If you’ve ever watched the NBC-TV hit show ‘The Office,’ you probably know some of the funny nicknames that the characters end up living with every day at work. There’s Jim, the “Big Tuna” or “Slim Jim”; Pam, often called “Pama-lama-ding-dong” and “Pamcasso”; and Ryan, also known as “Fire-d Guy,” “Big Turkey” and “Egghead.” It’s not so different in the real world, although sometimes a pet name isn’t quite so polite nor friendly.
I work at a local day-care center and I am the teacher for the 2-year-old room. My name is Jessica and they are taught to call me Miss Jessica. However, most of them cannot fully speak at that age. A little boy in my class, Dawson, likes to repeat things twice. He heard one of the other teachers call me Miss Jessica and he picked up on the “cah” sound at the end of my name. What do you know, he repeated it and called me “cah-cah.”
Soon all of the other children found out it was a lot easier to say Cah-Cah than Jessica. (For the record “cah-cah” means poop in Spanish!)
I was so embarrassed! All the other teachers laughed and now I am always addressed as Miss CahCah.
— Jessica Morgan
My name is Sherrell Icon, and when I got my funny nickname, FedEx Kinko’s was my employer. I was 24 at the time, and my job entailed making copies for customers and processing shipping requests. There were only four employees at our location.
In the summer of 2008 we were all sitting around the store chatting. I told them that I was saving up for a Bullet, which was a blender/food processor. But I didn’t say that to them, I just called it “the Bullet.” I marveled about the five speeds and its compact size. I told them how life would be easier when I got it and that I had plans for bringing it to work. It wasn’t until then that I noticed their crazed expressions.
My manager warned, “I don’t think this is appropriate!”
“I don’t get it,” I replied. “Why not?”
My co-worker Marquis blurted out, “Isn’t that a sex toy?”
I immediately turned bright red.
At this point my manager made his way over to the computer that I was working on. He burst out laughing when he looked at the Web page for the item, which showed the blender that I was actually talking about.
“Oh! That bullet,” he said with a guffaw.
Everyone crowded around the computer, and they all began laughing hysterically. I was mortified, but I couldn’t help a chuckle myself.
From then on, until I left that job, I was known only as “Ms. Bullet.”
— Sherrell Icon
My name is Kristen and I have worked at Sears for about two years. A few months ago, our store received a transfer associate from a nearby store. Her name was Loretta and she was brought in to join my team. We were warned that she likes to be bossy and take control of projects, but my fellow associates and I thought we’d give her a chance.
But on her very first day, she started giving orders. Our uniform code is khaki or black pants and a white or black top. Her first outfit was khaki pants buttoned very high up and a black tee shirt, tucked in. She was a larger woman and this outfit gave her a larger-than-life appearance.
Wanting to at least give her an opportunity to impress me with her work, I tried to push past my bad impression of her appearance. However, as soon as she walked in, she began criticizing my attire. This rubbed me the wrong way, but I tried to just ignore it. Later on, she asked me to help her with the fitting room. When I walked over to the rack of clothes, she handed me a stack of pants and ordered, “Go!” So I went.
As her first shift drew to a close, I had begun to draw my own conclusions about her. By the end of the first week, everyone was pretty peeved at the orders she was giving. When a person tried to explain something to her, she would interrupt them and say, “I understand!” in a clipped tone. When she was giving you instruction on something, you knew when she was finished because she would say, “You can go now,” in that same clipped tone.
So because of the orders that continually barked out of her mouth, my coworkers and I began to call her “Sarge,” short for “Sergeant.” We don’t call her this to her face because none of us can get along with her, but we always do behind her back. If you ask someone, “who are you working with tonight?” the answer is never Loretta, it is always Sarge.
We hoped her bossiness was going to be a short-lived thing, but unfortunately it seems as though it’s here to stay. So instead of being angry with her, we have created a whole joke about her. We mock her constantly between ourselves, giving “commands” and then dismissing them from our presence. It is annoying when she is there, but when she isn’t, we sure have a blast making fun of her.
— Kristen Angelo
I’m a high-school teacher at a medium-size high school in eastern North Carolina. I work with about 90 teachers, ranging from the ages of 24 to 65. I am on the front end of that age group at 28. My nickname came about after I had my little girl, Emma. I lost a lot of baby weight very fast and I’m only 5 feet tall. So I pretty much looked like a house of cards about to fall over. Skinny was an understatement.
Looking back, I can see how the nicknames for me started flying. The most popular was started by this older man at my workplace. He calls me “Little One.”
He is my parents’ age (60) and thinks he has to be a father figure, to both me and the students. But I still couldn’t believe it when I was walking down the hall during a class change (when all the students are scrambling to their classrooms before the tardy bell) and I hear him yell “Little One” at me, for all the kids to hear. I just tried to ignore him and dipped into another hallway, walking fast to my classroom so I didn’t have to acknowledge it.
But the nickname is spreading, to other school personnel. However, they are changing a few of the words to make their nickname for me seem original. Some other versions turning up are “Little Bit,” “Short Stuff” and “Peanut.” So now I’m not only sounding like a short person, but also a 6-year-old little girl. It is driving me crazy!
To top it all off, the principal is now in on the banter, except his addition are lame jokes. Let me know if you’ve heard them:
“You’re so skinny you have to dance around in the shower to get wet.”
“If you had a dime on your head, we would call you a nail.”
“All you need is a broom head and we could sweep the floor.”
Nicknames, it seems, are not only permanent, but also really annoying. Don’t think you can shake them off just by telling people to “stop calling me that!” I know; I’ve tried. It has not worked for a moment.
Maybe I should just gain 30 pounds and be done with it all?
— Morgan James
My name is Justin and I am 17 years old. I am employed in the landscaping industry, which is rough, hot and involves long hours. When I got the job and went out to my first job site, I thought the crew was going to be old, crabby and disinterested in me and our work. I was wrong about all of that.
These guys were fun and tried to do everything they could to have fun. I happened to be the second Justin to be hired, which meant that there were two of us on the site. Since calling out “Justin” would get us to both turn our heads, they gave me the nickname “No. 2.”
This nickname then turned into “Poopy” and “Duke” because of the bathroom nature of “No. 2.” So now every day I go to work, I’m always being called all kinds of funny nicknames, with “Poopy” being the most popular.
— Justin Morken
Pigpen and Chia Pet
Working in a customer service call center gives you many opportunities to know your co-workers. You take the good with the bad while you wait for the next customer call to come in.
Working in close quarters with co-workers has its disadvantages, especially when one of your neighboring coworkers doesn’t know how to apply deodorant. Her nickname instantly became “Pigpen” to me and my best friend, Becky, who also sat close to us both.
But the best co-worker nickname we came up with was for a gal with the puffiest hairdo you’ve ever seen. Containing our laughter was difficult enough when she walked by, but that became almost impossible when we came up with the label “Chia.” Her hair was so out of control she reminded us of the Brillo-haired Christmas gift called the Chia Pet. I’m sorry to say that we always called her that, and even sent texts back and forth between us (when she was sitting right near us), singing “Chi-chi-chi-Chia.” I know, it wasn’t very nice, but it sure broke us — and a dull day — up every time!
— Dawne Prochilo
– By Jenny Peters