Changing my name at work, Part 3: The CEO herself

[Did you miss the beginning of this story? Read about the administration’s initial reaction to my name change request, and what happened when I brought the issue to the union.]

The first thing I did the morning of the meeting scheduled between me, my union rep, the work HR person, and the CEO, was check my email.

As I mentioned last time, this meeting had been scheduled with my union rep the previous day, without anyone from the administration getting in touch with me. I figured that it was possible, though, that they had just emailed my work email about it. I don’t have remote access to the account though, and I hadn’t been working on Thursday, *and* all of the previous correspondence about my name had occurred over my personal email at my request, so I was going to be annoyed if that *was* the case, but I least gave them the benefit of the doubt that they had inefficiently tried to contact me.

They hadn’t.

Whatever. I checked the schedule for the day, and arranged to have one of my co-workers take over for me at the desk while I attended the meeting. And I got to work.

The meeting was to be at 11:30. At 10:50, I got a call from the HR person. She sounded slightly panicked, let me know that the meeting was happening, and also that my boss had changed the schedule to make me available at that time. I went on break later in the day, and found that she had also sent me an email – to both my work and personal addresses – at about 9:45, (still less than two hours before the meeting was scheduled to occur). The email asked that I let her know when I got it.


The thing about my work email is it’s only accessible at one particular work station back-of-house, which is an email access point shared by the entire department, except managers (don’t ask). I check it once per shift, usually first thing, like I had that day. My personal email is not available to me when I’m working. So I’m not sure how the email was meant to reach me, honestly.

Do not doubt for one second that I was pissed that they clearly deliberately put off letting me know about the meeting as long as they could.

Anyway, the meeting:

When the union rep and I walked into the room, I saw a new name tag waiting for me on the table. I mostly ignored it, sat down, and waited for the CEO to speak.

CEO: So, we have a new name tag for you…

Me: I see that.

CEO: And I am going to call you Kasey from now on, instead of [birthname].

It was clear that she expected me to be somehow grateful about this, even though getting her to do so required me to threaten her with a fucking human rights complaint. Like she was just being so nice by finally, after weeks, managing to achieve a level of basic human decency.

Me: Ok. Can you tell me why this took two weeks? [*it was really closer to three at this point, but who’s counting?]

CEO: Waffles a bunch and vaguely mentions “processing time”.

Me: It only took you one day to tell me ‘no’.

CEO: Waffles some more and vaguely mentions “communication” problems and more about “processing”.

So, it was also clear that she was not going to admit any wrong-doing.

Me: I think you owe me an apology.

CEO: *deer in headlights*

I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it amounted to asking me why she should apologize. I don’t know why I didn’t just stare at her and say “seriously? You violate my human rights repeatedly and then don’t know what you should apologize for?” Anyway, I went with:

Me: I told you this [wearing a name tag with my birthname on it] was hurting me, and you told me to just keep doing it.

CEO: Waffles a bit more, talks vaguely about how her intent was never to hurt me, “that’s not what we do here”, and eventually “so I apologize for that”.

Me: Thank you. I’d also like for an email to be sent out letting everyone know about my new name.

CEO: *clearly doesn’t want to do it. Also seems weirdly, but genuinely, confused by the request?* You don’t just want to introduce yourself?

Me: I’m not particularly interested in repeating the same conversation 50 times if I can avoid it, no.

CEO: …

Me: …Something kind of like the emails that get sent out introducing new employees?

CEO: Um, ok. We can get [person who sends out those emails] to do that.

Me: Ok, good.

Union Rep: While we’re in an accommodating mood, can I get my tag changed to [shortened version of his name]. I don’t know who started calling me [long version] around here, but it’s not what I go by.

CEO: …um, yes. We can just change that.

I left around this point, though they asked the union rep to stay behind for a bit.

I started wearing the new name tag immediately. And (to their credit, I guess?) the email announcing my name change went out about a half an hour later.

Read on to the final part of this story: my co-workers reactions!


  1. It’s awesome that you have the support to get what you deserve (even if the company is going to be ridiculous about it)! I admire you for the courage it took to challenge them.

  2. Congratulations on getting your name tag, finally! Your boss deserves a Vogon award for trying to get out from under a big-ass mistake even after being confronted with the fact that yes, it was wrong what she did.

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