36. GlitterIsEverything*

      I have an unusual spelling of a common name. I don’t mind the more common spelling when I know it’s speech to text.

      But for our work chat software, people have to look me up using my first name. They clearly find me, and the correct spelling is right there on the screen.

      I still have people who aren’t using a speech to text app misspell my name in the chat.

  2. Megan/Meghan/Meagan/Meaghan*

    OP 5 – as someone in a similarly-named boat, I agree with Alison that all you can really do is some gentle correction/follow-up the first few times, but some people truly won’t get it. If your email address auto-fills and it’s stuck in their head one way and one way only, they’ll probably never get it right. You can personally make the effort to get others’ names spelled right since you know it sucks to be on the receiving end, and be pleasantly surprised when someone makes the effort to get yours right as well.

    1. Firstname Lastname*

      I have one of those first names and a more difficult, uncommon last name. I used to get awful versions of my last name. Now, I seem to get more mispellings of my first name, it’s weird! Maybe because all of the focus on DEI? My hypothesis is that people used up all their energy getting my last name right they mess up my first name now, heh.
      There’s not many people at my job with my first name and we all spell it the same way to boot!

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        My first name is Jenni and my last name ends in Y. People often stick the I on the last name – it’s as if they know there’s an I *somewhere*…..

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s stuck in their head one way.
      I think one thing that happens is that people remember they got it wrong… but not which direction they got it wrong. So they just keep repeating “Last time I got it wrong… and I probably did Erica because that feels more natural… so it should be Erika.”

      1. Smithy*

        This is me – do the 360 degrees over correct so I end up back at the wrong version. My mother’s birthday is separated by two days from Valentine’s Day….now does her birthday come before or after Valentine’s Day……the years of 360 degree corrections I’ve made incorrectly. So now I just send her a combined Valentine’s/Birthday gift and that has worked better.

        I will also say with “commonly remembered emails” – in my Outlook, I have an external Sarah’s email that regularly comes up first. And I’m so careful to make sure I’m NOT emailing her, but rather the correct internal name. As it happens, my manager’s name is Sara, so I’m most used to working to make sure that a) not emailing external Sarah and b) spelling my manager’s name right. However, for other internal Sarahs – it can sometimes be one more step that clutters my brain.

        1. Stella*

          I’d rather mistakenly send a work-related email to a personal friend than accidentally send a personal email to a work colleague. I did the latter once and didn’t find out until the colleague emailed me back to tell me. Fortunately, that particular message wasn’t very personal or private. Since then, I’m super careful to check where an email is going before I hit Send.

      2. Miette*

        OMG I did this to a French man named Pascal–I knew there were male and female versions of the name but I got it the wrong way around in my head which was correct and kept typing “Pascale.” I finally had to put an autocorrect rule into MS Office in case I got it wrong!

      3. Portlandia*

        Hahahah, yes this has happened to me before. Like I always get it wrong but WHICH WAY?!?!

      4. MCMonkeybean*

        I have definitely had that exact conversation with myself a million times lol. (But then I anxiously do whatever I can to find something with their name on it, which in work emails is of course very easy)

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      Add me to the alternate-name-spelling club. I try to clarify it for official documents, and I’ve stepped it up in recent years because there is someone a few hundred miles away from me with the more common spelling who apparently can’t manage her money, and defaults on a credit card every now and then. I got a letter from the magistrate court in her city and some indignant confusion reigned for a few minutes.

    4. Meg*

      I’m in the same Meghan boat. Mine was fine for the most part until another Megan started up with up. Then I suddenly became “Megan” quite a bit. I just had to let it go.

      1. Anon 4 now*

        I named my daughter Meghan… partially because adding that H made it harder to find souvenir clutter with her name (ask me how I know…). So she’s currently walking around with the no H Meghan name on a necklace. Because souvenir clutter. >.<

    5. Cubicles & Chimeras*

      I’d like to really call out the “gentle” part of the above and determining when it’s worth calling out and when it isn’t. There’s a coworker who I’d worked with a long time, we knew each other well, and in a moment of working for speed not spelling, spelt his name wrong. (Eg his name was Erik and I wrote the more common Eric.) And he called me out crankily on it. Which always stuck with me because I’d gotten his name right for years, and there was a time and a place to give people passes.

      I myself have an uncommon name, and so I get five-hundred variations of spelling or even wrong names from people. I have a game of it now, determining what I’m going to see on a receipt or email or AI transcription or whatever. (Best one had been an email response to me where the name was wildly different from my own, only the first letter was shared.)

      1. Miette*

        I snap a photo on my phone every time they get my name wrong at Starbucks. I have a lot of them.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I use “Gwen” for Starbucks (it’s a nickname I’ve had for years and will answer to in a pinch) So sometimes they spell it right even without asking. Sometimes they write “Wen” or Gwyn” and I live with it. But my favourite, and the only one I photographed, was someone who asked me to spell it, then typed “Guuin” on the cup label.

          I guess that’s a double-u…

        2. The OG Sleepless*

          I know a gentleman with an uncommon, easily misunderstood Hispanic name. His Instagram is filled with photos of the ways Starbucks mangles his name.

        3. Insert Clever Name Here*

          I worked at a non-Starbucks coffee shop in college on the morning shift. We were supposed to say “good morning” to everyone when they came in, and if it was a regular I’d include their name. One woman was a newer regular, and the first time I said “good morning, Casey” she did a double take. When she got up to the register she said that was just her restaurant name because no one could ever get “Camille” right. The next morning when I said “good morning, Camille” she got the biggest smile on her face and left a big tip :) That’s one of my favorite memories from that job!

    6. Buffy will save us*

      I have one of those combo names, think Joyanne, where it’s all one word with a small letter for the second name but for most people their name would be Joy Anne or JoyAnne. I get called Joy, Anne, Joy Anne, Anne Joy, and sometimes combinations not even involving Anne like Joy Grace. At this point, in my 40s, if you have some version of my name in there, I just answer. It’s too exhausting to correct everyone.

    7. Cat Lover*

      My best friend (of 21 years) and my dad’s birthdays are 2 days apart… yeah… I never get it straight! Thankfully, apple/google calendar has helped as I can program it in every year :)

  3. Brain the Brian*

    Right there with LW4. I tried to sit down with my manager several years ago and establish standard workflows for who would respond to which requests, and she flat-out refused. She also won’t answer when I ask her in a private message, leaving me in limbo with no clear idea whether to proceed. I eventually gave up and now just wait until she logs off for the day to reply to anything she hasn’t already answered. My sleep schedule is a mess a result.

    But not all bosses are like mine. Please at least try to have this conversation, LW4! It would go better in nearly all cases than it did for me.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yeah, these workflow wrinkles are tricky. In my last job, the boss couldn’t let go our butt out of the admin’s tasks because she’d had a lot of turnover in the assistant role, and some of them weren’t that great and needed prompting / following up, so she insisted on keeping her oar in because she was afraid something would slip through the cracks. But really, the person who needed the task would have followed up if they didn’t get it, so it wasn’t truly necessary to have people tripping over each other IMO. Maybe Asana or a ticketing system would make it easier for the boss to see what didn’t get done at the end of the day … ?

    2. Ashley*

      It is worth a work flow conversation. I had a role where my boss and I were duplicating work and we had to establish I will handle X, and then give to them to handle Y. Form there it was a back and forth because of the material and their control issues / inability to use technology.
      It is really worth having a defining the role conversation. Not everyone realizes if they let you handle a chunk of duties it will free them to do more stuff and sometimes politely pointing that out will help. Other times, it means you can have zero sympathy when they are putting in large amounts of overtime because they won’t let you do your job.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      “Hey, boss! Do you want me to take care of this?” Silence implies the answer is no.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Until they get irritated you didn’t do it.

        My boss and I do sometimes answer the same messages when it’s just information or confirmation, but he usually stops by my desk to confirm who’s handling anything more substantial than a couple of lines of reply. I’ve also gotten good at providing answers with the caveat “unless (he) has other information I lack”. He rarely does, it’s a very communicative office.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        I acknowledge that this is a slightly different scenario, but when someone emails my team with an issue I think I can solve, I respond to the person (and bcc the team) with something like “Yes, I can help with this!” before I start working on the task.

        It actually comes from high school sports when the ball is coming between you and another player. Whoever says “my ball” first is responsible for dealing with it, and it’s much faster than the awkward dance of “Did you want it? No? Is it okay if I take it?”

      3. Venus*

        I think it would be better if LW responded to acknowledge receipt and say that they are working on it. It could be a copy / paste of the same response each time, but it would show that LW is starting to work on the problem and boss doesn’t need to worry about it.
        “Thank you for reaching out. I’m starting to work on this now, and will have an answer for you soon.”

      4. MCMonkeybean*

        If this comes up like 15 times a day then asking every individual time seems less efficient than the double work.

    4. VLookup*

      If the boss isn’t going to be more hands off, what about replying to the email chain with your planned next steps? Kind of an “acknowledged, just going to follow up with Team Y about the order quantities and should have this done by EOD tomorrow”

      It makes the roles more clear and depending on the requester’s tolerance for overcommunication, may help your team look even more responsive.

      1. Artemesia*

        I managed big hunks of work in our department and ran several sub programs and then we got a new chair. She would get CCed when a deadline reminder or task was sent from the grand boss and start mucking about with things that had well established systems and processes making a mess of things. I found that as soon as one of these hit the mailbox, I would need to email her that this was one of the routine things I normally handled and I would take care of it. It was alas a symptom of her incompetence. She relished mucking about in other people’s routine work instead of doing the really hard things that only she had the portfolio to do. But my system of responding immediately did help.

  4. Nodramalama*

    Is the issue in lw4s example only really an issue if the boss doesn’t respond? If he’s responding anyway it seems like the easiest way to avoid tripping over each other is for lw to not action anything unless boss asks them to. If he doesn’t think it’s a good use of his time surely he’ll direct LW to respond on his behalf.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      The LW risks their boss slowly coming to see them as not engaged enough or their position as useless. That’s always my fear.

      1. Nodramalama*

        If it only happens with one coworker and is presumably not LWs only task that seems like an unlikely conclusion to draw.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Fifteen times a day is a lot for one coworker, which makes me think this one coworker is sending an outsize share of the requests that the LW and their manager receive.

          1. Nodramalama*

            Yeah and if value add of LW is a concern then the fact that boss responds to each request anyway, it would probably already be an issue

      2. ferrina*

        Agree- this is something to proactively check in with your boss about how they want to handle it so that they know you are aware, you want to take care of it, but you don’t want to duplicate work.

        In a best case scenario, my boss usually lets me answer any email that comes to both of us, unless she has special knowledge or I’m out that day. She just really enjoys having someone take care of the little stuff so she can focus on her big projects.

  5. EchoGirl*

    Reading the linked article for #5, the comments are almost as frustrating as the article itself (specifically, the numerous ones saying some variation of “Liz is short for Elizabeth, get over it”). By itself, there’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t like being called Liz, please call me Elizabeth”, and that should be respected (especially when you’re talking about a full-on nickname rather than just a misspelling — at that point, you’re basically calling someone by a different name). It’s just, you know, say it once and move on, especially when the other person has accepted the correction and even offered an apology.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, as someone with a name that people frequently get wrong, I can’t imagine going off on someone like that even after they have repeatedly apologised. Just accept the apology and move on. Making someone grovel like that and adding a little light interrogation on the top is just pointlessly nasty.

      1. EchoGirl*

        Agreed — I have an unusual name that people tend to struggle with, and also a small problem with people nicknaming me when I’d rather they didn’t. I will correct them but it certainly doesn’t merit this level of meltdown.

        (At the same time, I *do* get upset when people just completely blow it off, I think that’s why I found the comments irritating.)

      2. Portlandia*

        True, but don’t you think the person responding was egging her on? I mean, they didn’t have to keep apologizing and explaining, that honestly was super weird.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Ha yeah, I have a name like that and it is irksome because of the implied informality of the nickname – it comes across as, “oh, Christiana? Well, I’m going to call you dollface. You don”t mind do ya dollface? Hey everyone, dollface has a feeling about it!” But I recognize it’s my issue and it’s unlikely that’s people’s intent when they default to Chrissy or whatever :P

      1. misspellings shmishpellings*

        I recently had a new friend introduce himself as “Matthew,” and my brain IMMEDIATELY started referring to him as “Matt.”

        And I was like, wtf, no! He said “Matthew,” I need to call him “Matthew!”

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      Male privilege: I often get asked during the initial interaction if I go my Richard or any of the various nickname versions of it. It is very rare for someone to jump in and pick one themselves.

      1. PhyllisB*

        I don’t know, my husband is a Richard, and my New Jersey relatives used to try calling him Ritch, Ritchie, or Dick. (He REALLY hates that last one.) He would try politely correcting them, but it didn’t work, he just quit answering them. Of course, that would upset them and my mother would scold me about it. I finally said, “Well, that’s not his name. I don’t blame him for not answering.” Took several years for them to get it.

      2. amoeba*

        Eh, I know a few guys with that problem here! It’s mostly names that basically 99% of people abbreviate in a specific way – namely, Andi for Andreas, Alex for Alexander, Tobi for Tobias. For each of those names, I know like 10+ who use the abbreviated form and just one who doesn’t like it and wants to be called by the full name – they are all often annoyed because people do assume. (I try to remember and usually get it right, but it is actually super hard because I’m just *so* used to the abbreviation!)

    4. Observer*

      (specifically, the numerous ones saying some variation of “Liz is short for Elizabeth, get over it”

      Maybe I missed something, but I’m not really seeing much of that.

      Even the people who are telling the LW to take a step back are not telling them that they are wrong, just that people generally are not doing this to be disrespectful on the one hand, and on the other they will probably feel a lot better if they can let it go.

      Alison was certainly not telling the LW that the people who are mis-spelling their name are actually correct. Merely that while it’s perfectly reasonable to call it out reasonably, there is a limit to how much you can say and that it’s also going to be a lot healthier for them to let it roll off their backs because it’s going to happen even with people are trying to be respectful.

        1. Observer*

          Ah, yes. I think that a lot of the people are reacting that way because of how unhinged the Elizabeth was. If she had stuck to “My name is Elizabeth, and I don’t like Liz” that would be perfectly normal. And I would absolutely expect an apology. Even the first negative reaction would not have gotten this much push back. But going on and on and ON, and complaining about the other person’s apologies is ridiculous.

          “This person made a reasonable mistake and you need to get off your high horse”, which is what most people were getting at, is a very reasonable response. Yes, it was a mistake, but it was one that makes a lot of sense in the context. Accept the apology and move on!

          1. EchoGirl*

            I totally get that, it just seemed like people on that thread (which, yes, I meant the comments on the original article, not here on AAM) were being a bit over the top in basically insisting she should just accept being called Liz (often in stronger language than I’m using in this paraphrase). I think you can acknowledge the OTT reaction without swinging in the opposite direction and suggesting she’s wrong to even ask.

            That said, this might be something I’m sensitive to because of my own experiences of people getting really defensive when you ask them to at least make an effort to get your name right. I have a hyphenated last name, where the first part is unusual and a little tricky while the second part is common and easy, and I’ve had people try to just omit the first portion entirely and insist I should be fine with it because it’s “still my name”. (To use a famous name as an example, pretend my name was Olivia Newton-John and people try to call me “Olivia John” and then insist it’s “not wrong”.)

            1. EchoGirl*

              Submitted too soon — my point is that I’ve seen similar attitudes even when the original content was nowhere near this sort of thing, so that’s probably informing my reaction.

    5. Meow*

      I’m also an Elizabeth, and I have to say, it’s bizarre how many people just *have* to have a nickname for me. And if I don’t give them one, they’ll make up their own. It doesn’t happen as much as I’ve gotten older (maybe Elizabeth sounds like an older person name?), but I was so amused by it when I was younger, I would just let people call me by whatever nickname they came up with, without correcting them, and see what spread. If someone asked what I went by, my answer was always “Elizabeth is fine”. I’ve been called Liz, Lizzy, Bizz, E, and E-beth, along with some non-name related nicknames like “shorty” (not actual nickname but similar). Never Beth, Betty or Betsy, although older ladies would sometimes ask if I went by Betty or Betsy.

      It was always fun when people who called me by different nicknames would meet, because usually one of them would start calling me by the other nickname, like it was viral! Everyone in my high school friend group ended up calling me “Lizzy”, even though I hadn’t gone by that name since I was 7.

    6. misspellings shmishpellings*

      I was actually writing a comment about how I don’t care that people constantly spell my name wrong. And I was trying to mean it!

      But I realized it does sting when close friends or even colleagues I’ve worked with for a long time don’t bother to get it right. Especially when they’re emailing me or something and my name is spelled correctly in my email address and they still can’t bother to check. Like, try to care a little? lol.

      But honestly, it doesn’t bother me THAT much!

