Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

What’s in a name?

So, there I was on the first day of my first full time job, looking resplendent in my brown polyester suit and equally polyester shirt and tie. Sitting opposite me was my new boss, Alan.

Welcome aboard, Chris” he said cheerily “I hope you enjoy working here”.

His face then turned more stern, as he continued:

Chris, I think you’re going to have to change your surname, I’m afraid clients will have difficulty pronouncing it”.

Shocked and somewhat offended, I found myself replying:

“Alan, I’d rather not – it is, after all my name and, as well as that, I think people are more likely to remember me, given it is unusual”.

Thankfully, my reply must have come across with some authority, as he seemed to understand and relented.

So, not long after, I looked proudly at the classified pages of the esteemed trade publication Fashion Weekly and there, at the head of the page was my name in print:

For classified advertising, contact Chris Markiewicz on 01 837 8686 ext 259”

I felt so chuffed – I’d arrived!

I have probably had to spell my name out to people a million times or more over the years, but it does indeed tend to get me remembered.

The variations can be hilarious – everything from “Marcabbage” to “Muckybitch” have been chucked at me. The first word processing package I had, threw up “Moorcocks” on the spell check.

And, it wasn’t just English people who messed about with it. My nickname in Polish scouts was “Marchewka”, which means carrot – oh, how we laughed!

Having an unusual name has had its moments  Perhaps the most infamous encounter occurred at a computer trade show I was attending when I was working on Computer Weekly. The interaction spawned another nickname that I carried through the latter part of my corporate career.

I was in our hospitality suite and spotted a chap standing on his own. Approaching him, I put my hand out and, in my best, most thrusting  corporate tone, I introduced myself:

“ Hi, Chris Markiewicz, Computer Weekly”.


“No, it’s pronounced Markiewicz”.

“Markweeks” came the reply again.

Feeling most agitated, I re-asserted:

“ No – M-ark-ie-wicz!”

“I know, but my name is Mark Weeks!”

So, that became my workplace nickname  from then on.

Preferable I’d say to Muckybitch, although I’m sure there are those out there who’d feel prompted to call me that, whatever my name happens to be…….



One Response to “What’s in a name?”

  1. I know just what you are talking about.
    As ever
    Michael Glassman, Flashman, Gasman (oh no, I remember) Lassman

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