Jennifer Lauren Woodall. That my friends, is my full and complete legal name. It’s a nice enough name. Jennifer has a decent ring to it. And growing up sharing the same name as Jennie Garth wasn’t all that terrible. Actually, from 1970-1984 it was the most common name for new born babies in the US, every single year and because of this, I share my name with 17 facebook friends. 17. And that number doesn’t even count the Jen’s I know that aren’t on good ol’ facebook. (Yes, there are still people out there without a facebook account).
The thing is, I hate being called Jennifer. Like HATE IT. Ridiculous, I know. I just can’t help it. When I hear someone refer to me as Jennifer, my skin starts crawling around, and I become abnormally and obnoxiously angry. I remember I worked at a restaurant in Guelph where the owner refused to call me anything but Jennifer. I’d correct him, change my name on the section chart. Everything. He just didn’t get it. It was, in my mind, blatant disrespect. Why couldn’t he make the effort to learn that Jennifer is not the name that I go by? Why dammit?
Recently at my office, we were given new business cards and they put Jennifer on my card. Eek. It turned out that they used everyone’s full name, so it wasn’t just me, but I don’t use Jennifer. Ever. On anything. So, naturally I flipped out. Told them I wouldn’t use them and had my first real work temper tantrum. Luckily HR was super sweet about it and helped me through my moment of insanity. Looking back on it, I’m a bit embarrassed. I mean, I guess I could have used them. That said, the thought of my clients, vendors and partners referring to me as Jennifer makes me want to climb on the ceiling and scream at the top of my lungs “MY NAME IS JEN” while beating my chest like an ape. Nobody wants to see that. Well, maybe a few people would. But it would be intense.
What’s funny is that Mr. Opposite calls me Jennifer sometimes, and I don’t mind one bit. It’s like a cute pet nickname that only he can say. Except that instead of a nickname, it’s my actual name. Really, I blame my parents for all of this. (I hope you’re reading this mom. It’s your fault.) My parents only called me Jennifer when I was in trouble. Or Jennifer Lauren Woodall when I was in REAL trouble. So positive associations with my true given name don’t really exist. (I LOVE MY PARENTS SO I HOPE YOU ALL CAN TELL THAT I’M JOKING).
Anyway, as I was writing this, my new Jen Woodall cards arrived (funny enough) and all is well with the world and I still love my job. Phew.
Jen or Jenny. Not Jennifer.