  6. My name is Janey lol*

    I am Janey but often get Janie or Janet in texts/emails which doesn’t bother me much because spell check and auto correct do that often, but when a coworker I worked with for years and a CIO I worked with for years continued to call me ‘Jamie’ both verbally and in emails despite me correcting them multiple times on top of my obvious email signature – these are folks I worked closely with (literally telling them it’s ‘Janey’ with an ‘N’ like ‘Nancy’ or the short version is ‘Jane’). It drove me nuts! My corrections never worked lol, so had to let it go.

    1. Anon from Davis*

      I have a friend named Janey and my phone autocorrected to Janet for years. Now, of course, it autocorrects Janet to Janey. Can’t win!

      Similarly, I live in a town called Davis and I can no longer type the name David. (Like, even just then I typed Davis and had to delete and try again.) I can’t even blame autocorrect, my fingers just go on autopilot.

      1. kicking-k*

        oh, I know. My son’s name is Nicky (well, it’s Nicholas but that’s what he goes by) and it’s amazing the number of words that are close enough to Nicky for autocorrect to decide that this is what I meant. It leaps up at the most unexpected times.

        1. Not At The Bat or And The Sunshine Band*

          My name is Kasey. I got used to people spelling it with a C, but the best is that Autocorrect changes it to Laser. Weekly I get texts or emails addressed to Laser. I choose to view it was my cool nickname.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        I was talking to a friend about comics and her phone autocorrected “Batman” to “Barman”. As an experiment, I tried typing “Barman” and it autocorrected to “Batman”. I know I should probably be creeped out by that level of data collection on me, but it just felt like my phone knew me as a person, you know?

      3. Petty Betty*

        I’ve got a kid named Eryx. Autocorrect assumes I mean “s-e-x-y”. No, no I do not.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I’ve learned that some people just aren’t word people and have noticed a few friends who have a hard time with words in general, reversing letters and syllables. It means that remembering the difference between Jamie and Janey, or sometimes even noticing that there is a difference, is really hard for those people. I try to give them grace even though it’s sometimes quite frustrating. My close friend can never remember the name of the little park we sometimes take walks in (it’s three syllables and two common words) and she’ll never use the same incorrect name for it twice. So I never know what she’s talking about, and then we have to have a back and forth about it when if she just said the right name I’d immediately know where she meant we should meet for a walk.

    3. Always Tired*

      I had one coworker like that. I’m pretty sure it was a power trip on his part. After 6 months of constant corrections, I decided it was a “cute little thing we did” that we called each other by not-quite-our-names, and used a new name for him in an email reply (think Sean to Shane). Oh man did that finally get straightened out. He didn’t even correct me. He forwarded the email to my boss with a RANT about me getting his name wrong. She asked me what the heck, I said I thought it was a bit we were doing, she laughed and said she’d leave it to me. He never got my name wrong again.

      Do I recommend this route? No. Not at all. It could have gone very badly. Was it incredibly satisfying? Absolutely.

    4. Mice is different than good*

      I was looking for the autocorrect comment! I chalk up most misspellings of my name to autocorrect. It has, in fact, caused me to misspell my own name on more than one occasion. Now the only time I get frustrated by it when it’s by a family member who should know better or in print when it should have been checked.

  7. Honeybee*

    If someone spells my name wrong in my reply I sign off as “Jasmin (no e)” and that usually fixes it. You could also do it proactively the first time you contact them, when it’s more likely to stick. But I agree with most of the comments above that I only correct people I engage with regularly or if they are going to need to put my name in something public like a newsletter–you’re not wrong to be bothered by it, but if that’s the case I’d be proactive rather than letting them get it wrong multiple times before speaking up.

  8. Aaron Read*

    My name is Aaron Read. The last name is bad enough, although it’s actually the more common spelling, oddly enough. What drives me insane is that I am a bit under 6ft tall, over 250 lbs, baldly man with Italian heritage, a full beard, and a deep baritone voice that’s served me well in my career in radio. Yet the world seems determined to cast me as an Irish woman. (Erin)

    I can’t tell you how many takeout orders where someone asks me to my face (like, they’re three feet away from me) what my name is, I say “AIR-un”, which is a proper pronunciation (“AHH-run” is an affectation) and they will, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, write “Erin” on the order.

    It drives me absolutely batshit insane. I mostly, with great effort, let it slide. But I’ve told people “do I really look like an Irish woman to you???” and that usually throws them pretty hard for a loop and they don’t forget after that. But I know I can only fire that gun very, very occasionally.

    What was, however, my own damn fault, was briefly dating a woman named “Erin” my freshman year of college. That was…confusing. My senior year I worked at a cybercafe with a female coworker named “Aarin”; also very confusing.

    Question for the “Erins” out there: do you find people misspell your name “Aaron” a lot?

    1. Eyelean*

      Have you seen the Key & Peele sketch with the high school substitute teacher that features your name?

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I think you’re running into a lot of people who simply don’t know how to spell your name and grasp for the closest phonetic alternative. My (double-barrelled) name gets mis-heard enough that I will just use the first half of it if I have to give it out for an order, but since you don’t have that option it must get really annoying! Plus, I think Aaron is probably a more common name than Erin, so it’s definitely weird that people default to the less popular name.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Yes. Even if you consider it complete bollocks, it is foundational to Western culture.

            1. Texan In Exile*

              And I have friends who immigrated to the US from India and Africa (or their parents did) and they are not Christian and no, they do not have Biblical literacy. Where are they supposed to have studied the Bible? Because I sure don’t want it to be in public school.

              Being around them has forced me to re-evaluate what I consider common knowledge and to be more careful about the language I use.

    3. VNST*

      How…. do you pronounce Erin? Because “AIR-un” is exactly how I pronounce Erin and how I’ve heard it pronounced. It’s also how I pronounce Aaron, the two aren’t really distinguishable to me. Giving away were I live, but it’s like merry, marry, and Mary for me, it’s all the same. Erin is also exceedingly gender neutral to me, not just in vibe, but as in I’ve literally met male, female, and even non-binary Erin’s; all to say, I would not be able to connect “Irish woman” with Erin if you said that to me.

      Not that I don’t understand that having your name being misspelled is incredibly irritating! Especially in this case where the spellings are quite different.

      1. US accent*

        This might be a US accent thing!

        I’m Australian and we pronounce Aaron and Erin very differently: think A-ron and E-rron.

        But when I try it with a US accent it sounds similar to me?

        1. Jenesis*

          West Coast USian here, and my interpretation is the complete opposite of yours – the first syllables sound exactly the same to me (like air), but the second syllables don’t. Aaron rhymes with heron and Erin rhymes with hairpin.

          1. melissa*

            I’m over here whispering to myself “heron. Heron. Erin? Hairpin. Heron” to try to hear how I say them.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            Yes, but in non-self-conscious speech, unaccented vowels routinely get reduced to a schwa. If you are carefully pronouncing the two names in isolation the second syllables may be distinct, but just coming up in conversation when you aren’t thinking about how you pronounce them, they end up at the same place.

          3. Aar-UN Read*

            Yes, that’s how I say it too; the first syllables are the same, it’s the last syllable that’s different. Albeit rather subtly so: “un” vs “in”.

            I lived in southern New England for most of my life, was raised in New London County, Connecticut, USA…if that matters. (shrugs)

        2. WS*

          Not if you’re from Melbourne – we increasingly pronounce Erin and Aaron the same way!

          1. Lisa*

            I’m from Adelaide and I say Aaron with a hard “A” and Erin with a hard “E”. It sounds like you pronounce Aaron differently, I’d probably write down Erin too, although I know way more Aaron’s. To me, Erin is a unisex name.

            Having said that, I’ve always thought Lisa was pretty straightforward, yet I’ve gotten Elise, Alissa, Lyssa, Leesa, Melissa, Aeshya, and all sorts of other variants when I’ve ordered drinks. People just don’t listen. The only place where they got it correct, every time, was when I was in Japan.

        3. Ro*

          I’m British and same. I like the podcast generation why and one of the hosts is Aaron I swear for the longest time I though he was called Erin and it was a unisex name in the US

          1. londonedit*

            Years ago there was an American sitcom called 8 Simple Rules that made it to UK TV, and which I’d occasionally watch if there was nothing else on – I was convinced one of the characters was called Carrie, because that’s how everyone pronounced her name. Then in one episode you saw her name written down, and it turned out it was Kerry, like the county in Ireland – which in my world is pronounced completely differently to Carrie!

            1. Lenora Rose*

              I’ve always found the least believable of all the unbelievable parts of police procedurals and similar shows is when someone gives their name verbally and NOBODY has to ask, “So is that Catherine Johnson or Kathryn Johnston?” or has trouble with a search for info on the person (unless, even more rarely, it’s made an active plot point).

            2. Banana Pyjamas*

              In parts of the US, Kerry and Carrie are the same. So much of the film industry is in LA and Chicago where those are pronounced the same. It would be interesting to see if that changes as more production happens in Georgia, according to comments further down, the pronunciation would be different there.

            3. Health Policy Wonk*

              My name is Carrie. I pronounce and hear it differently than Kerry. From the northeastern US. Lots of people say those sound the same to them. But that said, I answer to and often see on my coffee cup or receipts any version of Kerry, Keri, Kerri, Carry, Cary etc. Getting it right is more rare! Have also had folks ask me if it’s spelled like the movie lol. At least that’s correct!

              Thank goodness for online ordering!

            4. Hroethvitnir*

              Oh god, the way Tara was pronounced in BtVS had me so confused about whether the American accents could *really* turn Tara into what I hear as “Terra”.

              Eventually Giles said it and I was like OK, cool cool cool cool – though while I would say Tara like Giles, IRL I’d approximate how she pronounces her own name.

        4. Peach Parfaits Pls*

          I don’t think any US accents differ in how the first syllable is pronounced at all in Erin vs Aaron. For the second syllable, a lot of them will have the exact same schwa sound, but some will subtly sound more like “in” for Erin and “un” for Aaron.

          1. AGD*

            If I’m remembering this right from my dialectology class, Erin vs Aaron might be different in the U.S. depending on region because they’re separated by the “merry-marry-Mary” issue. Some parts of the U.S. have three different pronunciations for “merry” and “marry” and “Mary,” some have a set of two of those the same, and some pronounce them all the same. More divisions likely in the east, I think? My friends from Long Island have them all different.

                1. Health Policy Wonk*

                  Same! From the NE as well. And my name is Carrie, which I pronounce differently from Kerry (but will answer to that since people commonly pronounce it that way).

              1. Banana Pyjamas*

                Chicagoland, NWI, and Michiana, and same. In fact Merry, marry, Mary, Aaron and Erin all share the same vowel sound. Also Aaron and Erin are heavily gendered. Aaron is male and Erin is female.

                1. Project Maniac-ger*

                  Midwestern also. Yes, it’s all the same vowel sound to me as well. If I try to say them differently I sound like I’m doing a bad Irish accent while eating molasses.

                  And yes on gendered names -Erin is feminine and Aaron masculine. I have never met one that falls outside of the correlation. I’m surprised to see people saying Erin is gender neutral!

                1. Jenesis*

                  I grew up in Toronto and the West Coast and I pronounce them all the same, except when I’m doing an exaggerated accent (like quoting “Mawwiage” from The Princess Bride). So I can understand how marry might sound different from merry and Mary, but I don’t hear it in everyday conversation.

          2. CB212*

            Mid Atlantic here, I absolutely pronounce them differently. Erin has a vowel like Error; Aaron has a vowel like CATS.

            Like the difference between Errant (knight) and Arrant (knave)!

            1. JSPA*

              West coast US, at least some years ago; what Aaron lists as an affectation was our default, with short A as in “cat” while Erin is an “eh” as in “meh” (with more than one Aaron and more than one Erin in my year). The internet gives the short A (like cat) version as British, and something semi-close to Erin as the US default (but there’s no one default in either place).

          3. doreen*

            In my NY accent both the first and second syllables of Aaron and Erin are different. “Aaron” uses the “a” in “cat and “Erin” uses the “e” in “bed”

            1. Observer*

              Yes, that’s the way I “hear” it, as well. It’s *fascinating* to hear all the other ways it gets pronounced.

          4. Clisby*

            To me, the first syllable of Erin an Aaron are different (as are the 2nd syllables).

            1. Clisby*

              Clarifying: I pronounce “Erin” as err-in. “Aaron” as “ayr-un.” I don’t mean the “y” in “ayr” is really pronounced, but it’s definitely a long “a”, like in “care”.

              1. londonedit*

                Yes, completely different for me too. Though the most common UK pronunciation of Aaron is like ‘arran’ – a short ‘a’ like ‘cat’ and then more of an ‘un’ sound for the ‘an’ at the end. You do get a few Aarons who pronounce it ‘are-un’ with an ‘ar’ like ‘car’, or as ‘air-un’, but those are definitely less common.

                Erin is ‘errin’ with a short ‘e’ like ‘bed’ and ‘in’ as you’d expect. The ‘a’ and ‘e’ sounds at the start of Aaron and Erin are totally different.

              2. MCMonkeybean*

                Words are so weird because to me everything you just typed is exactly the same lol. I would consider “care” and “err” to be perfect rhymes.

          5. Nancy*

            The first syllable is pronounced differently in parts of the east coast US. It would have never occurred to me that it is pronounced the same in some areas.

      2. Mr McGregor's Gardener*

        Yeah, Britisher here, and Aaron and Erin, while very similar, are definitely different to each other. Marry merry Mary are also different, but similar.

        1. Artemesia*

          This is one I have never been able to hear or say — all the ‘marries’ sound the same to me.

      3. Nightengale*

        I pronounce Erin “eh-rin”
        And Aaron “aaaa-run”

        I am also from a part of the world where Mary, merry and marry sound different – I suspect that the Aaron/Erin divide is geographically similar.

      4. MCMonkeybean*

        I had the same question but on rereading I think the pronunciation bit was a bit of a tangent and they were more just saying that the people can see them and therefore you’d think they would be more likely to assume the usually male spelling of “Aaron” over the usually female spelling of “Erin.”

        But maybe not.

      5. Cascadia*

        Midwestern US here – I have male friends named Aaron and female friends named Erin. Both are pronounced exactly the same. The only way you could tell the difference in spelling is knowing whether they likely have the traditionally masculine or feminine spelling.

      1. Jordan*

        I think the idea is Erin is from the name of the county “Erin’s isle”
        Wikipedia says it is the personification of the county. Perhaps like USA “lady liberty” or “uncle Sam” Although Liberty is featured as a woman in many countries/cultured.
        But I digress, as mentioned above I have always heard Aaron and Erin pronounced the same, with the spelling difference being by gender. (Also merry, mary, marry)

        FWIW, I chose my internet pen name specifically for its ambiguity

      2. londonedit*

        I’ve only met Scottish Erins, as it happens.

        And it’s definitely a parts-of-the-US pronunciation thing – where I live, in southern England, Aaron and Erin sound completely different (and so do Mary, marry and merry).

        1. I'm great at doing stuff*

          Yes! I am a south shore Massachusetts native and to me, Mary and marry sound the same. But my brother in law from the north shore pronounces them in three distinct ways.

          I pronounce and have mostly heard Aaron as air-in and Erin as err-in.

      3. AnnieB*

        It probably wasn’t intended literally, but as an Irish reader I have to chime in that Erin is an extremely rare name here (for a woman or a man, but Aaron is not unknown for men). The Irish name for Ireland is Éire (pronounced era), in another grammatical form it’s Éirinn (pronounced Erin) so I guess it’s like you wouldn’t call a human America (America Ferrara notwithstanding).

        See also: Colleen. Now that’s a name I can’t picture an Irish person ever, ever being called. (Cailín literally means girl, and is where the name Colleen comes from).

          1. Nancy*

            Well, yes. Americo and America are not all that uncommon among Italians and those of Italian descent. A variation on Amerigo (Vespucci). He has also been known as Americo Vespucci.

        1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

          The one Colleen I’ve knowingly met was Irish (with an incomprehensibly strong accent when inebriated).

          1. Chuffing along like Mr. Pancks*

            The one I’ve met confided in me that she liked her name because there weren’t really any nicknames for it, and she liked being a “Colleen.”

            Her coworker looked up and said, “Hey, come here for a second, Coco.”

        2. I should really pick a name*

          I guess it’s like you wouldn’t call a human America

          American McGee would beg to differ.

      4. Peach Parfaits Pls*

        They’re not insisting anything, it’s a reference to Erin as in Erin Go Bragh. We don’t need to correct every mildly creative way people phrase their comments or this place goes downhill fast.

        1. Moose*

          IDK dude. “Do I look like an Irish woman to you?” just feels like a really off thing to say. It feels like if my friend Erin, who is definitely not Irish, looked at someone who spelled her name “Aaron” and asked “Do I look like a Hebrew man to you?”

          Like, it’s just weird and uncomfortable, somehow. I can’t put my finger on it.

      5. Aaron-not-Erin Read*

        That’s probably a byproduct of living in and near Boston for a lot of my life. Most of the Erins I know were indeed either Irish immigrant women (at least one of which I remember spoke Gaelic fluently) or were descended from Irish immigrant families.

