I am currently going through the application to legally change my first name. I don't identify with my current first name anymore and it is not representative of the person that I have grown into.

I have worked for the same small business for the past 10 years as a project manager so many companies and client know me by my current first name.

How do I go about first telling my immediate boss and then all of my staff? From there, how do I approach this with our clients?

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    This was asked yesterday ish... but I cannot find it.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 16:06
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    How do I go about first telling my immediate boss and then all of my staff? From there, how do I approach this with our clients? - Ummm... tell them? What's the conundrum?
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 16:19
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    Any reasons you can't be like, "I recently changed my legal name to Rachel. Please call me Rachel from here on out."?
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 16:28
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    While I understand some discretion is preferred. A bit more context would help answers. Did you underwent sex-change process? If not, is your previous first name related to some family quarrel? Is it now the name of a famous person you dislike?
    – Mefitico
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:10

4 Answers 4


How do I go about first telling my immediate boss and then all of my staff?

Just tell your boss. Reach to him/her privately, perhaps going to their office, and tell them just like you did here that your name is now other.

I suppose this implies that you will also update or obtain new ID cards, credit cards, bank accounts, etc., so I suggest you ask your boss if you have to supply them with any documentation for them to update this information.

Regarding your staff, you are their boss so it's up to you how/when to disclose it. I suggest you first talk to your boss though. When you talk to your staff (email, or meeting, or one by one, as you prefer) stick to the way you exposed it here and to your boss, no need to complicate it.

From there, how do I approach this with our clients?

This is also you should discuss with your boss, so you can together come up with the proper way this will be handled with clients.

Speculating, a way I can think of is to introduce yourself with the new name to new clients and in the meantime stick to your old name with current clients (perhaps inform them of the change next time you interact).

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    Well done calling out the admin aspect. I've legally changed my first name before; by far the hardest part was getting my email address, IT systems, and HR paperwork changed.
    – Phueal
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 18:15
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    @Phueal - We use FULL LEGAL NAMES where I work now. I mean, first, middle, last. What the Hell is it with IT people? Does everyone really need to know my middle name? Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 5:22

I've done that myself, halfway through a 10 year run with a big company. It worked perfectly fine, though not instantly.

Sure, it's very important to you (and me at the time). It is, literally self-important.

Nobody has any problem with that. However, to them, it is a very small part of their day, and an ingrained habit to break. They don't wish to offend, but they would think it unfair if they were harshly judged for an honest mistake.

So you have to be the picture of patience on the matter. When you hear the wrong name, you need to let it slide 99.9% of the time, and be gracious about it.

The problem is, if you kick up a fuss about it, then you create an impression you really do not want - of vanity, a highly disrespected trait. Or if the name change seems religious, political, etc., then you come off like a misguided extremist, who is trying to politicize the workplace or "make it all about you" and thinking that is more important than working together. They worry that they'll have to dance around you" or "watch their mouth around you" - and that hurts your relationship badly. For instance I would never call it a "deadname" in the workplace because that implies a gravitas that would make them worry.

What happens, when you don't kick up a fuss, is others will do the kicking for you - people will kick themselves when they use the wrong name, or their colleagues will give them a nudge. You want to be seen as the gracious and patient one, so they will invest themselves in using the right name.

90% of what I did was put the new name in my email sig.


How do I go about first telling my immediate boss and then all of my staff? From there, how do I approach this with our clients?

Usually if you don't make a big issue out of your name change other people won't make a big issue of it. For your boss and staff (i.e. people you interact with on a daily basis ) something simple and direct:

I just legally changed my name to Rachael and would like to be called Rachael going forward. Thanks.

For clients, your approach will depend on how often you interact with them. Any whom you have a high level of interaction ( multiple times per week ) I would reach out to them to let them know. The clients who you have less contact with, simply let them know the next time you interact with them.


Float the idea of writing a blog and/or creating a video that tells the story of why you're changing your name. This will need to get sign off from your boss and PR types in your company. The more you can make that story something that benefits the company, the more likely they will help you promote it. Imagine them putting your story on their website and in a press release. Imagine having everyone loving you having a link to your story in your business emails. So I think if you can get your company leadership behind you the staff and clients stuff solves itself.

I got this idea after reading about how companies promote their own name changes How to Introduce a Name Change the Right Way

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    The private person isn't the company. Using an employee name change for PR is, IMHO, of really bad taste. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 18:26
  • @FábioDias Think it depends on why the name is being changed. If it's not actually related in any way to PR then making a special deal of telling clients seems hard to argue for.
    – HenryM
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 18:51
  • I used to work for a company where my hobbies and my job were pretty closely aligned. I could see "Julie did great hobby stuff" being a PR win for the company. This doesn't sound like anything that could be remotely related to what the company does. Mostly because the OP is strongly with how to get the news out. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:57
  • @JulieinAustin fair point
    – HenryM
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:05

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