Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column blames it on the name

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Shocked: The behavior as you describe it is hazing, bullying, unethical, unprofessional and, because it is gender-based harassment, also illegal.

Consult with a lawyer. You should write a memo to your colleagues, saying, "Despite my repeated requests to be known by my legal name in this office, various colleagues have changed my email address without permission and introduced me by the wrong name in written and oral communication with clients. This needs to stop." Document everything.

According to a 35-year study published in 2009 by the journal "Social Behavior and Personality," about 18 percent of American women marrying since 2000 have chosen to keep their names. This is hardly outside the norm. [February 2012]

Dear Amy: I was truly shocked to read the letter from “Shocked,” who reported workplace harassment because she didn’t take her husband’s last name when they married. Really? I hardly know any women who have taken their husband’s surnames.

– Professional Reader

Dear Reader: When I looked into this, I was surprised to see that, according to a 2009 study in the journal Social Behavior and Personality, about 23 percent of women kept their maiden names in the 1990s, compared with about 18 percent in the 2000s. The trend of women keeping their names seems to have peaked. [March 2012]


Dear Amy: I got married 18 months ago, and I'm still changing my name. It has been an endless stream of phone calls, letter-writing, forms to fill out, and providing certified copies of my marriage certificate. I may have it done by our fifth anniversary.

Newlyweds, before you decide to change your name, list every card in your wallet. Then list every email address you have; every online shopping account; every organization you belong to; review bank accounts, and list vendors for your bills; then collect every legal document that you have for your home, car, insurance, etc. That is how many companies you need to contact to change your name.

Kudos to the woman keeping her name. I wish I had.

– Exhausted


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