Picking Out Business Cards

Recently I have decided to print up some business cards for personal use and was confronted with what should be the simple task of putting your name on the card. For me this is infinitely more complicated. I can’t decide what name I should use because I have several. Let me explain:

Doomed From Birth

People have always had problems with my name. When I was a born, my Asian grandmother had trouble pronouncing the name my father had picked, Jacquelyn, because of her accent, so she called me Jackie (or more accurately, Jeckie). The name stuck and is what I go by. The only people who call me Jacquelyn are telemarketers.

As I was learning to write, my mom decided to go with the less conventional spelling of Jacqui thinking that it would be an easier transition for me from learning to spell Jacquelyn and then replacing the “-elyn” with an “i.” Sure, it’s been easy for me but incredibly, devastatingly, horrendously difficult for everyone else.

I’ve gotten cards (some from my own family) addressed to Jacquie, Jacque, Jaqui and Jackie. It’s also proven to be a pronunciation stumbling block for a lot of people and consequently I’ve been called Jacques, Jackoi and constantly asked if my name is said “Jackie” or “Jackwee.” If anyone out there is actually named Jackwee, please email me because I’d really like to meet you.

Neither Heads Nor Tails

To make things even more complicated, I’ve been saddled with the last name of Tom. While I can assure you that is a legitimate, Chinese surname, people still find the idea of having two “first names” (even though Tom is traditionally a man’s first name) very confusing.

I’ve shown up for classes and the instructors were expecting a male (apparently they didn’t notice the comma between the names). I’ve also had people ask me right to my face whether Tom was my first name or last name. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’m pretty clearly a female. Take a look at my bio picture and judge for yourself. And if there’s anyone out there who actually has Jacquelyn or Jackie as a last name, please email me because I’d really like to meet you too.

Nicknames At The Office

How has this nickname/last name/legal name quagmire affected me professionally? Well, whenever I start at a new company I miss a lot of emails until people learn to spell my name correctly. But more importantly I always have to re-introduce myself to people as “Jacqui” not Jacquelyn and make sure that Jacquelyn is spelled correctly on all my legal documents. I recently had to deal with a spelling error on my pay stubs that has been printed on my recent tax forms. Fingers crossed that the IRS realizes that Jacqueline Tom is the same person as Jacquelyn Tom.

So now back to the business cards. Should I use Jacqui Tom, which sounds hipper but is harder to spell? Should I go with Jacquelyn because that’s the name checks should be made out to? I was also going to set up an email with name@gmail.com but can’t decide if I want to be tied to Jacqui Tom forever. What happens when I get married? I had planned on taking my husband’s last name no matter how horrible it is simply because I don’t want to constantly be questioned about my gender for the rest of my life. New business cards are easy enough to print up, but email accounts can last forever.

Any Advice?

How do other people handle this? Do you go by a nickname at work? Does it affect you professionally? What do you put on your business cards?

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11 responses »

  1. Pingback: Baby name meaning and origin for Stacy

  2. Pingback: business office » Blog Archive » Picking Out Business Cards « The Office Newb

  3. As hip as Jacqui is, I think using the full name would be more professional for a business card (like you said for checks!). At least you can still introduce yourself as Jacqui. As for email address, maybe go for Jacqui.T@gmail and you will have to make sure you marry a guy with a T last name. Problem solved! 🙂

  4. I can completely empathize with your predicament. My struggle with my first name has always been the way people spell it, and- attached to my last name, which is difficult to say and is not pronounced at all how it is spelled-makes for a long name that is commonly mispelled on documents. It might sound judgmental, but I’ve found that people who pay attention and at least try to figure out how to spell my name are the people who are better to work with anyway. Email accounts can be forwarded to new addresses and business cards can be reprinted, use what you want to be called and what works for your personality. Or find a designer who can make you cards that will make the correct spelling of your name memorable.

  5. I have a similar problem, though not nearly as complex. My first name is Andrew but I go by Drew. I decided to go with Andrew on my corporate business cards because it’s more formal, and because that’s what it is in all of the systems at work (email, etc). It’s also kind of nice because depending on whether someone calls me Andrew or Drew, I know whether or not we’ve met before (as I tell people I go by Drew after meeting them).

    For my personal/comedy stuff, I go by Drew.

  6. i like this post, and inspiring me, i had a lot of new friend and always asking me lot of information, i think it is a good start to make a conversation, but since i dont give them a cards, they cant contact me…thanks for your share…
    Power up your Business cards

  7. Jeckie would be the name to go with. It can be a conversation starter when people ask ‘How did your name come about.’ And usually when people ponder your name or say it, the more likely they are going to remember you. Plus, Jeckie is unique. How many people can say they know a Jeckie? 🙂

  8. I have to agree with the previous commenter – Use your full name, this is your business card, not a “my name is” sticker.. It’s just unprofessional to use a nickname on your business card, imho.

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