Short names that are easy to pronounce may get you remembered, repeated, and referred to often, whether your name is on a book cover, photo, artwork, or scientific study. You may want to check out the October 21, 2013 article, "Could Your Last Name Be Hampering Your Career Path?" The idea is what relation does your name have to your future in leadership or in psychology. Some employers are just too snobbish when it comes to promoting qualified people who have surnames that don't sound 'noble' enough or aren't tall enough for the boss's perception of what a leader should look and sound like to others.
That article works with names that are more easily recognized in English because they sound like familiar words, but the names used in the article as examples are all Germanic. The new study comes from Germany, that's why the names are in Germany. But the study found that people with high-falutin' artsy-crafty and especially high-class, noble-sounding last names, that translate to and are easily understood to mean king, emperor, or prince such as Kaiser (“emperor”), König (“king”), or Fürst (“prince”) may have an advantage on the management track compared to people with names translating as blue-collar jobs such as Koch (“cook”) or Bauer (“farmer”).
Names that translate into blue-collar jobs
Other names with blue-collar type jobs might be Snyder/Schneider (tailor) or Schmuckler, a common Amish/Germanic name meaning jeweler. There's also the last names (Germanic) Focker, Schmuck, and Putz, which are common Germanic names found in various communities that have other and sometimes humorous connotations when translated into English. Then there's Weiner, Schindelheim, and Grossbard (fat/long beard) which sound archaic to some, but represent towns or the person's occupation or appearance in past centuries. For example, the name, Cooper (barrel maker) found in English names. In some countries, rich people bought flowery or grandiose names, and the poor had to accept what names were given out to them. In German the name 'putz' means finery, plaster, or trappings. See, "What is the meaning of the German word 'putz'?"
The article only focuses on German names. But what about names from other cultures that are difficult to pronounce or remember on a book cover or in the entertainment industry? Which sounds more easy to remember, Gem Art on a book cover or say a Georgian female name used numerous times in Georgia, but not familiar to most Western Europeans or Americans such as 'Dudukhana,' which translates as "fat girl."
Yet this is a name given to girls in Georgia, sometimes called 'Doo-Doo' a short nickname for Dudukhana. Or how about a boy's name, 'Bagrat' (pronounced back-rat) which is the traditional name of a Georgian king...a royal name. You can see how foreign (to many people in the USA) names can change the way someone is perceived when it comes to office leadership. Do people with names that sound unfamiliar or different to the ear really have to change them in order to move up the ladder in business or other occupations?
And how would someone know you have a name of nobility if your ancestors came from a geographic location where few people outside that area would know the name was noble? Some people pick names of noble elements such as Diamond and Gold, Silver or Sterling, King or Prince, Baron or Duke in various languages. But in international business or USA commerce, how do you rise up the ladder of leadership if your name means someone who does blue-collar labor or farming?
A farmer's name didn't hurt the Fanny Farmer candy empire in the 1920s just because the surname had to do with the farming occupation. A farmer could be a wealthy landowner or rancher, or someone renting a small plot of land to raise vegetables to feed one family in centuries past.
Raphael Silberzahn of the University of Cambridge and Eric Luis Uhlmann of HEC Paris analyzed 84 different surnames among nearly 223,000 private-sector employees and managers. They compared 11 names associated with nobility, such as Baron and Kaiser, to a long list of names associated with everyday jobs, such as Bergmann (“miner”), Schubert (“shoemaker”), and Zimmerman (“carpenter”)
Can noble names be as important as a height advantage of being tall when it comes to job promotions to roles of leadership and management?
It’s well-known that people who are taller and attractive are more likely to garner managerial positions than people of shorter or average stature and appearance. See articles such as the CNN.com site, "Why tall people make more money" and "Taller Is Better - Gallup Business Journal." The theory is that taller people are promoted to management and leadership positions more often than short people.
Now the new research goes beyond height and weight or other appearance-related factors to what your name sounds like and translates as if people can recognize the nobility of the name at first sight or sound. The new research suggests that, at least in some societies, a surname could determine whether you will be hired or promoted to a leadership or management position with the best, most prestigious, or more spacious office.
At least in the German study, those with noble-sounding names had more jobs as managers, about 2.7 percent more managers per hundred people than expected, on average, notes the study in the journal, Psychological Science. Interestingly, researchers found found 1.1 percent fewer managers among Germans with last names referring to four of the most common occupations.
If there's no modern equivalent of the job today, a name that describes that job, such as a name that might translate as a buggy whip maker or button shoe stringer wouldn't apply as much as a name that shows a modern-day equivalent. For example, the name Tucker used by some people coming from the W. Ukraine may have been changed from Tokar, which in turn was changed from Tokarz, which means wood turner in Polish.
Now if the occupation isn't being done anymore such as wagon-maker (Wagner) or if you don't herd sheep, but your name is Shepherd, it's not going to affect whether you're promoted into leadership occupations. The job of wagonmaker is so little in demand, that nobody really is concerned anymore with the status of the occupation. So there's no effect or stigma of your name on your profession or career goal. The name Wagner most often is not associated today with a wagon maker, but of the classical musician of that surname.
Some people in radio or TV don't like humorous sounding names that are associated with sausages such as Weiner. So they might change it to relatively short names that sound 'triumphant.' A forceful or leadership sound to a name has a certain ring. In Germany, people are addressed by their last name. In the USA, most office colleagues call you by your fist name. So the first name might count as much as the surname in the USA. What's needed as more research on this topic may go forward is how you perceive yourself based on your name.
If you have a name that is understood to mean a highly noble rank such as Baron, Duke, Prince/Prinz, King or other royal-sounding high-status name, is it more important than if you have a name that's just easy to remember? An example of an easy to remember name is a first and last name consisting of only three or four letters. Or a surname with a melodious sound such as 'Whisper' as your last name and perhaps an equally harmonious first name such as Dawn or Aydin? So what do you do with a likeable female Georgian first and middle name such as Gvantsa Dzidzia or a male first name Bitchia, meaning "his son?" And this would be followed with a longer surname ending in 'vili' (son of) or 'adze.'
Do you keep your ancestral name in USA corporate circles with an eye to leadership based on your education and experience? Or do you get promoted only when changing your name to a simple name to remember such as "Gem Art." At least, a short name on a book cover might be remember quicker as would an actor's name on a lists of credits. But what about promotions in corporate circles?
Which matters more: your name or how tall you are, considering your education and experience with other colleagues are similar? It depends upon what type of job you're in and whether you're constantly being in front of people or dealing in a back office with data and research. Do doctors suffer prejudice based on their hard to pronounce names? See, "Do names prejudice how others perceive your status? A study."