        Actually now that I’m thinking about it? I’ve known at least a dozen different Erins over my life, and all of them fell into one of those two categories. Can’t think of a single one that didn’t. I’m sure there ARE, of course, and I’ve . It’s just funny that it worked out that way for me. But yes, you make a good point that I’m probably overgeneralizing things based on my own personal experience.

        1. Moose*

          I appreciate that context. For me it was weird because A) what does an “Irish woman” look like? Is being Irish really so visually distinct that you could identify someone’s nation of origin on sight? Honestly I don’t know because I don’t spend a lot of my time around Irish folks but it feels unlikely. But again, I don’t know. And B) same as not everyone named Aaron is Egyptian or Hebrew and not everyone named George is Greek, not everyone named Erin is going to be Irish.

          Yeah IDK if I would say that you were wrong in saying it, it just feels weird.

    4. Seashell*

      I have never met a male Erin, but the Social Security website that shows use of baby names over the years has it in the top 1000 for males born in the US from the 1960s to the 1990s. Some may be girls who were mistakenly marked as male on their forms, but it was in the top 500 for a time in the 1970s, so it was really used on some males.

      I have a female colleague named Erin, and I don’t know that she’s Irish. I doubt all Erins are.

      I would either spell your name or use a fake name for ordering.

      1. Retired at last*

        The former leader of one of the major political parties here in Canada was Erin O’Toole – only probably Irish, but most definitely male.

      2. Eurekas*

        I know “just care less” is unhelpful advice, but honestly, when it’s for food and in a one-off situation, I don’t care if they spell my name correctly, as long as they pronounce it so I know to go get my food. (I’m an Erika, 99% of all mispronunciations lifetime have been intentional).

        Also, I attended a birthday party where someone had “helpfully” typed up pretty name tags for everyone. I checked for the “k”, and was content until someone apologized for the mis-spelled name. The person typing had actually written Erkia.

        1. Nodramalama*

          Yeah my name gets WILD variations when I order. I don’t blame baristas etc. They’re busy, it’s often loud and they’re going through so many customers. If I can recognise it as my name, I’m all good

    5. NforKnowledge*

      You might need to move to Boston, where at least you’ll only be confused with an iron urn!

    6. Irish Teacher.*

      There was actually a rather funny article in one of the US newspapers about Ireland electing our first female taoiseach (prime minister), Edna Kenny. He was actually a man called Enda Kenny. His first name is pronounced exactly as it sounds.

    7. Nodramalama*

      As someone who gets utterly bizarre versions of my name when ordering, if it bothers you that they spell your name wrong, give another name.

    8. kicking-k*

      I think this is a US accent thing, but if you lived in the UK, you might well get people both pronouncing it as Arron and spelling it Arran. And spelling your surname as Reid.

      Probably not Erin though. That’s pronounced Errin here, and is easily distinguishable.

    9. I should really pick a name*

      Person hears your name.

      Person has seen the name “Erin” written at some point.

      Person assumes that’s how your name is spelled.

      Interpreting it as them calling you an Irish woman is on you.

      We’re well past the point where names definitively denote a gender or nationality.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        This is what I was thinking. I’ve known a number of Erins over my life and hardly any Aarons. If you asked to me to spell this name out of the blue, my brain would automatically pick Erin because that’s what’s most familiar to my brain.

        1. Banana Pyjamas*

          Aaron vs Erin is deeply gendered in parts of the country, so it’s not unreasonable to take a mis-spelling equivalent to misgendering.

        2. New Jack Karyn*

          I know a TON of Aarons, and only a couple of Erins. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and now live in the Bay Area.

    10. An Erin who's a wee bit Irish*

      Re: “do I really look like an Irish woman to you???”

      Bonus points if you say it in your best Lucky Charms Leprechaun voice and upgrade it to “wee Irish lassie”.

      1. Aaron Read but I really am part-Italian*

        My Italian momma would strangle me from the grave. :)

    11. metadata minion*

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some people — especially from cultures where Erin and Aaron aren’t common names — who conflate the two names into one unisex name spelled “Erin”. I highly doubt any of these people are reading you as a woman or intentionally writing what they think is a woman’s name.

      1. Cascadia*

        Yes to this – my mom’s name is Rene (with an accent over the second e) and apparently this is the french masculine name. The feminine form of the name is Renee. The names are pronounced exactly the same, the difference between masculine and feminine is the additional e. However, most people in the US don’t know french, and have no idea what the masculine form is. My mom used to tell people “It’s Rene, spelled the masculine way” and people would stare at her with blank faces. They simply don’t have the context. Now if she was in France, they would probably get it! But here, not so much.

        1. Hroethvitnir*

          Ha! My partner is Dutch, and it’s a… thing… to refer to your kids by names utterly unrelated to their legal names. So one of his brothers is Renee (don’t remember legal name). No one noticed or cared it was probably feminine gendered until his partner, who insists on spelling it Rene despite him being Renee for decades before meeting her.

    12. Vermont Green*

      When my work friend, “Murgatroyd”, gets food from a place where they call out your name when you order is ready, he tells them his name is “Bob”. He explains that it’s not worth the hassle of trying to teach them his name and how to spell it.

      1. Artemesia*

        my husband has a standard common English last name; my last name is harder to spell and pronounce — so for restaurant reservations and take out — yeah I am Mrs. Hisname. I have friends who use HER maiden name rather than their last name for similar reasons.

    13. Pescadero*

      I’m also an A-A-Ron.

      I had an Israeli boss that spelled it Aron for 3 years.
      I’ve got a trophy at home with it spelled Arron.

      …and the number of times it has been Erin is almost innumerable, including my doctor on visit notes just last week.

      1. ARRRRon-da-Pirate Read*

        Yes, I get the Arron not-infrequently, too. Is that more of a Middle Eastern thing?

    14. Erin (not Aaron)*

      Female “Erin” here (who happens to have a son Aaron):
      I get Aaron all the time. Especially from cold calls and autotranscripts from voicemails. My son never gets Erin.
      Northeast US here. Pronunciations have varied but usually Erin/Aaron are pronounced largely the same, but very gendered.

    15. Hroethvitnir*

      Haha! I feel like Aaron/Erin is possibly more different in my (NZ) accent. Aaron is one that gets letters removed and added though.

      I am a variant of your surname (yep, Scottish origin), and I’ve always assumed it was the most common spelling. It’s certainly most people’s go-to, though I habitually spell out both my names (first name has two pronunciations, and as a child I did spell it differently to make it phonetic. It 50% worked, but I gave up on it.)

    16. fhqwhgads*

      Not me, but I know and Aran – which is pronounced the way most people pronounce Aaron. His name is often misspelled as yours. And the one Erin I do know is intentionally named after someone named Aaron, but she’s a she so they went with Erin.

    17. I'm an Erin!*

      YES, people do misspell my name “Aaron” a lot! It’s so interesting to me that it goes the other way, too. I never used to have an issue with people misspelling my name, but in the last few years it happens all the time. At cafes I’m lucky to even get “Aaron” because at least that is another common name – I’ve also gotten versions like “Arron,” “Arun,” and “Eren.” Even funnier is when the person who calls out the name is different from the person who wrote it, so they pronounce it totally differently (like “Aroon”).

      I do pronounce my name (Erin) and Aaron the same though – I’m not sure if others would really be able to tell the different by the pronunciation. I just rely on them realizing I’m a woman and so that it’s probably with an E!

  9. Alllllllllison*

    I’m Alison (one L, go by Ali) and my boyfriend’s sister is Allison (2 Ls.)

    The difference is very important to him.

    1. londonedit*

      Interestingly Alison is the more common UK spelling, and Allison is more common in the US. Years ago I had an American friend called Allison who was living here in London, and she was driven mad by people spelling her name Alison – but it’s just because that’s the spelling people are used to here.

      1. Hroethvitnir*

        That’s interesting, because Allison looks a bit wrong to me, though I have seen it. Makes sense since Aotearoa (NZ) until fairly recently was much closer to UK trends.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I’m also Alison, and “Allison” is so common I don’t even register it anymore, to be honest. I have had the gamut Allyson, Alyson, Allisson, etc. My guess is the commenter addressed the email to “Allison”.

      I refer to “Alison” as the “economical” way of spelling it.

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I once worked with an Alli and an Ally. And then at my next job I worked with an Ali. Pretty confusing!

    4. Ali*

      Also Alison, and one time when I got in trouble in school my teacher wrote my name on the board, for detention or something. Except he spelled it Allison. So naturally being a smartass I told him that wasn’t my name. He wasn’t catching on until I told him he misspelled it. He then snarkily responded that it wasn’t his fault my parents didn’t know how to spell.

      There are 5 Alyson/Allison/Alisons at my company, and 4 of us work in the same product group, so we’re always getting each other’s emails. Alyson has it easiest. The other Alison and I always get mixed up, and the Allison and I have VERY similar last names so we get confused sometimes too.

  10. Aaron Read-like-a-book*

    By the way, if you have to interact with someone on any sort of regular basis and they “refuse” (intentionally or unintentionally) to spell or pronounce your name correctly? There’s a very easy solution: do the same thing right back at them. And keep doing it until they stop.

    No matter how thoughtless or obnoxious a person is, being called by the wrong name will drive them even more crazy than it does you.

    1. DBC*

      A memorable substitute teacher in middle school science class called roll and said, “If I mispronounce your name, please feel free to mispronounce mine.” Even though his name was something simple like Mr. Fox, a bunch of delighted 12-year-olds paid much more attention and gave him much less grief (though some wildly creative mispronunciations) than a normal sub would get.

      1. Allison K*

        I’m hoping his name wasn’t really Fox because the invite to mispronounce sounds like middle-school tragedy…

      2. Brain the Brian*

        Unfortunately, as hilarious as this is with 12-year-olds, it’s unlikely to go well with other adults.

        1. mreasy*

          My parents legendarily did this with friend couple of theirs who always mispronounced my name with a long “a” – they used the long a in their names, which made them extremely silly (think “Ann” or “Harry”) and the friends soon shaped up.

      3. bamcheeks*

        Mr. Fox

        Asking a bunch of 12yos to mis-pronounce Fox sounds like a high-risk strategy!

        1. PropJoe*

          I had a high school teacher whose name was Mr Fuchs. First day of class, he politely but clearly introduced himself, pronouncing it Mr Fox. He knew what a room full of 14 year olds would do to his name.

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*

            I grew up in Germany, so I immediately assumed Mr. Fooooks (with the hock-a-loogie rolling ch).

            I’m glad he had zero Fox to give.

              1. A Simple Narwhal*

                Learning the word for “seal” (the animal) in French class was also fun. :-)

            1. amoeba*

              There is no rolling “ch” in “Fuchs” though, it’s literally just pronounced as a k (unless you’re in Switzerland, but they smuggle in the throat ch basically anwhere!)

              But yes, Fooks would be much closer than Fox, haha.

          2. A Simple Narwhal*

            Oh interesting, I had a classmate with the last name of Fuchs, and it was pronounced “Fyooks” for them!

          3. Lenora Rose*

            I had a classmate with the surname Fouquette. We were an immersion school, so we all COULD pronounce French names correctly. If we wanted.

            Mostly we even did, but he was a bit of a bully so I pronounced it a bit differently in my head.

        2. Cascadia*

          I had a high school math teacher named Mr. Dickie. On the first day of class he told us we had a free pass to make whatever jokes we wanted about his name – and then after that we couldn’t say anything. I thought it was a brilliant move.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      This worked for me in a previous job.

      My name is often given on its own, but there is also a similar longer name – think Christa and Christabel.

      My boss Steve got it in his head that I must actually be called Christabel, and didn’t seem to hear, “that’s not my name.”

      So after a while I would respond to being called Christabel with “yes, Steve-abel?”

      It actually got my message across, but additionally made me feel better about the situation in the moment. Obviously I had to have the right kind of relationship with him, so YMMV.

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Had a self-represented litigant start to address envelopes to me using a nickname I have never ever used, plus just the last part of my hyphenated name. He knows my full name because he’s heard it enough (we’ve been litigating since 2021). I didn’t fuss, complain or correct him. I just started addressing envelopes to him using a nickname of his first name. Amazingly enough, after a couple rounds, my full first name reappeared on envelopes. I gave up on the hyphenated last name.

      1. Zeus*

        I’ve been having a frustrating conversation with a lawyer (on behalf of another person who doesn’t want to speak to me any more, haha). In one email she left the last letter off my name – so in my response I left the last letter off hers, and bolded the last letter of my name in my signoff.

        To her credit, she did immediately apologise.

    4. ThatOtherClare*

      I have a friend named Alan Paul, and he receives a lot of emails addressed to ‘Dear Paul’.

      He replies:
      ‘Dear Smith (as we are being formal)’

      He tells me that the overwhelmingly common response is an apology, which he graciously accepts, and the future usage of his first name.

  11. PDB*

    There’s a science fiction story by Azimov called Spell My Name With An “S” in which nuclear war is averted by changing a “Z” to an “S.”

    1. Corrvin (with two R's)*

      I wouldn’t normally make this kind of small correction, but it helps the title make sense: it’s by Isaac Asimov (with an “S”). :)

      1. kicking-k*

        The foreword to the edition I had said the story was inspired by his father (I think) having to decide between transliterating it as Asimov or Azimov when he immigrated to the US. He went with s.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          I didn’t know that! I thought it was Asimov’s own frustration with his name being misspelled.

    2. Le le lemon*

      Which leads me down a favourite rabbit hole: should Russian names be translated to S or Z? -ov or -off? Ts or Cs?

        1. Artemesia*

          I know several people whose family name included an ‘owitz’ who just dropped it i.e. Rabinowitz became Rabin in the US.

      1. Phony Genius*

        Well, the dictionary lists csar, czar, tsar, and tzar, so you’ll never be right in everybody’s eyes.

      2. Kendall^2*

        There’s a fascinating bit about this in Philip J Davis’ book _The Thread: A Mathematical Tale_, in discussing the mathematician Tchebyshev, or (insert many variants here). (It’s popular fiction, not a math tome, like his other light fiction, _Thomas Gray, Philosopher Cat_.)

      3. PDB*

        One of my family names is Zelinsky and we find it funny to see so many spellings of it today.

      4. Clorinda*

        There is no general “should”, since it’s a different alphabet. The only thing we should do is respect the spelling given by the person whose name it is, and do our best to reach consensus on historical names (musicians still can’t decide between Tschaikovsky and Tchaikovsky, even though it really “should” just be Chaikovsky in English). The Tsch came in through French.

  12. Eyelean*

    My name is Eileen and I often get Ellen or Elaine in writing. Once in a while, someone who has known me for years accidentally calls me “Ellen” when they’re speaking. It’s a losing battle. One time I told someone that my name was “Eileen with an E” and got correspondence addressed to “Eyelean”.

    1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I worked in a not-for-profit with about 12 employees and a handful of volunteers. We had Ellen, Mary Ellen, Elaine, and Eileen, and by the end of a busy day, I wasn’t sure which one I was!

      1. TeaCoziesRUs*

        I’m going with the ever popular, “Hey, you! Get over here!” or “Bah. You know who you are,” beloved by parents (human and pet) everywhere. :D

        1. Lenora Rose*

          My mother called my brother by the male cat’s name often enough we joked they were twins.

          1. Petty Betty*

            As my grandmother called all of us: Cathy-John-Kevin-Jessica-Kim-whichever one you are, get over here!

            Sometimes all of us would actually be in the house when she hollered the names, but usually she’d just start a rollcall of names starting with her kids and then grandkids (and eventually great-grandkids). She figured she’d eventually get the right name.

            1. Kit*

              Oh yeah that was my paternal grandmother – she had ten of her own and then you add in spouses and grands and honestly, I don’t blame her.

              My maternal grandmother routinely uses the wrong name… but only for the girls, so my mum, sister and I are used to just matter-of-factly correcting her and moving on, while my uncle and my brother never have to worry about it. Annoying, but such is life! (Further kvetching about her ingrained sexism is probably more suitable for the letter yesterday where Fergus refuses to address adults if they happen to be female and accompanied by a man.)

        2. Lucien Nova*

          My mum constantly, for my entire life (and probably my sister’s as well), has always gotten my sister and aunt’s names after aunt’s been to visit.

          Imagine their names are, oh, let’s say Sandy (aunt) and Nellie (sister) – for a couple weeks after Sandy left, Nellie would, without fail, become “SaNellie” until mum could get it straight in her head again. :)

          We still find this hilarious, even though Sandy no longer travels and Nellie lives out of state so it no longer happens.

    2. londonedit*

      One of my cousins is Suzanne, and people are constantly calling her either Susan or Susannah. I don’t really understand it, because Suzanne isn’t exactly an unusual name, but some people just can’t get their heads around it! Similarly I worked with a woman a few years ago who could not get her head around the difference between Sara and Zara. I think she genuinely couldn’t hear the difference between the S and the Z sound.

