No my first name ain't baby...it's Janet...Miss Jackson if ya nasty!
-- Janet Jackson, Nasty Boys
While nobody on the job has referred to me as baby - well, at least no one outside of those dudes in the awful neo-vests - I do have problem with folks automatically referring to me as another four letter word:
Following five years working at four different jobs (yes, I know...a whole 'nother post entirely), I have only met five people who I would deem a friend. Therefore, why on earth are the folks at work taking liberty to address me by a nickname?
While at my first two jobs, I made it a point to let all offenders - regardless of corporate rank or race - know that what they deemed my nickname was a sound and not my name.
Now that I am on job #4, I have finally been able to accept the fact that there are some folks at work do not like me, just like I do not care for many of them. Yet, we are all in the same gang at work and realize that we must feign many things on the job So, what a better way to do so other than with a pet name?
Cocoa Girl's Benefits of Using Nicknames in the Workplace
1. Nicknames help feign "like." So you cannot stand the scuzzy-ho seated in the cubicle next to you, yet you somehow got stuck working said ho on a special project for boss man? Continue to not stand her on your own time, but be sure to effectively feign friendship in front of the big guy. Try on "Scuz" vs. "Scuzzy Ho" for size.
2. Nicknames establish camaraderie. Granted, you purposely selected Harlem as the spot for your new condo because what the neighborhood lacks in amenities it makes up for in exclusivity (it's black). Yet you cannot allow your Harlem roots to overgrow your workspace. So, go out for that drink of brewsky at that Irish pub in Midtown and be sure to call your pals mono-syllabic sounds. e.g. Peter is now Pete; Doug is now "Dougie Fresh" and "Paul Gafferty" is now "Gaff.'
3. Nicknames make Cocoa seem, um, less Cocoa. Let's face it: Black folk at work already have an issued with being trusted. So there is no use in deepening the divide by appearing to be an uptight a$$ in a sea full of drunkards and shot chasers (remember: debauchery loves company!). Since Cocoa-coated types generally avoid the nickname game, purposely jump for a turn or two at key staff events, from monthly meetings to happy hour to those intense sessions with H.R.
How do you feel about being called something other than your birthname on the job?