Post # 1
Ugh… I have a dilemma. I am a research scientist with a decent publication record, and I am nervous about changing my name to my new husband’s last name. The normal solutions to this somewhat common dilemma, such as retaining my former last name or hyphenating, would ordinarily apply and easily solve the problem… except that this is my second marriage AND most of my publications were under my ex-husband’s last name. >.<
To complicate the situation, I just got a new job with the US Federal Government, and it is not practical to have my professional and personal last names different, due to financial responsibilities, publication clearances, badge records, etc.
Like I said… ugh.
Let me tell you, I am not happy at all about the thought of continuing to publish under my ex’s last name. So, couple this with the fact that I REALLY want to take my new husband’s last name… it is a VERY pretty last name… so… should I just do it and accept the consequences…?
Post # 3
I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but here’s my story.
When I started my PR company, I started it under my maiden name, which is an extremely common name. I mean, as common as they come. When I married Darling Husband, I took his name, which is extremely uncommon — as uncommon as you can get. Anyway, Darling Husband also owns a business. When I got married, I started using married name for business and, because many people know and trust my husband, it has improved my business.
Post # 4
You can use your maiden name for business & your married name for social situations. I’m keeping my maiden name for professional reasons as well.
FH has always joked about wanting to become Mr. Sassy.
Post # 5
Oh I should have read more carefully. I hate my ex’s name too, nobody can spell/pronounce it & he’s a creep. I had it legally changed back to my maiden name but never got around to updating my SS card or DL.
I will use my maiden name for all but social situations, it’s unique & works well for what I do.
Post # 6
I’ve actually already started using my new name professionally – I had to redo my portfolio website and buy a new domain, so I just decided to start using my new name. The name I use here is also what I’m known as in my online art communities, but my professional website is my real name. I have sold work under my old name and my most popular piece has my old name on it, but it’s easy to clarify.
Post # 7
Shylah, I say do it – change your name to your new husband’s. It sounds like you love his name and it would be meaningful for you. It’s ok that you published under your ex’s name. On your CV, you can list your publications, with your former name, and so prospective employers will know that it’s you. I don’t think it will jeopardise you professionally at all.
Post # 8
@Shylah: There is no easy solution, I use to be in research science (I am now teaching so the name change thing is less of an issue for me) so I understand the difficulties. I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to change my name before switching to teaching, my maiden name is not common, so in a medline or entrez search all of the publications that come up are mine (plus). FH name is more common, and future publications would be a bit buried. You can note in your CV the name change and still list the prior publications, most reasonable people can follow this idea (although granted there are plenty of folks in science that are not reasonable). Since you are switching to a government job and can’t have a different name personally/professionally, if it were me, I would change my name and deal with the consequences. It’s a bit of a hit, but in the grander scheme of things, in my opinion, it’s worth it to have the professional and personal lives in sync.
Post # 9
I’d change it and see what happens! It might be a professional problem for a small amount of time, but people get used to it and deal with it.
I’m also a professional in a completely different field of work and was worried about clients no longer referring to me because of confusion surrounding the name change. Within a few months things worked out without dramas.
Post # 10
Ugh. I don’t envy you having to make that decision. It sounds like either way, there are drawbacks. I’m not in research, so I don’t know what your industry looks like. Do you know of any other women who’ve changed their names? How have they handled it?
I think ultimately, it comes down to your emotional reasons. Does your desire to take your new husband’s name (and stop publishing under your old husband’s name) out weigh any potential negative professional consequences? Also, how does your new husband feel about it? That might help you make a decision one way or another.
Post # 11
From a PhD/govt employee married to someone with a security clearance: Plenty of scientists change their names when they get married, and I don’t think it is as harmful to one’s reputation as people think. You put on your CV what your name used to be, and people figure it out from there. And if you did desire to keep your personal/professional names different, there are a few ways you could do it even with a security clearance—for example, you could keep your original name as your legal name and go by your husband’s name socially (which is what one of my PhD friends is doing), or you could go by your husband’s name for most things, including at work, but publish using your old name (also know people who do this, although not in a govt setting). I would imagine that having two “aliases” would make things a little slower when your clearance is up for renewal, but you certainly would not be the first woman with a clearance to go by multiple names in her life.