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Your Name May Be Hurting Your Salary

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What’s in a name? Apparently a lot of money. According to a new study by TheLadders.com, every extra letter in a person’s first name may reduce their annual salary by $3,600. That is a substantial chunk of money. I may have to start going by Mere. In fact, just call me M. I just made every Starbucks barista’s day a lot easier.

TheLadders tested 24 pairs of names—Steve and Stephen, Bill and William, and Sara and Sarah, and in all but one case, those with shorter names earned a higher paycheck.

This is a little funny, if you think about it. We think longer names like Sebastian and Theodora make people sound so regal, but actually those schlubs are losing out on money to Carol, Bob, Alice, and Ted.

But what should really be pointed out is that people who tend to have short names that are only three letters are usually men. In fact, the study found that eight of the 10 top names for male C-suite jobs had five letters or fewer, and that that group earned on average 10 percent more than others in similar jobs. The most popular names: Bob, Lawrence, and Bill.

Now I know people name their kids crazy names these days, but I have never met a girl named Bob, and I bet you haven’t either. If you have ever had a nickname, this would be the time to embrace it, girls (as long as it’s appropriate).

But on the bright side, European companies love people with long names. According to a 2011 LinkedIn report, Wolfgang, Xavier, and Charles were among the top CEO names in Europe.

Have you ever thought about how your name might impact your professional life? Tell us what you think!

Ask Lizzy Klein, VP of Product at Seamless, if she thinks going by “Lizzy” has helped her career! (You can also ask her a question on today’s Office Hours at 2:00 p.m.!)

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It's funny, I go by Mel to most of my friends and family, but I always went by Melissa at work because I thought it was more professional. This has turned my world upside down! Haha.

My parents named me Amy to compensate for my long last name (11 letters, ouch!) but possibly it is worth so much more than that. I think easy to say and easy to spell has certainly helped me in my career.

I once thought about rebranding myself during a career shift from "Cecilia" to "Cece" or "Cissy." At the end of the day, I'm Cecilia, and I don't believe "Cece" or "Cissy" would perform at the level Cecilia can. I'll take my chances!

I hated my name growing up - I can't even begin to tell you how many times I was told by the boys in my first grade class to get in the boys' line, or how teachers who were calling roll looked into the sea of faces expecting a boy to respond to my name and instead saw my hand waving in the air. Being older (and entering the professional arena) I've come to appreciate it more. Sad as it is, I'm a firm believer part of the reason why I've been offered the opportunities I have been is because initially, people think I'm a man; you should see their faces (or hear the tone of their voices change, if I'm calling) when they find out I'm a woman.

Valentina Q.
Valentina Q.

I´d never imagine that! my name has 9 letters and I used to hate it when I was a child but now I love it. Actually our names are our written identity in mails, profiles,etc so why not to embrace them?

I love the name Valentina, by the way - it's always been one of my favorites.


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