Your Title Here _______

What is in a name?

Moreover, what’s in a title?

Society as a whole these days has developed name tags for every nook and cranny available. From companies as big as Apple to small ones like John Doe, Inc., everybody has to have an extra few words after their name to distinguish themselves from the guy in the cubicle next door.

Who sets the qualificiations for these titles? Who gets to say what qualifies as a Graphic Designer vs a Graphic Artist? And does one’s qualifications need to be set in concrete in order to be respected?

I personally know people that hold the following “titles”:

Internet Data Conversion Analyst Specialist

Author

Intuitive Life Coach

Catalog Coordinator

Artist

Creative Art Director

Tax Specialist

Consultant

Some of the above titles are corporate; others are personal creations. Can you tell the difference?

It’s one thing to hold onto a title in hopes of getting the next one up the ladder. Senior graphic artists usually make more money than graphic artists; art directors more than assistant art directors. Titles often are reflective of the time, education, and experience put into one’s life status.

But often these same rewards take hold of our creative minds and pigeon hole us into corners we cannot get out of. If I don’t have a career of writing copy or documents I don’t have much of a chance for a job labeled “writer.” If I don’t have a degree in finance or accounting I can’t be a financial analyst, no matter how much math and economics I know.

We must leave the corporate titles to the corporations — there is no getting around big brother. But we can do something about our own titles — our own definitions of who we are.

Robin Storey wrote an interesting article on Writer vs. Author: What’s the Difference  (http://www.storey-lines.com/2013/04/writer-vs-author-whats-the-difference/). In it she said, “When I Googled ‘difference between writer and author,’ I came across the site ‘Difference Between,’ which explained it clearly. If you’re a writer, you can write about other people’s thoughts and ideas, but an author has to come up with the idea, the plot and content. ”

But in the same article, someone else said, “In other words, a  writer is focused on the process of writing, and as soon as they publish one book they’re on to the next. Whereas an author is someone who remains in the past, resting on their laurels and promoting their book instead of getting on with the next one.”

So am I an author or a writer? Does one get more respect than the other? Didn’t the author have to be a writer in order to be an author?  Am I a graphic artist or graphic designer? Don’t artists design? A beautician or hair stylist? Don’t beauticians style hair? An Internet Data Conversion Analyst Specialist or a Data Entry Specialist?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. People will always see what they want to see. Once we step away from the way Corporate America sees us, we can better focus on a label that will fit us like a glove (even if the glove is fingerless..)

I took a (what was for me) big step today on Linkedin. I added a title of Creative Art Director to my work experience. No, I don’t have a M.F.A., nor do I work at an Art Gallery. But I am the master, er, mistress, of my own Art Gallery — Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I do all the research, the design of the site, the contacting artists and the decisions about what art is unique and what is ordinary. I have customers (viewers), take advice from readers, and spend hours upon hours devoted to my Gallery.

And I’m going to own that title. Just as I am owning the title of Author AND Writer. I’ve had articles published, and, hey! Doesn’t the mere fact that you are reading this mean I’m a writer? And I’m published?

Don’t undersell yourself. If you are well-versed in a subject, pick a title that reflects that. Don’t be afraid to take a creative spin on your creativity and sell it to the world. If you want your name on something, do it. You know your own limitations — don’t back down. Don’t let the corporate world define your personal space.

And while you’re at it — give yourself a raise!

 

A Rose by Any Other Name…Could be Rosetta, Roze, Roase…

name-tag-11I’ve always had a “thing” about the name Claudia. It was rare and, when I was growing up, a tad odd. Seeing that the most popular names the year I was born were Linda, Patricia, Mary, and Deborah, it took a while to feel comfortable with an unusual, yet pretty, name.

The other day I was importing thousands of names into an e-mail data base, and  couldn’t help but notice the variety of names that are popular these days. There is a much wider rainbow of names that paint the sky than ever before. Yet in this realm of creative namesakes, I often find myself more than just gender challenged. I find I am way out of my league in name recognition and pronunciation.

I took an informal/unprofessional/spur-of-the-moment survey of data that crossed my desk. The lists came from people interested in the following subjects: Arts & Crafts, Science, Farm & Ranch, and Early Learning. Out of approximately 16,000 names, here is what I found:

The most popular over-all name (i.e., most frequent), was John, followed by Mary, Michael, David, and Jennifer.

The most popular Arts & Craft name was Susan, followed by Mary then Jennifer; the most popular name in Science was Mary, followed by John then Jennifer. Farm interest was strongest by those named John, followed by David (not Dave) and Michael (not Mike); and those interested in teaching younger students topped off the name chart with Amy, followed by Mary then Jessica. Other top 10 names included Nancy, Andrew, Brian, James, Barbara, and Jeff. Simple, easy-to-remember names.

There were normal amounts of Barbara, Rachel, Matthew, Kevin, Vicki, William, Gail, Carol, Tara, Paul, Leslie, and Sharon. There were lots of Lindas and Julies in Science, lots of Charles and Bens in Farm, lots of Nancys in Arts & Crafts, and lots of Lauras in Early Learning.

But I found a bunch of other fun stuff, too. (here comes the disclaimer bubble..I like ALL these names…that’s why they’re here).

I came across a lot of names that I consider “cute”: Gipsy, Deva, Roark, Stormy, Faughn, Sunny, Dash, Harmony, Mystica, Vanilla, Autumn, and Misty.

Then there are the “unique” names: Aletheia, Barbarita, Charlesetta, Anjanette, Candelaria, Dainko, Jasbeth, Merywynn, Vetrice, Tenancia, Descea, Elicinia, Dazanne, Torianne, Brack, Mireya, Lorendana, Nanise, Narshara, Garnetta, and Bernel.

Then there were the names that are sure to be misspelled: Khara, Alizabeth, Jacqui, Steav, Kasi, Kristopher, Rebekah, Tracee, Raechel, Symantha, Jackelyn, Rhoni, Tobye, Wendee, and Niqui.

I don’t know about you, but there’s no doubt I’d flunk the name game these days. I have a hard time figuring out if it’s male or female, and I’d hate to get yelled at for misspelling someone’s name. The most popular male names for the year I was born were James, Robert, and John. It was hard enough remembering if it was James or Jim or Jimmy, or Robert, Rob, Bob or Bobby. Maybe Deborah dropped an “h” now and then, and I was shocked when in 8th grade my best friend Linda changed her name to Lynda. I couldn’t do that with Claudia — unless it was Claude, Claudette, or Claudine. Ick to all.

Tell me about the unique names you’ve come across in your life.  The beauty of the written word is that new words can be created out of old ones. And, anyway, it’s what’s inside that counts.

And, just as a reference, the most popular names for girls a hundred years ago were Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, and Ruth. Popular men’s names included John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, and George. To be fair, there  also was Edna, Ethel, Ralph, Gladys, and Mildred.

So revel in the uniqueness of your name. If your name can’t be unique, make YOURSELF unique.  And be glad you weren’t named after a piece of furniture or a digestive part.