Reading Washington Technology magazine on Tuesday, I came across the most interesting byline: “Patience Wait.” I checked the tagline to see if this was the writer’s real name, and it was. (“Staff Writer Patience Wait can be reached….”)
I thought about writing here then, speculating on how she got the name, but e-mailing her proved far better. Her thoughtful and funny reply arrived this morning:
Actually, I came by my name quite legitimately. It’s my real name.I had a great-great-grandmother in Massachusetts in the 1800s with the name; she married into it, but I was given it deliberately.
It was a difficult name to carry when I was a kid. We moved a lot (my dad was with a corporation that transferred him frequently), so every two or three years I had a whole new group of friends who would tease me about it until they got used to it.
But about the time I really got into the workforce, I discovered it was an advantage because everyone I met would remember it. (Or something like it — I got called Prudence or Faith or Constance a lot, too.)
The drawback to the name as an adult is the same as the advantage. There are people I met once, 20 years ago, who still remember me; unfortunately, my memory is not nearly as good as theirs!
Years before I got into journalism I worked in product marketing in the computer industry. My company put me in a sales training class, and the very first session the trainer asked everybody in the room about their ice-breaking techniques — you know, how to strike up a conversation with a stranger. When it was my turn, I just picked up my name card and said that for some reason it’s never been a problem for me.
I don’t mean to be so long-winded. I guess it just demonstrates that I’m finally comfortable with it. Thanks for asking — it is fun to hear that people notice my byline, whatever the reason!