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Some Background:

  • My birth name is "Mousa" which is the Arabic equivalent/synonym of the name "Moses" in English.
  • I usually go by both names, not one in particular, so some people call me A and others B.
  • I sign my emails with "Mousa surname".

The Problem:

I always tried to maintain using my birth name in any professional context to avoid going out unprofessional.

I'm currently in the process of switching email, so I need to sign up for a new email service and only use one single name as my email-id. mousa@example.com is not available, however, moses@example.com is.

So will using moses@example.com and signing my email with "Mousa surname" raise confusion and look unprofessional?

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First of all, this is very unconsequential. Nobody will think twice about your email, unless it happens to sound like a profanity or a joke of some kind. So do whatever you feel like.

Most times people will never write down your email. They will hit "reply", or click a link, or start typing until the contextual help shows your complete e-mail. So it is not a big deal is the email is not your exact name, or if it is a bit more long. Specially if it is not an email where you setup your own domain and you share it with other people.

In general, I would think how do you want to be known and try to stick with it, even if you end being "mousa76@example.com." As said before, not a big deal. YMMV.

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  • This sounds very reasonable, maybe I'm just overthinking the issue. Thank you for your answer. – Mousa Halaseh Jan 25 at 21:11
  • "Nobody will think twice about your email" to expand on that... your email will display as "Surname, Moses <moses@example.com"... so not only will the email not matter, but more important information will superceed it. – WernerCD Jan 26 at 4:43
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    I like the first two paragraphs but disagree with the last, don't like these nameXX types. – Alan Dev Jan 26 at 11:14
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    This is entirely my own opinion, but it is a little bit distracting to me when the email handle and the name don't match. I might assume it's a nickname, but if I didn't know the connection between the two names, I might be confused as to the motivation for using a name like Moses as your email handle. – A N Jan 26 at 21:36
  • For additional context, Moses isn't a name that's commonly used in English (at least not here in America), so people will immediately think of the Biblical figure, and they may wonder why you used his name for your email address. – A N Jan 28 at 21:20
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At least in Canada/USA, many immigrants anglicize their names or take on completely new ones.

I worked with an Indian guy who went by "Harry" professionally. His Indian name is "Harpreet." A good friend of mine goes by his middle name in the USA as his first name is hard for Westerners to say. Another friend of mine goes by his middle name as everyone thinks his first name is from a different country and distrusts him. Most people of Chinese descent I have ever worked with or gone to school with have had very Western names in the workplace, even if they recently immigrated. I know several women named "Sophie" who were born in and grew up in China. When they arrived, either they or their parents picked an English name for them.

Norms may be different elsewhere, but this is common and highly acceptable in Canada/USA.

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  • That was very helpful, thank you! I accepted @SJuan76 answer as it sheds the light on the email thing, but thanks again for sharing your experience. – Mousa Halaseh Jan 25 at 21:11
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    Same in the UK with Koreans. – simbabque Jan 26 at 11:29
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    The custom of adopting Western/English names is common even among Chinese living in China, at least those who have to communicate with people from the Western culture, simply because Chinese names are hard to pronounce. – Jan Dorniak Jan 26 at 12:12
  • Even when Chinese names aren't actually hard to pronounce the average American isn't going to figure out how to do it from seeing it written. My wife's (China-born) name is actually a perfectly good, albeit uncommon English word--but people get fixated on the spelling and don't even realize it. She typically goes by an American name because of the trouble her real name causes. Even being used to having it mangled there are times we have both failed to realize she was being called in a waiting room. – Loren Pechtel Jan 28 at 5:32
  • @LorenPechtel that even happens to my name. "Galzer" is how some pronounce it. I don't know why they replace the I with L. – Matthew Gaiser Jan 28 at 7:05
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I had a case where my company was taken over by another company, they integrated the email systems, and every employee got an email address based on the information on their Id.

About 20% had name changes, some being totally unrecognisable. Someone just changed from Ed to Edward, but in some cases people asked "who is that, I've never heard of them". The CEO's name was completely unrecognisable.

Just use the same name everywhere except where you are legally required to use a specific name.

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