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A recent article in the Globe and Mail has me considering a moral quandary. In it, Wency Leung reports on a new study that suggests women who take their husband’s last name are regarded as less competent and less ambitious. The study, which was broken into four parts, shows that women who decide to change their name tend to be older, have more children, and possess conservative family values. These women appeared to possess a stronger work ethic, yet tended to work fewer hours per week and earn a lower salary than those women who decide to keep their maiden name.
Now, I’m a bride-to-be (June 26th here I come!) and I’m also a business woman. I launched my business in my maiden name and have included it on every by line I’ve ever had. Google “Chantielle MacFarlane” and you’ll discover my various social media profiles, my company website (CIK Marketing), press releases from past employment positions, tons of blog posts and articles, old figure skating results, and a few track and field time sheets. I’ve got a pretty unique name, so it’s easy to find me online… but what happens when my name is no longer mine?
Essentially, I’ll disappear.
Google “Chantielle Kennedy” next week and you’ll find nothing. All of my previous accomplishments still apply to me… just not according to Google. I’d never really considered the consequences associated with changing my last name until reading Leung’s article. I’d realized it might be a little confusing for some of my clients, but nothing a quick phone call or email couldn’t clear up.
So, do I change my name and risk being thought of as an uneducated slacker, or stick with my maiden name in order to appear professional and career-oriented?
For me, the answer is easy. I had always intended to take my husband’s name, whether it was Smith, Jackson, or Shirazamobad (thank goodness it’s Kennedy). It just seems natural to me; a new name for a new chapter in my life. Sure, it will make things a little difficult for me businesswise. I’ll need to change my networking accounts, publish a few articles as the hybrid Chantielle (MacFarlane) Kennedy, and include some links on my company website to important past accomplishments so they aren’t lost forever. I’ll also continue to work long hours and strive for financial security. Because regardless of what some study says, I know my last name doesn’t define my earning potential or professional value. My determination and drive will remain regardless of what my nameplate says.
What are your thoughts on changing your last name? Have you done it? Will you do it?
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