Nicknames…in the Philippines they’re more than just nicknames.
One of the odd things you might discover once you hire a Filipino workers is how some of them have nicknames that are completely different from their legal or given name. Like there’s no relationship at all between the legal name and the nickname,
Most people have nicknames that are shortened or simplified versions of their first names. Like Chris for Christopher or Kate for Katherine. Or they would sound similar, like Bill and William. Or there’s a historical connection like Hank for Henry and Becky for Elizabeth.
When I was just starting out at Onlinejobs.ph, sometimes I would use my nickname as my email signature. I remember John and Dan would get confused because my nickname was a guy’s name and I’m not a guy.
And we have a few more employees here at Onlinejobs.ph with nicknames that don’t make sense. Nicknames like Sweet and Ding Dong.
Here in the Philippines, we don’t just see nicknames as a quick way of calling someone. For some families, the nickname sometimes serves as an extension of your name. It’s a way of giving people more information about who you are in addition to what they can gather from your name.
Sometimes our parents just wanted to have fun with our names. And unfortunately, the nickname stuck.
That’s why in the Philippines, you’ll see people using adjectives as nicknames like “Pretty” or “Happy”. My husband has cousins named “Tiny” and “Jumbo”. Long story about how they got it. And no, those nicknames didn’t fit anymore.
Sometimes, nicknames are used to honor family members. Like if you’re named after your paternal grandfather, your nickname would be from your maternal grandfather.
In my case, my dad wanted boys but he got girls instead. So he gave us boys’ names for nicknames. That’s the short version of that story. The whole story is going to need a separate email.
If you have the time, ask your OFS what their nickname is and how they got it. There’s going to be a good story behind it.
She left out a couple of others nicknames our team has:
There are a lot of other cultural things I talk about in my book:
The Outsourcing Lever
Which is free if you’ll pay the shipping cost.