Archive for May 26, 2011

What’s in a name?

May 26, 2011

Does a 'Mr.' or 'Mrs' really make a difference?I was introduced to our chief executive many years ago when they wandered over to my desk, thrust their hand out and told me their name.  As a young, junior member of staff I actually had no idea who they were, being separated by six layers of management from them, and since then have known them only by their first name.

I now sit on their management team, and still have a very good working relationship with them.  We speak about non-work related issues, and often share humorous opinions on current events.  We are by no means drinking buddies, but would certainly make a point to say hello should we bump into each other in the market or a restaurant.

This is a situation that is not entirely unusual, but one which was unheard of in previous generations.  Just a generation or so ago I would have been introduced as Mr. Clooney (hey, if I’m going to be anonymous I’m going to choose a good pseudonym) and they would have been introduced as Mrs Smith.  And this level of formality wouldn’t have been restricted to senior officers either – surnames were the norm for anyone outside of close working relationships and friendships. (more…)