    3. EllenD*

      As an Ellen I often get addressed in e-mails as Eileen or Elaine. These names must easily get confused in people’s mind. I’ve also twice had people looking for an Allen [my surname] and annoyed they couldn’t find them in the directories. Clearly they’d been told the name verbally and assumed it was male. I always check how people sign their e-mails and use that name when replying. I always spell my full name – which is only 10 letters – when asked as otherwise I’ll end up as Helen [incorrect surname].

    4. Helvetica*

      I have an Irish coworker whose official name is Helen but she goes by Eileen – I’ve seen several variations of people writing both, but also indeed Ellen.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Someone Irish can confirm this, but I think in Ireland you can use both the English and Irish versions of your name as the official version? So Helen O’Toole can be Eileen Ní Thuathail variously in any of her official guises, without having to pick on. This can cause havoc with non-Irish officialdom!

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Not actually sure how it works legally, but it’s definitely not uncommon and given that the guy who wrote our constitution and his wife both used Irish versions of their names…it sounds likely that it would.

          I remember one of my lecturers at college complaining about how when she’d visited America, they’d wanted the “standardised Anglo form of her name.”

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            When I was at university (in the US), I was writing a paper on the Irish Rebellion in the 1910s and 20s. I was deeply confused by different sources using Gaelic or Anglicized names. It was a Problem.

        2. Helvetica*

          Oh, perhaps! She just framed it to me as “I am officially Helen in the directory and e-mail but please call me Eileen”.

        3. penny dreadful analyzer*

          I thought “Eileen” already was an Anglicized version and the name as Gaeilge was “Eibhlín”?

    5. Madre del becchino*

      My youngest daughter’s middle name is Ileane (it was my mother’s middle name.) Has anyone else seen this particular spelling?

    6. Ellen*

      Haha. I’m an Ellen and I get “Allan” a lot when I order takeout over the phone. Also Helen pretty frequently. I lived in Europe for years and got used to responding to Helen, Helena, Elena, basically anything that resembled my actual name. I don’t think I’ve ever been called “Eileen” though!

    7. Dinoweeds*

      Ha! Spelling it “Eyelean” is hilarious!

      My name is Lindy and the amount of times I get called Mindy, Cindy, Wendy, Lindsey, etc. can be maddening. I also oddly get called Whitney every once in a while which is extra bizarre to me. I make the effort to correct people I know I will continue interacting with, but if I’m giving someone my food order I shorten it to Lin and let them spell it however they want haha.

    8. MCMonkeybean*

      To be honest, if someone told me their name was “Eileen with an E” I would not feel like that clarified anything on the spelling lol

      1. Eyelean*

        They asked, “With an I?” so I thought they were working from some frame of reference. But I was clearly wrong about that.

        For the record, I actually don’t care about this issue at all. I don’t think it’s personal or a slight when people get something like that wrong. I just correct in situations where it might make it less awkward, but don’t correct repeatedly because that winds up making things more awkward.

          1. Eyelean*

            LOL… usually, when someone says, “with an I” they mean Ilene or similar. Someone below mentioned that they’re named Alene, and it’s pronounced with the A, but sometimes you’ll hear “with an A” and it’s still pronounced like Eileen (like Aileen Wournos, who is not a great example to use for anything, really). “With an E” has always exclusively meant Eileen, in my experience – except for that one Eyelean occasion.

            If I’m calling the doctor or something, obviously I spell my name. But if I’m at Starbucks, I don’t bother. I figure if I let them spell is the way it sounds to them, I’ll have less of a chance of standing there while someone calls out Ellen for a while before I realize it’s me. That only didn’t work once where, weirdly, the person wrote “Alan” when I said “Eileen” and it actually did take me a bit to have any idea that was supposed to be me. I should probably just start calling myself Mary or something. But I truly do not understand the people who get their knickers in a twist over this kind of thing. Most people are doing their best, are not necessarily familiar with all names, and really don’t want to insult anyone or piss them off. So, why be upset? It could be worse. I could be a Siobhan.

    9. her pic is on my wall btw*

      My middle name is Alene, after my great grandmother’s sister. It’s pronounced exactly like Eileen but with an A (Al-lean). My mom called my great grandma to check the spelling and pronunciation after I was born because it’s so uncommon, lol (and she was so touched too — her sister died young, and it meant a lot that the first great grandchild was named after her).

  13. Retail Dropout*

    OP5, I completely sympathize with you. My name is spelled differently from the typical spelling by a single letter, and I’ve had to put up with it for my entire life. It especially irks me when people misspell my name in emails since my personal email address has my first and last name spelled out, and my university Outlook auto-populates someone’s name from their email address in the recipient fields. But I’ve mostly just learned to laugh it off and ignore it if it isn’t in something important like forms, documents, or name tags

  14. Sharpie*

    My name is Keren (K E R E N). The number of times I’ve had Karen or Kieran, or something other variation, is off the charts. It got so bad (my Chemistry teacher ‘Karen’d me for two years despite being corrected every lesson!) that I went by Keri until my mid-thirties or so when I introduced myself to someone new.

    I empathise with everyone here who has ever been mis-named.

    1. Nodramalama*

      This reminds me of my work used to have a Keryn as a client, and because most of us are Australian and do not easily distinguish As and Es, and one of us is Scottish we have constant disagreements on whether we are pronouncing her name correctly.

    2. Willow*

      How is your name pronounced? I know a Keren and her name is pronounced the same as Karen despite the different spelling.

      1. Clisby*

        I would have assumed Keren was pronounced Keh-rin. Of course, there’s probably someone who pronounces Karen as Keh-rin.

        1. metadata minion*

          The two names are homophonic to me, unless I’m very carefully enunciating. (Northeast US here, though my ideolect has some random quirks to it that people tend to read as UK)

          1. londonedit*

            In my English accent ‘Karen’ has a short ‘a’ like ‘cat’, and the ‘en’ is more of an ‘un’ sound. ‘Keren’ would have a short ‘e’ like ‘bed’, and the same ‘un’ at the end.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              My Northeast American accent would have Karen use the “a” from cat and the “e” from bed. Keren would have both sound “e” from bed.

          2. TeaCoziesRUs*

            Same. Mostly Midwestern with enough Southern thrown in to him up the works. :)

    3. Cat Admin*

      This is me too, having my name spelled Caroline but pronounced like Carolyn, so trying to go by my nickname Carrie to make it easier but then getting called Kerry.

      1. Health Policy Wonk*

        My name is Carrie and I get asked all the time whether my first name is Carolyn or Caroline! The best is when I get asked that after being asked to provide my legal name. Umm, you asked for my legal name and I said Carrie. That’s my legal name!

        I also get Kerry A LOT. Ohh well.

      2. Area Woman*

        I am Carolyn, pronounced Carolyn, and people call me Caroline all the time. Even my father in law. For like a year. Thankfully my husband intervened. They still give me my husband’s last name all the time even though I didn’t change it.

        I now have an alter ego though, as in “Caroline {my husbands last name}”. So that is fun.

  15. Marshmallows*

    #2 – definitely assign tasks. The grown up version of a chore wheel is a spreadsheet with tasks and who is assigned them for a given time period where they then check off when they do the task. It’s a nice clear way to make sure you know who isn’t pulling their weight and for everyone to know what you expect of them. You should make it clear that others aren’t to pick up tasks that weren’t assigned to them so you can see if you have issues still. You’ll need to be ok with stuff not getting done properly so you can deal with the issues. If that’s not possible, then have them check off the tasks with initials instead of an x or whatever so you can see if people still aren’t completing their tasks.

    Depending on the experience level you are dealing with here you may need to have a ground rules discussion about non-work activities at work if it’s being abused (which it sounds like it is).

    My team currently has a manager that won’t assign stuff because he thinks people should just magically know what to do… and always says “we” will do that. And then since the royal we rarely works, stuff gets missed (no one is actually slacking on the team… just not prioritizing the way he wants) and he gets frustrated but then continues to do it that way. Don’t be like him. Haha!

    1. learnedthehardway*

      I agree that tasks should be assigned – going further, I would make sure that the tasks are well-defined, not overlapping, and as clear as possible about who is responsible for what. Eg. instead of having 3 people doing payroll for the whole company, split up the work so that specific people are responsible for specific departments or specific classes of employees (eg. hourly, salaried), or by some other metric that is easy to assess.

      Then, make sure that performance reviews assess individual contributions to getting assigned work done (and that compensation and promotions are tied to performance ratings).

      Another thing you can do is to create workflows for work that is impossible to chunk out by individual – chart our the process, assign people to the different parts of the process, and put it up on the wall so that people can see who is responsible for what, and whose work is being held up by the people who aren’t getting their work done. It will become quite evident where the bottlenecks are, and that will help management see where things should be streamlined / automated, where additional resources may be needed, or where performance management needs to happen.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        A quick caveat here to note that you should have primary and backup people for each task / subtask so it can still be completed if someone is out sick or on vacation. That will save a ton of aggravation if you do it up front.

        1. MassMatt*

          Also, rotate responsibility for the more and less desirable or difficult work.

          I’m wondering about the management of this group. LW uses the term colleagues but says they and one other person are team leads.

          Is there an overall manager for this group who should be assigning work? If so, where are they, and why are they not noticing that some people are getting most of the work done while other people are reading the news or shopping online?

          I am sensing a leadership vacuum.

    2. Smithy*

      The “royal we” at work is my giant pet peeve. Because as you said, no one is aware of how it’s a priority, who’s leading, and so no one jumps on that task.

      I think the reality of “how prioritized is this?” goes back to the benefit of those assigned tasks as well. For LW2, right now there are staff who appear to be slacking and staff doing everything. But by not assigning those tasks, I think the OP is depriving themselves to chance to see if those staff are in fact slacking or simply benefit from organizing their work differently.

      Take a task like emptying the garbage – if a team’s duties including emptying a communal garbage, there may be one or two staff members who empty the trash at whatever time of day it’s close to full. Someone else’s approach to emptying garbage would be to wait until the end of the day and wouldn’t mind dealing with an occasional fuller garbage and moving some “overflow” into the bag or starting a second bag. Provided there are no major health or external visibility issues, this second approach may not necessarily be wrong. But you’re never going to find out if they just have a different approach to taking care of the garbage if those who view that task differently always do it first.

    3. Paint N Drip*

      Ideally the leads have the chore wheel (mental or otherwise), and they dole out the responsibilities daily/weekly/monthly/etc.
      I swear so many people really do not understand the extraneous parts of the job/department when they are lower on the rungs, and imo we can’t really browbeat on them for not getting the whole picture.

    4. Reebee*

      I think this is a perfect situation for emphasizing the importance of management check-ins (if team leads lack authority to hold people responsible to contributing fairly to the overall task at hand).

      Meaning – if I am a manager, I would periodically check in on the project as part of my usual 1:1s and ask how things are going, what are you working on, what’s the progress on your tasks specifically, etc. Group work largely sucks (and slackers even more so) without there being some kind of authoritative oversight, whether formally by team leads or by managers.

      1. ferrina*

        Exactly. Marshmallows’ solution is right on, and the manager also needs to be tracking who does their assigned work and who doesn’t. If someone consistently isn’t doing their assigned work, well, you know the next steps.

    5. Artemesia*

      When there are icky jobs, boring jobs, necessary daily jobs that must be done, if the manager does not assign them, they won’t get done or they will get dumped on the same people. Anyone who doesn’t know that if cleaning out the hog pen needs to be assigned preferably in a rota should not be managing.

  16. Olivieri*

    My last name is Olivieri, so my whole life I’ve been called Olivia. I was rather tickled to learn that when my husband took my last name, people started to call him Oliver.

    1. Come On Eileen*

      I feel this! My last name is Marsh, I am female, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’m called Marsha.

    2. ferrina*

      I knew someone that had a last name that was an uncommon last name but common first name as his last name (think ‘Jeffery’ or ‘Stephen’). He got more people calling him by his last name than his first name. I worked with him for several years, and it never got better.

      1. NotJane*

        This happens to my husband all the time! His last name is a pretty common male first name (like “John” or “Steve”) and his first name is a unisex (but most often female) first name.

    3. Just a different redhead*

      This reminds me of a German professor I had once. Her name was Petra and her husband’s name was Andreas, so they’d always get things addressed to Peter and Andrea XD

  17. Marshmallows*

    Also #2… and i absolutely don’t mean this sarcastically. I’m serious. If you’re uncomfortable with assigning things, you might benefit from reading “it’s ok to be the boss”. It’s not my favorite book as we were forced to read it at work, but it had some wisdomous nuggets in it.

  18. Not Anna*

    I had a chorus teacher from 6th through 9th grades (4 full school years) before he had my younger sister for the fall semester in my 10th grade year. She never took another class from him again. After that one class with her, he never called me by my name again, instead, he called me by her name. All of 10th and 11th grade my classmates and I corrected him to no effect. Note that my name and my sister’s name are quite different but begin with the same letter – like April and Anna. Senior year, every time he mis-named me, I called him a different name as well. He’d often greet me (incorrectly) in the hall or in the lunch room, allowing me to respond “hello, Mr. Harris”, “hi, Mr. Halifax”, etc. He’d just give me a puzzled look. It went on all year. I wish I could say it was a large school and he had a ton of students but it was a small, rural high school.

    1. Say It Ain't So*

      My sister, who is a decade younger, was often accidentally called by my name when she was in high school, mostly by the older teachers. They knew 95% of the time it was a mistake immediately and correct themselves (and apologized), and on a couple of occasions she had to remind them, but they knew they were wrong. Despite that, those were some of our favorite teachers in high school.

      Fast forward to now, and I’m an administrator at this high school, working alongside many who knew high school me 25 years ago, when I predominantly went by a nickname. I dropped the nickname when I got to college and I realized that my legal first name is rarely misspelled but there are many spelling variations of my nickname. When I first started working at the school, I never formally said, “I go by Legal Name now,” but they picked up that I always introduced myself as “Legal Name” and asked me which I preferred. I told them that either was fine as long as they spelled it right, and they all default to my Legal Name, even though they all spell my nickname correctly.

    2. A. Ham*

      Teachers can be the worst with name things. probably because they have to remember so many of them!
      I have a fist name that I would consider gender neutral, but back when I was growing up in the 90’s there seemed to be a lot more boys with the name than girls. I can’t tell you how many teachers I had that just couldn’t wrap their mind around it. It’s technically a nickname, so I had a lot of teachers just revert to my full formal name which was confusing since it was a name I never went by- but at least it was technically my name. The worst were the teachers that would consistently call me by the more commonly feminine nickname associated with my full name (think like if my name was Alexandria and they would call me Allie instead of Alex).

    3. Butterfly Counter*

      I’m 4 years older than my sister. Unfortunately for her, we look a LOT alike and have the same unusual last name. We also were similarly smart and had the same extracurricular interests. She was mostly misnamed “Butterfly” by shared soccer coaches, but a lot of shared teachers also called her “Butterfly” as well.

      This was crazy to me because I always felt that not many teachers acknowledged me in class.

      1. Dahlia*

        Oh my god I’ve done this to a pair of siblings, except they are TWELVE years apart. The little one just looks EXACTLY like her big sister, and my mind just reverts to when her sister was her age. Her mom says it happens a lot XD

  19. Snoozing not schmoozing*

    #5 I disliked my name when I was younger, and wished I’d had a nickname or that my name could be sensibly shortened. But once I was older, I realized it was part of who I was. A neighbor, on a street where we were new, tried calling me by the only nickname version of my name most people were familiar with. I happen to detest that name, and I just refused to answer. When theneighbor came up to me and asked why I didn’t respond, I innocently told her I had no idea she was addressing me, as it wasn’t my name.

    I don’t understand why so many people shrug off being misnamed. My name is very much a part of who I am, as much as my physical characteristics.

    1. Allonge*

      I don’t understand why so many people shrug off being misnamed. My name is very much a part of who I am, as much as my physical characteristics.

      I think it’s about how much energy you choose to devote to this and how large the difference between the actual name and the mistaken one.

      If someone calls me Bob when I am Kim, I will keep correcting them.

      Someone mis-spelling my name (happens a lot) is less of an issue – my identity is not in question. As it happens frequently, I would also have to keep pushing about this quite a lot, invest a lot of energy and time. I decided that for me this is not worth it. Others make different choices.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Totally agree.

        Part of my name can be pronounced differently depending on the name. Think the “-line” in Marceline (“-leen”) vs Adaline (“-lyne”). Spelled the same but pronounced different. However my name is apparently the opposite of what most people think it is, and I’ve been called the wrong pronunciation by almost everyone the first time they read it. When I was younger, I would correct every single person, every single time. It felt really important that my name was said right, even if it was just a one-off interaction. If anything, kid me thought it was special and loved the tiny bit of extra attention it brought by correcting someone.

        Now? It doesn’t really bother me. It’s usually not worth the extra effort, especially because outside of legal documents I’ve never gone by my full name. So having to go “actually it’s ‘Cara-leen’ not ‘Cara-lyne’ but call me Cara” seems like an unnecessary extra step to tell the receptionist or someone else I won’t speak to frequently/again.

