by Poesy Chen, Innovation Director
Last week, as I updated my LinkedIn profile, a thought occurred to me… no one knows my name.
LinkedIn tells me how many people searched for me, how many people viewed my profile, and how many connections I have as a way to measure how well known I am in the community. However, no one knows my name, my given name, in Chinese. It is ironic that I never thought to introduce my Chinese name when people ask about how and why I was named Poesy.
I was born in Taiwan. As per Chinese tradition, the name of a child is carefully chosen as it can often influence the person’s fortunes in life. It is so important that temples are often visited, ancestors consulted, strokes of the characters counted, and meanings of each part of the characters carefully considered.
The name 陳沛君, does not exist in the digital world. She has no footprint, she has no presence. I stared at my LinkedIn profile and saw the heading of “Additional name”. I carefully considered the meaning, and I wrote out my Chinese name. Do I press “Save”?
Being here in North America, only my close relatives know my Chinese name. That version of me seems to be reserved for those who are closest to me and therefore dear to me. Sharing that version of me with the world? Am I ready for that?
That version of me is the one who came running when my parents called out to me. That version of me is the one who got called out for detention at school because I had misbehaved. That name was the name written on the awards I won in elementary school that my parents still cling to even now. That version of me had friends, giggled, and shared secrets. That version of me, a teenage version of me, is frozen in time and never grew up.
I stared down that “Save” button and scanned up and down that LinkedIn page. That page IS my identity. I don’t have any other social media accounts that I regularly post to. To the world, I am defined by my professional image - my education, my job experiences, my skills, and the “je ne sais quoi” signature Poesy-ness. Why am I apprehensive about sharing my given name? That would have been my professional name as well, as intended by my parents. One could even argue that my good fortune came from that given name as foretold by Chinese tradition. Save. I pressed save.