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Career Names

Many parents chose a name for their child that reflects his or her character, but if you consider that many names are picked for children before they are even born it is obvious that parents have certain aspirations for their children. The aspirations of those Puritans that came to America in the 1500 and 1600s were particularly obvious. They often gave their children virtue names, such as Patience or Faith, in the hope that their children would live up to their names.

Today, parents are still trying to shape their children by the names they bestow. The difference is that in a more secular society, many parents are giving their children names that will give them an edge in a particular field of work.

Basically, career names work on current social stereotypes, so the following general rules may not be valid twenty years from now. However, if you are more interested in results than the principle of the matter, and you do not think that stereotypes are quick to change, read on.

If you would like your child to be involved in gardening, crafts, natural foods, or other slower paced professions that have an obvious connection to the land consider gentle names such Phoebe, Melody, Cameron, Brendan, or Gavin.

If you perceive your child as an academic or scholar, studious names are obviously good choices, but try to pick a name with a hint of creativity and dynamism. Constance, Frederic (not Fred), Sophia, and Dominic are all good choices.

For a career in the arts a unique and expressive name is a better bet. If the idea behind artwork is to be seen and heard then the same goes for a person's name. A few good choices include Zoe, Hale, Connor, and Dyna.

Names for the business world are exactly opposite to those for the arts: common, dependable, no nonsense, and non-threatening. Names such as Michael, Gordon, Charles, and Jonathan are good choices for men. They sound solid and have a hint of refinement or elitism.

With business names for women the disadvantage of using stereotyped names is most apparent. According to a corporate study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, meeker, less sexy names are preferred: in the study, the name Doris and Edna beat out Alicia, Jacqueline, and Jennifer. Does this mean that women who are perceived as assertive and impassive are not unfavorable in the business world? This may be what the business world wants, but do want that for your child?

It should also be considered that children often do not want to go into the field that their parents had hoped they would: we can only imagine how many children are out there who were supposed to be a doctor. Which leads to this point: how many doctors do you know with the name Skip or Daisy? Stereotypes are effective so be careful.

This page was last modified on 16 May 2003.

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