do you market yourself with your middle initial?
when i was young, my father’s business cards fascinated me. i examined the papers, pondered the idea that so many identical things could be printed, studied the typesetting and wondered what magic made it all happen. they seemed like precious talismans, foil-stamped tickets passed between Illuminati. dad could talk about the logos, or how he chose this or that, and point out his title. there was always a clear importance attached to it. despite having uncommon first and last names, he always used his middle initial.
i’d beg a couple cards off him and print my own on the empty backs using rub transferred lettering, hand drawn or stamped logos, and a typewriter. all that should have been someone’s first clue that i was destined to design. following his lead, i’d include my middle initial.
there’s a formal, distinguished quality to using a middle initial. without knowing that middle names weren’t even common until the 19th century, and without knowing they started with aristocrats, the highbrow scent persists. the first middle names were familial. today, it’s not very likely that your middle name is a reference to a relative or ancestor, but it still elevates you somehow. imagine being the only person in the room without one.
i noticed a while ago that most of the resumes i review are full of info that helps identify someone: email addresses, twitter and linkedin URLs, you name it, but the least helpful info is often the name at the top. people tend to spell out their full names instead of using the version everyone calls them. a minor source of confusion and awkwardness when it comes to a live conversation, but still. and they include their middle initial—something i could only possibly ever need if there are numerous people i could mistake them for otherwise. it’s rare.
david i cus