My name is…

The article's author, Nigel Wilson, with people shaking hands in the background

Most of us agree that saying our name is difficult, right? Having used his middle name all his life, things got problematic for Nigel Wilson when his job interviewer addressed him by his first name, George. Read what happened next...

I once read somewhere that the worst thing a person can do when first meeting someone who stammers is to ask them their name; or worse still, ask them to repeat their name. That is because the one word people can't avoid saying is their name. There are no tricks to get around saying it and it is therefore more likely to result in a stammer.

I was christened George Nigel Wilson. However, my parents decided to call me by my second name. All legal and formal documents and registrations included my full name starting with George, but I was called Nigel by everyone. This didn't really bother me at all during my childhood, I was just Nigel.

Like many people who stammer my teenage years were difficult. My education and social interactions suffered and as a result I agree very much with the statement above about saying my name.

It was when I applied for my first job after leaving school at age 16 when the issue with saying my name really struck home. I didn't think anything about the fact that the job application asked for my full name, which I provided. I was happy to receive a reply saying that I had been shortlisted for the job.

I still didn't, I couldn't, correct the error without enormous embarrassment. So it was that for the next four years I responded to, and called myself, George in the workplace.

The interview day loomed nearer. Nerves and tension increased, and the day arrived. The interview panel consisted of three people; I walked into the room, was offered a chair and sat down. The lead interviewer started with, "Hello George, I'm…." He went on to introduce the panel and started the interview. My head full of fuzz, I was thinking, how am I going to correct them to say that my name is Nigel without stammering and blocking so much that I fail the job interview? I didn't correct them, I let the error pass and responded to the name George. I was offered the job.

On my first day at work I was introduced to the workforce of about 20 people as George. As with the interview I still didn't, I couldn't, correct the error without enormous embarrassment. So it was that for the next four years I responded to, and called myself, George in the workplace.

There were a couple of times when I was at a pub with some of my work colleagues where confusion arose. An old school friend happened to be in the pub too and I overheard them say to one of my colleagues, "How long have you known Nigel?" "Who's Nigel?" came the response. More relaxed with those who were now friends, I was then able to explain my double identity. 

That situation remained until I changed jobs a few years later. I do however continue to occasionally use both names depending on where I am and who I'm talking to; it now seems quite easy responding to both names. My name is Nigel – easier done then said! 

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