        I really love that a lot of places let you enter a preferred name these days, letting me bypass all of that nonsense.

    2. Peach Parfaits Pls*

      Because correcting people’s innocent minor faux pas graciously is part of maturity, and being a “how DARE you it’s MY NAME” person (when it’s a mistake and not a long-term refusal to get it right) has big crackpot energy.

      1. Reebee*

        god this. My name is fairly common and has a zillion possible spellings. While I am careful to check that it’s correct in situations where it really does matter, like employment, the doctor’s office, etc. it’s just not for me a big deal at all. If anything, I like to get into conversations with people about all the possible spellings!


    3. Nodramalama*

      Because 1. Most people don’t mean any harm and 2. To me it’s not worth losing sleep over. I have a fairly uncommon name that sounds like other names, makes people think I’m a man and there a bunch of different ways to spell it. If I got annoyed every time someone spelled it wrong, called me something else, or got confused by it, I wouldn’t do anything else

    4. kicking-k*

      I really hated being misnamed when I was younger, too, and it happened a lot. I discovered, partway through my teens, that if I corrected people in a good-humoured way, it made them less defensive and they were more likely to get it right in future. If I got cross, they probably thought “Jeez, it’s just a couple of letters off, what’s the fuss about?”

      It doesn’t happen nearly so often as an adult – I think people are generally more respectful to adults than children, alas, and also they don’t usually have to learn a whole classful of names at one time.

    5. I should really pick a name*

      Speaking as someone who’s frequently misnamed, I just don’t have the patience.

      The consonant-vowel sound in my name is uncommon in the region where I live. Many people don’t hear the difference when I correct them. So if they aren’t getting it, I just give them an alternate pronunciation that doesn’t bother me (the common pronunciation does).

      To me, my name is a method of identification, not an intrinsic characteristic.

    6. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      There are degrees of misnaming, from deliberate and repeated deadnaming by someone who knows the right name on the “awful” end to accidental mispronunciation by someone who has never heard the name spoken and who you’ll never interact with again on the “oh well” end. Different people draw the “Is this worth spending my energy” in different places, and that’s okay!

    7. ferrina*

      For me, my name is not who I am. I’ve never really felt any attachment to my name, and I don’t really like it, but it has been my name for so long that it would confuse people if I changed it. Sometimes I don’t even notice people calling me by the wrong name- I worked with someone who called me the wrong name for a month and neither of us noticed (a different coworker pointed it out).
      I feel the same way about my gender- it’s not who I am, and I’ve never felt the need to define it, and I genuinely don’t care what pronouns are used for me. As long as we are all clear that we are talking about me, that’s all we need.
      This might also have to do with me being neurospicy- I’m literally built different.

      But I am also acutely aware that how I feel in no way correlates with how other people feel. I am scrupulously careful about using correct names and genders. It really comes down to respect and basic human decency- treat humans like the individuals that they are.

  20. Bex (in computers)*

    LW2: please set up a spreadsheet with either weekly or monthly assignments. We had to do that in my office because I was absolutely LIVID about the colleagues who weren’t pitching in. It hasn’t resolved everything but it has helped a lot. At least now, I don’t feel obligated to do the thing, because it’s clear who is supposed to do the thing. It’s clear to everyone, and reminders in meetings do the trick.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I love the Tasks tab in Teams. I assign things that way so tasks don’t get duplicated or left out altogether. Very handy!

  21. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (some team members won’t pick up the “boring” tasks) – this is a common problem in tech teams and the way we usually solve it is a rota so that each week (or whatever period of time makes sense as a block), someone is responsible for that support / routine / random bits and pieces work. And anyone tempted to do things like put off requests they get on a Friday so that the next person can pick it up on Monday – will get spoken to.

    I think this may be more about your level of comfort with being a lead and having the ‘power’ to ask people to do things. Are those people slackers in general or just when it comes to the work they don’t like, as they will probably have different solutions.

    1. My Useless Two Cents*

      I don’t think rota assignments help all that much. I have found that during the time when assigned those “boring” tasks the slackers are especially slow. So even though “they are so busy” with the task they manage to only complete 4 on their week, when the average is 6 a week. Leaving 8 for the hard worker to do the next week or everything falls behind. Also my experience, is that this is less addressed or commented on by management in rota assignments than in group assignments. In managements mind, everyone is doing the task on their week so everyone must be pulling equal weight. So the hard worker is still getting the short end of the stick. The only solution that I have seen work, is when management pays attention to the hard workers AND rewards them accordingly. Nothing else will make the slacker step up or move on.

      1. MassMatt*

        This can certainly be a problem, but it is a management problem at least as much as it is a coworker problem. Someone doing 1/3 less of an assignment than average is a sign that they need coaching, training, or some sort of PIP to get them up to speed. Having the next person do a quarter MORE work picking up the slack is not a solution, assuming there isn’t some reason such as illness r the prior person being new, etc. If I opened a file and saw last week’s leftover work in it I would definitely say something, especially if it happened more than once.

        With that said, I think rotating responsibilities is a good practice, certainly better than having some people do the work while others shop online, as seems to be the case now.

  22. Retired at last*

    I’m Shauna with a U, not a W. Everybody defaults to the W, even though 95% of the Shaunas I know spell it with a U (even the lady in England who also has the same last name as me and who thinks one of my email addresses is actually hers, so I know everything she orders, where she books her vacation, etc.). My main email address is shauna@shauna[lastname].com and I have to spell each “shauna” individually for people to get it right.
    And that’s just the people who get the Shauna part right – I get called any name that starts with a “Sh” sound by people who should know better – from the third grade teacher who called me Charlotte (despite presumably having a class list in front of her) to the family friend (now deceased) who knew me all my life (literally – he was there the night my parents got engaged) but invariably introduced me to people as Sharon.
    And then there was the 7th grade teacher who pronounced it “seen” during the first day roll call because she knew Irish names weren’t pronounced the way they were spelled (ironically, there was a Sean in the class, which she pronounced correctly).
    I mostly just shrug and go with it, but after all these years it still stings a bit.

    1. libellulebelle*

      I (in the US) also have a lady in England with the same name as me (first and last), who apparently cannot remember her own email address. Why no, I did not order any clothes from [British clothing retailer].

      1. Retired at last*

        I could totally steal this woman’s identity if I were so inclined – I have had access to her address, phone number, what kind of toys she buys her kids, where she goes for dinner and even a rough idea of what she does for a living (one person she gave the wrong address to was a consultant submitting his CV – marketing bio, not detailed personal resume – to her and her business partner). I tried a couple of times to alert vendors that they had the wrong email, but was ignored. I was somewhat more assertive when I found myself signed up for an online dating site – definitely not my vibe.

        1. Mme Pince*

          I have this as well, only I could literally steal her identity because we have the same name and I’ve received her mortgage documents with her Social Security number and previous addresses included, as well as the tax documents from her church with tithing information. I let anyone mistakenly sending things to me know I’m not the right person, and I also emailed the correct person, but I still occasionally receive things.

          1. MCMonkeybean*

            Jeez louise the people sending out those documents should be quadruple checking they have the right email!!! (Although if she’s the one who gave them the wrong one then I guess there’s not much else they could do…)

      2. the Viking Diva*

        haha, I too have a couple of these err-mailers who mistake their email address for mine. I have received their reminders to pick up merchandise (in a distant country), renewals for a fitness studio membership, hotel reservations, train tickets (for a different distant country)…

  23. Lady Knittington*

    The most egregious example of this I’ve experienced was the IT team who set up my email address with the wrong spelling and then *refused to change it*.

    Luckily for me there was some technical problem which meant they needed to delete the account at which point they set it up with the correct spelling.

  24. Free Meerkats*

    #1, Do not “Go back to HR” as Alison advised, that has no documentation trail. Send an email to HR, BCCed to your personal email, with the subject line something like, “Report of retaliation for substantiated EEO violations.” Then lay out the complaint in the body of the letter. All communications need to be documented.

    Though you might want to contact an employee-side employment attorney first and do what they tell you to do.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      Or go back to HR, discuss the issue, and follow up with an email summarizing the complaint. That works too.

      You are not *whining* by reporting *continued* illegal behavior, and your coworkers are stand-up people for letting you know that it’s happening behind your back. I understand your need to protect your mental health, but that’s a valuable line of information you don’t want to completely shut down in case the a-hole escalates again. Maybe ask those coworkers to email your contact person in HR with any future examples of retaliation?

    2. Bananapantsfeelings*

      #1 I’m not sure you realize how outrageous this is. You have the right to be angry about this!

      I hope this jerk gets fired.

    3. Janeway, Her Coffee In Hand*

      Absolutely consult with an employment attorney. Most have a free consultation and can help you understand how best to handle this. That way if HR decides that you’re the real problem and further retaliates, they’ll have helped you get your evidence in a row first.

      Never trust that HR will do the legal and right thing. Ever. They will only ever act to benefit the company. Even if they seem to have done the right thing initially, they can turn around and bite you. Save your emails to a private device. Make copies of any relevant records. Set up a new email account and send notes on anything that happens in this situation to it from your personal email.

      From someone who’s been through this hell, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Protect yourself and fight hard.

    4. fhqwhgads*

      “Go back to HR” means “contact them” not necessarily walk in in-person and chat without a documentation trail. What a bizarrely negative read.

  25. stratospherica*

    #5: As an Erica-with-a-C who moved to an overwhelmingly Erika-with-a-K country, I feel your pain. Usually I’ll just let it slide if it’s someone I don’t stay in frequent contact with, but otherwise I’ll just quickly point out “oh, actually my name is spelled with a C and not a K – that’s how you remember I’m not from here!” in a light-hearted manner.

    If it’s a client that should know better and they keep doing it, maybe I’ll play with them by gradually increasing the size of the C in my email signature with every subsequent email to see if they get the hint.

    1. The OG Sleepless*

      My daughter’s name is Erica. She hasn’t run into this much so far, but gradually increasing the size of the C is totally something she would do, so I’ll have to suggest it.

  26. Dina*

    I blame autocorrect for the many times that people who very well know my name is Dina send me emails starting “Hi Diana”…

    1. londonedit*

      I don’t know – my name is something like Alex, and it’s in my email address and my email signature and the ‘from’ field as Alex. And yet I still get people responding with ‘Hi Alice’ or ‘Hi Ali’ or whatever. I think people just see the ‘Al’ and fill in the blank with whatever name they think is most likely.

    2. Not a lawyer butt*

      I’ve had this phone for several years and it still hasn’t realised my neighbour is called Chris, not Christ, so that may be part of it, yeah.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Slightly off-topic, but I was very startled when my phone alerted me that “Jesus is coming”.

        A few seconds later it told me that he would be arriving in 3 minutes in a white Honda Accord, at which point I realized that my Lyft driver’s name was Jesús.

        1. Lucien Nova*

          Reminds me of a joke…

          Did you know Jesus had a Honda, but he never told anyone? “For I do not speak of my own Accord…”

    3. mymotherwasahamster*

      My name is Dana and my mom is Diane and, sometimes, while I was growing up, it seemed that people just collapsed us into one intergenerational being called Diana.

    4. Jennifer Strange*

      I have a coworker who had a common name with an uncommon spelling (think Jesica or Jannet) and I’ve been burned by autocorrect when emailing her, so now I always double check.

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      My cousin blamed autocorrect the time he sent an email about saving the date for his wedding to what he thought was our uncle, but actually emailed Ian Lastname instead of Iain Lastname. (It didn’t bounce back, and he only found out when Mum pointed it out to him, so I guess somewhere out there an Ian Lastname got invited to a stranger’s wedding).

  27. Friday Person*

    LW4, would it work to immediately reply-all to
    your boss and co-worker to claim it with “On it”/”I can take”/”I’ll take a look at this one” etc. and then circle back to actually complete the task?

    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      That’s what I was coming here to suggest. LW could even put a timeframe like “I will get this to you by X”

    2. Myrin*

      Excellent idea. I would give the boss a heads-up before, though, in an “just so you know, since we keep doubling our work, I plan to do it this way going forward” kind of way.

    3. MsM*

      That’s what I do. Or sometimes I’ll just email my boss to volunteer, and give it a beat before starting in case she decides she wants to do it.

    4. amoeba*

      Yup, that’s what I thought as well! Might create a little bit of unnecessary extra traffic compared to the optimal solution of, well, having clear priorities/division of labour, but it should solve the problem, at least. And probably less annoying to everybody than getting two unrelated replies later on!

    5. Sometimes maybe*

      I feel like this is such an obvious solution and best practice for multiple recipients on an email. That is how it has worked at every company I’ve ever worked (group text too)

    6. K in Boston*

      +1, did a Ctrl+F to see if this was said so that I could add it if not! I’ve been on lots of smaller-team dls in my time, and that’s typically how we’ve handled it (or even on the bigger dls, just moving everyone else to bcc in those cases).

  28. SheriffFatman*

    Isn’t “Alison” usually spelled with a single “l”? I can’t recall ever seeing it spelled any other way?

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      I’ve seen lots of “Allison” spellings! I always have to double-check when I’m writing to one.

    2. Say It Ain't So*

      My sister is an Allison! And don’t EVER call her “Alli.” It’s Allison.

    3. K in Boston*

      I’ve seen Alison, Allison, Allyson, Alyson, Allysin…I always have to check myself with which Al(iso/liso/llyso/lyso/llysi)n I need to be spelling, depending on who I’m talking to.

    4. MCMonkeybean*

      I’ve personally known a number of people with both spellings but have encountered it with two l’s more often.

  29. Still*

    I am so impressed by how the other person in the don’t-call-me-Liz thread handled the situation. They immediately changed back to Elizabeth, apologised and kept the tone light to try to move on quickly. Then, after Elizabeth didn’t drop it, they apologised more profusely, explained why they got it wrong, and fully took responsibility for the mistake, while still keeping the message to a single line. Then they tried to smooth over the situation by mentioning how much they enjoyed working with Elizabeth in person. And when Elizabeth kept escalating, they essentially employed the broken record strategy, not being drawn further into the conversation but consistently reiterating the apology in the same sincere but professional tone.

    I think it might have been a better move to stop engaging after the second apology, since Elizabeth clearly wanted to have the last word… But I’m just very impressed with how professional and kind they came across.

    1. amoeba*

      Haha, indeed. I’m sure they’ll go far in DC, seems like politics is a good place for them!

    2. Less Enraged Staffer*

      This is an unfortunately common and textbook example of some entry level DC staffer going on a deranged self-important power trip just because they can. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she was way outplayed by the Machiavellian genius who leaked the email chain to Politico (good job to you sir/madam!). I’m sure this is following Elizabeth from job to job if she stayed in politics.

      I agree how effectively the EA responded, and I assume when she left the phone message that so enraged Elizabeth, she was trying to move this offline and apologize directly. Of course Elizabeth wasn’t going to let that go without a fight and demanded no one is allowed to leave messages FOR A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE that is taxpayer funded for the purpose of communicating with constituents.

      I suspect Elizabeth wasn’t allowed near an email account or telephone for quite awhile after that, if she kept her job.

      1. Managing While Female*

        I looked it up and it sounds like she lost her job a few months afterward which…. makes sense.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I remember the Don’t Call Me Liz…I don’t even know what to call it, phenomenon? I would be SO embarrassed and angry if someone who worked for me was treating people who contacted my office that way. That it was an elected official’s office makes it even worse.

  30. ckee*

    With the name-misspelling thing (and to Alison’s point) I might suggest that you double-check and make sure you’re spelling their names correctly. I say this because I had an incident a couple of years ago wherein I was corresponding regularly with someone who had an uncommon name that was just one letter off from another name that was VERY common. The letter happened to be an additional “i,” and I’m not sure if it was because my brain just wanted to see the more common version or because that “i” was so small and narrow and getting lost among the showier letters (or both!), but I consistently spelled the name in the way I was used to seeing it…until one day I noticed that she’d suddenly started spelling MY name incorrectly, and wondered why. Long story less long–I ultimately worked out that she began spelling my name wrong intentionally and passive-aggressively due to my own misspelling of her name. I would not recommend this method, and yet I wonder if it’s possible in some cases that others are doing the same to you?

    1. Plate of Wings*

      Hah! Like that person I have an unusual foreign name that is close to a name in a totally different culture that most people know (like Patel or something). I am obviously used to it and OF COURSE people might clock the common name first!

      This is a totally insane approach. She was definitely doing this little move to soooo many people other than you, because it probably happened all the time.

  31. Keymaster of Gozer (She/Her)*

    5: I’ve had my name misspelt my entire life because it’s a very uncommon spelling of a name. There’s different ways of responding depending on the situation. At work if someone gets it wrong once I don’t do anything. Too much effort. If it becomes regular then I either put a note at the start of the email (pointless putting it at the bottom, nobody reads the entire mail from IT anyway) to add my correct name to their spellchecker exclusion list (old IT trick – imply the computer is at fault to avoid pissing off the end user) or a ‘I prefer to be called (correct spelling)’ but that one is more risky.

