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How a name can shape your life (and job prospects)

'What's In A Name?' More Than You Think

In Shakespeare's tragedy "Romeo & Juliet," Juliet asks Romeo, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, it turns out there may be a little more to names than that.

A recent article published in The Atlantic points out that names have the power to shape our our lives, including job prospects. In professional fields that are often dominated by men, like lawyers or engineers, women with sexually ambiguous names are more likely to find success.

Not to mix our Shakespeare references, but it's called the "Portia Effect," named after a character in the comedy "Merchant of Venice." During the play, Portia disguises herself and changes her name so that people will believe she is a lawyer's male apprentice in order to save a merchant. Like the "Merchant of Venice," studies have shown the more masculine the name, the more successful the female lawyer.

Another easy way to boost those chances, according to a study out of the universities of Southampton and Limerick, just add a middle name.

Psychologists have found using a middle initial boosts a person's social status in the eyes of others as they're associated with professions like lawyers and doctors, though an article published last month in the New York Times reported that middle initials are becoming less and less common.

So, in review, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet -- but Rose wouldn't be the best name if you want your little girl to become a lawyer.

What's in a name? Check out how many people have unexpected (or famous) monikers:

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