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16th Dec 2021

‘I refuse to use my boss’s real name in the office – it’s all about respect’

Charlie Herbert

Office name

She asked the world of Reddit for advice on the office dispute

A woman has landed herself in a meeting with HR after refusing to call her boss by his actual name.

The dispute came about after she claims he refused to call her by her preferred name, despite the worker in question having repeatedly asked him to.

‘Samantha’ took to the famous Am I The A**hole subreddit to ask people for their advice and views on the situation, with many backing her up on her petty move.

She explained: “I have the sort of name that has several common shortened versions – think Samantha/Sammy/Sam.

“And my entire life, people have insisted on being too familiar and shortening it against my wishes. I only ever introduce myself as ‘Samantha’, sign off all my emails as Samantha, and insist on it when people ask what I prefer.

“I think Sammy is too young-sounding for me, and growing up I knew another Sam who was a real piece of work, so I hate being called by that name.”

But she says that throughout her life her colleagues have always shortened her name, despite her protests.

“I’ve only won the battle with one person, who took the hint after I started calling him Jonathan instead of his preferred Jon,” she added.

“He asked if he was in trouble since only his mother calls him Jonathan, and I told him that I thought we were playing a game of getting each other’s names wrong… He now calls me the right name, so success!”

But when Samantha ran into the same issue with her manager Richard, who kept calling her Sam, she decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. And it landed her in a meeting with HR.

Can you see where this is going yet?

The woman wrote: “His name is Richard, so I’ve been casually calling him Dick all week. It’s a valid shortened version of his name. And when he’s objected, I’ve reminded him that I’m Samantha and not Sam.

“I had such high hopes for progress… but instead I’ve earned myself a meeting with HR.”

Other ‘Am I the A**hole’ debates:

Asking the Reddit community for their advice, it seemed like most were supportive of Samantha, advising her to stick by her guns in the upcoming meeting.

One commented: “Be factual and concise with your story to HR. Ask why it’s OK for him to shorten your name, but you can’t shorten his.

“Take all emotions out of it. My guess is he’s spun this to where you’re “calling him A dick”, and not just calling him Dick.

Another wrote: “If you drop in the words: ‘toxic workspace’ ‘calling me inappropriate names in a manner calculated to annoy’ and ‘hostile work environment’ while you explain your point of view, I predict you will have a more favourable outcome.”

But others disagreed, with one adding: “I have a similar problem with people shortening my name but I would never be dumb enough to call a manager in my company “Dick” no matter if it is a legitimate nickname from way back when.”

“Choosing an insult-related version of his name was deliberately provocative. You know exactly what you called him, as your half-hearted defence of ‘it’s a valid shortened version of his name’ proves. Protesting a bit too much there,” commented one person.