  32. Brain the Brian*

    LW3: is it possible to trial the new role at your old rate and move once the new rate kicks in? It may not be possible, of course, but I don’t see harm in asking. As AAM’s advice points out, you are taking a risk just as much as the company here.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yeah, I would definitely suggest this as a compromise, especially if it’s possible for you to do the new role from Current Location but preferable that you do it from New Location.

      If you move on the lower salary and start doing the job, there’s no incentive for the company to confirm you in the role and increase your salary– all the risk is on your side and the reward is on theirs, and the status quo suits them very well. If you do New Role in your current location at your current salary, there’s a much more even balance of risk, and there’s a clear incentive for the company to confirm you and increase the salary so you can move.

      A quick tip on negotiating stuff like this– I find it way easier if you approach it not as, “this is me vs you”, but as “here is a set of circumstances that we are trying to navigate together, and we are both on the same team trying to find a good solution”. So not, “I don’t trust you to raise my salary after three months”, but “I am worried this the current plan seems like an unequal balance of risk– it all seems to be on my side, and if I’m performing well at my current salary in the new location after three months, the status quo would definitely favour the company. Could we look at this again?” If the company wants to do right by you, they should be open to this discussion! And since you do want to be able to continue working together, it really helps to avoid the conversation becoming antagonistic, which can be harder to recover from.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I appreciated the advice to hold firm on that one. Look, if after four months they decide it’s not working out, they’re trying to fix it so that you’ll have *nothing* to show for it. You can’t really use such a brief stint on a resume so it won’t do you any good, and they’re going to ensure you didn’t make a dollar more for your troubles. That’s pretty bad.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Worse than nothing to show for it, you’ll have lost money (and time and probably other sacrifices) on a cross-country move!

    3. Ms. Elaneous*

      I would try to negotiate the 4 months are in a hotel on an expense account, the same as travel for work (which it is).

      And possibly get the 4 months down to
      2 months. (incentive to shorten if they are paying your expenses).

      The whole idea of relocating on something unsure has catastrophe written all over it.

  33. BellaStella*

    OP1: The advice: “Go back to HR and frame it this way: “I appreciate your handling of the EEO issues I raised about Manager A. Unfortunately, since then he’s been actively retaliating, such as (fill in with details of what he’s been doing). I know that federal law says managers can’t retaliate against employees for making harassment or discrimination complaints, so I wanted to bring this to your attention and ask for it to stop.”” is super clear and I do hope you do this. As it is this creates a bad working environment and I am unclear why HR and the management would not want to clear this up.

  34. Good Enough For Government Work*

    What is EEO, and why are we using acronyms without a definition first?

    1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling (on phone)*

      Why didn’t you Google it using context clues?

      1. Evens*

        That would mean everyone with the question would have to Google it. Now they don’t.

        For a comments section that prides itself on being “kind,” these comments are kind of telling.

        1. EEO*

          Well, the original comment was a bit…..well, if they actually wanted to be helpful they probably would have contributed instead of scolding, no? I’m with the comment below in that I suspect this person knows exactly what EEO stands for. I think all of these comments are picking up on that tone.

    2. Also good enough for government work*

      Equal Employment Opportunity.

      It’s a fairly common acronym, at least in the public sector, and I’m guessing you knew that. Not sure why you chose to be snarky instead of helpful if you genuinely believe most people don’t know it.

      1. MassMatt*

        The comment did make a good point about spelling out acronyms, it is a good practice, and this site gets traffic from all over the world so what is or is not a common acronym will vary.

    3. RIP Pillowfort*

      Equal Employment Opportunity. Commonly abbreviated as EEO and it’s the official acronyms to cover the federal laws about discrimination/harassment in employment for the US.

      It’s deeply ingrained and referenced in HR policies since it’s US federal law (applicable in every state).

    4. Nodramalama*

      Because when people come across acronyms they don’t know there is the ability to google it?

    5. MCMonkeybean*

      It’s okay if you don’t know what it is–though if you really work in government I honestly find that hard to believe–but it’s been an extremely common acronym for like 80 years at this point and really doesn’t warrant that level of aggression.

      It seems very normal and reasonably that someone writing into a workplace advice column wouldn’t bother defining “Equal Employment Opportunity,” and it’s a common enough acronym that it’s reasonable Alison didn’t flag it as something that might need a definition.

  35. Mary Me*

    My name is Mary and I’ve had people misspell it which absolutely blows my mind. I dated a guy for YEARS who managed to spell it “Marry” on a birthday card once (he had no learning disabilities or dyslexia and had perfectly decent writing and spelling skills). He was highly offended that I pointed out that he couldn’t spell my incredibly simple name after 3 years.

    1. But maybe not*

      I have a name that is generally spelled the same but has a few rarer variations. I get it misspelled occasionally, but oh well.

      HOWEVER, my husband’s grandpa once addressed a letter to me with the most creative spelling of my name that has never existed and also does not follow any rules of phonics. I didn’t point it out to him because he was a sweet old man with an 8th grade education. But to this day I cannot follow the thinking that led to that particular combination of letters.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        My father is dyslexic and an immigrant whose first language is not English. Growing up in the days of landlines, I’d come home sometimes to a note from him that one of my friends had called and the spellings were completely incorrect and used letters you definitely wouldn’t think would spell out the name that he would then verbally tell me correctly. Dyslexia is weird, man. (Interestingly, he can read English just fine, but can’t write in English at all. I don’t know if he can write in his native language either, I’ve never asked and never seen him do it.)

      2. Plate of Wings*

        I’m in my 30’s so it’s a rare delight when someone messes up my foreign-but-doable in a new way! I know everyone with an unusual name isn’t like this, but it feels I have heard and read them all at this point. So I would also be intrigued like you are.

    2. Jessica*

      Was he one of the people who can’t hear the difference between Mary and marry (or merry)?

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      My grandmother actually had “Merry” on her birth certificate because her father was an immigrant and when she was born and said her name was “Mary” the person filling out the certificate heard it wrong. I can’t remember exactly but I think eventually she got it corrected. Like, decades later.

    4. Evan Þ*

      > “I dated a guy for YEARS who managed to spell it “Marry” on a birthday card once”

      Did you reject his proposal? /s

  36. Thank someone I no longer work there*

    Am I the only one who read the don’t call me Liz and found ELIZabeth’s attitude really annoying? The multiple apologies were annoying too…I’d have apologized once and kept the rest of the communication focused solely on arranging the meeting. And I’m a Denise who if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been called Dennis could pay cash for half my “If I won the lottery” bucket list!

    1. Nodramalama*

      I think the point of the story is that Elizabeth’s behaviour is unreasonable

    2. Managing While Female*

      No, her behavior was absolutely unacceptable. At a certain point, she was just flat-out refusing to do her job (schedule the appointment) in favor of sticking to a petty grudge. I get misnamed frequently (not nicknamed, but flat-out misnamed and mis-gendered). I really do get that it’s annoying. That said, based on the comments there are some people on this forum who would definitely be the person to seethe and hold the grudge.

    3. ecnaseener*

      If you were the only one, it would hardly have been published on politico or shared here 15 years later as an example of what not to do :)

  37. BatManDan*

    Certain percentage of people will never get it. My last name is Andrews; I still get “Andrew” from people, some I’ve known for years (including one businessman that I’m in a contractual relationship with, and I’m in steady contact with him and other contractors. Been calling me “Andrew” 90% of the time since the day we met). Also, someone that I’ve only met once or twice, friends on Facebook, short text exchange last night, and he ended it by referring to my by the childhood version of my name, even though no one has called me by that name in 45 years, and there is nowhere I have ever referred to myself that way, in public or in private. That’s just the way some people’s brains work.

  38. RIP Pillowfort*

    OP 1- You’re not going to be seen as whining. Trust me any decent HR is going to take a look at the behavior and be very concerned about the liability it’s creating.

    I get that it’s stressful and weighing on you. If it were me I’d want the problem to just resolve itself but unfortunately most things take action to resolve.

    1. MsM*

      I hate that people think raising legit concerns to a supervisor or HR is “whining” or “tattling.” If it’s getting in the way of your ability to do your job (or at least if the person doing the thing would very clearly like for that to be the outcome), you don’t have to just live with it.

      1. LW1*

        LW1 here – yes, I hate it too. For context, my organization has historically taken a dim view (in internal culture, not official policy) of those who exercise employee protections. That is slowly improving and I was taken seriously and treated fairly during the initial conflict, but it was still a difficult and extraordinarily unpleasant period of my work life.

    2. Festively Dressed Earl*

      OP 1 should think of themselves as a hero-to-be. Manager A is a jerk and a bad manager. No one likes him. He’s going to harass someone else the same way he harassed you at the first opportunity. His entire team is on Team OP, given that they’re trying to look out for OP. I don’t know why HR hasn’t canned him already, but OP 1 has the last bit of rope needed for this guy to (metaphorically) hang himself.

      OP. You. Are. Doing. Everyone. A. FAVOR. Speak up! Document! Report! And once his butt is out the door, be sure that whoever buys the good-riddance cake gets it from a good bakery.

  39. Constance Lloyd*

    I feel you! My last name is a first name. My first name becomes a different name with a single letter variation. People use the wrong name more often than not, even if I verbally introduce myself first. My only solution has been to correct them once or twice, and then just give up. I can’t attach any emotion to it or I will drive myself bananas.

  40. EAM*

    For #4 – could you have the coworker(s) just email you and then you cc boss on the response? That way boss is in the loop of what’s being requested and what’s going out but avoids duplication.

  41. Allie / Vicky*

    Ok I can see that the comments are already overrun with people telling their name stories, BUT.

    My name is Allie, short for Alexandria, which has left me with many various misspellings and weird nicknames throughout my life. But my very favorite was a college professor who was convinced my name was Vicky, short for Victoria. He always called me “Vicky” in person, and one time I even sent him an email, which would show up as being from “Alexandria,” which I signed as “Allie,” and he responded “Hi Vicky…”

    I am still SO CURIOUS about how this man’s brain works!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t suppose he taught anything relating to early 1900s European history and just mnemonic-ed you with the wrong monarch? :)

      1. Chicago Anon*

        Or the right one, and it was a joke. Queen Victoria was named Alexandrina Victoria.

      2. Allie / Vicky*

        He was a drawing teacher! He mostly talked about contemporary American art. If it was a joke about 20th century monarchs I certainly wasn’t in on it! :)

  42. Veronica*

    I have one colleague who spells my name wrong about 50% of the time and I’ve given up. He struggles a bit with written communication in English, and he primarily works in Hebrew, so it’s not particularly surprising that he’d mix up C and K because C is a bit of a nonsense letter in English anyway.

    I do consistently correct people who call me Victoria though. I used to get really upset about it when I was a kid, but now it doesn’t bother me too much. I just want to save coworkers the potential embarrassment of thinking my name is Victoria and continuing to call me that months or years later!

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Lets just say that my name isn’t Victoria, but I’ve been called Veronica, Bridgette, and Angelica. My name doesn’t start with ANY of those letters. And it looks like all of the names in question miiiiiiight have ancient Latin roots, but I’m thinking that that is a reach!

  43. Bast*

    LW 5 — I have a name that can be spelled a few different ways, and though the way I spell it is generally the most common way of spelling it, I have gotten the other variations as well. I used to get pretty upset and spent a lot of time constantly correcting people, but after awhile I just stopped putting the energy in. As long as I get called the correct name, I’m good. I realize this may not be the case for everyone, but I put so much energy into an incorrect spelling when people were at time outright calling me the wrong name, that one day I decided that I was fine if someone spelled my name Kathryn instead of Katherine, for example, but I was not fine if I suddenly became “Kristin” or “Karen” or “Katrina” or any other random name with a similar sound but a totally different name.

  44. ectotherm*

    I’ve worked for my boss for 28 years now and he still won’t spell my name correctly. While I love my job, that tells me a lot about my value.

  45. JTP*

    Like Alison, I also have a name that is most commonly spelled with two Ls, but mine is only spelled with one (there’s actually a kind-of funny story behind it). It’s mostly work colleagues who get it wrong (which is funny in itself, because in order to tag me in our project management system, they’d have to spell it right!). I don’t bother correcting people unless it’s causing an issue, like my name being misspelled when they type out my email address, so I miss emails.

  46. Jester*

    I work with the public so I know what a ridiculous request this is, but WHY isn’t someone’s name being the email address enough to solve #5?! I also have a first name with common variations and a last name that can be a first name. Our email addresses are all random usernames but appear as LAST, FIRST in Outlook. This is universal across my very, very large organization. I’m used to my first name being misspelled, but I have been getting ‘Hi Last Name,’ routinely at this job. Like, why would I be the only exception to the LAST, FIRST rule in the entire organization?!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have a double-barreled last name, where the second half (the half I took from my husband) is also not only a fairly common first name, but a unisex one to boot. Despite our email addresses being listed as LAST, FIRST as well, I ROUTINELY get emails that start with “Hi, (second half of last name)!” Like, why would you pick the bit out of the MIDDLE? And either you already know me, or someone gave you my name to help you with your problem, so you apparently forgot it in the three seconds it takes to find me in the outlook address book?

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      At least in my case, Outlook automatically populates the TO: field with the people you email the most often. When I email my boss, I literally only have to type a D and Outlook does the rest. I don’t have to look that closely (although I do know how to spell his name.) I suspect people are relying on autofill both in Outlook and in their brain.

    3. Nodramalama*

      It’s likely autofill and people aren’t paying that much attention. I’ve emailed people and accidentally called them the wrong name before. In my brain their name is Diane, I put in Di and their name populates, I write hi Diane and then two seconds after the email goes, I look back at the to field and see its actually Dina.

  47. Sara without an H*

    LW#1: If you’re not doing it already, document any and all questionable interactions with Manager A. If a coworker reports something back to you, make notes of the date, time, the name of your informant, and what they said. You’ll need this information when you talk with HR or, if need be, an attorney.

    LW#5: I sympathize, but it’s probably impossible. I fought this battle for years. No matter how often I say, “Actually, it’s Sara without an H,” people still get it wrong. Take a deep breath and let it go, unless it’s a question of how your name appears in official documentation.

    1. LW1*

      LW1 here – thanks. I realize I may have shot myself in the foot a bit by asking coworkers to stop feeding me information. I do think the behavior is so over the top and well known that, if asked, most of them would very promptly say “Oh yes, Manager A says mean things about LW1 all the time.” But people do have a way of becoming shy when it becomes clear something is A Serious Thing.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I don’t think you’ve shot yourself in the foot! You can always go back to them and say thank you for respecting your wishes before but you’ve decided you do need to know, and ask them to share anything recent/egregious they still remember

        1. HonorBox*

          I agree. You’ve asked them to stop sharing it with you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t escalate based on what you DO know already. You can share what was shared with you and by whom, and HR can follow up with those individuals to corroborate and find out anything additional they’d like to share.

      2. MCMonkeybean*

        Asking people to stop relaying every instance to you definitely doesn’t mean you can’t go back to them and ask for some information to help document your case!

  48. Person from the Resume*

    LW4, it seems to be this is a boss/work distribution problem rather than a coworker problem.

    The coworker emails the two people who handle these requests; she doesn’t need to track who is the office today. You and your boss need to work out who responds when you are both in. Talk to him about it. Say you can handle them all unless you ask him. Also respond to the email thread when it arrives and say I’ve got this one.

    Maybe you will find out he prefers to handle these requests himself, and then if that’s the case he’s the boss.

  49. Nancy*

    LW2: Yes, assign everything out at the beginning of the week, don’t just wait and hope someone takes the boring assignments. A chore wheel is childish, but a spreadsheet with a schedule is a typical part of work.

    LW4: Have a conversation with your boss about how to handle those emails going forward, it will save you time later on.

  50. mymotherwasahamster*

    So yesterday I mispronounced my OWN name. It’s Dana like “Day-na”, but when I went to give blood in the European country where I live and they asked me my name, without thinking I responded “Dah-na”. Apparently my brain decided that was easier than explaining the “unconventional” spelling? I’m so curious if this is just going to be a thing that happens in bureaucratic situations now…

    1. Anon for this*

      My name is Becky, and when I lived in Italy for a bit, I just generally accepted that the pronunciation of it for most people was going to be closer to “Bay-ky” because that “e” sound doesn’t really exist in Italian. (And also got Re-bay-ca often too.)

    2. amoeba*

      I mean, if it’s in another language, I’m pretty sure a lot of people do it (had that discussion here a few weeks ago, actually, haha…)
      So for instance, my boyfriend’s name is Philipp, pronounced in German more or less like in English, but he absolutely introduces himself as “Philippe” (stress on the last syllable) when talking French. Same for a lot/most of the many Davids and Sarahs I know – Both of those have an “ah” like in “car” in German, and “Sarah” actually has a soft z sound – but people mostly use the anglicised versions. It just flows better, I guess.

    3. LastName*

      My partner’s last name is Nguyen. We live in the southern US and while they don’t have a heavy southern accent, they have a slight accent where they pronounce “pen” and “pin” the same way.

