Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Career-Based Name Archetypes

A few weeks ago I posted about how I observed four "archetypes" of baby naming that is linked to the general cultural attitude of the various U.S. regions. I observed another quartet of various name styles, but this time I observed a correlation with career choices (not saying that everyone who works in the respective fields will have the name style, but rather a way to visualize the different styles). A good way to picture these name styles is how those in each of the career archetypes dress: Individualist vs. Conformist, Fashionable vs. Practical, and gender differences. The four types are Professional, Laborer, Creative, and Academic.

As you might guess, those with the Professional archetype are the stodgiest of the namers. Those with this style tend to stick to the tried-and-true classics, especially for boys. (Picture a typical professional setting; the men are typically dressed in the very standard suit-and-tie, while there is more variation among the women.) Because of that, although this archetype shows the highest "conformity curve" for both genders, the gender differences are greater than with the other types (with the boys being especially conformist). As you might guess, that also carries over to their unisex name philosophy: Good for boys, bad for girls.

Those with the Laborer archetype tend to be practical in their naming. (Unlike Professionals, Laborer attire is usually designed to be functional and practical for the worker, with minimal variation between the genders.) Thus those with this type don't gravitate as much toward popular names as Professionals, but for different reasons than Creatives or Academics (namely because as anyone with a top name for their birthyear can attest to it's not fun being Jennifer S. or Jason T., which reduces the functionality of one's name). Generally Laborers like not-too-fussy names that are straightforward to spell and pronounce, and are indifferent (but not gender-inequal, unlike Professionals) towards unisex names. This type is also the most likely to consider dated names that have declined in popularity.

The Creative archetype is in many ways the polar opposite of the Professional one, with individualism being emphasized. (Picture workers in most artistic fields; individuals are given more leeway in dressing than the standard-business-attire Professionals or the functional-uniform Laborers, and often gender-bending is allowed or even encouraged.) As you might guess, this archetype is the most novel in its naming (with many invented/coined names starting with them) and is okay with within-reason gender-bending both ways. Like the Laborers they prefer less popular names, but the Creative's focus is more on ensuring everyone has their own individual image (and are the least likely to consider the stalwart classics).

Last but not least is the Academic archetype, which tends to be the antidote to the Laborer's pragmatism. Those with this archetype tend to be the most comfortable with using non-mainstream historic or ethnic names, and thus they're often at the forefront at using "antique revival" names (in contrast to the Laborers who lag behind in fashion) and more likely not to be afraid of "elaborate" names. Unlike the Creatives, Academics usually prefer to stick with names already "in the system" rather than inventing new ones though. This type also represents many of those who lament names "going to the girls" and are the ones who encourage traditionally-male-unisex names on their original gender the most. Academics are probably disproportionately represented on many name blogs and boards. (As far as the attire analogy, there isn't really one except possibly more willing to wear "ethnic" or "historic" garb than others.)

What do you think? Which "career-name archetype" represents your style the most?

No comments:

Post a Comment