So the Catholic world has a new pope. Congratulations if that applies to you! I was interested to hear he had taken the name of Francis (if I was cynical I might say the whole shiny, white, simple, humble persona is a good marketing ploy but I’m trying not to be so I won’t, they are noble ideals and I sincerely wish him the best) and this process of name choosing got me to thinking about the life choices and careers that people can take that sometimes make use of a pseudonym a good idea.

  • Musicians and actors – Cher and Madonna come to mind (although I think Cherilyn Sarkisian is a beautiful name), a stage name can project a powerful image
  • Authors – so many pen names out there from Ayn Rand to Hergé
  • Rebels and resistance fighters, there seems to be a lot associated with the French Resistance in WWII. Join the French Foreign Legion and you can request a name change, I think as recently as 2010 you had to change your name upon joining.
  • Graffiti artists. Banksy. Say no more
  • Overseas call center operators (thanks to Wikipedia for this one), clearly John would be better received than Raj on an Australian companies telephone help line
  • Handles used by gamers (one of my characters names on a popular MMORPG was Eponnee Rae, top marks to whoever can get the Australian reference) and hackers too
  • and of course the ladies of the night 😉