      They have always said their name as if it rhymed with “win” (and have used it as a pun that way many times over the years) but told me once they really think of it as rhyming with “when.” I had a bit of an existential crisis because to me those words are pronounced very differently lol. So now I’m like, should I say your name the same way you do just because that’s how you say it??? Or should I account for the differences in our accents and pronounce it closer to “when?” We’ve been together for 15 years and this somehow only came up a few years ago and now I am constantly overthinking it!

  51. Delta Delta*

    OP 5 – I once asked someone to pronounce my name correctly and it made her so mad she angrily logged off a Teams meeting. It was deeply hilarious.

  52. HonorBox*

    OP1 – Absolutely, and without hesitation, report this. You may want to consult a lawyer first, though you don’t have to. A lawyer might help you get your ducks in a row so you can come into a meeting – one with both your current boss and HR – with everything you need to get this shut down. They may have advice on how to officially substantiate what your colleagues are reporting to you. But no matter what, HR has a legal obligation to stop what is happening, because it is clearly retaliation. It may not be something that hurts you professionally, but a) it still doesn’t make it legal and b) it may. Also, not only is it retaliation, it borders (if not fully is) on a hostile work environment since what is happening could be construed as bullying.

    1. LW1*

      LW1 here. Thanks. I’ve been trying to really reflect on reasons why this bothers me SO much, and I think part of it is that this person IS a level above me and that is why this feels extra gross. I like to think that if this was a peer being catty, I would be able to shrug it off more successfully.

      1. Paint N Drip*

        It IS egregious and the fact that it’s pretty out in the open and ongoing must feel like it is somehow condoned (although your peers constantly sharing their experience hopefully makes you feel that there is pushback although it is unfortunately in private)
        Personally I still live in the rose-colored world that says people above us in hierarchy should be trusted to make good decisions and do a good job and hopefully be a generally neutral-to-good person – it is really disheartening for that illusion to be broken. All the more reason to report it to HR, really.

      2. ecnaseener*

        The thing is, you don’t have to shrug it off at all! It’s not like “succeeding” at ignoring him is the optimal solution and going to HR is the fallback. Yes, it’s important to be able to put up with a certain amount of petty behavior and not let it bother you, but that’s just one tool in your toolbox, and it’s generally not the correct tool to use in response to illegal retaliation where HR is competent.

        1. LW1*

          Thank you – in my mind I have actually been framing the “best and most successful outcome” as me ignoring him and everything else as a consolation prize, and had not looked at it this way. This is very helpful.

          1. HonorBox*

            You point out that you feel awful at work. That’s not the optimal solution. In addition to the potential reputational hit, you’re also physically/mentally affected, which makes ignoring the behavior all that much harder AND all that more important to report what is happening.

          2. MassMatt*

            The fact that you are feeling badly at work and second-guessing yourself shows just how damaging what your former manager is doing is. Imagine what sort of message this is sending to other employees when they wonder should they take a risk and report wrongdoing.

            You took a risk and did something that was right to do and reported something, sadly this often means getting grief. But congratulations on doing the right thing. IMO your former manager is an ass and shouldn’t be a manager.

    2. lime*

      I am not a lawyer, but it sounds like what Manager A is doing qualifies as a retaliatory hostile work environment.

    3. Observer*

      it borders (if not fully is) on a hostile work environment since what is happening could be construed as bullying.

      Morally? yes. Legally? No. Bullying is not a legal issue unless you can prove that it’s based on protected characteristics.

      The thing is that for retaliation you don’t really need the “hostile environment” in the same way,

      1. lime*

        Well, the bullying is a form of retaliation for complaining about EEO issues. In that case, it could rise to the level of a hostile work environment, except in this case, the individual isn’t being targeted on the basis of a protected characteristic such as race/gender, but is instead being targeted for having engaged in a protected activity (complaining about EEO issues).

        However, that’s probably only helpful if you were trying to take something like this to court and wanted to make multiple claims, such as being denied a promotion and being subjected to a retaliatory hostile work environment.

        However, it doesn’t sound like the LW is thinking of taking legal action and wants to work with HR on this. Any decent HR department should see the problems here and be motivated to step in here.

  53. ijustworkhere*

    I really try to spell and pronounce people’s names correctly. But in my workplace alone we have (these are examples–not the actual names) the same name spelled no less than 7 different ways— Ashley, Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashlei, Ashelei, , Asheleigh, and Asheley. I’m glad my colleagues give me a little bit of grace on the spelling.

  54. PivotPivot*

    I once was trying to contact a co-worker. I typed in Kathy, Kathie, Cathey, Cathie. I could not get the right variation of her name.

    Her name was Lisa.

  55. JazzyHamster*

    Regarding letter #5: Most people register and remember things according to what their expectations are. This is why 95% of people responding to my emails spell my name incorrectly when the only way they even know my name is from seeing it written down in my email signature.

  56. Will "scifantasy: Frank*

    Adding on to the sympathies and storytelling for LW5, as you can see above, my surname is a common given name. As a kid I remember my dad having to clarify that on the phone all the time (not to mention, having to spell it; “Frank, F-R-A-N-K” in his voice is all but engraved on my soul).

    To make matters worse, many email systems, including those I’ve had at various jobs, list senders as LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME. Not to mention that my work goes across a number of international borders, and I’m emailing a lot of non-native English speakers.

    “Hi Frank” is the single most common greeting I get in work emails. I don’t even bother to correct people anymore–a number figure it out pretty quickly. The second most common greeting I get in work emails is “Hi William, so sorry for calling you Frank!”

    When it’s new people who don’t know me, especially from outside the company, it’s easier to shrug off. New people from within the company, I’m mostly just bemused that they didn’t realize the name order thing, but that’s where I try to factor in whether someone is a native English speaker or not.

    The ones that really makes me wonder are people who really should know better; I’ve been emailing them repetitively, sometimes writing memos that list my name in the correct order, my email signature does likewise…and they still write “Hi Frank.” At the same time, as I said I don’t correct them, so maybe it’s on me. (Sometimes I’m annoyed at these people for more substantive reasons, such as the amount of work they’re asking for and/or the turnaround, so it’s useful to keep something completely irrelevant to be annoyed at, at least for me. Helps me ground my feelings elsewhere.)

    My boss is sympathetic–he occasionally jokes that I should follow their lead and reply “Hi LASTNAME” to them. I haven’t done that one.

    1. londonedit*

      People really seem to struggle with last names that could be first names. I have a friend whose name is along the lines of David Charles, and you can imagine that he also constantly gets ‘Hi Charles’ and is constantly explaining that his first name is David.

      For the repeat offenders I think you could definitely try a response saying ‘Just a note – people do this all the time, so don’t worry, but my first name is actually William, not Frank’. I don’t think there’s any harm in that. I can see the temptation in taking your boss’s idea and responding with ‘Hi LASTNAME’ but it’s one of those where in reality it’s likely to come off as rude!

      1. Will "scifantasy" Frank*

        I definitely could do the first one, but as I said, I no longer want to. Not worth the candle.

        And yeah, the passive-aggression of “Hi LASTNAME” is why I don’t do it, but the image gets a chuckle out of my boss.

      2. amoeba*

        I have a colleague that has a last name that could be a first name, and for some reason I got that one wrong a lot in the beginning (not in e-mails to him, luckily, but when mentioning his name to others…)
        I have now finally saved this correctly in my brain and now I realised that after a recent merger, we now have a different colleague who basically has the inverse name (or rather something very close to it. Like if Will Frank had a new colleague named Frank Wilson).

        Arghs! I’m very happy I’m not regularly working with that other guy, as well…

      3. EvilQueenRegina*

        I used to work with someone who was always getting “Hi Lastname” in emails and she resorted to putting her first name in massive letters in her signature to see if that stopped it. It had varying results from what I remember.

  57. el l*

    Since nobody has yet spoken to OP3:

    Yes, push back, and I wouldn’t even bring in a methodology for raises – that shouldn’t be special.

    Here’s the battlefield you pick. “If I’m going to be doing [new job], I should be paid as if I’m doing [new job]. Not [old job]. That means: You can pay me at the low end of [new job’s] salary range given the low experience, that’s reasonable. But I won’t go through relocation and take on the responsibilities of [new job] unless I’m actually paid within its salary band. If you hired externally for the job, you’d have to pay at the very least within the band, you’d have to pay relocation and hiring expenses, and you’d have delay, so I’m offering you a bird in hand. But I’ll stay at [old job] unless you pay me for [new job]. Please give me your answer by ___.”

  58. TeaCoziesRUs*

    Alison, I apologize for spelling your name wrong… and absolutely adore your niece’s Reddit Petty Revenge energy. Huzzah to all the brilliant brats out there who make adults want to facepalm and grin at the same time!

  59. Rage*

    Ah, #5, yes. The curse of the multiple-spelling-option names.

    My given name at birth was “Rachel”. My mother wanted to spell it “Rachael” because she felt it looked prettier when written; I have always agreed. But she worried that people would constantly misspell it, so she stuck with the Biblical spelling.

    Of course, we all know what happened: my name got misspelled all the time. Racheal. Rachelle. Rochell. Raechel. Raquel. (And, for when people REALLY got confused: Julie. I have no idea why. Maybe I look like a Julie.)

    Anyway, a few years ago I decided that since I was getting a Masters which will lead to a professional license, I didn’t want my ex-husband’s last name emblazoned on that diploma. However, I also did not wish to go back to my maiden name, because it was impossibly German (the entire reason I kept my married name after the divorce). So I picked a brand new last name, and decided at the same time to change the spelling of my first name to the one I (and my mother) have always preferred. I love my new name(s).

    Has it stopped the misspellings? No. But I gave up on that a long time ago.

    What I DO do is (and this is entirely dependent on my relationship with the other party) when I receive an email with my name misspelled on it, I simply reply to the email and misspell the sender’s name. In as many variations as possible. It’s my own private amusement.

    Now…if you shorten my name to “Rach”, then I will have a discussion with you. (But I also will just pretend that you called me “Rage” and that’s acceptable LOL.)

  60. IntoTheWoulds*

    Haha, I have a much less common spelling of a more common name, with the added bonus of having more than one co-worker whose name is the more common (nearly universal) spelling of that name. And it’s not the first time I’ve been in this kind of situation.

    While I never say anything (because it’s not worth it), I absolutely judge co-workers on how they attempt or don’t attempt to spell my name correctly. I don’t mind, at all, when it’s spelled incorrectly but at least an attempt was made. But it really bugs me when I have a co-worker (or three) who never even try, and always use the more common spelling that is not how I spell my name, and very noticeably different. They’re basically telling me that they don’t see me as a person worth anything more to them than the question I’m answering for them, which is really out of line with our company’s values/culture. The spelling is different enough that, in writing, they are basically calling me by the wrong name every time. Super freaking icky.

    On another name note – there is someone from an outside organization who I email with occasionally, and her name in her email address and email signature is spelled differently than the way she signs off on her emails. Specifically, in a way that is confusing because her sign-off isn’t a nickname or shortened spelling, but just uses a different letter. For example, if her name was Cindy elsewhere, but she signed off as Cindi. Or if it was Erica in some places and Erika in others. I address her using the spelling she signs off the emails with, since that is obviously an active spelling choice she is making every time she sends an email. But I wish I knew her better so I could ask her WTF is up with that. I’m so confused, and hope I’m choosing correctly. It’s like in Shakespearean times when spellings were not as formalized as they are now, and folks just used different spellings… on a whim? IDEK.

  61. Ask Me Anything*

    LW #2: at my job we have to review many daily reports and have mundane things like that to do. The solution for equal work distribution has been to divide everything into 3 lists (we have 3 staff working on it) and each person is assigned to that list for a week. There is a log to initial you reviewed your reports daily. The boss can review the system to make sure things were reviewed, not just initialed.
    The two people who slacked the most complained alot at first because they had to actually work and they have since left. Our new staff are quite competent and they get through the list in short order every day.

  62. Anne Shirley Blythe*

    I read the line about a threatened poisoning three times in letter 1. Yep, that’s what it says. That man is UNHINGED. LW1 please go to HR ASAP. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this.

    1. Anne Shirley Blythe*

      I posted too soon–I’m aware that’s what ultimately got you transferred–but a threat to poison?! WHY is this person still employed there? This kind of thing should only be heard in TV series and Shakespearean plays.

      1. LW1*

        LW1 here – oh no, I think I may have worded that poorly! By “poison” I meant call them up and “poison” their positive references for me. Still bad, but not as bad as literally physically poisoning someone! I think I should have used a different turn of phrase.

        1. Anne Shirley Blythe*

          Ok, I’m slightly relieved! How sad that this world is so insane that actual poisoning seemed likely. And other letter writers have had their lives threatened.

          A is still awful and I wish you the best, LW1.

  63. A Tired Queer*

    LW 5: My first name is pretty uncommon, but my last name is something that could be a woman’s first name with a little tweaking (think “Martin” —> “Martina”). Whenever I correspond with anyone outside of my job, I run about a 50/50 chance that they’ll address me as “Martina” in the reply. Like you, my work email IS my name: FN.LN@domain. It doesn’t happen within my organization, thankfully, but when I get it from people outside I just have to laugh and make my email signature increasingly more colorful and bold.

  64. Hyaline*

    LW3 says”I have been given no indication what a negative review would mean.”

    Wait…what? I feel like this got kind of ignored—when it comes to whether you’re going to get the higher salary or not I’m willing to give it a “would you like doing the work better at the same salary/is there long term higher earning potential/lots of factors” kind of answer but if I’m reading this correctly, you have some valid concerns that they could treat your first four months as probationary and…anything could happen after that?! So you’d be trading current security for a cross country move and you have concerns about security. I’d clarify the terms of this “test period” and what all potential outcomes are and how you’ll be supported in the new role.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Agreed — is it clear that if the new position doesn’t work out, your old position will be waiting for you? Absolutely get that in writing, since they’re signaling so hard that they don’t know whether the new position will work out.

    2. Boof*

      Yeah; they’re asking a huge amount of work and upheaval with zero assurance, not even a salary bump for the interim; seems like a bad deal to me! And when op is locked in (moved, already doing the work for months) they have a lot of power to lowball – op seems like a bad deal / negotiate now for the salary increase or decline to do the work they are declining to pay you for, only going to be harder later

  65. Someone Else's Boss*

    #5 – I just wanted you to know that it IS possible to have colleagues who spell your name correctly. I work with a woman who has a first name that is very, very commonly spelled with a double letter (think Rebecca), but she spells it with only one (Rebeca) and everyone we work with spells it correctly all the time. It might take the right people, and perhaps the right attitude, but people who care will notice. It does help to have people who support that. For example, when I first met her I was introduced in person, so I assumed it was Rebecca. My boss saw I had written it that way (in my own notes) and gently said, “Oh btw it’s Rebeca with only one ‘c.'” I have never forgotten that, but if I did, my boss would have told me again. She was totally nice, but the fact that it mattered to her helped me to prioritize it. Another thing that helps is having your name spelled correctly in public facing documents that people see. So make sure they always get those things right.

  66. Dandylions*


    I’m really sorry you are going through that. I had something similar in a previous job with a coworker in a Sr. position over me. I was shocked how much their constant criticism had seeped in when I moved teams. I even ended up having dreams about her sabotaging my new team for about 6 months after switching roles. This really surprised me as I had chalked it up as a her problem and didn’t feel like I was taking her so seriously. It took me well over a year to stop second guessing my choices and speak up in meetings again.

    I guess my point is you should consider leaving that company or at least department. The company is willingly keeping on “Manager A [who] is widely known to be a terrible person and a terrible manager.” in a management position.

    That combined with the fact that he targeted you for union activity or sharing salaries speaks to the company tacitly condoning those actions by keeping him in management. All of that is before we even get to the retaliation, which is huge and sh to uld have been billed in the bud and watched for after your move.

  67. Samwise*

    I’ve got a last name that, while fairly common, also has an even more common variant (think Robert and Roberts, Li and Lee…)

    Many many many people misspell my name. I correct it every time. Nicely, with a bit of a joke.

    My name is in my email. People who misspell it in my email — oh well, they don’t get a response because I never received their message. I confess I really enjoy when a coworker (who should know better) complains to our boss that I’m not responding— and I ask, in front of the boss, did you get my address correct? It’s Willson, not Wilson. You’d think they’d get it but it happens over and over.

  68. One HR Opinion*

    #1 – Definitely bring this to HR. This is clearly a case of retaliation and needs to be stopped. If they are unaware, they will think the matter has been resolved.

    We recently had an employee relations situation where someone was making inappropriate comments, etc. and the “offender” was moved to a different team. They were very careful with what they said to that team and we thought the issue was resolved. Turns out a few weeks later someone from the original team came to us and told us that they were still making inappropriate comments to the original team! We would have thought everything was settled with the move if the person didn’t come forward.

  69. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – I think that you really SHOULD bring this retaliation issue to HR. I would talk with your lawyer, too. You deserve to have a not hostile work environment. Also, while this person clearly has no credibility with your current company / management, they are creating a hostile work environment and their retaliation is wrong.

