What’s in a Name?

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We’ve been having a conversation about our legal name. When we changed our name around age 20, we kept the same last name. The question has come up since our father’s death, hey, do we really still want to be carrying around HIS name? On one hand, the answer is no. On the other hand, we’re pretty established under that name. We still occasionally get mail to the name we changed 27 years ago, so I think its safe to say even if we change our name now, our current last name will still be chasing us to the grave.

We have a reputation in our career under that name. That reputation pretty much got us our current job. Saoirse really doesn’t like doing interviews, so, uh, I did some of them. Yeah, you’re right, that doesn’t work well. I simply said something along the lines of “Hey, I’m really anxious right now, and while I know this topic well, I’m currently drawing a blank. However I’ve worked with this person and that person, and they’ll tell you what kind of engineer I really am”. Which was all technically true. I didn’t go into the whole “Saoirse is offline right now” thing, obviously. So there’s that.

Also, changing our name before was a pain in the rear, and we didn’t have all the crud we do now. IRAs, Jeep, umpteen credit cards, gazillion doctors, etc. It’s kind of daunting to consider changing all that.

Saoirse has been campaigning for over a year to change our legal name from “Janet Elaine” to “Janet Saoirse”, since there never has been an Elaine. Personally, I don’t mind not being Sharon legally, it doesn’t really matter to me. But it matters to Saoirse. Lately Saoirse has upped the ante, and is campaigning to also change our last name to that of our step-Dad, since he’s more of a Dad to us than anyone, and our Mom carries his name as well. The argument being that hey, if we’re going to go through all the pain of changing our name, we may as well.

I think its too much of a pain to go through with it. Saoirse really wants to do it, but so far I always vote no. But with our biological father’s death, and Janet “retiring” from being host, I can see that the change could possibly make sense. We’d stay “Janet” to people who already knew us under that name, but going forward, Saoirse’s name would be on the bills. Since Saoirse makes the money to pay the bills, well, maybe that’s fair. Yes, we have a reputation as a genius engineer. But we also have a reputation as a somewhat mentally unstable one who takes leaves of absence every year or three. Hm. My last point for the “no” vote is simply that people can’t pronounce Saoirse. 😉

Over the past year, Wanderer, who holds the third seat on the council, has remained neutral on this topic. Since I currently chair the council, I get the magic tie breaker vote, and so I overrule Saoirse. I still lean towards no, but said I’d bring it up in therapy and online to see what people thought. Should we stay Janet Elaine Sullivan or become Janet Saoirse Hanneman? leave your comments below. You need to register to leave a comment, but it only takes a minute.

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