8.2.13

What's in a name?


What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
                                      William Shakespeare 


Would you be surprised to know that changing your name could improve your employment prospects? I wouldn’t.

Well, to begin with I know that this is true from experience.

According to this article a Romanian student living in Sweden was left seething when he found that using a Swedish name led to a massive increase in responses to his job applications. A friend has asked if anyone has had the same experience in Finland - I know so.

Moreover, Google has found itself being criticised for linking "typically black" names with advertisements for checking criminal records.

Perhaps I’m too cynical, but when racism occurs I’m disappointed, enraged and a host of other negative emotions, but I’m rarely surprised.

I have several variations on my name that I use according to the situation; Mwila Zaza, Agatha Zaza, Mwila Agatha Zaza, Agatha M Zaza, I even have two email addresses. Sometimes this tactic works, many times it doesn’t. Unlike this Romanian gentleman I have never thought to tally up and make a comparison.

However, if a potential employer is racist perhaps it’s better that she rejects me upon my first application rather than building up my hopes only to let me down, and waste my time, when she eventually meets me.

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