    Since the company had to respond to the issues by moving you due to this person’s actions, there’s quite a bit of precedent here for the company to be in rather serious legal jeopardy if they don’t act on your concerns now. Also, it’s in the company’s best interests to NOT condone a culture where people are discriminated against and then retaliated against for objecting to that discrimination. It’s bad for the company culture and workforce morale for this sort of thing to be ignored.

    1. Kristin*

      Yes. Manager A is engaging in classic retaliation and obviously did not learn a thing from the restructuring. He needs to be disciplined at minimum. It’s one thing to be known as a jerk – it’s another to discriminate and retaliate.

  70. M*

    OP #4, if your boss is the kind of boss who insists on being cc-ed on things even when it causes confusion, he’s also the kind of boss who appreciates micro-updates. As soon as you get one of these, *before* you start gathering the information, *reply to the email*. Either to both of them (“thanks [colleague], I’m tracking this down and should have an answer for you by [time]”) or just your boss (“I’m on this [boss]”, should have it by [time]”), depending on which you think he’ll prefer.

    Should it be necessary? Nope, unless there’s some kind of issue with tasks falling through the cracks or not being done right. But it’ll solve the problem, and likely more easily than trying to convince him to ignore anything that cc-s you.

  71. Kristin*

    My name used to be very popular, and now is constantly spelled “Kirsten,” “Kristen,” “Kersten,” etc. I mostly let it go now, because the corrections never stick and it’s not a big deal.
    However, I also have a last name that is now a very popular first name for both men and women, so I often get called that! I don’t correct it unless it’s someone I’m going to be working a lot with.
    Funny story – my nephew with the same last name married a woman whose first name was our surname! So her name would have been [surname] [surname], but of course she chose another surname.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Kristen is how you spell Kristen. When you spell it Kristin, you are spelling it wrong thus confusing people.


      I do not actually agree with you “Kristin” was particularly more common or popular the “Kristen.”

      Interesting possibly factual facts … In English-speaking countries, Kristen is now usually a female name, used as an alternative spelling of Kristin, with the Kristen spelling having become the more popular spelling of the name in English-speaking countries for newborn girls by the mid 1970s.

    2. ruthling*

      a while back i had a coworker Kristin. She used to tell people “it’s Kristin with two “eyes” like a normal person.” I found that weird but I spelled her name correctly.

    3. Boss Lady Jr*

      My first name is in the same name family as you, lol. I only use it in work and with relatives and coworkers misspell it all the time. I’ve given up correcting some people when I see they misspell everybody’s names. If it’s a more serious email then I will correct them. If you’re being snooty, then heck yes I’m correcting you haha. Example: one time a coworker was being pompous and was going into detail in our group chat about how I messed up on something (I accidentally didn’t enter a piece of data). He’d say “What Kristen did…” and “What Kristen missed…” So I replied “I appreciate the incredibly thorough explanation but I’m not Kristen.” It shut him up haha.

    4. Another Kristin*

      I have absolutely given up on trying to get people to spell my name correctly. I have an unusual last name, which people usually take the trouble to get right, but for whatever reason I continually get emails/Teams messages that start “Hi Kristen/Krystal/Kristine/Kerstin/literally any other name that begins with a K”. It’s annoying but what are you going to do?

      Like my grandfather used to say, call me anything except late for dinner.

  72. ToDoListOwner*

    OP4 – this is not an uncommon problem in workplaces with shared inboxes, instead of just a client who copies you both. Some typical strategies to address include:

    – Person A indicates responsibility/ownership of task by immediately replying to client with something like “Request received and in process. Will follow up as needed for questions and/or timeline” (adjust for language/formality to fit your organization). Person B can assume their input is not required unless otherwise requested by Person A.

    – Creation of a shared task list with real-time alerts (depending on your email program, this can even be done with some automation). All tasks sent to both parties are entered on the shared task list as received, then assigned to Person A (admin) as ‘responsible for completion’ and Person B (boss) as ‘informed of status.’ As tasks move forward, progress is noted on the task list, with sub-tasks assigned as needed for areas where Person B could be ‘responsible for completion’ instead of just ‘informed’ (aka, if sign off was needed or the like). *This is also a great way to track your own performance for goals/reviews, so you can say things like “addressed 200 client requests within 2 business days”

    – Outlining of who tackles which requests before they even come in. If the requests are mostly the same 5 types of tasks, can Person A (admin) be designated to address types 1-4 (since they don’t require any high-level approvals), and Person B (boss) be designated to address type 5 (requiring a high-level approval)? Or some similar outline depending on the requests typically come in.

    If your boss has been responsible for these requests previously and having you able to answer them is newer, it’s probably habit as much as anything to jump in. A conversation and a plan can help to break the habit, and give your boss the time they need to address other work (that you aren’t able to do).

  73. Anon for this*

    My first name is Catherine and I go by “Cathy” (thanks, 1970s girls’ nicknames) and I cannot tell you how many people use the “K” version of my name (even when it’s right there in my email address). I get every variation of “Catherine” you can possibly imagine, even from family members who have known me all my life. I have given up trying to correct anyone.

    1. We’re Six*

      “My first name is Catherine and I go by “Cathy” (thanks, 1970s girls’ nicknames)”

      …I must be having a Dumb moment but I just don’t get what the big deal about this is? Also, I’m a child of the 90s and “Cathy” was still pretty prevalent as a nickname back then.

  74. Sarah*

    For # 5 – I was signing up for something once and had to give my name. So I said “Sarah with an H”. Got back the materials and my name was spelled “Shara”. Now I am the crazy person that if I have to give my name and it matters I always says “Sarah with an H on the end”.

    But if it doesn’t matter, I just roll my eyes, wonder why people can’t look at the email address they are sending to since my name is also spelled correctly there, and just move on.

  75. ErikaWAK*

    I am Erika with a K and my name has been misspelled my entire life. It used to be mispronounced too, but the proliferation of little Erikas, Ericas, and Erickas in recent years has taken care of that. I also have had (and continue to have) my name spelled improperly by coworkers, friends, etc. It is so frustrating. At one company, the sales team in particular, seemed to have a major problem with my name. In the 6 years I worked there, every single one of them (in a department of over 20 people) spelled my name wrong in every email and chat message. And my name is right there in front of them! But yeah, it is annoying as hell. Not much you can do about it though. People just don’t care.

  76. ellemmess*

    I know it’s considered a breach of etiquette to speak ill of the dead, but I knew Don’t Call Me Liz for many years in real life and can confirm that that was not a one-off situation where she had a bad day and overreacted. She was an asshole and a truly miserable person to be around.

    Yes, she worked on the Hill, but she was a scheduler, not an elected official or a member of senior staff. Email chains like that – between a scheduler and a lobbyist’s EA – don’t get sent to Politico if someone is just being picky about their name. It wouldn’t have been leaked if she weren’t a total nightmare, and Rep. McDermott’s office or the lobbying firm probably could have gotten the piece killed if anyone she worked with was even remotely interested in protecting her or if the lobbyists thought it might possibly harm their relationship with a member of Congress.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      I am not surprised at all.

      I know the org she works for now (she’s made some attempts to cover her tracks on LinkedIn) and am kind of not surprised.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I think ellemess means ‘speak ill of the dead’ in the ‘they don’t work here anymore’ sense. AFAIK Elizabeth-NOT-LIZ is still alive and working for a DC-area org.

  77. sunny days are better*

    I have a very common name with a very uncommon spelling – I’ve only once seen another person with this spelling. It also makes me insane to have my name misspelled.

    This is why I adopted a nickname with a very common spelling and I generally use that.

    When I need to use my full name and the spelling matters, then I make sure to spell it out and then double-check that they got it right.

  78. New Jack Karyn*

    LW3: You have been doing the work of the new role. If you were unsuccessful, they would have rescinded the promotion and transfer (and hopefully have kept you on in your old role). You are at LEAST at the standard of acceptably competent, and will improve from here.

    They are running game on you. Insist on the title and pay before committing to move. Before hiring movers. Before looking for apartments. But not before polishing up your resume.

  79. dogwoodblossom*

    Re: names, sometimes it’s autocorrect. My gf recently got on my case about a mutual friend named Kelley who I always refer to as Kelly in texts. My phone autocorrects that name and I didn’t notice until it was pointed out.

    1. Prudence Snooter*

      My phone inexplicably started autocorrecting “Dad” to “Daddy” when I text and… I can’t

    2. Lucien Nova*

      Autocorrect does not know what to make of my childhood best friend’s nickname – it’s Kelleigh (yes, that is her nickname and not her given forename!) and I’ve seen some pretty strange trip-ups from my phone about that one…

  80. A large cage of birds*

    #5. I’m in a similar boat (think Alexia/Alexa, Sophie/Sophia, where it’s not exactly the same name, but close.)

    I turn 40 this year and I’ve decided that I don’t need to be shy about it and I’d like to be called the right name. If it’s someone I’m going to interact with more than once, I correct them, even via email. I’m always polite about it. “It’s Sophie actually” and then I move on with whatever I had to say. If the email doesn’t warrant a response, I won’t respond just for that but I’ll send it along with the response. I take the attitude of “hey, this was a mistake. No big deal, but let’s correct it for the future.”

    The only time I really made A Thing of it is when I was being contacted by client services (!!) with a vendor my department used. Like a large university paid a lot of money for it and I was the liaison and main user. She kept doing it repeatedly and, like you, my email address was “Sophie_Birdcage@university.”

  81. Kevin Sours*

    My usual advice to someone in LW3’s position would be to take the promotion and start shopping the new title. But the cross country move puts a damper on things.

    Make the decision based on the assumption that your salary isn’t going to change.

  82. Meghan with an H*

    OP5, I totally sympathize with you. Usually I just ignore it unless it’s a super important document. The only thing I really pick on is when people abbreviate my name– “I prefer Meghan, thanks.”

  83. Mango Freak*

    OK can we talk about #1 and how HR is obviously *not* solid since Manager A clearly experienced no consequences and LW wasn’t even made aware that *professional slander is unacceptable?* Manager A should be feeling lucky to still have a management role, if not a job entirely; why aren’t they being on their best behavior???

    LW *absolutely* bring this to HR immediately. They need to act quickly and decisively. This person needs to not be poisoning their workplace anymore.

    1. LW1*

      Hi I’m LW1! First off, I am really appreciative of your response (and quite a few others) that have taken the time to underscore that I am not a crybaby, at least where this is concerned. I feel much more confident in my standing to bring this back to HR now compared to how I felt, say, last night. So, thank you for that.

      I do want to stress though that my company has a range of disciplinary options available that I would definitely not be aware of, but which would have serious long-term consequences for the recipient. For all I know, part of what is on the calendar as Manager A’s “leave” could be days he is suspended from work without pay! (I doubt that happened, just an example.) Any of these actions would ensure that Manager A would probably not be promoted again and may have difficulty obtaining roles on future projects, which can ultimately lead to being fired. It’s also possible (likely) that I am the first person who has formally objected to his conduct, and in that case he should be given the opportunity to improve. I would want that same measured treatment for myself if I was the one messing up.

  84. Whatcanyoudo*

    My previous boss (moved to a different area within the company) STILL spells my name wrong. I worked for him as his only report for 4 years and I don’t think he got it right once. It’s only 5 letters long and included in the signature of every single email I ever sent him. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  85. Ash*

    I have noticed that my best bosses have always, without fail, spelled my nontraditionally spelled name correctly.

  86. Candace Perry*

    My name is Candace. For decades, since my childhood, people have written my name as “Candance.” On report cards, on correspondence, everywhere. Just the other day on a check I received.
    I honestly don’t understand how people still get this wrong. When I was young, in the 60s and 70s, it was not a common name. Now it is, and yet…

  87. Erica not Erika*

    I’m an Erica. I get Erika sometimes and even Ericka. What bothers me the most is when I get called ‘Eric’ in an email.

  88. Lucien Nova*

    My partner has a very Spanish name that is very similar to an existing non-Spanish name – let’s say it’s Cesar. Almost no one here in the midwest that we’ve personally interacted with can pronounce it correctly, they say it as “Caesar” instead. Yes, like the Roman emperor. And no, not the proper Latin way either.

    It both baffles and amuses him.

    On the other hand, I apparently identify as a problem, because the name I have chosen after transitioning includes two middle names and the second one (Nathanael) is not spelled the way one would expect. This will give me much grief when I come to the point I can legally change my name. But the -iel ending just does not fit me in the least, and I have had over three decades of spelling my birth surname patiently over and over for people, so I am very prepared for the chaos. :)

  89. Anna*

    There’s a woman called “Chasity” who crops up often in my circles. The first time I saw her name, I genuinely giggled (I was by myself!) because I thought her name was a misspelling of “chastity”. But because I endlessly procraste by indulging my curiosity, I googled and found that’s a valid variation of the name.

    Since I first encountered her in one context, I keep running into her, but weirdly we’ve never met. (We’ve emailed.) It’s things like, our kids do the same activity, and then she started volunteering with an organization I volunteer with, then her company became a client of my company.

    I feel like I’m constantly emailing people to let them know her name is “Chasity”, but not to worry, I made the same mistake at first. I feel like it’s so much easier to point out a typo when you don’t have skin in the game. And hopefully, Chasity never sees the drafts and is just pleasantly surprised by the uptick in people getting her name correct.

    1. Plate of Wings*

      Not quite the same but I have an unusual/foreign name and this is so unbelievably sweet! I don’t mind people messing it up, but it feels really good when meeting many new people and I CAN TELL someone already briefed them.

  90. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    LW#5 – As you can tell from my screen name, I have been dealing with this issue all my life – Maria, Mary, Marie… I just say “My name is Marie, not Maria. I come from a long line of Maries.” The usually get the hint.

  91. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    The name thing! I’m in a similar boat, but what’s odd to me is that the people at my company use a specific misspelling of my name that I’ve never encountered elsewhere. I’ve asked if there have been former employees with my name that spelled it that way, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve started just politely but warmly (read: with exclamation points) just letting people know “My name’s actually spelled XXXXX!” and so far it’s been effective. As long as you’re conducting yourself politely, it’s really okay if people feel mildly embarassed by being corrected. It’ll help them remember later.

  92. Chrystle (yup spelled just like this)*

    As someone with a horrendously misspelled name, that is hyphenated and the naming issues go on and on, I recommend just letting it go. Close friends and family, yes, they should know, but co-workers and such, it was much easier for me when I let it go (and now that song is back in my head, damn).

  93. fhqwhgads*

    I am frequently stressed out about misspelling any Alison/Allison/Allyson/Alysons in my life – more so than any other multiple-spellings name. There’s something about Ls and Is near each other (or multiples of either), I feel like I need to squint to tell how many Ls I wrote. Even if I’m looking at a known-good spelling and comparing to my own for correctness, I’m like “how many vertical lines are there here and how many should there be”. It feels hard to see it, if that makes any sense.
    Erika/Erica, Bryan/Brian, Lindsay/Lindsey, Ashleigh/Ashley, Chris/Kris, to me way easier to keep track of once I’ve been corrected once than anything involving Ls.

  94. Kassy*

    I’m Kassy, and also Cassie, Kassie, Kathy, Casey, etc.
    Once I stole a Starbucks drink from an actual Casey because I assumed they meant me.
    Some people just don’t hold spelling in their heads so well. The more you can de-personalize the errors, the better.

  95. Adardame*

    I have coworker with an oddly spelled name. He changed the color of the odd letter in his name on his email signature to make it more distinct. I’m not sure if it helps people spell it correctly, but I thought it was amusing.

    I have a former coworker who has a very common name, but her parents spelled it like it’s said instead of like everybody spells it. Customers would come up to her, look at her name tag, and tell her straight up to her face that her name was spelled wrong. It drove her crazy.

  96. Sarah*

    I have a fun game if someone spells my name wrong. I slightly misspell their name in my reply to them :)

  97. Diatryma*

    Regarding chores/assigning tasks:

    I worry that one of my managers wrote this about me! (she says, while at work) We have some resentment in our lab about things like trash, resupplying things, et cetera. Some of my end of it is because I have a higher threshold for things like ‘when do I put more supplies out’ and ‘when do I tie and toss the trash bags’. Some of it is also that we’re supposed to do these tasks at beginning and end of shift, and my schedule is slightly offset from everyone else’s so there’s not enough need, I think, when it would otherwise happen.

    These are reasons, they may not count as enough, but since no one has spoken to me directly I figure I’m within the acceptable range of performance, in terms of basic maintenance tasks. I also make a point to acknowledge the work others are doing, rather than handwaving it away as the Lab Fairy. (I have other qualities as an employee and coworker, I hope.)

    As a manager, you can definitely assign work, but also look at whether these are as-needed tasks where one person’s trigger point might be earlier than another’s, and point out when someone knocks the unglamorous work out of the park.

  98. Sarah with an h.*

    I’ve taken to being passive aggressive if I nicely remind someone several times of the spelling of my name. I make the h on my name bold and a font size or two bigger until they get the thing.

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