I'm trying to weigh the pros/cons of changing my surname
March 21, 2013 9:57 AM Subscribe
Should I change my name, and if I do, when is the best time to do it?
posted by picklenickle to Human Relations (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not getting married, but my current surname bothers me. It's a hyphenated name, and a lot of people don't know how to deal with it. They'll lop off the first half or the second half, and this can lead to complications if my name has to be entered in a database or something (especially if said database does not allow hyphens). Also, because it's hyphenated, it's very long, hard to spell, and not easy to remember. As a digital artist, I want people to be able to remember me and find me and my portfolio via Google, and this can be difficult for the aforementioned reasons. Several times I've had old acquaintances and coworkers try to search for me online but fail because they look for the wrong thing, which can delay their message. It might seem petty but it's something that has been bothering me intensely for a very long time. I find myself getting frustrated just looking at my name.
On the other hand, will changing my name will just result in a bunch of other complications? I'm currently a college student, I depend on financial aid, and I find myself getting paranoid that the name change will result in some kind of complication with regards to FAFSA and my school. I already have enough issues with them messing up my address changes! Also, I'll have to go back to all my old schools to get my name retroactively changed, contact my old employers/coworkers, and all my other acquaintances to let them know of my name change, because I don't want to be searching for a job and have there be a mismatch during background/reference checks. I'm especially worried that when people are skimming over my resume/cover letters that they'll overlook a note about a name change (is that even the appropriate time to make that note?).
I have considered having a "pen name" for my artwork and just not legally change my name, but the issue is that most of my "regular" jobs use me for my artistic services (like art for properties while working at a real estate agency, or doing scientific illustrations/diagrams while working as a lab tech). Would it be weird to have my legal name on my resume but refer to a portfolio with a different name?
Any advice would be appreciated.