‘What was your name again?’

In humor, Interpersonal, Office, Office Romance, Organisation on June 21, 2011 at 04:13

“You spoke with my boss, Mr. Doodlesberg?”

You know the guy mentioned some normal name but it just did not register.

“Yes”, you reply, “I’ll send that mail right away to…”

“I am Mr. Hanselboy.”

“Mister…?” – You want one more chance.

Mr. Hanselboy ,” he says matter-of-factly.

 Snapping finger while trying to remember something never seems to help

It has finally happened.





Your brain’s contact list has reached full capacity. To remember any more new names, you will have to delete some old ones.

Between online communities and syncing multiple devices, you can’t put a name to a face without it being on a screen. Staring at person’s chest to read his/her name off the ID card is not a good idea either. Memory tools like linking morphological and racial peculiarities to names is too much to handle for today’s hyper-propah environment. Adding them on FB is a scary thought.

When all fails, resort to pen and paper

Maybe, you could actually physically write down the names. If only, you could find a pen, and then, some paper, you could avoid situations such as:

“How could you lose the pen drive?”

“I did not lose it, I lent it to someone.”

“Someone who?”

“You know; the new guy with the eye thing.”

“No, I don’t know the new guy with the eye thing.”

“Well, there are so many of them…”


The one with the glasses is called Bhavesh for ‘B” flipped 90 degrees looks like glasses!

Perhaps, you are not outgoing as they say. But how social can you be? With 400 employees and an attrition of 20%, you are looking at remembering 2 new names every working day for the rest of your career!

And if you are contributing to the attrition yourself, you have to learn an entirely new set of names. “This is Mr. X, this is Mr. Blah and that is Miss. Liz,” says your new boss as he debuts you at your new galley. “This is like a marriage reception, you just have to smile. Do not hope to remember any names,” he tells you on the side lines. ‘If only more people were memorable, like Liz,’ you tell your dreamy-eyed self.

– J.

  1. Till late last year (when I was still in India), about 120 people had a dotted line reporting to me. And guess what? Within 3 months of this happening, I managed to remember everyone’s name – and relate it to the face too (probably because I had to prepare and publish reports about them, their tasks, etc daily).

    Then in Nov 2010, we moved to Denver and I had a new assignment. Here I am working for a customer, and there’s just 9 people reporting to me (3 direct, 6 dotted). And guess what? Within a fortnight, I forgot the names of at least a 100 out of those 120.

    Weird, isn’t it? I like to think that this is the way our brain is wired – helps me sleep better at night 🙂

  2. Once again, you capture modern corporate angst so perfectly and humorously. I love your writing!

    Not only do you make me laugh, you make me think–the mark of a truly gifted writer/blogger. The thing that I thought about was how I can’t remember phone numbers because my phone does it for me. Our brains have lost their “muscle memory” due to the technology we wish would be even more sophisicated (facial recognition on our phones) so we didn’t have to rely on our fallible noggin.

    I know some people well into their 70’s who can remember names and dates. It’s scary and inspiring at the same time. I’ve taken to memory tricks to remember names, but, as you say, in today’s workplace, just abut the time you remember the person in the cubicle two spaces down, they are replaced. I guess that gives you a lot of opportunities for challenging your brain! Either that, or put a dry-erase board up instead of name-plates…

    Keep writing! 😉

    • Thanks Lorna glad to have fellow bloggers like you to share with it has been v.encouraging

      the writing and even the inputs and images come from shared experiences

      the effort is to put all these inputs into a voice that communicates without patronizing, convinces without instructing

    • facial recognition is scary, not helpful like it seemed in The Jetsons!

      I still carry a ball point pen in my pocket everyday. If nothing else, it can pass off as an accessory


  3. There is what they call ‘Augmented reality’ – Smart phones can identify people by matching their faces with their pictures online

    scary stuff but more legal than tatoos

    thnx for stopping by Lafem

  4. Funny. Oh yes … I can identify. Too bad names can’t be tattooed on foreheads. I wouldn’t want it,on mine but I’d sure like it on a face whose name I can’t remember.

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