Maybe I should have changed my first name

Are there other people out there besides me who have entertained changing their name just because of email issues?

Today, I called someone to set up an interview with his boss. We chatted briefly, and he asked if I’d received the response that he’d sent to my original email inquiry. I told him that I hadn’t. He speculated that his email might have ended up in my spam folder, since I was using a yahoo email account. Yahoo mail seems to have a very low tolerance for spam, which is good most of the time, but occasionally, a genuine email gets caught in the net and I miss it.

(After I got off the phone with him, I checked my yahoo email account’s spam folder, and it wasn’t there. Luckily, a few hours, the email appeared.)

The trouble is, my name is so common that it’s just about impossible to get a good free web-based email account that uses just my name. Do you know how many Jennifer Larsons are out there? It’s pretty shocking. Not the Jennifer part–I was born in the 1970s, after all–but the Larson part. Who knew there were so many Scandinavians in this country? Anyway, I did manage to get a gmail account that uses all three of my names (firstmiddlelast @, but I never use it. I feel silly giving out my whole name like that. Plus, I have yahoo set up as my mail account on my iPhone so I can check it frequently. And I’ve been using it for so long that everyone who knows me has that email address, so it would be a pain to give all those people a new one–and expect them to remember it. (Believe me, I know this from switching from the one I used prior to that.)

Just on a whim, I googled my first and last name to see how many Jennifer Larsons there are on LinkedIn. I don’t even want to tell you. There were dozens and dozens. Some of them are even freelance writers, like me. Which sort of blows away my whole kept-my-name-when-I-got-married-because-I-had-a-professional-reputation argument. Sigh.

So I googled my first name and my husband’s last name. There are only six of those on LinkedIn, and a couple of them don’t even go by the full name (they use a nickname, like Jen). If my husband knew this, he’d be pretty darn smug. He didn’t give me a hard time when I kept my maiden name, but he jokes about it occasionally. Of course, we’ve been married now for what seems like forever (hey, eight years is a long time!), and what’s the point of switching now? Plus, again, I still can’t get a good combination of my first name and his last name on a gmail account anyway, so it wouldn’t make that much of a difference on that front, either.

Mooooooom, why why why did you name me Jennifer?

About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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One Response to Maybe I should have changed my first name

  1. Natalie says:

    While I met almost no one with my first name as a child, I now know that there are a bunch of Natalie Baileys out there. Which is why my email address is No one else has that! However, there are a whole bunch of young girls running around with my name, which the world seems to have rediscovered in the last 10-15 years. Ah well!

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