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What's in a name?

25th Sep 2009
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Can you spot a potential troublemaker in your workplace just by looking at a list of names?

A recent survey by parenting website bounty.com found that nearly a third of teachers expect pupils with certain names to behave disruptively.

While scientific research to back claim is thin on the ground (i.e. non existent), almost of half of the 3000 respondents said they make assumptions about children as soon as they look at the register.

Beware if you come across a Callum, Connor, Jack, Chelsea, Courtney or Chardonnay - respondents pinpointed these as the danger names, saying they would expect troublesome behaviour from students with these monikers.

Interestingly, 57% of teachers said the naughtiest children at school are also the most popular and often make friends easier than well behaved children. More than a third also claimed that the naughtiest children are often the brightest, and the most sensitive.

Naughtiest Names
Boys Names    Girls Names
1.    Callum         1.    Chelsea
2.    Connor        2.    Courtney
3.    Jack             3.    Chardonnay
4.    Daniel          4.    Aleisha
5.    Brandon       5.   Casey
6.    Charlie         6.   Crystal
7.    Kyle              7.   Jessica
8.    Liam             8.    Brooke
9.    Jake             9.    Demi
10.  Brooklyn     10.   Aisha

We all make gut instinct decisions on people based on snippets of information, so can we apply this to a professional environment? What are the subtle signals that set alarm bells ringing in your head at the start of a session with a new group or individual?

If you’re working with someone called Callum, are they more likely to give you problems than someone called, say, Jeremy? Are you more likely to disagree with someone with a beard, a moustache or a massive mono-brow?

What are the signs that allow you to spot potential problems and how do you head them off before they surface? Be honest, do you have a list of danger names written in the back of your notepad?

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By Anonymous
25th Sep 2009 12:56

Unlikely but true!

At the practice where I used to work, you could almost guarantee that any clients called "Peter" would be awkward in some way.

Either their books would be a total muddle, or they would want to set up very complicated business structures, or they would be bad-tempered.

I used to urge the partners to put a question on the new client questionnaire - "Are you called Peter?"

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By Gina Dyer
25th Sep 2009 14:39

Haha!

It's funny you should say that... in a company I used to work for, our finance director was called Peter. The mantra in the office was 'Peter's coming! Look busy!' Haha!

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By Anonymous
25th Sep 2009 14:49

Bad tempered brother in law called ........you guessed it PETER!
My brother in law is called Peter and he's bad tempered................so there you are then!

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By andrew wallace
25th Sep 2009 16:04

Deed Poll
So if I change my name from Andrew to Callum,will I instantly become Bright with lots of friends ?

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By Anonymous
28th Sep 2009 11:37

Chardonnay!!! really

What a stupid name, certainly when my wife and i were choosing names for little Merlot and Valpollicela we would never have chosen such a ridiculous name.

Yours,

Sir Burgundy Reisling Porter.

 

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By Anonymous
28th Sep 2009 11:56

Named after wines?
Could be a lot worse. I have come across wines called 'Old Tart' and 'Old Git' (which happens to be my name apparently) and of course there is a quite respectable German Moselle called Krover Nacktarsh, which means 'bare bum[***]' from the village of Krov.
Based on the first bit of your new-born that you are likely to see, I suppose the name Nacktarsh has a kind of logic to it.
But back to the original question; when it comes to colleagues, my advice is to steer clear of anyone called 'Vernon' and, on the distaff side, watch out for 'Cynthia'!

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By Anonymous
28th Sep 2009 12:50

The Peter hoodoo

Having made my earlier comment about clients called Peter where I used to work (Gina, love the mantra!), I now have one client of my own called Peter... who is a lovely guy!

Mind you, he's always known as Pete... so perhaps that's why!

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By Cav60
02nd Oct 2009 10:42

Always worse, when attached to word "Mandelson"..............

Guacamole my a*%e!

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By Anonymous
05th Oct 2009 12:51

Peter...

We have two Peter's at work. They share an office together and the sets of accounts that they produce are not the easiest to follow and as for the time they take to actually produce them!

My sister just had a baby boy just over a week ago and called it Callum! Not many people seem to like the name me included!

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