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I work in a big company where I'm one of two Asian guys in my department, and most of my coworkers can't tell us apart. Almost every day someone will email one of us intending to talk to the other one. When this happens I usually reply and say something like "This is Mark, Brad's email is xxx". It hasn't helped and often they'll keep emailing me more business-confidential information. I've also had emails missing since they went to Brad instead of me. My coworkers will come over to my desk, which has a nametag, and start asking for updates on the project Brad's working on. We are about the same age, but he and I don't really work on much together and I've only seen him a couple times in the year I've been here. How would you recommend dealing with this?

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    Hmm, awkward! It's not obvious to me that you can do much more than be clear and polite, as it sounds like you have been, but it definitely sounds like your co-workers aren't being as considerate as they should be. Do you and Brad look anything alike (you mention you're about the same age) beyond both being Asian? Do you have a similar surname, even if your forenames are as different as Mark and Brad? Some short-term confusion might be excusable, but if it's been going on for a year... – BittermanAndy Jan 31 at 17:23
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    Is it the same co-workers over and over, or are pretty much all of them doing this? – thursdaysgeek Jan 31 at 17:33
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    @thursdaysgeek op indicated "and most of my coworkers can't tell us apart." So we can tell it's not only one person – DarkCygnus Jan 31 at 17:48
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    @theonsenfan I see, what I don't understand is the email part. How come they send this other guy's emails to you? Usually, when someone needs to send an email to Harry they know they should send it to Harry, and will not try to send it to brad@company.com... Perhaps you being mixed root cause comes from an improper indication of whom to mail or what email address to send to – DarkCygnus Jan 31 at 18:23
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    You should not automatically assume they are making the mistake on purpose. I had two individuals I confused with one another and they looked nothing alike. I got confused because they were vital members of my team, I am extremely busy, and deal with problems that need a solution. We laughed about my confusion, solved the problems, and move on about it. Saying it's "rude" is a little extreme unless the same individuals keep making the mistake (although that is easier to make at times). – Donald Jan 31 at 18:24
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To me, it sounds like someone, somewhere got confused (very likely innocently), and then documented it incorrectly. So that YOUR name has gone down as the person working on Brads project.

The part that suggests it to me is

"My coworkers will come over to my desk, which has a nametag, and start asking for updates on the project Brad's working on"

They're not asking for Brad, and they're sure you're you; but they ARE asking for project updates. It would also explain the emails because they believe they're sending the emails to the right person; because it's you that's working on the project.

I would go talk to the project manager on that project, and tell them that "people keep asking me for updates when I think they mean Brad, is my name down on the project incorrectly" and see what comes out of it.

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    This has happened with multiple projects from different teams, not just one. – the onsen fan Jan 31 at 20:19
  • @theonsenfan I wouldn't discount this as the problem - it may be the same person, and because it's not been corrected, they've continued making the same mistake. The only way you'll find out is to ask why people are getting redirected your way. – UKMonkey Feb 1 at 0:30

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