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Please to meet you, hope you guessed my name?

9 October 2023 09:00

"Hello, my name is Steve" - those are words I've said a million times in my life, however they are not true words.

If you want to get all technical about things, my name has always been SteveN.

Mostly this hasn't mattered to me, or anybody else, I introduce myself as Steve, people call me Steve, and Steve is the name that makes me turn my head, when shouted across a bar. However things changed when I moved to Finland.

In Finland I had to open new bank accounts, sign mortgages, hand over IDs, and there were many many pieces of paper I signed, or forms I filled out. Unfortunately I screwed up:

  • If I were thinking clearly I'd think "Oh, this is something official, I'd best write SteveN".
  • If I were distracted, or not being careful I'd write my name as "Steve", and then sign it as Steve.

The end result? I've been in Finland for approximately eight years, and I have some official documentation calling me Steve, and some other official documentation calling myself Steven. (For example my "Permanent Residency Permit" calls me Steve, but my Social Security ID knows me as Steven.)

Every now and again somebody queries the mismatch, and there are daily moments of pain where I have to interact with different agencies, so I made the obvious decision: I'm gonna change my name.

A fee of €60 and a simple online form was sufficient to initiate the process. The processing time was given as "one to five months" on the official forename changing page, but happily the process was complete in a month.

I will now need to do a little housekeeping by getting updated bank-cards, etc, and then complete the process by changing my UK passport to match. Hopefully this won't take too long - but I guess if Finland knows me as Steve and the UK knows me as Steven I'll still be in a bit of a screwed up state, albeit one that is consistent in each country!

Not a big change really, but also it feels weird to suddenly say "Hello, my name is Steve" and mean it.

People are weird.

Names are interesting.

The end.




Comments on this entry

icon Steven Feinstein at 17:35 on 9 October 2023

I have been dealing with this my whole professional career. I am not Steve. I am SteveN; especially if you are writing it down. When I was first starting out in my career, we had a whole company meeting and when someone in the room referred to me as 'Steve", the VP of the company stopped the meeting and said, "Excuse me. But he prefers to be called SteveN". I immediately turned red. I was so young and embarrassed but very happy that he did that. Every one made a point to call me SteveN after that.

Here I am, 37 years later, and I am still correcting colleagues and feeling no shame doing so. That is my name, dammit smile My friends understand it. They help me out and will correct others for me. As a matter of fact, one forwarded this blog post to me.

From one Steven to another. Wishing you all the best.


icon Steve Kemp at 17:43 on 9 October 2023

Interesting to see somebody get the confusion the other way around.

(I was reflecting recently that when I had friends called Steven in my youth there was always the question "V or PH?", but that seems to have fallen out of fashion nowadays.)