Dear Bozo, Dump the Nickname

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Nicknames are a common part of the college experience. Fifty years from now, when you return to campus, your classmates will greet you by your long lost nickname. Whether you want them to or not. And the range of nicknames can run from the forgettable to the unfortunate to the “wish I could get rid of this nickname”.

So for those of you graduating with the nickname of Jimbo, or Scooter; you have nothing to worry about with a sticky nickname. For those of you names like Big Lebowski, Party Girl, Dancing Fool, or any other name that is the result of what might be one wayward night of ill conceived activities, rejoice. Until the next reunion, you have an opportunity to kick that ill-gained and less wanted moniker.

But don’t blow the opportunity because the workplace is full of nicknames too. Before you get trapped in one for your career, here is a list of the ten work nicknames to avoid:

1. Homer – Yes, that Homer. Homer Simpson may be lovable and he may be the one from which people in far away lands form their opinions of American men, but he is not your model for work performance. Picture him at the nuclear plant. You don’t want your co-workers concerned about the equivalent of nuclear meltdown at your new gig.

2. Zoom Zoom – Pace and rhythm are very important at work. Going too fast can be just as fast as going too slow. If you are out of step with the rest of the team, they will go after you.

3. Atilla – The list of names that describes Atillah the Hun type behavior is long. None of them are good. It means that the work gets done but there could be dead bodies along the way. Not good.

4. Grumpy – One of the Seven Dwarfs who is not fun to be around. On second thought, none of the names of the Dwarfs are probably good. “Happy” might be the exception.

5. Bozo, Crusty or any clown name – This one is self explanatory.

6. Meeting King or Queen – No one likes meetings. Don’t be the one who is always calling for them.

7. Phantom – If this is your nickname, you might not ever know it because you are not around to hear anyone call you by it. Working from home has created more than a few “Phantoms”.

8. Diva – Man or woman, you know who you are and what that means.

9. Ken or Barbie – It’s good to always look good at work, but not that good. Don’t be perfect. If all your co-workers look forward to mussing up your hair, you are not quite fitting in.

10. Pigpen – Picture your room in college. Now resolve you will never operate out of a space that looks like that again.

There you have it, the list of work nicknames to avoid. The same list would apply to Twitter handles. As you join the real world, it might be best to avoid nicknames. Boy or girl wonder might be the exception.

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