Friday, October 9, 2009

By Its Right Name

In my last job, management kept trying to convince its staff that titles meant nothing, but people have a natural inclination for naming - naming stars, species, babies, and themselves, as well as nicknaming loved ones and pets and the otherwise nameless guy on the subway platform every morning.
When I started working out of college, I stopped using my last name in conversation. I never introduced myself by my first and last name, only my first, and when I answered the phone or made calls or announced myself to building security, I always addressed myself as "Sandi from Atlantic."

Since then, I've been "Sandi from Razor & Tie," "Sandi from Kidz Bop," "Sandi from Ziggy Marley," and now, "Sandi from Ultra."

People ask me what I do for a living, and I often tell them I'm a marketing consultant. I might tell them I work in the music industry. If I'm really brave, I tell them I'm a writer.

Earlier this week, the woman I'm filling in for while she's on maternity leave introduced me as her "temp." Duly noted.

I guess it doesn't matter what other people call me. But with my refusal to embrace my given last name and without a definitive career goal to serve as a surname ("Sandi the attorney," "Sandi from Peace Corps"), I'm not sure what my right name is.

What is "Sandi," all by itself?

This is a question that has plagued me since I first released myself from my last job, where I recoiled at being called a "marketer." Of all the things in the world that I am, that's the one name that someone should choose to call me?

Why not:
  • adventurer
  • explorer
  • student
  • teacher
  • sister
  • friend
  • mentor
  • instigator
  • investigator
  • sinner
  • dreamer
?

Surely all of those would be true, and permanent.

I guess you can call me a "temp" now, for my current working state is temporary. But I hope for a longer-term impact out of my time spent there. Unless we figure out by what right name to call me, we will forever keep each other at arms' length.

I keep hoping for something or someone to get close enough to give me a name that really is right.

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