If your name is Mindy, there’s a high chance you are an accountant. Charles and Harvey tend choose electrical engineering. And if you want to be a football coach, your chances are higher if your name is Mike, Bill or Dan.
These high correlations between names and occupations are a real thing, identified through analyzing public records, something Veradant labs did when developing Nametrix, an app developed to help new parents with selecting their baby’s name. Further evidence exists in the literature. For example, in an article published in Attitudes and Social Cognition, psychologists, led by Brett Pelham from the State University of New York at Buffalo, found that people’s first and last names may have an impact on their choice of career.
Learning that, it now makes sense to hear that Michael Ayre named his son Billion. Billion what? His last name should give you a clue – Ayre. Pronounced like Aire. That may seem extreme, but another study found if your if your last name is closer to the beginning of the alphabet, you could get into a better school. Whoa. Does this mean the name of your child may actually pave the way towards a certain career or life? The Journal of Psychology found correlation between names that were easy to pronounce and higher status at work. In other words, people like Mr. Smith more than Mr. Colquhoun, at least initially (until they learn Mr. Smith leaves the microwave dirty after he warms up his lunch everyday!).
But how do names predict satisfaction in a career? In other words, since psychologists from the State University of New York at Buffalo, also found that you have a higher chance of choosing dentistry as a career if your name starts with Den-, whether male or female, is dentistry a better fit for you, simply because of your name?
Although there are studies that relate career satisfaction to health and job satisfaction to respect, autonomy, control and opportunities for mastery, there are no studies relating names to career satisfaction. And one study goes a long way in debunking the statistical significance of names and correlation to success. This article published in the Journal of Applied Statistics found that baseball players whose first or last name begins with the letter K actually do not have a tendency to strike out more than players whose initials do not contain the letter K.
So, if you REALLY want to be a dentist….but your name isn’t Dennis, don’t give up on that career just yet.
Some other interesting name/career correlations:
Usain Bolt: Fastest man on Earth, of all time, happens to have the surname Bolt. Now maybe that’s a coincidence. We don’t really know, but certainly there’s a strong association between the things he was good at and his name.
Sara Blizzard, Amy Freeze, Larry Sprinkle and Dallas Raines: You guessed it, all meteorologists.
Thomas Crapper: A sanitary engineer.
Douglas Hart: A New York cardiologist.
Sue Yoo (say it aloud): An attorney
Charles Fish: Founder of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
Moxie Crimefighter Jillette: Daughter of magician/comedian Penn Jillette. Yes, that IS her given name. It remains to be seen if she will choose a career fighting crime.
Join our membership to learn about all kinds of careers, some you have heard about and others you have not. And if your name is Bob or Pete, remember that you aren’t completely destined to be a used car salesman…even if your name indicates you might be.