Help! I'm Shannon, not Sharon. How to deal with being addressed incorrectly in a professional environment!
May 30,2019 at 6PM UTC
I'd love some advice. I've been cultivating an important business/professional relationship with a contact over the past few months. We were introduced through a warm introduction/mutual connection, have had a phone call and have emailed a few times (mostly from my end to provide some updates).
We've been meaning to reconnect on a phone call for a few weeks and he finally sent an invite.
Only thing is he sent the invite with the title "HIS NAME + Sharon." Which I get a lot because people just look at the first 3 letters of Shannon and assume my name is Sharon. The contact has been overall very respectful and courteous in all of our other arrangements, and it has been a few months since we've corresponded, so I do not think he meant it maliciously, intentionally or to be misogynistic.
My question is how would you respond to the calendar invite so as to politely but assertively correct him so that we don't get on the phone call and it becomes even more awkward if he has truly forgotten my name and thinks I'm Sharon not Shannon.
Am I reading into this too much and should I even address it? Or should I take more offense to the fact that he hasn't remembered my name? I'm torn. I don't want to do anything to damage the relationship (if you can call it that, since he doesn't remember my name! ?) thus far since he is an important business contact for me and had agreed to introduce me to other important professional contacts that I need to advance and deliver results for my employer.
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As one can see from the numberous comments, there may be legitimate reasons for the inquiry; From following company nepotism policies to maybe finding "background" or insight into this individual if she isn't precluded from hiring them.
If the latter, did you consider that she was "seeking" your counsel or opinion? That could be viewed a a compliment.
The more important question in my mind is why did this inquiry bother you? Enough so, as to post about it on social media? It may be worth your time to look inward on this topic. I am very serious. Obviously, I don't know you and therefore I don't know your history and experience. You may have been in situations that were unpleasant and left you feeling victimized? I am giving you the benefit of the doubt .... but only you can honestly answer that question.
What I do know is this is a sensitive subject for you and it is worth examining further for your own well being and growth. Consider this, even if this inquiry was motivated from some racial agenda, you will never change that by complaining to HR. If this situation was clearly racist or discrimatory you would "know it". Your position isn't being threatened by this recruiter. But how you handle could be. I am NOT suggesting that you sit down and shut up either.
In the future, I recommend when you have an emotional reaction to a situation you examine your response 1st, that you extend graces to the other people involved and assume the best possible intentions. There is absolutely no reason why you couldn't have asked the recruiter to explain her reason for asking this question. It could have been an "opportunity" for you to educate the recruiter. This might have been resolved right then.
One caution I will offer. We all tend to seek out those individuals that will support our point of view whether that be friends, family or even other co-workers. Be careful because these people will rarely be unbiased, after all they are YOUR friends, family and co-workers, and therefore cannot necessarily provide honest or accurate feedback.
I recommend in these type of situations professional guidance is a wise move. They will help you problem solve through the process and better prepare you for the future, whether that means understanding that all ppl are capable of making unintended gifts when it comes to race and culture or that this is a serious in fraction that needs reported.
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