Recently, the division of the company in which I work was sold to another company. And with the sale are coming a number of changes. But one change that was a bit unexpected was my work e-mail address.
Having been through the sale of our company once before, I anticipated that my new e-mail address would simply be the same format as before—first name.last name@company name.com—just with a new company name at the end. A few days before the sale of our division closed, I tried sending an e-mail message to my new company e-mail address to see if I was correct but it quickly came back undeliverable. I thought huh, I wonder what gives?
On the day of the close, I received an e-mail message in my old company’s e-mail system with instructions on to log into my new e-mail system and what my new e-mail address would be. That’s when I got a big surprise, my new e-mail address was first name-hyphen-middle name.last name—david-earl.
For over 30 years, I had simply been known as first name.last name @ whatever company name I worked for at the time which matched the name I went by professionally (although occasionally I would use my middle initial—E). Was I ready for such a big change this late in my career? At staff meeting that first week, I told all of my colleagues that they had just one chance to call me David Earl, and then it was back to just David. I got a lot of laughs from my colleagues. The rare times that I have been called David Earl in the past has been by my wife, which usually meant I was in some kind of trouble.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not that I am embarrassed by my middle name. In fact, it was my father’s first name—the person for whom I was named having been his first male son. I have written about my dad and the life of giving he lived and I wear his name proudly as I try to emulate his character traits.
When I did a little research on how this occurred, I discovered that it was my current company that had actually made the error—an error I thought had been corrected but apparently not. When my travel profile was first generated a number of years ago, my first and middle name were merged together but my middle name lived on by itself. Imagine the shock I got when I printed out my first boarding pass and found that it read Davidearl Earl? In this post 9/11 world, I didn’t even think they would let me on the plane (they did fortunately). So when my old company transferred my personal data, they apparently pulled from this old profile where my first name was listed Davidearl—all one word.
I can only guess that whoever got my profile at the new company thought I must have been someone from the country with a name like Billy Joe Bob, and rather than having a space between the two first names, it got hyphenated.
I recently had to sign a number of legal documents using my full name. Given that my cursive hand writing skills are poor, I had a hard time adding in each letter of Earl in my signature, in spite of practicing it beforehand. Little did I know at the time that my middle name would take on even more significance for me in another way?
When I was signing all of those documents I even thought maybe I should begin to sign my full name whenever I needed to add a signature (something I do a multitude of times at work each day). But then I remembered that the rare person that is always known by all three names is usually an assassin. No, that didn’t fit me.
So instead of signing with all three names for the next several years, I’ll just have to get used to seeing my full name whenever I access my work computer or e-mail account. And although it is not a name I use often, it will serve as a little reminder of my dad. And that’s not such a bad thing anyway.