Naming a child involves careful consideration, yet sometimes, unintentional consequences arise. Samantha, a woman born in the 90s, recently went viral on TikTok for sharing the challenges her name poses in professional settings.1 Her last name, Hart, combined with the common email convention of first initial and last name, results in an email address that spells “shart” – an unfortunate name. This has led to uncomfortable conversations with Human Resources (HR) in her previous jobs.
The Dilemma of an Unfortunate Name
Samantha recounts her experiences with HR in both of her professional jobs, where she was asked if she minded having a different email structure due to the humorous yet awkward nature of her current one. This has left her questioning whether she should proactively address the issue with her new employer or wait for them to initiate the conversation. The challenges she faces highlight the importance of considering potential implications when naming children, especially in a professional context.
Samantha’s TikTok video garnered solidarity from individuals with equally unfortunate names. Examples included Chris Littmann (Clittmann) and Sue Hartlove (Shartlove), revealing a range of humorous and challenging email addresses in workplaces. The responses highlighted the prevalence of unintended consequences when it comes to naming, leading to a broader discussion on the impact of names in various aspects of life.
The Spectrum of Unfortunate Names
Names play a significant role in various aspects of life, as explored by Psychology Today.2 Easy-to-pronounce or common-sounding names are favored in employment, while unique or negatively associated names can lead to social challenges and rejection by potential romantic partners. On the positive side, individuals with uncommon names may develop impulse control, contributing to their success.
In a Reddit thread, individuals shared some of the most unbelievable names they have encountered, showcasing the variety of challenges people face due to their names. From Moronica and Dextrose to Dracula and Pikachu, the list highlights the creative and sometimes amusing decisions parents make when naming their children. These stories serve as a reminder for parents to consider the potential impact of a name on their child’s life.
Looking at more humorous and unfortunate names, there are a few challenges individuals face due to their names.3 Names like Rusty Kuntz, Dick Swett, and Mike Litoris demonstrate the extent to which common sense may not always prevail in the naming process.
Samantha’s story sheds light on the unintended consequences of naming, particularly in professional communication. The broader discussion includes the impact of names on employment and social interactions, emphasizing the need for thoughtful consideration when choosing names. The spectrum of unfortunate names, from humorous to challenging, highlights the diverse experiences individuals face due to their given names. As society continues to embrace unique names, this discussion serves as a reminder of the importance of striking a balance between creativity and practicality in the naming process.
- “Human resources won’t use my name in emails because of my unfortunate initials.” NY Post. Eleanor Katelaris. January 17, 2024.
- “Here are the 17 funniest, and most unfortunate, names that people have ever heard.” Upworthy. Tod Perry. November 14, 2023.
- “The Ultimate List Of Funny Names.” Bored Panda. Šarūnė Bar. February 15, 2017.