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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Flyover Territory
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    Quote Originally Posted by namefan View Post
    In some places it's actually illegal or highly discouraged for an employer to ask you outright if you've changed your name (the reason being is it would be an easy way to brew a discrimination lawsuit, for example an immigrant who changed his/her name to assimilate or a transgender person). What they CAN ask you legally is if any records they need to verify (e.g. work, school, criminal, etc.) are under another name (what they mean of "being known by another name" is if one or more of those records may appear under another name, not a full list of names you may have used since birth), and can penalize you if withholding the name prevents them from properly performing the background check. If the last sentence weren't true, that would imply that someone adopted or otherwise had their name changed as a child would have to reveal their birth name even if it would be of no use to an employer (on an adoption forum someone once asked this, and in such a case the consensus was that no you don't need to bring up that fact). (On the other hand, if an employer needs to know a nickname, middle name that appeared as your first name, alias you committed a crime under, etc. to check those records you'd have to bring that up, even though it didn't involve a legal name change.) Of course, if you've already earned your degree under your original name that fact probably won't be of a practical difference to you.

    ETA: After reading more of the posts, I'm talking about the actual employment application (as it would apply to jobs in general), not the licenses, etc. (where they will want documentation if not everything matches).

    ETA2: Source for the first paragraph (link broken so as to not flag the post as spam): admin (dot) mtu (dot) edu/hro/forms/whatyoucanandcantasklongversionmay05.pdf

    ETA3: In terms of what's legal/illegal to ask, any questions as to WHY a person changed their name would be verboten (they are allowed to know prior or other names only for record-checking purposes, and asking the prospective employee any details of the name change would also be a red flag in a discrimination lawsuit).

    What you say makes sense for the average citizen. I think it stands to reason, though, that they'll be wanting to verify his high school (or equivalent) records, birth certificate, etc, which will be under a different name. If he chooses to simply Anglicize his name, no one will be asking questions about why, as the answer will be obvious. I agree wholeheartedly that questions about why can be a slippery slope, but we all know they'll be asking themselves if not actually asking out loud. I'd argue that unasked questions turned to assumptions (particularly if he were to make a selection like Vandal) could potentially be more damaging to his career than the employer just asking some clarifying questions. And then there is Blade's point about the merciless razzing he'll receive from his peers - no stopping that unless you're willing to sue everyone you come across in your career.

    Lieutenant, given your age, the names you came up with make a ton of sense. Coming here for advice was a good move - the people here generally have diverse and and somewhat daring taste in names. Also, most of us are only 10-15 years removed from college (or less), and it's amazing the perspective that a small amount of time and life experience can give you. For what it's worth, I'd go to a doctor with an unpronounceable foreign name without a second thought, whereas it'd take some interesting circumstances to make me see someone with a name like Vandal
    Last edited by tk.; February 27th, 2013 at 11:31 AM.
    Tara, proud mama to a Honey Badger
    ... and a Badger in Training

  2. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,503
    @blade: I did mention that it probably won't be applicable in the OP's case (due to his profession). I made my post to let tk. know that for employment in general the only former or other names they're supposed to inquire about are whatever is needed to verify their background and credentials (and you don't need to reveal "extraneous" names such as your name prior to a childhood adoption, pseudonyms used for lawful purposes unrelated to your job, etc.). I do know that there are many exceptions to the general rule (e.g. medical licenses, security clearances), but for any others reading this thread I thought I'd clarify what was said. (The reason I know the details is because of a transgender friend I once had, and for "typical" jobs whether or not you need to disclose your former identity is whether or not all the relevant documents appear under your current name.)

  3. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Flyover Territory
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    Quote Originally Posted by blade View Post
    Lieutenant, gently, I hear a bit of self-hatred in your posts. I don't know where in the world your family originally came from, but I sure there are ways to make your surname work in Australia without blindly picking a random English one. How would your family feel about a son called Alex Johnson?

    I am completely sympathetic to wanting to divest yourself of a 12-letter unpronounceable monstrosity with an equally difficult first name. As someone married into an Arab family-- and I think the Arabs are currently about the most reviled and feared people group on earth-- I am also sympathetic to ugly ethnic prejudice and the desire to 'pass.' but remember that tough high school years won't follow you forever, and at uni-- esp on a medical course-- people will come from all different backgrounds and be interested in world cultures.

    All that to say, change your surname to something congruent with an identity that I promise you will later come to cherish.
    Very well said.
    Tara, proud mama to a Honey Badger
    ... and a Badger in Training

  4. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,503
    @tk.: In some cases even the records you mentioned (birth certificate, school) can be updated, depending on the state's/institution's policy (in some cases they'd fully change it, in other cases add the new name as an "AKA"). As some of us may know this happens frequently to someone's birth certificate when adopted, and can sometimes be done for other (non-marriage-related) name changes as well. Once again thanks to the insight from the transsexual I knew, here's a (broken intentionally) link made for that community on how it can be done in the U.S. and Canada: drbecky (dot) com/birthcert.html

    I can't find any information on how it would apply at a typical high school, but below is a university that will change the name on record of a student who has graduated (from a quick search it appears that some institutions will change a graduate's name while others won't):
    nyu (dot) edu/registrar/forms-procedures/name-change.html

    ETA: Once again, the facts I'm presenting are not intended to convince the OP that he should change his name; rather, I'm clarifying what others have said in this regard.
    Last edited by namefan; February 27th, 2013 at 11:48 AM.

  5. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    361
    I do agree with previous posters that changing your name drastically can have a lot of legal ramifications.

    You mention that your family members all have different surnames. Do you come from a tradition that uses patronymics, i.e. the surname is based on your father's name and so the family name changes with each generation? These sorts of names often aren't transcribed properly in Western countries. I have a friend from South India whose "first" name is his father's name and his "last name" is his name, and it gets difficult to explain over and over. In that case, you and your immediate family may want to agree on a particular surname that you will all use.

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