How To Switch To Nickname At Work?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about switching to a nickname:

Hi, I have a Chinese name (Ting Jung)and I don’t really like using it because it inevitably takes more than a few minutes to explain the spelling (T as in toy…) I’d like to go by my nickname (Kyra) in the workplace to simplify things — is there any way to gracefully request this? Thank you.

Signed, Kyra

Dear Kyra:

I don’t see why Ting would be difficult to say or spell, but then my name is Tina! However, I can readily understand your problem, because Tina was not my birth name, it was my nickname until I had my name legally changed many years ago. Here was my experience: Almost everyone called me by my birth name, but when I decided I wanted to be known exclusively by my nickname, I just started signing with it and asked my supervisor, manager and friends to help me by using it.

There is nothing ungraceful about just asking. The word gets around.It wasn’t until several years after that I decided to make a legal change. Twenty years later I still am called by my birthname by some people! Some people call me by my birth name and quickly correct themselves. Almost everyone calls me by what used to be my nickname but is now my official name. So, your results will likely be the same.

Your birth name is charming–and people enjoy saying unique names. But your nickname is lovely too, and some people will enjoy helping you make the transition. I found out though, that there is no point in getting obviously irritated about those who don’t use the new name–it only makes them more determined! Best wishes, Kyra!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.